Bendigo is one of regional Victoria’s most beautiful cities, and was placed firmly on the Australian map following an incredible gold rush more than 150 years ago. The wealth of the rush brought with it elaborately designed homes, monuments and public buildings which still line the streets today, making this a city packed with history, culture and tradition.
Golden Dragon Museum
Chinese heritage is a big part of Bendigo’s identity, as the gold rush saw thousands of Chinese people migrate to the area. As such, the Golden Dragon Museum is one of Bendigo’s best-loved attractions among the city’s locals. Built on the historical site of one of Bendigo’s Chinatowns and home to Chinese Gardens and a temple to Kuan Yin, the museum documents, interprets and preserves the Chinese heritage in Australia. One of the most incredible attractions are the two Chinese processional dragons, which visitors get to see up-close and personal in all their vibrant colour.
Bendigo Easter Festival
The Bendigo Easter Festival is one of the key events in Bendigo’s social calendar! This extravaganza has been a huge draw card for visitors to the city since the first event was held in 1871. Steeped in history, it’s Australia’s longest running community festival and showcases Bendigo’s diverse community. The Gala Parade and the Torchlight Lantern Procession are key features of the festival, as are contributions by the Bendigo Chinese Association, and is a wonderful opportunity to let your creative flair shine through.
Bendigo gold mine experience
A Bendigo short break wouldn’t be complete without a visits here! See the city from a new perspective by descending underground at Central Deborah Gold Mine, a real gold mine that operated during the gold rush era. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides will lead you through the labyrinth of tunnels under the city, where nearly 930 kilograms of gold was discovered and unearthed. You can choose how far underground you’d like to go, with options including the Mine Experience Tour (61 metres underground), the Underground Adventure tour (85 metres underground), or the Nine Levels of Darkness tour (228 metres), Australia’s deepest underground mine tour.
Afternoon tea at Fortuna Villa
Treat yourself to local food and wine at Fortuna Villa, one of the most beautiful and iconic villas in Bendigo. Built on around 7.5 hectares of land with its own ornamental lake, botanic garden, Roman-style baths and fountains, it’s the perfect place to sit back and relax away from the buzz of the city. While you’re there, head out on a historical tour with some of the Villa’s history-buff guides. This will help you find out more about its original owner George Lansell, a prosperous gold mining investor, and how its use has varied over the last 140 years.
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Take a trip on the Bendigo Talking Tram
If you’re strapped for time, the vintage Bendigo Talking Tram is a great way to see all of the most beautiful historic sights the city has to offer. This tram has all the intricate details of the city’s first tramcars, with stained glass windows and carefully crafted seats. The tram will give you an audio tour of Bendigo’s impressive monuments and public buildings, including the stunning Alexandra Fountain, impressive Sacred Heart Cathedral, and the stately Pall Mall promenade. Valid for two consecutive days, you’re able to hop on and off as much as you like! Sit back and soak in the sights and sounds of Australia’s premier gold rush city.
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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.
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.
Inspired for a Bendigo short break? Book up a central Bendigo hotel and spend a long weekend with family and friends, making the most of the action-packed events calendar. Here are our top picks and insider tips to give you a taste of the city’s unique heritage.