Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Melbourne Day 5 - 1 July 2014

Another exciting itinerary on the menu today! I booked myself on a day tour to Ballarat and Sovereign Hill.  The tour set off from Federation Square at 8am and took about an hour to reach Ballarat. 

The town of Ballarat is full of charms and nostalgia, as the houses and establishments have all retained the Victorian-style architecture since the 1850s. According to the tour guide, it used to be one of the richest suburbs in Victoria, as they were all built for the gold miners who had made their wealth in the mines. 

On our way to Sovereign Hill, we passed by Lake Wendouree, a very beautiful lake. We stopped over for a few minutes for photo-taking.  This place is so pictureque and peaceful and I momentarily felt like I'm in a fairy tale. There were ducks swimming in the lake and for the first time in my life, I heard them quacking in the wild!  On another instance, there were a flock of ducks flying and belting their feet across the lake waters. Seeing them in the wild took my breath away and made me appreciate the beauty of nature. Wished I could just spend my remaining years in this serene place!

We reached Sovereign Hill about 10.30am. Sovereign Hill sits on the site of a former gold mine during the goldrush in the 1850s. Entering this attraction caused a rush of adrenalin as everything there has preserved its Victorian look, from houses and shops to old horse carriages and blacksmiths. Even staff working in Sovereign Hill are dressed in their period costumes! It's really interesting as there are even "woodcutters" chopping firewood for burners to keep people warm during winter! Coming here brought me back in time and gave me a strong sense of nostalgia everywhere I went. 

Some key highlights of the attraction included the Gold Mine Tours, Gold Pour, Coach Rides, Candlemaking and more.  I went for the Gold Mine Tour which took about 30 minutes. During the tour, we were brought to an underground mine in a train, where we also had the opportunity to walk the mine to get a first hand experience of what miners underwent and the harsh and risky conditions of their jobs. It's definitely an experience I've never had before!

There was also an appearance by Redcoat Soldiers at 1.30pm, where they marched along Main Street and fired blanks into the sky!  Thereafter, there was a foam-making machine producing foam to mimick snow. 

Out of curiosity and vanity, I went for a "Victorian Makeover", where I had the opportunity to dress like "The Lady" in a Victorian setting!  Check out the photo below! Now, do I look like The Fair Lady? :p

Sovereign Hill has many cafés & restaurants in relaxed traditional settings for people to dine in Victorian splendour.  I bought their famous meat pie at the Hope Bakery for lunch, fresh from the wood-fired oven.  Love the pie as it's really yummy with its piping hot meat filling!

We left Sovereign Hill at 4pm, bringing back with us sweet memories of untold stories of gold miners and the nostalgia of a gold mining town in the 1850s. 

I reached home with aching back and shoulders due to prolonged photography but today's experience was indeed unique and extraordinary.  Tomorrow's itinerary is shopping! Will be meeting Hwee again to shop & catch up. I also hope to visit some art galleries if time allows. 

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