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Day 3 Near Melbourne, Australia: Striking Gold at Sovereign Hill
Inside Sovereign Hill
Heading to Ballarat by Train
Early in the morning, we walked over to the Southern Cross station to board the Goldrush Special, which leaves from Melbourne at about 9am. Onboard the V/Line train, we could catch up on sleep as the train is comfortable. The whole journey to Ballarat takes about 90 minutes. Do note that Ballarat is not the last stop so do not oversleep and end up at Wendouree instead!
Upon reaching Ballarat, we then asked the train officer for the location of the free shuttle bus to Sovereign Hill, which is located about 15 minutes drive from the station. The shuttle bus drops you off close to the entrance. Here, we showed our V/Line train tickets and got a 10% discount off the entrance fee. Besides that, each person is entitled to a free Cobb & Co coach ride. The entrance fee also includes entrance to the Gold Museum just across the road.
Hope Bakery along Main Street
Going Back in Time at Sovereign Hill
Once you enter Sovereign Hill, you will feel like you have been transported back in time. There is a small river running across where you can try to pan for gold. Good luck though! I didn't find any....
Throughout the day, there are also various demonstrations such as the gold pour, candle-making, self-guided underground tours of the mines and so on. So, pore through the map and schedule in order to plan your route and to ensure that you do not miss anything interesting. Do check out the shows available at the theatre too. We caught an interesting short play which highlighted the injustice and discrimination against the early Chinese miners who had settled in Ballarat.
Colourful Candles Are A Part of Ballarat's History
Hearing the Stories of Ballarat
During the various demonstrations, you can also learn about the history of Ballarat and other surrounding towns. There used to be lots of corruption as the government officials would overcharge for mining licenses while the police would threaten the poor miners and accuse them of having no license (although they had paid for one).
Thanks to the injustice going on, there was finally an uprising! I won't be able to tell you more but if you do visit, learn more by speaking to the staff who are also dressed in costumes and walking about the street.
License to Mine Gold...
Learn more about Gold at the Gold Museum
As I mentioned earlier, entrance to the Gold Museum is included. As we were done with Sovereign Hill, we quickly made our way across the road to this small museum. Here, you can read up on the history of the area and also see the gold nuggets discovered in Ballarat. On display are also old coins made of gold. Soon, it was time to head back to the drop off point to catch the free shuttle back to the train station. And without realising it, we fell asleep onboard and upon waking up, we were back in Melbourne once again.
As it was time for dinner, we headed to the Chinatown district, which is near Little Bourke Street, where there are lots of Chinese restaurants to choose from. After dinner, we continued exploring the area. If you are a fan of theatre, the Her Majesty's Theatre is located here too.
Visit the Gold Museum
More information on Australia
- Shopping in Melbourne
- Eating in Melbourne: Cheap Eats and other Tips
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- Day 2 Near Melbourne, Australia: Loving The Great Ocean Road
- Day 1 in Melbourne, Australia: From Arcades to St Kilda
- My trip to Perth and SouthWest Australia