During the July school holidays, the G boys and I ventured out of Melbourne to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Sovereign Hill and the Christmas in July Winter Wonderlights spectacular.
In order to make the most of our Sovereign Hill experience, we decided to spread our visit to the Ballarat tourist attraction over two days. This was one of the best decisions we made.
We booked into Big 4 Ballarat Goldfields in a fully equipped two-bedroom villa – perfect for any family who enjoy their creature comforts! For the more adventurous families, ample powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites are also available.
The facilities and staff were amazing at this award winning holiday park. Complete with an indoor and outdoor play area, indoor spa, solar heated outdoor pool (perfect for warmer weather, of course!), giant jumping pillow, recreation and TV room and tennis, Big 4 Ballarat Goldfield was a perfect place for us all to unwind and recharge after a busy day at Sovereign Hill.
Better still the holiday park is located only a 300m walk to Sovereign Hill through a gate at the back of the property. Perfect!
Sovereign Hill…what an experience!
No sooner had we walked through the ticket booth, we were transported back to a Victorian Christmas complete with carollers, the smell of open fires burning in the street, Father Christmas and festive decorations.
As we meandered up the main street, we met several Sovereign Hill ‘locals’ in traditional Victorian dress and did our best to avoid being run over by the horse and cart trotting through the main street. To add to the festive feel, at regular intervals snow would fall on main street, creating whoops of delight from Sovereign Hill visitors, young and old.
As we dipped in and out of the buildings and shops along the street, we discovered various hands-on activities for the kids including Christmas decorations and gingerbread decorating, and learned about Victorian printing methods, lolly production and traditional dress. We even hopped on a horse and cart for a trot round the town.
As we ventured further up the hill we found the gold mine which the boys didn’t hesitate to take a peek at. We then panned for gold. We even struck gold…much to the delight of the G boys!
To give the G boys a rest, we settled down in the Victoria Theatre to cheer, boo and hiss our way through a traditional pantomime – Jack and the Beanstalk. We also stumbled across a traditional 1850’s acrobatic show with some jaw dropping performances from a great height.
If this wasn’t enough, as the sun set and the skies grew dark around Sovereign Hill, the place lit up in wonder with the Winter Wonderlights. All buildings were transformed into brightly coloured, dancing facades thanks to a magical light show. Add in some snow and Christmas music…it’s just like all you Christmases have come at once!
Believe it or not, we didn’t get to do everything at Sovereign Hill and even missed the Gold Museum. So we need to go back!
A highly recommended place to visit and one that won’t disappoint the young at heart.
The Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights will run until 24th July. Don’t miss it!
Sovereign Hill is open 10am-7pm throughout Christmas in July. FREE Parking.