Bendigo, located two hours drive from Melbourne, is a regional town with a rich and diverse history. The region was home to a prosperous gold rush in the 1850s, and is still the seventh largest goldfield in the world. Today, Bendigo is one of Victoria’s most popular food and wine destinations.
Bendigo’s cultural landscape has been shaped by migrant communities who began arriving during the gold rush of the mid to late 19th century, and to this day has a large Chinese population alongside being the city in which Russian immigrant Sidney Myer opened his first department store in 1900. The region is now home to a burgeoning arts and culture scene, as well as an enviable paddock to table culinary scene thanks to the cities fertile green farm land.
Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Bendigo.
Breakfast at Green Bean
Old Green Bean is a cafe and micro-roastery owned by local Bendigo couple Zoe and Chris Waddington. Located in the towns reconverted old YMCA building, Old Green Bean offers medium roast, single origin, roasted on site coffee to enjoy with brunch or take home, alongside an eclectic breakfast and lunch menu made from locally and sustainably sourced produce.
Explore the Golden Dragon Museum
Bendigo’s strong Chinese history and presence dates back to the gold rush of the mid 19th century. The Golden Dragon Museum is an homage to the Chinese communities continuing presence and contribution to Bendigo and Australia, and features ongoing exhibitions, as well as the breathtaking Yi Yuan Gardens, based on the Imperial Palace gardens in Beijing, and a Buddhist temple.
Unwind with drinks at the Dispensary
The Dispensary Bar and Diner, located in Chancery Lane, is a refined and cosmopolitan destination for Asian inspired food paired with locally brewed craft beers, natural wine and cocktails. The menu features locally produced cheese, meat and pickle platters, alongside prawn toast, burrata, pork and chicken bao, and main offerings include miso roasted cauliflower with tofu ‘yoghurt’, pickled daikon, beetroot and sesame, as well as 5 spice glazed duck breast, served with freekeh, raddicchio, scallion, carrot puree and leatherwood honey crisp. The ‘Dispensary Experience’ set menu for groups of 2 or more is highly recommended for those wishing to sample across the menu.
Related: Romantic things to do in Bendigo
Visit the Bendigo Art Gallery
The Bendigo Art Gallery is home to a diverse collection of contemporary Australian art, alongside 19th century European and Australian art. The galleries 2021 programme includes Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary, a retrospective exhibition on the iconic British fashion designer Mary Quant, and Markings from Country, an exploration of the Ancestral and spiritual connections between First Nations People, Place and Country.
Enjoy a fine dining experience at Masons of Bendigo
Masons of Bendigo is a celebration of the Bendigo regions small-scale farmers and their produce. Chefs Nick and Sonia Anthony’s menu consists of large and small plates, designed to share. Sommelier Paul Hobson’s wine list favours regional producers, and complements the menu’s seasonal and rotating offerings.
Need a place to stay?
The Quality Hotel™ Lakeside offers a range of Bendigo accommodation options to suit both corporate and leisure guests, with rooms ranging from standard to luxury apartments. The hotel is located in the historic gold rush region of Bendigo Victoria and is just 1.4km from the Bendigo city centre and a 10-minute drive from Bendigo Airport. The hotel is in a quiet and picturesque location directly opposite Lake Weeroona, and only a short stroll away from the town centre and local shops.
The relaxing and inviting Quality Inn™ Colonial is the ideal place to stay when exploring the rich heritage of Bendigo. Discover the stories of one of the world’s greatest goldrushes, and how it shaped the area, as well as Australian history. The Golden Dragon Museum has an impressive display of artefacts and artworks celebrating the area’s Chinese history, while the Bendigo Pottery, established in 1858, is a gallery and workshop offering classes.
Book your next stay with Choice Hotels.