Sovereign Hill brings to life the gold fever that gripped Ballarat in its first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851. By day, there is real gold to be found in Sovereign Hill's Red Hill Gully Creek and gold pans are provided! You can even see $50,000 worth of molten gold poured into a gleaming bar. For the brave hearted, the Red Hill Mine offers an underground adventure in to the dark and dangerous world of deep lead mining. There is also a fully-guided tour of the Gold Mine and a train ride to the surface! On Main Street there are working shops, hotels and a theatre - all based on original Ballarat businesses. Visitors are able to watch goldfields tradespeople in action and take a ride around the township in a coach or open carriage. Visit Sovereign Hill's Gold Museum to marvel at a multi-million dollar collection of alluvial gold, nuggets and coins. Ballarat: Insipred by Gold is a magnificent exhibition which tells the story of Ballarat's fabulous golden history, from the discovery of gold through to the goldrush era and the subsequent emergence of the grand city of Ballarat. At night, witness Blood on the Southern Cross, a dramatic sound and light spectacular presenting the story of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion on Ballarat's goldfields. Visitors can easily lose themselves for a day or two in this award winning outdoor museum. Great value overnight packages are available and include entry to Sovereign Hill, accommodation at the Sovereign Hill Lodge and Blood on the Southern Cross.
Blood on the Southern Cross
By day, visitors can can immerse themselves in the excitement of Ballarat's goldrush days at Sovereign Hill. By night, Blood on the Southern Cross is a 'must see'. This spectacular sound and light show tells the dramatic story of the 1854 Eureka Uprising by Ballarat's miners against unjust and corrupt colonial rulers. The show is set across Sovereign Hill's 64-acre site. Under the stars, on moonlit diggings, audiences are surrounded by the action and, ultimately, caught in the crossfire as the battle rages. The sound and light show underwent a $2 million facelift in 2003 and as a result is more spectacular than ever before. A new script reveals more of the central characters. The tension between charismatic rebel leader, Peter Lalor, and his powerful and ambitious opponent, Gold Commissioner Robert Rede, is electrifying. This new production features state-of-the-art lighting and special effects in an automated production. Peter Lalor is larger than life on an aquascreen. Images of trapeze artists and acrobats fly across a huge circus tent. The Eureka Hotel bursts into flame, and rain falls in a blinding storm. A runaway wagon careers towards the audience, crashing in a ball of fire. Blood on the Southern Cross runs for 90 minutes, seven nights a week. Special packages are available and include entry to Sovereign Hill by day, dinner at one of Sovereign Hill's 19th century hotels, Blood on the Southern Cross and accommodation at the Sovereign Hill Lodge. Bookings are essential.
Ballarat Wildlife Park
Ballarat Wildlife Park is set on 16 hectares of natural bushland, a picturesque and tranquil backdrop for a diverse collection of Australian wildlife. Visitors can experience the excitement of close contact with a selection of Australia's most loved animals. Feeding the free roaming kangaroos is one of the many highlights and visitors can purchase food to feed them. A walk through the reptile house is most exciting. The star attraction here is 'Gator', a 24 year old, 14 foot Saltwater crocodile. The weekly crocodile feed has been drawing visitors to the park for years. A main public guided tour runs everyday at 11am and takes approximately one hour. The tour includes koala and wombat photo sessions, kangaroo feeding and a walk through the reptile house. These exciting guided tours are taken by friendly, expert staff. Other services include an all weather BBQ area, children's playground or Cafe Brolga for light refreshments. The Park also offers a wildlife souvenir shop with a large variety of gift and souvenir lines. Open daily from 9am. The Park welcomes all visitors, whether an individual traveller or an organised group. Ballarat Wildlife Park guarantees a wildlife experience full of surprises.
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery
The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery is located at 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat. Parking is available in Lydiard Street or Camp Street with access to the Gallery available from either entrance. Opening hours: 9:00am - 5.00pm every day (except Christmas Day).
Ballarat Tramway Museum
The Ballarat Vintage Tramway is operated by the Ballarat Tramway Museum Inc., formed to keep alive the tramway experience that has otherwise disappeared from the streets of Ballarat. The Museum's members are volunteers from all walks of life. They spend their own time operating and maintaining the tramway. The 1.3 kilometre track is located in the Botanical Gardens, on the western shore of Lake Wendouree. It was part of the former tramway system which commenced running in 1887 as a horse tramway. The horse tramway was taken over by another company which extended and electrified the routes in 1905. The lines were closed during 1971. The Museum is one of a couple of purely volunteer group in the world operating tramcars in a public road and over a section of original track. At the depot there is a museum display of photographs and tramway memorabilia for visitors. The tramcar fleet and workshops area can also be inspected. The rolling stock includes Ballarat Horse Tram No. 1 and ten tramcars which initially ran in Melbourne between 1913 and 1951, plus two acquired directly from Melbourne by the Museum in 1975. The Museum is an Accredited Museum within the Museum Accreditation Program managed by Museums Australia (Victoria) Hours of Operation The trams run on Saturday, Sunday, Public and School Holidays throughout the year from 11.00am until approx 5.00pm.
Australian Jet Adventures
Australian Jet Adventures is Victoria's premier aerial adventure experience offering the ultimate in adventure flights. From world class aerobatics aircraft to a flight in a fighter jet, there's and experience to suit everyone. Complete with aerobatics and air combat manoeuvres from mild to wild. Flights from just $395 makes this the most affordable ultimate high G, high speed military style flying available.
Her Majesty's Theatre
Her Majesty's is one of Australia's most historic theatres, and is Ballarat's focus for the performing arts. Enjoy a selection of professional touring and local productions in the elegant and comfortable auditorium, which boasts state of the art lighting and sound equipment. Pre-order interval drinks in the gracious Long Room Bar. Tours of the theatre can be arranged for groups, and the auditorium is usually open for casual visitors. Elegant Victorian Theatre Excellent local musicals Quality Professional touring shows Tours for groups
The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
Between the Boer War at the turn of the last century and the Korean War in the 1950's, 34,737 Australian servicemen and women were incarcerated in Prisoner-of War (POW) camps. Many suffered inhumane and atrocious treatment from their captors. to this day there is no Memorial in Australia such as this dedicated to these Australians or any recognition of their pain and suffering endured in the service of our nation. The motto of these brave prisoners was "When you go home, tell them of us and say that we gave our tomorrow for your today" A memorial has been built in the Botanical Gardens in Ballarat. The monument has been designed by well known sculptor Peter Blizzard with the intention to provide ex-prisoners of war, their descendants, visitors and future generations with a reflective experience where they can pay homage to those who endured so much. The POW monuments' design uses the basic idea of a journey through and an experience of time and place. The start of the pathway is long and straight heading off into the shape of railway sleepers, a reference to the Burma Railway. Running parallel to the pathway is a polished black granite wall, 130m long etched with the names of all the Australian POW's. Standing in a reflective pool are huge basalt obelisks up to 4.5m high will the names of the POW camps. The columns are out of reach and across the water symbolizing that all the POW camps were away from Australian shores. Further on there is another wall with the words Lest we Forget engraved, allowing for an area of contemplation and reflection after the "journey".
Lake Wendouree is an artificially created and maintained shallow urban lake. Since 1864, when a rowing course was first cut through the reedy swamp, it has been carefully nurtured by council and public spirited citizens. There is probably no better example in our country of such a well-used lake which strikes a balance between a myriad of potentially conflicting interests.