There's Gold In Them There Hills

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Seeing as we had the day off today we thought we may as well do a bit more sightseeing and went to visit the old gold mining town of Ballarat, about 100k's west of Melbourne. So we got up at the same time as normal if we were working and were in Ballarat by 10am.

The main tourist attraction, apparently the biggest attraction in Victoria, is Sovereign Hill. It is basically a museum based on 1860's life in the town of Ballarat but features actors living out what it would have been like in the town. It sounds a bit tacky, and to be honest it was a bit, but it was all good fun and there was enough to see to just about justify the high entrance fee.

After watching a video on the history of the town and how it grew after the discovery of gold you enter the recreated town and it was pretty much how I imagined it would be. Wooden houses, dusty streets and people walking around in clothes based on the 1860's. You could take a ride in a horse carriage, pan for gold and take a look down a recreated mine with holographic tour guide. You can watch them turn liquid gold into a 3kg solid gold bar worth $70,000 but unfortunately they didn't pass it round for a closer inspection. Spotted an old style bar and had to pop in for a quick drink before watching the street theatre which was quite funny. After a couple of hours we had seen enough and moved over to see the Gold Museum across the street as it was included in the price of our ticket.

The museum wasn't even worth visiting even though you could see they had put in a lot of effort. There were a few other sites around the town but they didn't sound too appealing and with the prospect of a 200km drive back to the hostel we decided we had seen enough and were back by 5pm. A good days sightseeing all round and well worth the 400km round trip plus it's another sight to tick off the list I have drawn up for our next 3 months.
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