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
One of the oldest cities in Australia, Ballarat is rich in history and in culture. Rich, both literally and figuratively: the discovery of gold in the area in 1851 attracted miners from all over, boosting the town’s fame and helping it grow to eventually become the third largest city in Victoria. The area of Sovereign Hill and Ballarat is a must-see for both international and domestic travellers.
With well-preserved architecture from the 19th century and beautiful places to visit including Lake Wendouree, art galleries, markets an old refurbished Gold Mine and more, Read more about the attractions on our Sovereign Hill and Ballarat tour below.
Lake Wendouree / Botanical Garden
Ballarat old city centre
Art Gallery of Ballarat
Sovereign Hill + Gold Museum
- Ballarat Wildlife Park (Optional)
Fruit picking (Seasonal)
- Hotel Transfers
- Friendly Guide
- Bottled Water
- Child Safety Chair (if required)
- Heaps of Fun
- Car Park
- Toll Fee
Our guide will greet you at the hotel on the morning of your tour. Upon return to Melbourne, you can choose to be transferred to either hotel or any restaurant within CBD
for 8 seater Mercedes
(Suitable for 1 to 7 passengers)
for 12 seater Mercedes
(Suitable for 8 to 11 passengers)
Ballarat, here we come!
Ballarat is both Victoria’s third-largest city and the third-largest inland city in Australia, currently with a population of more than 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 world. The gold rush lasted for more than 50 years and played a significant historical role in establishing Ballarat and Melbourne. The city offers visitors a wide range of activities to choose from, from Sovereign Hill, Ballarat Botanical Gardens to the Wildlife Park, Ballarat will impress you with its charming heritage.
Lake Wendouree is located right next door to the Ballarat CBD. It is a gorgeous lake surrounded by a 6km trail, perfect for a walk or cycle with the family. Visit the local farmers market on a Saturday or take your kids to the fun-filled playground. A popular attraction with locals, due to an abundance of wildlife and the nearby botanical garden, you may spot some black swans, ducks and other native birds on your visit. Another point of note about this magnificent lake is that the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games rowing and canoeing events were held here. The name of the lake is derived from an old tale about William Cross Yuille, the founder of Ballarat, and a local Aboriginal woman. It is said that William asked the woman about the name of the swamp where Lake Wendouree is now located. The woman’s answer was “wendaaree” which means “go away” in the native Aboriginal language. This tale speaks volumes of the history between European settlers and the native people of this land.
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Located nearby Lake Wendouree, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens first opened in 1857, making it the oldest inland botanical garden in Victoria. Sprawled over 40 beautiful hectares and divided into four distinct areas, these gardens are a must-see on any Ballarat tour. The central garden area houses a modern conservatory which is open to the public and popular with lovers of flowers from all over. The north and south garden areas are vast, open parklands and the area along Lake Wendouree is known as the lake foreshore precinct. The gardens feature Prime Ministers Avenue where bronze portraits of the 28 prime ministers of Australia are displayed. In addition, you’ll find a number of intricate marble statutes scattered throughout the garden, notably The Stoddard Collection and The Statuary Pavilion, both installed at the generous bequest of affluent Ballarat citizens. Every year in March, the garden comes to life with the famous Ballarat Begonia (Flower) Festival. It is a brilliantly floral sight to behold!
Located 120 kilometers from Melbourne, Ballarat is the third largest inland city in Australia. Initially established in 1838 as a small sheep station, nobody was to know that it would grow exponentially with the discovery of gold in the area in 1851. Ballarat quickly shot to fame with its lucrative goldfields attracting an influx of European, American and Asian migrants within a very short time frame. You’ve heard of the Gold Rush, right? Well, Ballarat was the town that started it all. As the population boomed to over 60,000 people, Ballarat quickly expanded from a simple sheep station to a sizeable city. The region continued to produce a high output of gold over the next five decades until the gold deposit was significantly depleted. The meaning of “Ballarat” in local aboriginal language is “a place to rest”. This is quite fitting as anyone who has visited Ballarat can attest to the sense of utter serenity. The city has preserved many historic buildings dating back to the mid-19th century gold rush era. With a significant cultural and historical heritage, this tranquil inland city attracts more than two million tourists annually.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia’s oldest regional arts gallery and is a must-see for anyone planning a Ballarat tour. Founded in 1884, the art gallery displays not only elegant paintings, but also speaks to the history of Ballarat and the whole of Australia. Many of the art pieces date back to the 19th-century and the historic gallery itself is listed as an Australian Heritage building. A notable feature of the gallery, the Eureka Flag, symbolises the beginning of Australia as a democratic nation. The art gallery has two floors, with the upstairs featuring art collections ranging from the mid-1800s to artistic modern art sculptures. After touring the beautiful artwork, you can find lovely souvenirs in the art gallery’s gift shop downstairs or take a moment to recharge in the in-house coffee shop.
Sovereign Hill is a large open-air museum and a staple attraction of the Ballarat area. Awarded the lucrative title of best ‘Major Tourist Attraction’ four times, this is one stop on your tour of Ballarat that you don’t want to miss. The entire aesthetic of Sovereign Hill is based upon the first 10 years after gold was discovered in Ballarat. Vividly reproducing scenes of everyday life from the famous gold rush era, you’ll find staff dressed in colonial attire from a range of different countries, true to life machinery and decorative pieces as well as gorgeous antiques. You can interact with the staff members, take photos with them and enjoy performances from street artists with accordions and harmonicas.
