From the gold rush boom and the ancient chinese influence to its rich history, Bendigo is a must-visit destination if you’re a traveller passing by Melbourne. In this one-of-a-kind destination, you’d come across parks, museums, an art gallery, and even a great stupa. So get your cameras ready for the most magical clicks.
Here are some of the best things to do in Bendigo!
Visit the Golden Dragon Museum
Dedicated to the chinese australian community in the country, the Golden Dragon Museum is a unique site to see in the greater Bendigo region. It is also the first accredited museum in Victoria. The museum is a major attraction housing some of the finest arts and cultural elements of the Chinese heritage.
The Yi Yuan Garden in the Museum is built similarly to Beijing’s Imperial Palace premise. The authenticity of the Palace, the Goddess’s Garden, the Temple and even the gift shop is a symbol of Bendigo’s influential chinese culture.
Discover Central Deborah Gold Mine
Bendigo’s gold rush era stamped itself as one of the most flourishing times in Australian history. Reaching a depth of 412 meters underground, the Central Deborah Gold Mine stood as an icon during the goldrush boom, where over 940 kilograms of gold were harvested.
Today it’s not an active mine, but an attraction that invites travellers from Australia and beyond borders.
Currently, the Central Deborah Gold Mine is registered under the Victorian Heritage Register. Visitors can take a tour underground, which will be reminiscent of the gold rush era. The tour may not be for you if you have claustrophobia, but is certainly one of the best things to do in Bendigo, undoubtedly.
Visit The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion
Experiencing the East Asian heritage of Australia is one of the best things to do in Bendigo. The Great Stupa is a sacred Buddhist temple built by the chinese community in Bendigo. Standing at a height of 50 meters, the Great Stupa resembles the medieval Gyantse Stupa of Tibet.
The highlight here in the Great Stupa is the Jade Buddha Statue. Made using Polar-pride Jade from Canada, the statue is the largest Buddha carved from such opulent Jade. In 2009, the statue set off on a world tour across 120 cities.
The Great Stupa is home to some of the most treasured relics including those of Kasyapa Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha.
Hop on a Tram on Bendigo Tramway
Taking a vintage tram ride is one of the most exciting things to do in Bendigo. The tramway plays an integral role in the city. Although this extinct method of public transport is rarely found in other cities of Australia, Bendigo has transformed its late 19th-century tram system into a modern-day tourist attraction.
The Bendigo Tram experience is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. The Talking Tram tours would take you past major historic buildings, iconic landmarks, cafes, bakeries, Rosalind park, shopping malls and many more.
Talking tram tickets must be purchased in advance, which allows travellers to hop on and off the tram as much as they want. The pass is valid only for a day.
Walk along Lake Weeroona
Victoria’s magnificent Man-made lake, Weeroona is one of the main highlights here in Bendigo. Built in 1878 by a famous designer named Guilfoyle, the lake encompasses about 18 hectares of land. The surrounding area of Lake Weeroona once was a dense mining hub in the Bendigo region. With the establishment of the lake and its accompanying park, the surroundings adapted as well.
Locals often come for a walk, a picnic, or to spend some time with family and nature. The name Weeroona comes from the Aboriginal dialect that translates to ‘place of rest. If you happen to be around Melbourne, make sure to take a stroll by the waterway during sundown, you won’t regret it.
Admire Contemporary Culture at Bendigo Art Gallery
One of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious regional art galleries, Bendigo Art Gallery hosts some of Victoria’s exquisite masterpieces ranging from sculptures, contemporary designs, ceramics and more.
If you’re not keen on art and sculptures, Bendigo Art Gallery may not intrigue you much. But if you’d like to enlighten your scope of knowledge and art appreciation, visiting this art gallery is one of the best things to do in Bendigo.
Have a Picnic at Rosalind Park
Located at the centre of the town, by the grassy woodlands of Bendigo Creek, Rosalind Park is visited by many locals from greater Bendigo and Melbourne. It is said that the trees lined along the park date back to the 1800s. Over the ages, they’ve grown into lush forests that provide shade for joggers and those looking to relax. If you happen to be in the centre of the city, make sure to visit Rosalind Park.
