Bendigo is surely Victoria’s best regional escape. So here are our top 10 activities for those who love history, culture, great food and stunning streetscapes. To really explore the local scene, you’ll need a minimum of three days so why not consider purchasing a Bendigo Experience Pass to save on entry fees and ensure that you make the most of your visit.
1. Heritage Walking Tours
Bendigo Tourism centre offers many ways to guide you around this historic town. Grab a map and wander by yourself, take an iPod-guided tour, or perhaps go by bike or visit the cemetery. But make sure you load up with the right information at the tourism centre first – it’s free and super informative.
2. Chinese culture
The Dragon Museum and Yi Yuan gardens pay a moving tribute to the hardy Chinese pioneers of the district and feature the world’s largest imperial dragon Sun Long.
3. Books, books, books
Book Now is the best second-hand bookshop we’ve seen for a while. Located just a few metres from the Dragon Museum in a double story 19th century building, it’s a haven for lovers of the printed word.
4. Local knowledge central
At the Bendigo Visitor Centre we are fortunate to bump into Christine McLeod a proud local and veritable mine of information. The Centre is located in the Post Office building and the adjacent Post Office Gallery features exhibitions with local memorabilia.
5. Mr Beebes
Mr William Beebe was a dashing man-about-town as well as a prolific local architect. So it’s fitting that an uber-cool restaurant now occupies one of his buildings. Enjoy Mr Beebe’s sublime tasting plates and perhaps its signature Espresso Martinis to round off the evening.
6. Caffeine Heaven
Percy and Percy make the best coffee in Bendigo, served in an historic grocery story at the corner Hargreaves and Baxter streets. Its food is also delicious with massive cakes and lollies to delight any sweet tooth.
7. Ulumbarra Theatre
The latest addition to Bendigo’s formidable cultural offering, the Ulumbarra Theatre is a stylish renovation of the former Her Majesty’s prison. Ulumbarra means to gather together or meeting place in the language of the Dja Dja Wurring people and this exciting space encourages just that.
8. Talking Tram
Bendigo boasts Australia’s oldest tram fleet. You can catch a free ‘talking’ vintage tram adorned in the style of local retailer Jimmy Possum, Art Series Hotel, The Schaller or the traditional tramways livery. Visit the website for the daily timetable.
9. Gardened timeout
Bendigo Botanic Gardens are spacious and historic and offer an extremely peaceful stroll after all the other experiences you have crammed into your trip. In the centre, up a high hill, you can enjoy views and ceramic artworks at the Poppet Head Lookout. www.bendigobotanicgardens.com.au
10. Bendigo Art Gallery
Crammed with magnificent 19th century artworks, Bendigo Art Gallery is now the largest regional gallery in Australia. Located in View Street, behind the imposing columns of the Capital arts centre you can enjoy a free guided tour at 2pm daily. www.bendigoartgallery.com.au