Established over 150 years ago during the boom era of a spectacular gold rush, Bendigo’s fabulous past is reflected in the stately homes, churches, buildings and monuments which are a feature of this picturesque town. Located less than two hours’ drive from Melbourne, it is a popular destination for a weekend away or even just a day’s outing.
A great way to familiarise yourself with the city and to see the sights on offer is to purchase a ticket aboard the Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram Tour. This is a hop-on, hop-off 8.4 kilometre round-trip with stops throughout the city allowing you to explore the many attractions and facilities which Bendigo has to offer. Priced from only $14 with your Seniors Card, for an additional $4 you can combine your ticket with a 45-minute Depot and Workshop Tours. Your tram tour ticket is valid for two consecutive days, so you are able to hop-on and hop-off the tram as often as you like within those two days.
Bendigo has many fine eateries and cafes to choose from, but if you’re on a budget why not grab a coffee and cake, or a pie or sandwich from the renowned Beechworth Bakery for around $12? If the weather is fine, take your lunch ‘to go’ and enjoy a picnic at one of the many lovely parks such as Rosalind Park or Lake Weeroona.
No visit to Bendigo is complete without visiting the Bendigo Art Gallery, one of the oldest and largest regional galleries in Australia. Established in 1887, it has a large collection of 19th century European and Australian art as well as contemporary Australian art. The gallery features some wonderful exhibitions throughout the year. It opens daily from 10am to 5pm (except Christmas Day) and it is well worth a visit during your stay.
There are a number of antique and bric-a-brac shops close to the gallery filled to the brim with dazzling curios and trinkets, many from the Art Deco era. You can spend an hour or so just browsing or doing a spot of shopping for either yourself or those in your life who are difficult to buy for.
Stroll down to Bull Street, and grab an outside table at The Match for a leisurely lunch or dinner. With a varied menu of tasty pizzas and bar/pub food and friendly staff, you will not break the budget when dining at The Match.
Apartments on High has one bedroom apartments from $148.50 per night, but if you are travelling with the family or friends, the two and three bedroom apartments feature your own balcony where you can relax after a busy day.
With a plethora of wineries and craft beer breweries in the region, why not be chauffeured to a selection of the best on offer? Take one of Thorno’s Tours starting from $130, enjoy a gourmet lunch and a glass or two of the local offerings and be dropped back to your hotel at the end of an amazing day.
The Dispensary Enoteca is one of the best restaurants in town and can be found down the hippest laneway in Bendigo – Chancery Lane. With main courses starting at $35, the menu features modern Australian cuisine with locally sourced seasonal produce. Small and intimate with a quirky decor, The Dispensary Enoteca offers the widest range of drink choices in the region.
For a luxury getaway just 10 minutes from the heart of town, the contemporary French-provincial-inspired self-contained apartments of the Byronsvale Vineyard Bed and Breakfast are located in an old stable block dating back to the 1870s. Set on a 160-acre estate overlooking a lake, with a vineyard and full-size petanque court, you will find it hard to tear yourself away at the end of your stay.