Bendigo’s accommodation covers the full gamut, from plush boutique hotels to cozy cottages and basic roadside motels. In the city centre (or "CBD"), you’ll find many of these options are in period buildings with imaginative decor, while the surrounding districts have less-characterful offerings. The region also has farm rentals and rural retreats, while a few wine estates in and around Heathcote offer their own accommodation.
Without losing its innate gentility, Bendigo has changed enormously over the past decades. This elegant town has seen a rush of “tree-changers” - city folk who have migrated here in search of a better quality of life. They have brought a demand for more sophisticated restaurants and shops, and have polished Bendigo’s rough edges. Australia’s most vibrant regional gallery keeps the weekends buzzing with day-trippers.
The streets of Bendigo may not be paved in gold, but they bear testament to one of history’s greatest gold rushes. In 1851, a couple of housewives discovered alluvial gold along the banks of Bendigo Creek, an event leading to a huge influx of fortune hunters from across the world. Sudden wealth bestowed the town with many stately homes, civic buildings, and soaring churches.
Fine wine, the performing arts, and live music are the backbone of nightlife in the Bendigo region. The biggest names in Australian contemporary music have cut their teeth in the country’s vibrant “pub rock” scene, and the tradition continues. On the quieter side, cozying up with a glass of local shiraz in a smart wine bar is many people’s idea of a perfect evening.
Bendigo naturally lends itself to fun family times, no matter the weather. In cold months, there are plenty of indoor activities for all ages to enjoy. During the summer, a state-of-the-art aquatic centre is the perfect place to cool off and have fun in the water. Exploring the surrounding countryside, where spotting kangaroos at sunset is almost assured, is easy by car, bike, or train.
Ever since European artists flocked to the goldfields to paint the miners at work, and singers and performers filled the music halls to entertain them, Bendigo has been strong on arts and culture. Today, the region is a magnet for artists of all stripes, attracted by its rich history and alternative lifestyle. A strong collective spirit also drives a full calendar of community arts projects.
Bendigo’s dining scene reflects its cultural and demographic shift from backwater to modern boom town. Fish and chips and pub meals are no longer the order of the day, but are now complemented by sophisticated dining establishments that would be just as at home in Sydney or Melbourne. Look out for the rich red wines made in the Bendigo and Heathcote regions to go with your meal.
Hub of Australia's Goldfields region, art capital of Central Victoria, and charming city break, Bendigo has a lot going for it. Once a boomtown during Australia’s gold rush, it now attracts many newcomers drawn to its wealth of heritage architecture, fine food and wine, and world-class museums. A string of enticing towns and villages around Bendigo means there is plenty on offer beyond its borders.
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