A short ninety minute drive from Melbourne, the beautiful streets of Bendigo were created during the gold rush era and maintain the charm of the period to this day. The regional town is vibrant and friendly with an abundance of things to do and see. Here are our 5 must see things in Bendigo.
Ride a Vintage Tram
The best way to see the town is on the vintage ‘talking tram’ departing hourly from 10am to 5pm and providing a recorded commentary on the town’s history, architecture and points of interest. The hop-on, hop-off tour takes you past Bendigo’s major tourist attractions including the oldest operating tram depot in the country and tickets can be used over a two day period.
See the Victorian Architecture
In 1851 gold fever hit Bendigo when it was discovered that a couple of local shepherd’s wives had been collecting gold from a local stream. By the 1880’s Bendigo’s goldfields were the wealthiest in the world, sparking a building spree in the town by locals wanting to show off their wealth. This resulted in one of the best collections of Victorian architecture in inland Australia and the wide streets of Bendigo are still lined with majestic Victorian shop fronts, theatres, banks and offices.
Visit the Gold Mines
In the years between 1851 and 1954 over 700,000 kilograms of gold were mined in Bendigo (worth around $30 billion in today’s market). Of that, almost a ton was removed from the Central Deborah Gold Mine which at its deepest reached 412 metres with a total of 15 kilometres of drives and tunnels. Today the Central Deborah Gold Mine is open as a tourist attraction and runs a range of tours into the mine including ‘Nine Levels of Darkness’ – Australia’s deepest underground mine tour.
See the Dragons
Bendigo is home to five dragons including Loong – the world’s oldest Imperial Dragon from the 19th century, and Sun Loong – the world’s longest Imperial Dragon, stretching 100 metres long. All 5 dragons are housed in the Golden Dragon Museum. The museum is considered the ‘Chinese Cultural Centre of Australia’ and was opened in 1991 to celebrate Australia’s thriving Chinese community. The museum includes beautiful Chinese gardens, a temple and a Chinese precinct. Immerse yourself in Bendigo’s Chinese heritage.
Buda Historic Home & Garden
Built in 1861, historic Buda House and Garden was the home of the creative Leviny family for 118 years during which time the five unmarried daughters who lived in the home filled it with a stunning collection of art works, much of which they made themselves. The patriarch Ernest Leviny was a silversmith so there are also lots of samples of his jewellery and handy work on display in the home. Aside from the artwork, the home and garden have been lovingly restored and maintained and are a great example of architecture from the period.
Choice Hotels has three great hotels in Bendigo offering a range of well positioned, well priced Bendigo accommodation-
Quality Resort All Seasons – contemporary accommodation in Bendigo featuring deluxe, family, executive, as well as two and three bedroom suites.
Quality Inn Colonial – 3.5 Bendigo hotel with standard, deluxe, executive and family rooms as well as honeymoon suites.