A Weekend at Sovereign Hill - Part 1 @ Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Saturday started with a quick b'fast of porridge. As we were going to a tourist town things here are expensive and there's not much that's on our must eat list. So we had some quick & easy foods using just a kettle & microwave. We also bought along a jaffle maker for pancakes, but slept in. 

Mork Jaffa at Webster's Market & Cafe - $6 
70% cacao, orange caramel sauce, toasted house-made orange blossom marshmallow 

On the way to Sovereign Hill we stopped for coffee at Webster's Market & Cafe, as jas loves jaffas. I thought it was nice though not that amazing, there's one unbeatable hot chocolate to me.

*insert shoefie here*  

Tip - Bring boots, your city shoes aren't going to survive this dust storm, or the mud if it rains. I left my boots in the car so we could change before we got there, and then again when we left. 

Sovereign Hill (SV) is a tourist attraction 1.5hrs from the city, up in Ballarat. It's like an interactive museum town, a very small town that is. No this isn't the actual town back then, its an reenactment. 

SV was where they found gold in the 1850s, two years after the Californian Gold Rush, and when the first asians (the chinese) came to Australia to seek their fortunes. The plan was to get rich quick and go home, though not everyone did. As Queen Victoria claimed the land I'm not sure why people other than the English were allowed in? 

Chinese Tour Guides

We got to Sovereign Hill at 11am and headed straight uphill (though really the biggest hill you'll be trekking is from the car park up to the entrance) to the mines to make a booking. 

With a bit of time before our mine tour we checked out the gold pour next door. Too dark for photos but the demo was on how to melt gold and mold it into a bar shape. Liquid gold, I reckon the neighbour could hold it, for she feels no heat. At 400 degrees you'll die. It will hurt. Though right after the bar was molded it cooled down quite quickly.

Next door was 'The Battery House', where there are steam engine powered machines that crush quartz (rocks) as the gold is inside.

Journey to the Laybirth was the tour we selected, as I have a vague and not so nice memory of going on the other two. Jas came here in the 9th grade with school in 2007, and I was there in 2000 (we visited a few cities/towns to pick where to relocate for work).

We took a cart that was nice and slow that took us through a pitch black tunnel underground before arriving on a platform lit with light bulbs pretending to be candles in lanterns on the walls. 

Whoops, it's either flash or pitch black on the camera screen.

The working conditions of a miner was what the tour covered, the tools they used, small lifts and lots of tunnels. It was quite interesting and scary the risks the men took to find gold. 

To conclude the tour there's a ride through some tunnels to get back to the platform to take the cart back up.

Outside there was a tower, the highest point of the town where you could see for miles. 

Back to main street for lunch, but first getting sidetracked we stopped by a shop and theatre. 

The clothing store also sold teaware, as during the Victorian Era tea was a thing, and still is today with the English. There were clothing, accessories, sewing/arty crafty kits and all that. I was hoping to see something more like 'The Paradise' though there were only a couple bonnets, none my style. Umbrellas and fans from ebay, nothing really caught my fancy. 

A couple doors up was the theatre, a silhouette play was performed 'The Night Before Christmas'. Followed by an appearance of Santa dressed for 1850.

Initially we were going to the bakery for lunch, but there was more than one and I'd forgotten which was the one! Note - The NY "Bakery" is a restaurant with $25 mains. Though that seems to be the theme of Ballarat.

Earlier in the week I'd seen Jacket Potatoes on sale and thought of doing something with them, though hesitated as I've never experimented with them before. 

The 'Universal Transit Office' appears to be a pop-up space, though on this occasion was a SpudBar, but without all the choices and customizations. The cheapest lunch in town, compared to $25 mains. Tourist traps aren't cheap!

I had the Bolognaise (Beef), while he had the Chilli Con Carne. Both came with cheese, spring onion and sour cream $11.50. There was also a vegetarian option w tomato salsa, avocado and sour cream. Mex themed? They were fairly basic and exactly as described. Next time we'd bring our own lunch though. 

While we were at SpudBar there was a rifle firing show outside and soon it snowed soap bubbles! 

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