Located around 150km North-West of the Melbourne CBD, Bendigo is a great destination for a weekend getaway. There is plenty to see, do, eat and shop in this historical Victorian gold mining town. In Bendigo, you can find stunning architecture, amazing art, delicious food, and serene gardens So if you are looking for a weekend escape from Melbourne, you should definitely make the trip to Bendigo. Here are my picks for how to spend a long weekend in Bendigo:
Driving into Bendigo from Melbourne you won’t be able to miss the Sacred Heart Cathedral, one of Australia’s largest Catholic churches. It’s well worth a stop to take in the sheer size and beauty of this church.
Grab lunch at Cortille, a local cafe known for serving coffee from a cute refurbished caravan. Not only can you get a great cup of coffee here, but they have yummy brunch and lunch options.
After lunch, head over to the Bendigo Art Gallery , one of the oldest and largest regional galleries in Australia, and spend a couple of hours immersing yourself in the art and exhibitions on display.
Stop in at the Harpoon Social Club for dinner to get a fix of fresh and tasty modern Japanese dishes. This place has a great atmosphere and the service is excellent.
After dinner, go for a walk before the sun sets around Rosalind Park Conservatory Gardens and see the impressive and vibrant lotus sculptures in front of the Golden Dragon Museum.
Enjoy breakfast at Sim’R a local cafe with a great range of food options, before stepping out and exploring Chancery Lane, a tiny hidden laneway, that houses some fantastic stores and insta-worthy street art.
Learn about the history of gold mining in Bendigo at the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Here you can descend 61, 85 or (if you’re really brave) 228 metres underground to walk in the footsteps of past miners. I would highly recommend doing this as it’s informative and fun.
The Vintage Talking Tram departs from the Central Deborah Gold Mine, so if you want to sit back and see and hear about the city’s key landmarks and monuments, jump on the tram and head back into town.
For lunch consider Hoo•gah, a modern cafe serving up buddha bowls, panko, and sesame crumbed tofu and slow-cooked ricotta gnocchi.
Do a spot of shopping at these cute and quirky local shops: Bob Boutique, Bendigo Hat Shop, Bendigo Book Mark, and The Mad Hatter Tea Shop.
After your retail therapy, have a sweet treat at The Good Loaf bakery. When you leave make sure to snap a pic of the giant film reel that is just opposite the bakery.
Head back to Chancery Lane for dinner at The Dispensary.
Before heading back to Melbourne, enjoy one last breakfast at one of the many fantastic cafes in Bendigo – Brewhouse Cafe. It’s not exactly on the way if you’re heading back to Melbourne, but if you are willing to drive approx 13km North-West of Bendigo, you will find The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. It is the largest stupa currently being built in the western world and even seeing it still being constructed (as of January 2019) it was still an impressive sight.
Check out my vlog if you want to see more of my long weekend in Bendigo: