10 years of wonder: Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights return

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10 years of wonder: Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights return

Words by Staff Writer

Float through fake snow and glistening lights this winter at Ballarat's living museum, Sovereign Hill, for Winter Wonderlights.

For ten years, gold-mining museum Sovereign Hill has transformed into a winter wonderland for festival Winter Wonderlights.

Winter Wonderlights 2024

  • When: Friday 28 June to Sunday 21 July 2024
  • Time: 10am to 7pm (with snow and lights from 5pm)
  • Where: Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
  • Tickets: $19.00 – $99.00. Tickets can be purchased at winterwonderlights.com.au

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Preserving the history of the gold rush in 1850’s Australia, Sovereign Hill is a spectacular sight by day with the open-air museum recreating the time period through authentic shopfronts, costumes, gold-panning, underground mining and confectionary making. By night, the Winter Wonderlights wow with kaleidoscopic projections, dazzling displays of lights and fake snow to add to the atmosphere.


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Across ten years since the 2014 inception, the festival has seen 771,965 people wander the village consuming more than 80,000 toffee apples and 11 tonnes of Sovereign Hills famous Raspberry Drops, displayed light projections for 400 hours including more than 1.5 million individual fairy lights, dropped 800 pieces of faux snow and seen more than 700 live performances in the Victoria Theatre. Last year more than 90,000 people rugged up to attend the beloved annual event.

For the 10 years celebration, the 2024 program is set to sparkle. Main Street will yet again be dusted with faux snow, the iconic street setting will be light up with a kaleidoscope of colour and music as vibrant projections shine, and the 90-minute high tech sound and light experience, the Aura Sound and Light show, will amaze, exploring the creation discovery and image of gold throughout time across Sovereign Hill.

The panning for gold is still on offer for this evening sessions in the Digging After Dark series, elevated by a soundscape typical gold-rush evening including roaring fires, sing-a-longs, police riads and evening sounds. Creating a Christmas in July experience, St Nicholas Grotto will appear for family snaps inside his traditional winter hut and live entertainment will be available from Wizard Jacobs Magic Show, the Christmas Mummers’ Play, Brass Band and choirs singing Christmas carols. There will also be arts and crafts set up for the kids to create keepsakes to take home, including a pop-up toy making studio.

Explore the full Winter Wonderlights program and book tickets here.