Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Ballarat and Sovereign Hill Day Tour with Optional Wildlife Park from Melbourne. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
Maria Suzette C
If you want to experience Australia during the Gold Rush, go to this place. My daughter really enjoyed all the activities from gold panning where she was able to get gold flakes and brought it home, to candle making, to candy making and just learning from it all. Would love to have a stop-over at Ballarat town to take some photos, though. The place is a real throw back from year ago.
Tour guide was fantastic, he really knew his stuff! Sovereign Hill was soo memorable, but being a history buff wished that the Eureka stockade was part of this tour
Was disappointed we didn't get to stop in Ballarat. Only saw it from the bus on the drive to Sovereign Hill.
Good trip. A new experience to see a gold mine and what they went through in those days. It was fun to do the gold panning and collect some fragments of gold. Good experience, but would be better if we had more time at Sovereign Hill.
Definitely enjoyed trip, very authentic Mining town,showed you exactly what it was like back then. Didn't see Wildlife Park as have been to others before, so spent more time at Sovereign Hill.
We received good dialog on the bus trip, we saw a very interesting wildlife park, and Sovereign Hill was well done.
Thomas B F
Excellent all around. There was not much to see at the Wildlife Park apart from kangaroos and koalas -- which I guess is why people come to Australia in the first place.
My guest enjoyed the tour at the wildlife park, and the tour at the mine( Sovereign hill) was good
The bus was a bit big as there was only fourteen people on the day we went so it was not as intimate as other tours we have been on
Driver David was very pleasant and knowledgable ....thanks David
Our tour was cancelled the day we had booked for because of low numbers, and then rebooked for the following day - and that was a very rainy day! So that was very disappointing, we had to slosh around in the mud at Sovereign Hill and didn't feel that we were able to see everything well because of the weather.
We had a lovely tour driver who seemed to know all the relevant information and was able to share it with us so that we were well prepared before arrival. Being older, we didn't visit all the options as to walk up and down and up and down the hilly settlement wasn't practical, but we tried to plan our viewing to be able to take in as much as possible. (Perhaps there could be a 'shuttle' available to take people to the various viewing sites) We enjoyed watching the live demonstrations - i.e. candlemaking and visiting the eateries and shops and experiencing life as it was. The actors seemed to be well informed and played out their parts very well. Had good interaction with the bank manager. We did feel that it was quite a long time on-site and were ready to depart a good hour sooner than the specified time, but would still recommend it as an enjoyable trip back in time to see the historical beginnings of Australian life.
I usually like Viator tours very much but this one was just okay. First, people should know that there is no difference between this and any other tour going to Ballarat and Sovereign Hill. APT, AAT and Grayline all share the same tour as Viator; in fact, my tour took place on a Grayline coach. Viator is cheaper than Grayline and some of the others so this Viator is a better option. Second, this is not really a tour of Ballarat. I did a Viator tour of Washington DC and that was great; we got off the coach and walked around so I thought this would be the same, but it is not. Be warned that the tour does not stop in Ballarat at all except for a toilet break. It just drives through the town and the driver comments on a few buildings. If you are seated near the front of the coach and have an unimpeded view out of the coach windows, then you can see what he is talking about. If you are further back in the coach, you won't know what buildings the driver is referring to and the commentary won't make much sense. The Ballarat tour is therefore unsatisfactory. Sovereign Hill is fine. The coach leaves you at the open air museum and you make your way around it at your leisure. Sovereign Hill was quite interesting, but probably doesn't need such a long time devoted to it. If I had known that there would be no stop and walk around in Ballarat, I would simply have taken the V-line train and V-line coach service to Sovereign Hill myself. I joined the tour because I thought we would stop in Ballarat. The coach driver was very pleasant though.
We 3 people went to Ballarat and to Wildlife Park. Wildlife Park experience was really nice with the possibility to look closely at kangaroos, koalas, emus and tasmanian devils and to take close pictures. The park staff does a fabulous job in keeping the animals in good shape and guiding the visitors. As for Ballarat mining - we were disappointed that there was no guided tour although we were expecting it to be for the money paid. There was an additional price to pay for descending to the gold mine itself and we opted not to do that as we already paid a chunk of money for 3 people. There was not sufficient time to investigate all the places at Ballarat mine as we had to return to the bus in time. I think we would have been much better off if we drove there ourselves and walked all the places ourselves. We would spend less money and have a freedom of looking at everything we wanted without a time constraint. Although there was a pretty decent guide on the bus who talked about Ballarat and its history, it did not seem enough. 2 days later we did another tour to the Great Ocean Road - this other tour was just unbelievable. We enjoyed the informational/historical/kidding part of the tour in the bus as well as what we saw. Timewise, the tour was well thought through. There was no lack of time to see the attractions as well as no uneffective time spending. In case there is a wish to improve the Ballarat tour, I would suggest to include descending to the mine in the tour and to increase the overall tour time to 10 hours. Thanks much.
The optional wildlife park was good, since it allows you to interact with kangaroos, koalas, and wombats, among others. I think Sovereign Hill is more suitable for kids, though.