SOVEREIGN HILL & BALLARAT TOUR
“Our tour guide was very friendly and the trip was in good pace. Both the elderly and my kid enjoy the trip a lot. Highly recommended!.” – William Ho
Ballarat is one of the oldest cities in Australia. the discovery of gold in the local vicinity had attracted miners all around the world looking for a fortune. Nowadays it is the third largest city in Victoria. Ballarat has preserved many of the 19th-century architectures. Sovereign Hill Gold Mine, built in 1970, is a large-scale open-air museum, from retro-decorated stores to the medieval attires staff are dressed in, Sovereign Hill brings you back in time to the Gold Rush era. In addition, Ballarat has plenty of interesting places, visit graceful Lake Wendouree or let kids enjoy outdoors activities at the playground. Ballarat will put on an unforgettable historic show for you.
Lake Wendouree / Botanical Garden
Ballarat old city centre
Art Gallery of Ballarat
Sovereign Hill + Gold Museum
- Ballarat Wildlife Park (Optional)
Transport Hotel Transfers
Friendly Guide Heaps of Fun
Bottled Water Child Safety Child (if required)
Car Parking Toll Fees
On the morning of your tour, we would pick up from your hotel. Upon return, we can drop you to either your hotel or your chosen restaurant in Melbourne CBD
For a group booking of more than 11 people, please contact us for a quote.
Have more questions? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Ballarat, here we come!
In the morning, our friendly driver will pick up from your hotel.
From Melbourne, travel northwesterly, it takes 1.5 hours of drive to reach Ballarat. It is the half-way point between Melbourne and The Grampians.
Ballarat is Victoria’s third-largest city and the third-largest inland city in Australia, currently with a population of 100,000. It became well-known in 1850s as large deposits of gold were discovered here, the discovery had attracted an influx of miners all around the globe. The gold rush lasted for more than 50 years and played a significant historical role in establishing Ballarat and Melbourne. The city offers a wide range of activities to choose from, from Sovereign Hill, Ballarat Botanical Gardens to the Wildlife Park, Ballarat will impress you with its unique charm and tranquility.
Lake Wendouree is a large, shallow, artificial lake located next to Ballarat CBD, the lake is surrounded by a 6 km trail, it is a great place for a family walk or cycling. The word “Wendouree” originally derived from a local aboriginal word Wendaaree. A story was told that when William Cross Yuille, the founder of Ballarat, initially asked a local Aboriginal woman about the name of the swamp where Lake Wendouree is now located, this was the lady’s answer at the time which means “go away” in the native Aboriginal language. Since 1960s, this area has been popular with locals. When Melbourne held Olympic Games in 1956, the rowing and canoeing events took place here. In addition, you will find many black swans, ducks and native birds nestled around the lake, there is a beautiful botanical garden situated next to it. The large playground nearby is always fun for children to hang out. If you are visiting on Saturdays, scoop up on fresh local produce from the bustling local farmers market.
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Garden, located right next to Lake Wendouree, first opened in 1857, is the oldest inland botanical garden in Victoria. The garden covers 40 hectares and is divided into four distinct areas, namely the central traditional garden area with a modern conservatory open to public which is popular with flower lovers. The north and south garden areas are open parklands and the area along Lake Wendouree is known as Lake foreshore precinct. The botanical garden also features Prime Ministers Avenue where bronze portraits of the 28 prime minsters of Australia are displayed. In addition, There is a number of intricate marble statutes on exhibition scattered across the garden, notably The Stoddard Collection and The Statuary Pavilion, both at the generous bequest of wealthy Ballarat citizens. Every March, the garden comes to life for the famous Ballarat Begonia (Flower) Festival.
Ballarat is located 120 kilometers from Melbourne, it is the third largest city in Victoria and the third largest inland city in Australia, it was initially established in 1838 as a small sheep station. When gold was first discovered locally in 1851, Ballarat quickly shot to fame, its lucrative goldfields 160 years ago had attracted an influx of European, American and Asian migrants within a short period of time, which subsequently led to the Gold Rush. With the population reached as many as 60,000 people, Ballarat quickly expanded into a city. The region continued to produce high output of gold over five decades until the gold deposit significantly depleted. The meaning of “Ballarat” in local aboriginal language is “a place to rest,” Ballarat indeed brings visitors a unique sense of serenity. The city has preserved many historic buildings dated back to the mid 19th-century gold rush era, with its significant cultural and historic heritage, this beautiful inland city of tranquil ambience attracts more than two million tourists annually.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat
Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia’s oldest regional arts gallery, founded in 1884, the art gallery displays not only elegant paintings, but also tells the history of Ballarat and Australia. Many of the art pieces dated back to the 19th-century, together with the historic gallery building itself are both listed on the Australian Heritage List, most notably for the famous Eureka Flag which symbolises democracy in Australia and has had significant influence on modern day Australian democracy. The art gallery has two floors, upstairs features art collections range from the mid-1800s to aesthetic modern art sculptures. After touring the beautiful artworks, you can find lovely souvenirs in the art gallery’s gift shop downstairs or take a moment of relaxation in the coffee shop.