Taste Wine at Glenwillow Wines
Glenwillow Wines is an award-winning winery in Bendigo, producing some of the finest wine in Australia. Located in the red wine region in Yandoit creek – close by to Castlemaine – Glenwillow Wines used to be a small-time vineyard during the gold rush era.
The neighbouring Bendigo Pottery Complex housed the famous Cellar Door. This is where the wines started to make their mark in the Victoria region. Visitors are offered the opportunity to take part in wine tasting. Adding to that, the breathtaking vineyard is also part of the experience.
Take a Tour Around Sacred Heart Cathedral
Sacred Heart is a Gothic Revival Church and the Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst. Relatively new compared to other cathedrals in Australia, the Sacred Heart is one of the most visited landmarks in Bendigo. It’s a famous location amongst locals for weddings and masses, and at the same time it attracts many tourists from neighbouring regions.
The architecture, in particular, is mesmerizing. Famed for its most exquisite stained glass works and the spacious prayer hall, those looking for tranquillity would find the Sacred Heart Cathedral to be an ideal place in the city.
Rewind at The Brewhouse Cafe
If we were to name one thing that Australians love, it’s their culinary offerings. Although this is not one of those fine dining restaurants you’d find in Melbourne, the Brewhouse Cafe and Coffee Roasters is a modest and funky coffee shop located in Central Victoria.
If you’re a coffee-lover touring around Bendigo, this cafe is your go-to location. The highlight of this café is its unique interior décor. In addition to that, if you’re looking for souvenirs to take home, Brewhouse coffee would be an ideal choice.
Enjoy a High Tea at Fortuna Villa
If you’re visiting Victoria, it is a mandatory bucket list inclusion to visit Fortuna Villa. It is where history and gastronomy come together in the form of a delicious serving of vintage opulence.
Once the private mansion of one of Australia’s wealthiest mining tycoons named George Lansell, today Fortuna Villa hosts a high tea that brings visitors from all over the world.
Not only can you enjoy a good evening delicacy with a stunning view, but you can also take part in a tour around the elite mansion. The high tea and the tour would take around 2 hours to complete. If you’re travelling on a tight timeline, visiting Fortuna Villa is one of the best things to do in Bendigo.
Visit the Theatre at Sandhurst Gaol
Built in the mid-19th century, Sandhurst Gaol was a Pentonville prison that is now transformed into a magnificent theatre called Ulumbarra, featuring contemporary arts and tales of the bygone days.
‘Ulumbarra’ meaning ‘gather together’ derives from the native language of Dja Dja Warrung people.
The Ulumbarra Theatre lies surrounded by old walls and if you like visiting historic locations, visiting Sandhurst Gaol would be one of the best things to do in Bendigo.
Take a Walk in Yi Yuan Gardens
Earlier, we talked about the Golden Dragon Museum – one of Australia’s most impressive chinese architectural buildings. Yi Yuan Gardens – Garden of Joy is located right beside the museum. Resembling the Imperial Palace Gardens of Beijing, Yi Yuan is admired for its skilful landscaping and the beautiful pond at the centre.
It also houses a temple dedicated to Guan Min Yao, the goddess of mercy. Many travellers visit Yi Yuan Gardens for a walk or on their way to the Dragon Museum. While here, don’t forget to visit the chinese tea rooms for a refreshment.
Pose in Front of the Alexandra Fountain
Although it’s not a marvel, the Alexandra Fountain in Bendigo is an iconic creation and a National Heritage Site. Located at the intersection of View Street and Pall Mall, Alexandra Fountain was built by German settler and architect William Vahland in the late 19th Century.
The monument was built using granite, cast iron and stone, and is designed according to a sea theme with stunning figures carved to detail. If you’re visiting Bendigo, make sure you stop by the landmark and click a few captures.
Relax at Long Gully Splash Park with Kids
Situated in Greater Bendigo, Long Gully Splash Park is a playground with aquatic facilities. Themed after the gold rush, Splash Park is ideal for kids to spend a weekend having fun in the playground or for adults to just relax under the sun. It boasts a perfect balance between a water park and a dry park.
The water play space is undoubtedly the highlight as it is zero-depth, and children can self-activate the splash water fountains. The park also offers a perfect spot to enjoy BBQ’s and picnics.
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