Christmas In July at Sovereign Hill (1)Reviewer’s Rating:
Where to Buy: Ballarat Visitor Information Centre

Going for a break? Short or long, go to Ballarat.  It’s situated in the central Victoria region, easy to get to and has plenty to occupy you.  Finding what to visit is simple – just turn up at the Visitor Information Centre and have a chat.  Matching your interests with what is available within town and the region is then simple, because there is so much on offer.

Features and Benefits

  • Ballarat is easy to get to
  • Compact – no need to leave town; it’s all here
  • Choice – there are many attractions to fill your day(s)
  • Accommodation – wide choice for where to stay

Reviewer’s Experience

When you get to Ballarat go first to the Visitor Information Centre at 43 Lydiard Street Nth and get the local ‘goss’. Check out what you want to see and then look over their packages. We took the family Ballarat Pass which gave us a discount on entry prices to four attractions for 2 Adults and four children.

And we visited the attractions you want to see – .

The ‘Ballarat Pass’ includes 2 days entry to Sovereign Hill where you get to experience the excitement of Australia’s 1850s gold rush. There’s plenty for the whole family from street theatre, panning in the creek for – the gold you find is real and you get to keep it, underground mine tours, there are shows in the theatre, the 1850’s constabulary perform and much more. And you get entry to the Gold Museum on this ticket. See more on Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum.

Kryal Castle 2014 FacadeKryal Castle takes you straight back to a medieval land for all to explore and find their special adventure. Myths, legends and fairytales abound. Get ‘lost’ in the maze. Have your face painted. Make (mix) your own perfume. Check out the throne room – sit in the King’s or Queen’s throne. Check out the Torture Museum, get close up with some dragon eggs and sit on a toadstool and they have special affects areas and shows on the Castle Arena.

We made our way through the Dragon’s Labyrinth where we learned about the land of Kryal and the dragon that lives here. Inside we got a great look into the world needing walled cities. We wound our way through the maze – backtracking and finding alternative ways, Miss 5 thought the face painter was the ‘best ever’ and she made the most fantastic perfume mix!

There is something for everyone including Knights, Dragons and of course damsels in need of rescue. Staff in period costume and behaving to suit their role means you can quickly forget the 21st Century and visit a world of medieval wonder.

Ballarat Wildlife Park (1)The Ballarat Wildlife Park offers an escape from city life, right in town. Hand feed free-roaming kangaroos, pat koalas, wombats and emus. Check out the Tasmanian Devils – don’t pat – and of course they also have saltwater crocodiles including the HUGE ‘Crunch’ – keep your hands in your pockets. And they have Wedge Tailed eagles. Magnificent birds with wings spans as wide as a very tall man just feet away from you – by themselves they are worth the visit. There are native Australians, a great variety of snakes including a particularly pretty bright yellow python and some of the more venomous characters. Birds that walk not fly and let’s go back and look at those Eagles again, they really are special.

We could have stayed here all day according to Miss 5. Once she overcame her initial shyness about getting close to the kangaroos she soon discovered that they all liked her a lot and ‘we better get some more food because there are all those others we haven’t fed yet’.

And the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E.) rounded out our Ballarat Pass experience.

M.A.D.E is a digitally-immersive, state-of-the-art museum that shows a real cleverness in how it presents the displays. It harnesses the Eureka story and delivers it using the technologies of the 21st century. This is not just a look and see museum as there are interactive parts to enhance your experience and the knowledgeable staff are keen to assist – well, it is ‘their’ town and ‘their’ history.

MADE_Kids_Promo_#1Outside you can play in the looks like Eureka Stockade playground. Inside you can design your own flag, or check out the real Eureka Flag. Get involved in seeing, hearing and learning how democracy is created. Listen to Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and other notable speakers. And we are reminded that “decisions are made by those who show up” – be one who shows up.

Someone mentioned that lots of people who visit Ballarat miss seeing M.A.D.E.. If you missed it, go back because it is worth whatever time you spend there.

With each of the places we visited we could have spent more time than we had available, but we are really impressed with each destination we encountered.

And we will go back to spend more time. From the date of purchase you have one month to use the pass. You can buy your pass over the phone and then collect it when you arrive. It’s very simple and very rewarding.