Sovereign Hill is a large open-air museum that replicates the gold rush era of 1850s. It has been awarded as the national major tourist attraction four times. Since gold was first discovered in Ballarat in 1851, the gold production around Ballarat had lasted a whopping 50 years! With some of the biggest gold nuggets found in history also came from Ballarat. Sovereign Hill vividly reproduces the scenes from the gold rush era, from more than 100 staff dressed in medieval clothes to antiques, machinery and decorations in stores that dated back to the era, feel free to take a photo with your favourite character on the main street, or enjoy performance from street artists with accordion and harmonica, Sovereign Hill re-creates a lively scene from the ancient past.
Sovereign Hill has delicately prepared daily performances at different times of the day, such as musket firing, redcoat parade, candle and sweet making (free tasting at the end of the session), AUD $160,000 gold pour and other interesting shows. Families can also experience gold panning in the creek, roll up your sleeves; pick up a shuffle and test out your luck, you get to take home all the gold you can find! In addition, go down the Red Hill Mine to learn about the difficult working conditions gold miners had to endure at the time or travel around the town on the old-fashioned coach. There are even bakery and hotel on site to complete your gold rush era experience. Sovereign Hill will rewind the time machine and let you experience the wonders of the 1850s gold rush era. See Sovereign Hill map here.
Sovereign Hill Admission Tickets:
General Admission Ticket (includes Gold Museum ticket):
Adult: $ 57 AUD / (5-15 years old) Child: $ 25.60 AUD
VIP Ticket (includes Gold Museum ticket, unlimited coach rides, touch of gold experience, express costumed photograph, Labyrinth of gold mine tour, Devonshire tea and one free return pass valid for 12 months)
Adult: $ 102 AUD / (5-15 years old) Child: $ 50 AUD
Additional Tour Options:
Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial honours and commemorates all the Australian soldiers captured in World War I, World War II, Boer War and Korean War. Established in 2004, the memorial is located on the south side of Ballarat Botanical Gardens, the 130-meter-long marble monument records the names of the 35,000 Australian POWs in the past battles and has significant historic importance for the nation.
Ballarat Tramway Museum is situated on the west bank of Lake Wendouree. The museum is a non-for-profit organisation that predominantly relies volunteers from all walks of life to maintain and operate these old trams. At its peak, Ballarat tramway network had 7 principal routes spanning more than 20 kilometres of track, the largest such network outside of any major capital city in Australia. Despite most of the networks were later replaced by buses in 1971, It still kept one tram track next to Lake Wendouree for visitors and tourists. The tram depot is open for public daily after 12 PM.
This family-run wildlife park was originally built in 1985 stemming from the owner’s passion for animal protection. The 32 acres wildlife park is home to a wide range of animals, mostly native to Australia, it includes Australian wild birds, koalas, alpacas, wombats, crocodiles, Tasmanian devils, emus, reptiles and etc. There are more than 100 kangaroos roaming around in the park, you can feed and gently pat them, the park also has plenty of opportunities for you to interact with native Australian animals! In addition, there are exciting daily animal shows at different times, e.g. catch a glimpse of a giant 5-meter Australian crocodile. It is a perfect fun place for families and animal lovers in Ballarat.
Ballarat Wildlife Park Admission Ticket:
Adult: $ 35 AUD / (5-15 years old) Child: AUD $ 19.50
With your Sovereign Hill admission ticket, you will get a free entry into the Gold Museum located adjacent to Sovereign Hill, here you will learn about the history of the 1850s Gold Rush and the enormous wealth created in the local vicinity.
Ballarat Farmers Market, open from 9 am to 1 pm on every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month, the market is set up next to Lake Wendouree with a very relaxing atomosphere and scenic surrounds, it is popular with locals and visitors, you can find organic vegetables and fruits, uniquely brewed local wine, olive oil, freshly baked bread and cakes, abloom flowers and many more quality local produces here. Seasonal shops often pop up throughout the year, accompanied by melodious tunes from local street artists, it is a fantastic place to spend a weekend morning.
The other Saturday market, Bridge Mall Fresh Produce Market, is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on every 1st Saturday of each month, similar to the Farmers Market, the Bridge Mall market is located in Ballarat CBD, it offers a mixture of fresh local produce, prepared food and fun family activities.
Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka showcases visitors the establishment of democracy in Australia and around the world. The construction of the democracy museum took two years, The museum rests on the site where the historical event Eureka Rebellion took place, the event was considered to be the birth of Australian democracy and bears significant historical importance in shaping Australia’s democracy over the past.
Built in 1972, Kryal Castle is the only medieval adventure park and resort in Australia, this medieval castle replica features a drawbridge, maze, armoury and more. It also offers daily live-action shows to visitors, e.g. knight jousting, jetster, juggler and fire eating. In addition, the castle-themed hotel rooms allow guests more time to thoroughly explore this mysterious medieval fortress.
Kryal Castle Admission Ticket:
Adult: AUD $ 35 / (4-16 years old) Child: AUD $ 22
If You Can Still Read More
Sovereign Hill is an award-winning open-air museum, located in the Golden Point suburb in Ballarat, approx.150 km northwest of Melbourne. Sovereign Hill showcases Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851 when thousands of foreign adventurers rushed to the Australian goldfields in search of fortune. It is linked to the richest alluvial gold rush in the world and it’s also here that the second largest gold nugget in the world (Welcome Nugget) was unearthed. Sovereign Hill recreates the old lively gold mining town where costumed ladies and gents stroll the streets, complemented by buildings and stores which re-establish the gold rush era. you can pan for real gold at the creek and you get to keep what you find.