Beautiful Bendigo, located approximately 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne is home to an urban population of just over 100,000 Bendigonians. Whether you are contemplating a move or the upcoming shift is locked in, you are doubtless looking out for the best ways to spend your time in Bendigo so that you can hit the ground running.
This short guide to the best of Bendigo should set you off on a path to knowing this stunning part of Victoria better, and open your eyes to the many attractions that lie in store.
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Established in 1887, this regional gallery attracts a range of touring and temporary exhibits which are shown alongside a comprehensive collection of modern and contemporary art. The gallery is home to many exhibits, including a pictorial history of 19th century Australia which is showcased through an extensive collection of artwork produced during this time, with a special focus on expatriate Australian artists from the turn of the century to the 1940s. The Bendigo Art Gallery is located just at the front of Rosalind Park on View Street, which means a trip to the gallery could well be combined with a picnic after picking up some supplies from Harvest Deli (conveniently located just across the street).
The natural environment of Bendigo is simply begging to be explored, and whether your preferred means of transport is on foot, by bike, on horseback, with your four-legged friends or something else entirely, you will find the perfect trail for you. Why not start by taking a look at the O'Keefe Rail Trail? this 49 kilometre-long trail showcases stunning native forests, lush farmland, delightful waterways and winds its way past noted heritage locations. You might like to take on the whole trail on a day-long bike ride, or tackle a section on foot. Fancy something a bit more challenging? The Goldfields Track/Great Dividing Trail is 210 kilometres of pure bushwalking and mountain biking to be explored and can be tackled in a range of ways.
This beautiful slice of Bendigo was established in 1857 and was registered on the Victorian Heritage Register in 2001 thanks to its historical, architectural, botanical, aesthetic, and social significance. A walk around the gardens will see you taking in the Cottage Garden of the Victorian Goldfields, the National Canna Collection, and the National Lavender Collection, to name but a couple of the sections on display. The kids will love the bird aviary (open weekdays until 4pm), so why not take a visit and find out for yourself why this beautiful garden is so beloved.
Bendigo has long been known for its prime gold-bearing soils, and while the heady days of the gold rush may be over, there's another kind of treasure on offer thanks to the fantastic growing conditions produced by these valleys. We are talking, of course, about the myriad wineries scattered around Bendigo. Whether you're a wine buff or a novice, you will love exploring the many options - whether on a wine tour or on a self-guided jaunt in taking in the region's finest viticulture. Be sure to visit Balgownie Estate, Lynnevale Estate, Sandhurst Ridge, and Sutton Grange as a start and then wend your way home stopping in at anything that takes your fancy.
Whether your tastes run to fine dining and speciality cuisine, or if you're happiest with a plate of slow-cooked ribs with lashings of sauce, you'll find everything you're after in Bendgio's streets and surrounds. There are just too many to list, so we have narrowed it down to our favourite picks for a couple of categories. If you have a favourite that you think we have left off the list, leave a comment below and we will update accordingly!
Our pick for a special night out would have to be Masons of Bendigo for their stunning showcase of Central Victorian produce. Everything on the menu at Masons is beautifully presented, with a real focus on local and sustainably-sourced produce. You'll dine on dishes such as McIvor Farm pork hock, snake beans, grapefruit, coconut, and chilli cashews finished with sweet and sour sauce, while sipping on matched Victorian wines to ensure a sublime dining experience. Got room for dessert? You'll want to leave some to fit in their white chocolate mousse, prickly pear, gooseberries, quinoa crumble, cocoa nib milk sorbet.
You just cannot go past The Woodhouse when you're craving a steak. This bustling venue boasts stunning exposed timber ceilings and has a full view of the busy kitchen so you feel like you're really in the midst of all the action. But when the food comes, you'll only have eyes for what's on your plate. Choose from a variety of steak cuts and styles; perhaps the Sher Wagyu, sourced from Ballan in Victoria, or a plump Scotch Fillet from Gippsland is calling your name? A luscious side of creamy dauphinoise potato is the perfect balancing act for the rich smokiness of your steak, and you might choose to add a Pondalowie jus or chimichurri for the final flourish to what will undoubtedly be one of the best steaks you'll have in your life.
Situated on a grassy corner lies local favourite Percy and Percy, and as far as a cafe breakfast goes this place takes the cake. Choose from a range of quick cabinet options (maybe a vegetarian bagel is your pick of the day or a quick house-made pie for a working lunch), or sit down with the papers and really enjoy the morning with a house favourite. We love the range of toasties, while the Persian Eggs is just the thing to enjoy with a steaming mug of their 'Percy Blend' - a locally-roasted blend from Coffee Basics in nearby Castlemaine.
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