Things to Do in Ballarat
Australia’s foremost outdoor museum, Sovereign Hill takes history to a whole new level. Houses, shops and places of work have all been carefully crafted on the 25 hectare site to reproduce an 1850s mining town.
The ‘township’ of over 60 historically recreated buildings revolves around Red Hill Mine. The Red Hill Mine is home to the second largest gold nugget in the world. The Welcome Nugget weighed 69kg, was almost 99% pure gold, and worth over $3million. A replica can be found at Sovereign Hill.
When at Sovereign Hill, don’t pass up the opportunity to pan for some gold of your own! The gold diggings are the centre of the entire complex. The two mines on Sovereign Hill have regular guided tours. The Red Hill Mine tour is self-guided, whilst the Sovereign Quartz Mine is a 40 minute tour showing several displays.
Main Street is the heart of the town, filled with shops and amenities that made life easier on the gold fields.
Home to around 400 different animal species, the family-run Ballarat Wildlife Park makes a popular day out from Melbourne and there’s plenty for animal lovers to get excited about. Since opening its doors in 1985, the 15-hectare park has become a refuge for hundreds of native Australian animals from kangaroos and koalas, to wombats, echidnas and crocodiles.
Visitors can hand-feed the free-roaming population of kangaroos and emus; learn about some of the world’s most venomous snakes in the Reptile House and see baby koalas, quokkas and giant tortoises. As well as interacting with the animals, there are daily ‘meet the keeper’ experiences and animal shows, including the chance to watch the crocodile and Tasmanian Devils feeding, see eagles in full flight and have your photo taken with a koala.
Travelers who want to learn more about the Australian gold rush of the 1850s need look no further than the jam-packed halls of Ballarat’s Gold Museum. Displays filled with gold nuggets and gold coins, plus pictures, stories and artifacts from the era showcase the true and trying tales of European settlers who came in search of one of the world’s most precious medals.
In addition to gold rush history, travelers will find artifacts from Ballarat and the surrounding area, Aboriginal art work and items from the Pacific Islands, plus rare books, costumes, historic furniture and textiles. This popular stop showcases not just the best of solid gold, but some of Australia’s most relevant historical and cultural treasures as well.
Expect the royal treatment on a visit to Kryal Castle—Australia’s top medieval adventure park and resort. Journey to the dark side on a haunting exploration of the Dragon’s Labyrinth and learn about the ancient history of torture and doom while wandering the Torture Dungeon and Museum. Tap into the thrill and excitement of a live dual during the Royal Joust, where travelers can pick their favorite knight and cheer him on in competition for the heart of a princess.
Whether it’s navigating the twists and turns of an epic royal maze, learning the essential of knighthood from an official knight, launching the Castle catapult or sleeping like royalty in one of the official castle rooms, Kryal Castle is sure to be a memorable adventure for travelers, families and history buffs alike!
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