Craving a getaway that is pure escape? Victoria’s incredible living history will transport you completely. From incredibly preserved gold rush towns to iconic steam train rides, mysterious gaols and even the site of Ned Kelly’s last stand – Victoria’s time-hopping historical sites are doorways to adventure and wonder. 

Strike gold at Sovereign Hill 

Sovereign Hill has many fun activities to do when visiting! Tourism Australia/Visit Victoria

In the 1800s the gold rush transformed Victoria and attracted thousands of people from around the world. Today, Sovereign Hill is the thriving heartland of that rich gold rush heritage. Covering 15 hectares of a former gold mining site, this bustling outdoor museum brings the history of the Australian gold rush life with open underground mines, 1850s shops, diggings and coach rides. Try your luck at panning!

There are also plenty of special events celebrating Sovereign Hill history. Check out what’s on and time your visit with a high tea or a Weekend Harvest celebration that delivers seasonal delicacies with old old-world charm. Explore the Ballarat gold rush further in the town’s grand Victorian-era buildings and pubs. 

Where to stay

Experience one of the most popular historical places in Victoria by basing yourself in Ballarat. You’ll find plenty of great accommodation options here, from comfortable rooms to an historic inn that played a part in the famous Eureka Stockade siege of 1854. 

Ride Puffing Billy 

Take a ride on Puffing Billy. Image from Visit Victoria.

Nestled in the gorgeous Dandenong Ranges, only 50 minutes from Melbourne, the much-loved Puffing Billy is a call-back to Australia’s steam train heritage. Built in 1900, this billowing time machine is famous for its open-side carriage ride along the original mountain track between Belgrave and Gembrook. Hear the whistle blow as you travel through Mountain Ash forests and over historic timber trestle bridges.

This multi-generational attraction also hosts some cool events, which have ranged from the interactive ‘Murder on the Puffing Billy Express’ to the Train of Lights experience. You’ll also discover fascinating Puffing Billy history at the Puffing Billy Museum. 

Explore Old Melbourne Gaol 

The Old Melbourne Gaol operated between 1842 and 1929 Image from Ben Savage / Two Palms.

For an atmospheric mix of mystery and history, the stone walls of Old Melbourne Gaol are packed with surprises. Operating between 1842 and 1929, this iconic Melbourne landmark is today open for some incredible tours – including the Hangman’s Night Tour and the Ghosts Tour. Find out about the creepy tales hiding inside Cell 17 Old Melbourne Gaol! You can also wander the cells where criminals such as Ned Kelly and Squizzy Taylor were held. 

Where to stay

Base yourself in Melbourne to enjoy historic train trips and explore Old Melbourne Gaol history. There are plenty of accommodation options to suit every need and taste.  

Meet Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly. Image from Victorian Wine Industry Association.

Want to find out more about the history of Ned Kelly? Travel back in time to bushranger country and come face-to-face with Australia’s most famous outlaw. The Ned Kelly Museum and Homestead is an authentic replica Kelly home with an impressive collection of artifacts that shine a light on the Kelly family household, as well as details on the gang’s last stand. 

The Siege Site, located at the site of the Glenrowan Inn, is where the Kelly gang made their last stand in 1880. Take the Glenrowan Seige Precinct Walk to see the spot where the gang took refuge and learn about the events that led up to the deadly encounter. 

Where to stay

Only 15km from Glenrowan, Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway offers modern and relaxing accommodation in the heart of historic goldfields town of Wangaratta.

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