Are you in a wheelchair and looking for a fun day out in Victoria? Why not try Wheelchair Accessible Sovereign Hill, a place of magic and adventure where you get to experience what it was like to live during the Gold Rush Era of the 1850s. Surrounded by the smells, sights and sounds of their boom era, this is the time Ballarat grew from a sleepy pastoral settlement into a provincial city. 😍
This Outdoor Museum enjoys international renown as a living museum featuring rare trades, working machinery, exhibits, and costumed interpreters. 🐴
Whilst the gravel roads at this site can make it difficult for some to enjoy, as long as you got a manual wheelchair and someone who is of moderate fitness to push you around, you too can join in the fun! 🥳
Have a look below for a detailed day itinerary for anyone in a wheelchair wanting to explore this fascinating place and some accessible accommodation options for anyone wanting to stay overnight. 😴
PLEASE NOTE: Sovereign Hill is currently in the process of re-developing their gold pan and underground tours area to make it more accessible for people in wheelchairs. This means the underground tour area is currently not accessible for people in wheelchairs. They said this will take a few months. ♿️ ♿️
First Stop: Breakfast
Begin your day with breakfast at your accommodation before setting of too Sovereign Hill. Make sure to start your day early so you can get as much of this live museum in as possible. For accessible accommodation options go to the bottom of this article.
Second Stop: Sovereign Hill
The famous Sovereign Hill is located here.
When you enter the grounds there is free parking, with disability parking spots located next to the gift shop. When you start walking from your car to the entrance there is a ramp upon entering the ticket area where you can purchase your ticket to enter.
Ticket prices here.
Sovereign Hill accepts concession cards and your carer or support worker can get free access with proof of a companion card. One card per person.
Download map of area here. Please note: there is a suggested wheelchair route that would be best for you to use and additionally, people in wheelchairs can access the township using the ramps on the map. See the icon with a large white R in a red circle.
As soon as you get to Sovereign Hill it is best to book into the photographers and candle making, as they can book out!
Third Stop: Gold Panning
Get your Gold Licence, grab a pan and head to the diggings to find some buried treasure of your own. Our friendly diggers are on hand to offer handy tips for gold-panning.
Time: 10am-5pm Where: Diggings (map no. 8) Cost: Included in your Sovereign Hill ticket
Fourth Stop: Candlemaking
Check out our candlemakers as they create traditional candles, then have fun dipping candles in a kaleidoscopic of colours. Which colours will you choose?
Where: Hewett’s Candle Works (map no. 37)
Additional charge applies.
Fifth Stop: Lunch
Enjoy lunch at the New York Bakery within Sovereign Hill.
This Bakery is a spacious Victorian-style dining room offering a wide menu range for all tastes. Enjoy the table service as we deliver old fashioned great service.
They are wheelchair accessible, there is a ramp at the front entrance and they have a wheelchair accessible bathroom located next door.
Stop 20 on the map.
Sixth Stop: Explore Shops and the Township
Next, explore the main street of Sovereign Hill, lined with working shops, two hotels and a theatre.
Where: Shops 9 – 66 on the map.
This is sure to make you feel like your in the 1850s!
Don’t forget to stop off at the Brown’s Confectionery Factory where you can watch confectioners roll and mould their iconic sweets and purchase a jar (or two, or three or more) of lollies from the confectionary store.
Time: Confectionary demonstrations at 11.30am, 2pm and 3pm
Where: Brown’s Confectionery Factory (map no. 27)
Seventh Stop: Dress up
Experience the ultimate glow up as you get dressed in 1850s costume for a portrait inside our Red Hill Photographic Rooms. The perfect Sovereign Hill memento.
Whilst there are a few steps leading up to this store, not to worry the photographers are used to this and are more than happy to assist you in accessing this activity! Just call them on the day to pre-warn them.
Eighth Stop: Speedwell Street
Imagine life without modern-day comforts – no internet, no television, no privacy. How would you go? Stroll through the modest Speedwell Street cottages and see how they did it in the past.
Where: Speedwell Street (map no. 52)
Seventh Stop: Dinner
Unwind after an eventful and adventurous day for dinner at Restaurant Lola.
Lola offers stylish, European inspired dining, beautifully shaped each season by their region’s best locally sourced produce.
Their 55 seat dining room provides a relaxed and elegant dining experience, beautifully styled in their signature hotel design.
You will need to come through the back way as the front door has two steps.
There is parking out the back for hotel guests but people from the restaurant park there all the time. There is 1 disability parking spot available.
They have an accessible bathroom.
To find out if they can cater for your unique accessibility requirements call them on 03-5331-3399.
What to Prepare?
Make sure to prepare for your trip! Below is a rough guide for you to follow, however there will be things that you need to prepare specifically for your needs. Try to write these down and organise them in advance to have everything perfect for your trip, and to avoid unnecessary stressors.
Look at guide below ↓ ↓ ↓
1 Month Prior to Day-Trip:
- Book accessible accommodation if you want to stay overnight (see accessible accommodation options below ↓)
2 Week's Prior to Day-Trip:
- A support worker with moderate fitness to push you around on your chair and to drive you to the different locations
- A wheelchair accessible vehicle (if you do not have a vehicle you can drive and need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, have a look at our vehicles here, we would love to support you on your day out!)
- Disability Parking Permit
- Essential back ups for your mobility device e.g. batteries, crutches, waterproof covering for your wheelchair, visibiliity LED lights just in case it becomes dark etc.
- Book a reservation at Restaurant Lola and confirm with both Restaurant Lola and Sovereign Hill that they cater for all of your unique accessibility requirements, e.g. steps, accessible bathroom, corridor space etc.
- Check weather and consider any potential impact on outdoor activities. (do this a few times leading up to trip and organise a plan b if its predicted to be bad weather!)
2 Day's Prior to Day-Trip:
- Print of a map of Sovereign Hill and Ballarat or have ready a map on your phone for use, and directions to the different locations (Sovereign Hill map here, Ballarat Accessible Map here)
- Check weather and organise essentials for changing weather conditions; e.g. an umbrella, extra layers, a waterproof jacket etc.
- Water bottle
- Confirm bookings and details with support worker, accessible vehicle hire company, restaurant and Sovereign Hill
- Collate back ups for your mobility device
- Personal Comfort and Supplies, e.g. snacks
- Personal Medications
- Emergency contacts
Sovereign Hill Hotel
Quest Ballarat Station
The Provincial Boutique Hotel
The Provincial Boutique Hotel offers wheelchair accessible rooms. This is the same venue that Restaurant Lola is located at.
For more information on hotel go here.
To find out about accessibility call them on 03 – 5331 3399.
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