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Feel the excitement of Australia’s gold rush with this full-day tour from Melbourne! Visit the former boomtown of Ballarat and travel back in time at Sovereign Hill, a realistic replica of a 1850s mining settlement. History comes to life as you pan for gold, meet characters in period costume and ride an old-fashioned stagecoach. Upgrade to include a visit to the Ballarat Wildlife Park, where you can meet and interact with native animals of the Australian bush, such as kangaroos, emus and Tasmanian devils.

Highlights

  • Discover Ballarat and Sovereign Hill on this full-day tour from Melbourne
  • Step back in time to the 1850's to the re-created goldmining settlement of Sovereign Hill
  • Try your luck panning for gold
  • Visit the gold museum
  • See native animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park (option to be selected at time of booking)
  • Plenty of photo opportunities
  • Informative and friendly guide
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Ballarat and Sovereign Hill Day Tour with Optional Wildlife Park from Melbourne

See kangaroos and other Aussie animals at the Ballarat Wildlife Park

Trade in Melbourne’s modern metropolis for a 19th-century boomtown on this fun-filled day trip! After pickup at your Melbourne hotel or Federation Square (see Itinerary and Hotel Pickup tab for details), travel aboard a comfortable air-conditioned coach approximately 1.5 hours to the town of Ballarat. Learn how this sleepy settlement transformed into a bustling boomtown within a matter of months after the discovery of gold nearby in 1851. 

Journey back in time to this exciting chapter in Australian history as you arrive at Sovereign Hill. This ‘living museum’ built on the site of an original gold mine spans over 25 acres (10 hectares) and offers visitors the chance to experience life in 1850s mining camp. Try your luck at panning for gold, venture into a historic mine and learn more about the area’s history at an on-site museum.

Wander through the dusty streets past Victorian homes and stop in at old-fashioned shops like the apothecary, sweet shop or candle works, where you can meet proprietors dressed in period costume and purchase unique souvenirs. Watch craftsmen at work using traditional 19th-century methods with a visit to the blacksmith or coachbuilder’s workshop. Take a spin through town aboard a traditional stagecoach or dress up your family for an old-fashioned photo (both at own expense).

With an optional upgrade, visit the family-run Ballarat Wildlife Park to meet native Australian species including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, emus and Tasmanian devils. Learn more about these amazing creatures at a ranger-led show such as a crocodile feeding, eagle fight or koala encounter. 

Itinerary

Customer Reviews

Gordon C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

A great day and loved the authentic features from trading, to light industry, to re-enactments, to real tools and brick a brace to the horse and coach ride to the red coats and their loud guns. A well honed real life experience of the past.

PAULINE T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

We had a lovely day out enjoyed Sovereign Hill even managed to find gold

Theresa E. R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

This unusual tour for Americans was quite good. My husband's great-great grandfather was a miner at Sovereign Hill where a major gold vein was found. He wanted to visit this recreated mining town. The residents wear period costumes from the 19th century and many ply the trades appropriate to the times such as gold smeltering, tinsmithing, bakers, dry goods, etc. There is also a candy making shop which specializes in lollies--a hard and variously flavored type of candy which is beloved by Australians. Since many of the miners were from Cornwall, England delicious pasties can be had for lunch from the bakery.

Our driver/guide, Don, was knowledgeable about the area as we drove to and toured the city of Ballarat. Sovereign Hill is part of Ballarat. It is a pleasant town with some interesting Victorian arcitechture. At Sovereign Hill he left us to explore the area on our own until departure time.

It was clear that Don enjoyed introducing tourists to this wonderful area.

I should also add that Ballarat is a plot point in A. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story The Bascombe Valley Mystery in case someone is a Sherlockian--another reason for our visit.

We did not visit the wildlife park. Those who did were dropped off at the park and the rest of us went on to Ballarat. The park visitors were later picked up at the park and driven to Sovereign Hill for their visit.

There is a theatre which at times has an impromptu performance on Main Street. British red coats also march down the street complete with a small drum corp. Muskets are fired off at the town square and horse drawn cart tours are also available. Demonstrations of gold smeltering are given throughout the day. There is also a gold mining encampment that can be seen. Tours of a real gold mine are also offered. My husband who took the tour thoroughly enjoyed it and said that it was also very informative.

Jiawen L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

Very fun and unique experience in a mining town. Unfortunately I only have 4 hours to stay. I would like to stay longer if I got a chance to come again!

Marie M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Great trip will do it again

Norizan S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

Ballarat is a beautiful city! Had a great time in Sovereign Hill and experiencing the 1850s. Thank you to the Driver Guide and AAT King for a fantastic time!

David Alan A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

We found our coach driver Con very impressive .The day was great.

heather s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

The trip was great, bus driver hilarious, gave good info.
Sovereign Hill worth the visit, very well re enacted, would have liked to see more period related crafts for women but that's just me

Svetlana G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2015

Excellent tour. Thoroughly recommended.

Janet M B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

The trip was very enjoyable. The coach was comfortable and the driver was friendly and interacted with the group. We had a couple of stops along the way and a tour around Ballarat which was very interesting. Sovereign Hill was great, a wonderful look back in time, we had a ball and would recommend the tour to everyone.

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