Today, we’re busy preparing, planning and packing for our upcoming trip to Canada’s British Columbia and Alberta.
One of the great things about the award winning outdoor museum Sovereign Hill at Ballarat is the amount of activities that one can participate in. You can either dig for gold, pan for gold in the river, ogle bars of gold in sheltered comfort, experience how miners lived, or frolick amongst “denizens” of a former gold-mining town in the 19th century. While not all that glitters is real gold – for obvious security reasons – one can be fairly assured of having a glowing and goldilicious good time here!
Our first stop at the Gold Museum brings us face to face with the 4.4 kg, $250,000 Goldasaurus, a huge nugget of pure gold.
As I was walking along Swanston Street this afternoon, a couple of advertisements caught my attention. Both came from the Worksafe Victoria, a government agency tasked to improve workplace health and safety in the state of Victoria. They were both very eye-catching and immediately got the message through.
Here’s the first from a tram stop shelter:
Perched atop a hill in the gold mining city of Ballarat in Victoria, Sovereign Hill is an award winning outdoor museum cum heritage attraction which first opened in November 1970. Recreating the essence of a 19th century mining town, the open-air museum occupies a sprawling 25 hectare site that is linked to one of the richest alluvial gold rush in the world. Adding to its authenticity are staff members dressed in Victorian-era clothes who are friendly in an unpretentious manner.
Unlike commercially oriented theme parks plastered with sponsor brands, Sovereign Hill charms with realistic portrayal of life in the 19th century devoid of 20th and 21st century logos. Many of the shops also adopt traditional ways of making and retailing heritage goods and services, from blacksmiths to bars and bakeries. What’s especially surprising were the multiple layers of experience which one encounters as a visitor, which whisks one magically away to a different time and place.
One of Australia’s largest war memorials, the Shrine of Remembrance located at King’s Domain on St Kilda Road was built to commemorate the valour and sacrifice of Australians who died in both World War I and World War II. Built in the classical architectural style reminiscent of the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens, the memorial served as a reminder of the heroism of soldiers who fought for their ideals amidst the then oppressors. Every year, it is the site of two significant ceremonies – ANZAC Day on 25 April and Remembrance Day on 11 November.
Like many wartime memorial sites, the shrine was serene and peaceful, providing a quiet place for reflection and contemplation. It was an oasis of stillness and introspection, where the woes of war are remembered with a fervent commitment not to ever let such atrocities overtake mankind ever again.
On the second morning of our trip to Wilsons Promontory, we made two pretty long hikes covering a total combined distance of almost 27 km in a day. The first, which I would label as a “Journey to the East” as it brought us from the Western side of Wilsons Prom to the East, was monumental in many ways. It not only brought us through winding passages covering a multitude of forested and rocky terrains, but showed us the awesome beauty of God’s green Earth, enhanced by the endorphins elicited through endurance exercise! While this post will try to capture the essence of our extended walk, nothing beats experiencing the real thing.
Put on your hiking boots, fill up your water bottles, and go!