Whether you call it an outdoor museum or historical theme park, Sovereign Hill -- on a 25-hectare (60-acre) site in the Victorian goldfields -- is arguably Australias largest recreation of a phase in Australias history.
With the closure in January 2003 of Old Sydney Town north of Sydney, Sovereign Hill is the only large, popular historical theme park left in the country.
Located in the heart of the Victorian goldfields region, Sovereign Hill portrays the city of Ballarats first 10 years after the discovery of gold in 1851. The inclusion of the Sovereign Quartz Mine extends this historical period to the 1880s.
Sovereign Hill comprises a goldfields township with more than 60 buildings of that era where craftsmen work in traditional 1850s trades.
This is a place where you can go underground in the Red Hill and Quartz Mines, pan for gold along its streams, or view the pouring of liquid gold.
All workers in Sovereign Hill are garbed in the attire of the period.
And consider attending Blood on the Southern Cross, a nighttime sound-and-light spectacular on the Eureka miners' rebellion of 1854.
Where to eat
Sovereign Hills attraction lies in its faithful depiction of times past where visitors journey back to the goldrush days of the 1850s and the historic Eureka Stockade miners revolution in 1854.
Close enough to Melbourne (a 90-minute drive on the Western Freeway) for a daytrip, it is one of the more interesting -- and accessible -- places to visit in Victoria. Consider an overnight stay, especially if attending the nighttime show Blood on the Southern Cross.
For places to eat, Sovereign Hill has a number of dining venues. Try the New York Bakery in Main Street, the United States Hotel Dining Room, the Universal Transit Office or the Sovereign Hill Kiosk.
Foreign language services
Visitor information guides are available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Korean. There are also foreign language tapes in Chinese, German and Japanese.