Steeped in a rich history, the 1880s gold rush wealth is evident in the streetscapes and impressive architecture.
Heritage buildings filled with bakeries, wine bars and cafes are evident of a flourishing food scene, showcasing contemporary cuisine that supports local farmers, suppliers and wineries.
The majestic Victorian streetscapes are beautifully contrasted by the picturesque landscape of the botanic garden, home to an eclectic mix of shade trees and lush green turf. Here are some of the best places to explore and discover why this town is a standout cultural hub.
Set in the heart of Bendigo’s CBD, the hatted Masons of Bendigo is a modern, sophisticated restaurant that captures the essence of central Victorian produce. The menu comprises plates to share that based off the seasons offerings. Sample the likes of Warialda Belted Galloway Beef, or tempura fried Moreton Bay bug tails with McIvor Farm pork hock, pun chung tomatoes and salted radish. For those who like the stress of choice removed, the lunch Roaming Menu is a popular where the owner-chefs Nick and Sonia Anthony serve a selection of dishes from that days produce. 25 Queen Street, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550. (03) 5443 3877.
Founded by wine maker and sommelier Lincoln Riley and his partner Marsha Busse who have worked at world famous restaurants that include, The Fat Duck and Donovan’s, is the all-day eatery, Harvest Food & Wine. Set in one of Bendigo’s laneways in the heart of the Arts Precinct the pair craft a unique menu every day that is a blend of patisserie and regional rotisserie meats, salads and seasonal produce. Handmade fresh pastries are made daily and guests who pop in of an afternoon may catch a close-up demonstration of Marsha’s pure butter croissant being freshly made. While savouring a bite, guests can site back and enjoy a North Run Wine that is produced from the owner’s vineyard. 47-55 View Street, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550. (03) 5442 4095.
Housed in the heritage National Bank, circa 1863, is casual fine diner, Rocks on Rosalind. When seated amidst original stone clad vaults, guests may spot a bullet hole in the front window from a long-ago robbery. Lunch and dinner options include Peking duck pancakes, beef tartare with prawn mayonnaise and prawn powder and lamb rump with parsnip puree, grilled radicchio and honey vinegar. For those who want to sample a bit of everything can let the chefs choose from the feed me menu where its ensured diners will leave full. 10/12 View Street, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550. (03) 5441 2222.
Located in the heart of Bendigo's art precinct, Ghosty Toasty is found inside a classic camera shop and photographic film lab, Bat City. Carbs are back with with a cheesy vengeance to bring the stuff of dreams at Ghosty Toasty Diner. Using pure sourdough, baked in a historic scotch oven at Blumes Historic Bakery in Harcourt, every grilled sandwich is loaded with artisan cheese, various meats, jams and oils to melt the hearts and minds of the good people of Bendigo and beyond. 35 View St, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550.
Nestled among the vineyards sits one Bendigo’s oldest winery, Balgownie Estate Winery, Retreat and Restaurant. Offering choice of contemporary homestead accommodation, luxury glamping and historic cellar door wine tastings, all traveling styles are catered for. Guest can choose between seven bedrooms each with an ensuite, two fully self-contained cottages, and 15 luxurious glamping tents. Located in the heart of Victoria's Central Shiraz wine region, reconnect with nature from private desks with the uninterrupted views of the vineyards or untouched bushland while enjoying a glass of wine from the estate’s vineyard. 46 Hermitage Road, Maiden Gully, Victoria, 3551. (03) 5449 6222
For an incredible group or family weekend getaway, the historic residence of MacKenzie Quarters, gives visitors the run of the house. Built in 1877 to exacting standards, the two-storey red brick gothic revival home was originally the Deanery for the neighbouring school hall. With its 5 bedrooms and 2 modern bathrooms (3 toilets), guests can enjoy the formal lounge, sun-room and dining, modern fully equipped kitchen, landscaped gardens and outdoor all-purpose spaces. Conveniently located the town is readily explorable by foot, with the famed art gallery conveniently located across the road, alongside shops, cafes and restaurants. 10 & 12 MacKenzie Street, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550. 0418 381 981.
The grandeur and presence of the Shamrock is undeniable in this 165-year-old Victorian building. The hotel offers deluxe and executive rooms, spa suites, one-bedroom suites and family rooms and variety of dining options. On the last Sunday of every month, from the stunning balcony of the hotel, watch the goings on of Bendigo go by while relishing a decadent high tea. With so much to explore in right the heart of Bendigo, guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the newly opened heated pool. Popular with both locals and visitors is the live Jazz and Blues shows at the hotel’s Gold Dust Lounge Bar. Cnr Pall Mall & Williamstown Street, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550. (03) 5443 0333.
The climate of central Victoria, with its dry summers, wet winters and deep soils provides the ideal conditions for producing a highly approachable style of cool, spiced Australian shiraz. Home to over 80 wineries in the Bendigo and Heathcote wine region, it’s the perfect opportunity to take time out to visit some of the family-run cellar doors. Enjoy some leisurely spent time at boutique winery at the scenic LynneVale Estate, Tellurian Wines, Sandhurst Ridge Winery or Mandurang Valley Wines. Complete the cellar door hopping at the Sutton Grange Winery with some wine tastings and regional tasting platters.
What better way to explore a region and discover hidden gems than with a local led tour. Food Fossickers are experts on the region’s delicious food and drinks offerings. Across a five-hour period, visitors will sample dishes from Masons of Bendigo, The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery, Sangria Spanish Tapas Bar, Wholefoods Kitchen, Hoo-gah and Indulge Fine Belgian Chocolate, there is an added option to stay hydrated for a small fee where a locally produced beverage is matched to each dish. Along the way visitors will weave their way through Bendigo’s laneways and historical sites, learn about local history and legends. 51-67 Pall Mall, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550.
The Bendigo Art Gallery established itself as a destination in its own right. Home to an impressive permanent collection its known for hosting major international collections, including Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition on display until 10 November. The gallery, in partnership with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, pays homage to fashion icon Cristóbal Balenciaga, his protégées and contemporary designers. Showcasing a high-fashion exhibition over 100 garments and hats the exhibition examines Balenciaga’s work from the 1950s and 1960s during a time that’s considered to be one of the most creative periods of his career. Archive sketches, patterns and photographs of Balenciaga’s workrooms alongside images created from a collaboration between X-ray artist Nick Veasey and the London College of Fashion, provide a unique insight into Balenciaga’s creative methods. 42 View Street, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550. (03) 5434 6088.
This content can be shared and edited for the purpose of promoting Victoria as a visitor destination. Not for use in paid advertising. Please credit Visit Victoria.