For months we had looked forward to the day we would finally get to step back in time and explore the Gold Rush era at Sovereign Hill. The main entrance where you purchase your tickets also contains a small store with various memorabilia and souvenir items.
An Adult Gold Pass costs $78.50 each and comes with the following:
- Admission to Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum
- Unlimited horse and coach rides
- 3 x Mine tours
- 1 x Souvenir gold bottle with a few flecks in the bottom already, just incase you have no luck on your own
- 1 x Free return pass for day entry only (note: valid for 12 months from the date of original visit).
A standard Adult Entry Pass without the above inclusions costs $48.50. If you do purchase the Gold Pass, be sure to get it stamped so you can return for another day for free.
There were so many things to see that it was hard to know where to start, and we would strongly recommend when you visit that you check the daily schedule of what times things are on so you can try and see as much as possible. Be warned though: there really is that much to see and do that it’s likely you won’t be able to fit everything into one day, so if you only have one day there, plan ahead so you don’t miss out on what you really want to see – or must see. You can pre-plan your day by checking our their schedule at http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/visit/what-s-on/today-s-activities/.
Diggings Tour: Explore life as an early settler, and discover just what it was like to live in these difficult and turbulent times. Wander through the tents and imagine living in such cramped quarters with no electricity or heating.
Gold Panning: Try your luck! There is an art to it, but you just never know what you’ll find in the creeks where they panned decades ago.
Musket Firing: If you held one of these muskets, then you were part of law and order back there – whether in a uniform or not! Watch as they show how to load and fire one of these weapons – remember to block your ears!
Theatre: Each day the theatre will put on a show depicting issues as they were back then. Check the notice board to see what’s on for that day.
Sweet Making: We both found it fascinating watching how they used to make the traditional boiled lollies. If you’re lucky like we were, there will be a fresh batch ready for you to sample, or you can purchase your favourite flavours from the sweetmaker himself or down the road at the general store.
Gold Pour: Watch a real life gold pour worth $100,000, and then race down to try your luck at bottling some!
Coach Ride: Something we had always wanted to do, the coach rides run throughout the day and are quite popular, so you may have to line up a little to go on one, but it’s guaranteed to delight young and old as you travel through the streets around Sovereign Hill.
Red Coat Soldiers: If you like a man in uniform, ladies, then don’t miss out on the early afternoon parade of soldiers as they stroll the streets and fire their muskets.
Gold Mine Tours: These are included in the cost of your Gold Pass, or you can pay extra on the day. Make sure you go there first and book in straight away, as seats are limited and they are scheduled at specific times of the day. Some are longer than others, and if you do only have the one day here, be mindful that they may take up a good part of your day, though well worth it if you have the time.
There are also various other shows throughout the day including candle making, candle dipping, metal spinning, bowling, wheelwhriting and team powered machinery.
There are plenty of food options, depending on your taste and budget, from the New York Bakery, Sovereign Hill Café, Transit Office, United States Hotel and, of course, the Bar. We dined at the elegant, fully-licensed Hotel, and could not have enjoyed our meals more – good servings and reasonable prices.
One of the great things about Sovereign Hill is that it is truly genuine – by that, we mean that unlike some other tourist attractions and theme parks we have been to that fill their shop with tacky souvenirs and products that have nothing to do with the park themselves, at Sovereign Hill you buy what was bought back in the day. Even the shopkeepers are dressed accordingly. Visit the Drapery Store and purchase yourself a fashionable hat – at least, it was fashionable back then, or wander through the Apothecaries’ Hall a.k.a. the chemist, where you can pick up some herbal soap or other natural lotions and remedies. Given the location, an onsite jeweller was a no-brainer, and they have some beautiful vintage pieces including rings, necklaces and watches. Stop off at the Post Office and send a postcard back home on the spot, and definitely make a stop by the Sweet Shop to pick up some of their hard boiled lollies, made fresh onsite. If you’ve ever fancied yourself in vintage clothing, then make sure you visit the Photographic Rooms, where for a fee you can dress in some stunning Victorian-era clothing and pose for a souvenir photograph.
We were very tired by the end of our day with so much walking and so much to see. A second day could easily be spent here without feeling like you are doubling up, and it’s a venue that we feel every Australian should visit. It’s fantastic for young and old, extremely tidy and one of the best full day experiences we have had.