We were warned that the weather was cold – no matter the time of the year and be prepared to take it on. How lucky we were, brilliant blue skies, lots of sunshine and plenty of days to wonder the historical streets in perfect sunshine to enjoy all that Ballarat has to offer. Just over a 100km from Melbourne, may I suggest that you at least take a day out when next over this way to do justice to the City Of Ballarat.
Wendouree Lake turns out to be the jewel in Ballarat’s crown. Impressive reflections, abundant bird life, coffee shops, lots of locals walking, jogging, cycling – a meeting point of the city. The 6km Steve Moneghetti track is flat as and is a magnificent walk. Add to that the magic of the nearby botanic gardens and a memorial for the prisoners of war – you have a central focus to the town. Lots of picnic areas and children’s playgrounds compliment the facilities. I also found out from the remaining iconic memorabilia that in 1956 the Olympic Rowing events were held on lake Wendouree. You can’t miss this attraction if passing through Ballarat.
Sovereign Hill / Blood on The Southern Cross
This five star attraction authenticates the going back to the days of digging for gold. Lots of authentic costumed workers and volunteers make for the experience and the hands on gold panning and Red Hill Mine underground (free) are exceptional exhibits. Bring some extra cash if you want to ride the coach and tour underground. Shops a plenty in the Main Street with authentic items of the times. Well worth a visit to Ballarat for this attraction alone. The area is impressive in size and the authentic rebuilding of the town and gold fields are mind blowing. No detail or expense has been spared. There are heaps of working machinery and exhibits – all in pristine condition and being used like in the good old days.
Why did the miners at Ballarat form the stockade – take the time and pay the money to see a dazzling and well-constructed sound and light show to bring the event to your senses. There is great educational value in the presentation – a series of transitions in your evening’s entertainment that must be said is as good as it gets. Most enjoyable. Definitely don’t miss it – I have not seen a similar show anywhere in my travels.
We made a conscious decision to come back to the Gold Museum the next day and start Day 2, which the ticket allows you to do at the Gold Museum. Eureka we struck Gold! Having visited the hill the day before it was fantastic to be able to put the previous days visit into chronological history through stories, videos and photographs. The presentations are very well done and taking the time to relax and explore the museum was rewarding. We come from Kalgoorlie (a spectacular and well known Goldfields) congratulations Ballarat, your story is preserved as history for all to enjoy – the two attractions Gold Museum and Sovereign Hill go hand in hand – enjoy them as the package they are meant to be and take your time. You could easily spend at least a day and a half at these exhibits to give them the time they deserve.
The historical preservation of Ballarat’s story is a credit to all involved and their dedication to the task. The town also valued their longevity with thoughtful federation styled buildings and homes that are still very evident all around Ballarat. The Main Street has beautiful facades dating back to the gold finds and there are hundreds of homes that show where the richer inhabitants lived. It is worth driving down the streets so you can gaze back in time at the style of home early settlers lived and all in pristine condition and surrounded by lovely gardens.
Annette and Trevor Lynch – The In-laws
We were lucky enough to catch up with Annette Lynch’s mum and dad. What a delightful couple. Called in for morning tea and stayed for lunch. Had a great day catching up on shared stories of the family. Trevor even had a very willing helper to fix/source a caravan part that was broken.
What a show Ballarat puts on for its visitors and locals!