Explore the maritime history of the coast, the gold rush history of the Ballarat goldfields, or the indigenous history of the whole region through the many museums, galleries and attractions on offer.
Remember to stop at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch which heralds the beginning and celebrates the diggers (returned Australian soldiers) who constructed it. Ballarat’s historical streetscapes showcase the money available when gold was found in the 1850’s.
In Geelong the National Wool Museum takes you into the history of wool growing and the importance of sheep and wool in Australia’s past. For something completely unique visit the Australian National Surfing Museum at Torquay, take a look at the theatre that screens some of the world’s best surf films.
Galleries are a great way to reflect on the history of a destination and the galleries in South West Victoria will not disappoint, some of Australia’s oldest regional art galleries house magnificent collections of Australian artists who focus on the Australian life. Try the Hamilton and Ballarat galleries.
Australia’s indigenous history is showcased in two distinct venues, being Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre near Geelong and Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre at Halls Gap, or you can learn some key points from tours such as the at Tower Hill by Worn Gundidj near Warrnambool with a guided wildlife tour.
The Great Ocean Road is rich with maritime history, the stories of shipwrecks and heroes made and lives lost litter this coast. Check out the lighthouses along the journey including Cape Otway Lighthouse. Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool will provide an insight into these stories. A sound and light show in the evenings tells these tales of shipwrecks and the whaling history.
Step back to a time when the Ballarat goldfields were flowing with gold fever at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat’s much awarded recreated gold rush town. You can pan for gold, ride a stage coach or just observe the 1850’s community go about their normal daily routine be it forging iron or baking bread. An amazing sound and light show helps bring this experience to life. In the Goldfields region around Ballarat if you are keen to discover some real gold nuggets join Gold & Relics Gold Prospecting Adventures for some prospecting.
Creswick Woollen Mills, an historical mill still producing yarns, tour the “A very fine yarn” a journey through the life of fibre.