Sovereign Hill, Ballarat | Family Friendly Day Trip From Melbourne
Step back in time to the Goldrush days in Ballarat at Sovereign Hill, Melbourne’s most amazing outdoor museum. Just a couple of hours from the city Sovereign Hill makes a great day trip from Melbourne and provides a full day of family entertainment and a unique historical Australian experience.
Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
Sovereign Hill is one of the most famous things to do in Ballarat. It brings to life the excitement of the gold rush in the 1850’s. As soon as you go through the entrance, you are immersed in an iconic piece of history. This town is a recreation of the first ten years after the discovery of gold, when thousands of international travellers rushed to the goldfields in search of getting lucky and finding their fortune.
Costumed staff will meet and greet and post for photos, and you can discover recreated buildings filled with antiques, machinery, and everything you can think of that would exist back in the “olden days”.
Sovereign Hill Attractions
By far the most popular thing to do at Sovereign Hill is pan for gold which is yours to keep! Yes, there is real gold to be found so try your luck digging and panning for a gold nugget.
Venture underground on a guided gold mine tour and learn about the history of the first gold nugget found in Ballarat. Catch a horse-drawn coach and tour the town.
The main street is lined with shops. Take a stroll through and explore what homes looked like way back in the 1850’s. View a show at the Victorian Theatre or visit an old school and write calligraphy with pen and ink. Take the kids to the old bowling alley or make wax candles from scratch.
Don’t forget to check out the New York Bakery, and especially the lolly shops where you can try some delicious sweets including the famous raspberry drops and see how they are made.
If you are looking for more than a day trip, and more of a weekend getaway from Melbourne there is excellent accommodation available on site at the Sovereign Hill Hotel. There are family rooms available with include breakfast.
Winter Wonderlights – Christmas in July
If you get the chance, a fantastic time to visit is when Sovereign Hill have their Christmas in July Winter Wonderlights Event. Walk through the streets while it snows (the faux kind) and meet santa clause in the day, and watch the streets light up in the evening in a spectacular event!
Bradshaw Street, Golden Point. Ballarat
Sovereign Hill: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm every day except Christmas Day.
Gold Museum: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm every day except Christmas Day.
Tips for Visiting Sovereign Hill with Kids
- Free parking on site.
- You are walking through dirt roads, so bring comfortable shoes.
- In Winter or rainy days, bring the gumboots or water proof shoes as it can get wet and muddy, especially when panning for gold.
- If you want to try the horse and coach ride, get your tickets early as it usually gets busy.
- Make sure to try the pies and sausage rolls from the famous bakery, they are to die for.
- Visit the Winter Wonderlights at least once!
Things to do in Ballarat
If you are looking for a family day out with the kids, or a day trip from Melbourne, Sovereign Hill can’t be missed. If you have longer and can stay over, check out our post on Things to do in Ballarat.