Experience performances throughout the day such as musket firing and candle and sweet making (with a free tasting at the end of the sweet making session). There is an AUD$160,000 gold pour and red coat parade to really help you get a feel for the gold rush era. Families can experience the thrill of gold panning in the creek. Roll up your sleeves, pick up a shovel and test your luck! Plus, you get to take home all the gold you find! Make your way down the Red Hill Mine to learn about the difficult working conditions gold miners had to endure, or travel around the town on an old-fashioned coach. With a themed bakery and hotel on site, you won’t find another comparable gold rush experience anywhere in the world!
Find a map of Sovereign Hill here.
General Entry (includes Gold Museum ticket):
Adult: $ 58.20 AUD / (5-15 years old) Child: $ 29 AUD
Fruit or Berries Picking (Seasonal)
Naturipe Fruits orchard is located bewteen Ballarat and Melbourne. With a huge variety of fruits to choose from in November to May each year, you can pick your fruit and eat it too! Available fruits include deliciously sweet Victorian cherries, juicy strawberries, crisp, crunchy apples, delectable peaches and absolutely divine nectarines. To pick strawberries, apples, peaches and nectarines you don’t have to pay a cent. Cherry picking will set you back a measly $7 for adults and $4 for kids. Who could say no to a sweet deal like that?
ADDITIONAL TOUR OPTIONS:
It’s important to take some time out to reflect on the heroes who fought for our freedom in past Wars. The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial honours and commemorates all the Australian soldiers captured in World War I, World War II, the Boer War and the Korean War. Established in 2004, the memorial is located on the southern side of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. A 130-meter-long marble monument both proudly and sadly displays the names of the 35,000 Australians taken as Prisoners of War in past battles.
On the western bank of Lake Wendouree you’ll find the Ballarat Tramway Museum. The museum is not-for-profit and predominantly relies on volunteers from all walks of life to maintain and operate the 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 later being replaced by buses in 1971, there is still one operational tram track next to Lake Wendouree for visitors and tourists. The tram depot is open to the public daily from 12pm onward.
This family-run wildlife park was originally built in 1985, stemming from the owner’s passion for wildlife protection and conservation. The wildlife park spans 32 acres and is home to a wide range of animals including Australian birds, koalas, alpacas, wombats, crocodiles, Tasmanian devils, emus, reptiles and more. Over 100 kangaroos roam freely around the park. If you’re lucky they might let you feed or even pat them! There are plenty of opportunities for you to interact with other native Australian animals, plus exciting daily animal shows.
Ballarat Wildlife Park Entry:
Adult: $ 36 AUD / (5-15 years old) Child: AUD $ 19.50
Adjacent to Sovereign Hill, the Gold Museum is the best place in the world to learn about Ballarat’s gold rush era and the fame and fortune it made for itself soon after the first precious gold nugget was discovered. The best part? You get free admission to the museum with your ticket to Sovereign Hill!
The Ballarat Weekend Farmers Markets are open from 9am to 1pm every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. That might sound like a lot to keep track of but if you’re anywhere near Lake Wendouree when the markets are on, you’ll notice them from a mile away. The markets are super popular with the Ballarat locals due to an abundance of organic vegetables and fruits, uniquely brewed local wine, olive oil, freshly baked bread and cakes, gorgeous flowers and many more quality local products. Seasonal shops often pop up throughout the year, accompanied by melodious tunes from local street artists, it is a fantastic place to spend your Saturday morning as you tour Ballarat.
Another Saturday market option, Bridge Mall Fresh Produce Market, is open from 9am to 1pm every 1st Saturday of the month. It’s similar to the Farmers Market and is located conveniently within Ballarat CBD. It offers a mixture of fresh local produce, prepared food, and fun family activities.
Built in 1972, Kryal Castle is the only medieval adventure park and resort in Australia! This medieval castle replica features a drawbridge, maze and armoury. It offers thrilling daily live action shows that include jousting, jesters, jugglers, and fire eating. The castle-themed hotel rooms available to stay in allow guests to really envelop themselves in all the delights this medieval fortress has to offer.
Kryal Castle Entry:
Adult: AUD $ 35 / (4-16 years old) Child: AUD $ 22
The Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka allows visitors the chance to learn about the establishment of democracy in Australia and throughout the world. The construction of the democracy museum took two years and it rests upon the site where the historical Eureka Rebellion took place. The Rebellion is widely considered to have been the initial onset of Australian democracy and bears historical importance in shaping Australia’s democratic system as it is today.
Additional Tour Description
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. Try your luck in panning for real gold at the creek and keep all that you can find!
Sweet & Personal
A Petite Tour creates fun and memorable travel experience by providing quality tour services! Every trip is bespoke to what you would like to see and do. With flexible itinerary and attention for detail, we want to create happy moments for more families, a trip that is right for everyone!
Our guides are friendly and fun, tap into our expansive knowledge about Australia and travel, tailor an unforgettable travel experience. English, Mandarin & Cantonese tour service are available.
Comfort & Convenience
Travel in comfort and style, Mercedes Benz luxury vehicles , free hotel & airport transfers on full-day tour. Ticket pre-booking to secure your spot in advance, restaurant recommendations and more!
Organise a holiday for a big group is hard-work, we do our best to help, no overtime surcharge or compulsory tips, bottled water, child safety chairs/wheelchair, umbrellas and more. You can count on us!