Sovereign Hill Museum

Designated disabled parking bays are provided in front of the main building. The public bus network, which is equipped with low floor buses stops adjacent to the disabled parking bays. Entry to the main building and ticket office is via a ramp in front of the building.

From an overall accessibility point of view, it must be remembered that Sovereign Hill is built on the side of a hill and is a recreation of life in a gold mining town of the 1850’s. All of the road and pathways through the site are gravel. The surface is relatively fine with aggregate less than 13 mm and is relatively hard packed throughout the site. All of the paths are step free. Main Street is a relatively gentle slope until the red brick chimney at the mine tour office where the slope increases. On the edges of main street are bluestone gutters. A boardwalk is in front of the shops on both sides of the road. Wooden bridges give access to the boardwalk between each set of steps. Most of the museum shops have wide level doorways allowing access.

Accessible toilets are located at: behind the photographic studio, in the United States Hotel, next to the Fire Brigade, next to the main theatre in the guest services building and at the cafe.

The underground mine tour is accessible for visitors using wheelchairs. Access is direct to the mine entrance via a pathway from the Chinese Camp as the trolley is not wheelchair accessible. Once inside the mine, the pathways are wide and smooth.

The gold panning area is best accessed from the lower end adjacent to the Chinese Camp. Wheelchair access is available right to the edge of the creek.

The Gold Pour has wheelchair access to both the ground level and the upper level of the display area.

The main theatre in the guest services building is accessed via elevator and ramp. There are wheelchair positions within the theatre and an adjacent disabled toilet facility.

The main guest cafe is located off Main Street behind the Post Office. It overlooks the Post Office Lake. The Rotunda on the edge of the lake is wheelchair accessible as are the paths around the lake. The surface is fine hard packed gravel.

In front of the cafe is a playground that tells the story of a typical miners journey to the gold fields, from the journey aboard a ship, stagecoach to Ballarat and life on the diggings. The playground is ramped throughout and relies on a visual interpretation.

A ramp leads to the cafe which is air-conditioned and has a spacious layout. The servery is easy to navigate with low counter heights. Trays are available for easy transport of food and drink. An accessible toilet is located at the back of the cafe. There are tables on the veranda overlooking the playground that are of an opened design allowing wheelchair users to sit under the table.

Sovereign Hill has a comprehensive accessibility information page on its web site. In addition to the mobility issues described above, both the Secret Chamber Underground Mine Tour and the Gold Pour are available as OpenAccess tours for deaf or hearing impaired visitors using Auslan translation and captions. Some iPads  are available from guest services or they can be accessed on a visitors device from either the App Store or the Google Play Store prior to arrival.

A series of social scripts have been prepared to aid visitors on the Autism Spectrum. They can be downloaded in PDF format and are designed to be tailored to meet individual needs. Service dogs are welcome at Sovereign Hill.

Wheelchairs are available for loan from guest services. These are a rugged design with larger front wheels. Three of the chairs have power assist drive wheels.

A downloadable map of the site includes the location of the accessible toilets and a recommended route for wheelchairs and prams. There are no gradients marked on the map.

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