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Victoria: Bendigo

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Victoria: Bendigo

story by: Tom Ricketts

Less than two hours drive northwest of Melbourne is the charming city of Bendigo. With a vibrant arts scene, delectable food and wine, magnificent heritage and a very long history, experience the wonderful contrasts of Bendigo as a fantastic option for a couple of days outside of the big city.

Bendigo has long been settled by Aboriginal peoples and farmers, but it wasn’t until the Victorian Gold Rush that the city really came to existence. It’s thought there were 40,000 prospectors in Bendigo within a year of gold being found, a staggering number when you consider the population of Melbourne at the time was only 23,000! The Victorian Gold Rush was one of the richest and longest in the world, and you can certainly see evidence of this in Bendigo’s town centre. The town centre is home to an impressive collection of heritage buildings, many of which can be visited today on cycling or walking tours.

Art lovers will be pleasantly surprised with the variety of galleries in town. The Post Office Gallery has a ‘Social Collection’ of significant artefacts from Bendigo’s history. There’s an Antique Gallery, Visual Arts Centre, and a Living Arts Space, all with their own unique collections bound to please. The Bendigo Art Gallery has a collection dating from 1850 and attracts many travelling exhibitions.

The land around Bendigo may no longer contain any gold, but it is certainly still producing for the region. The rich soils have been planted with vines and the town is now surrounded by dozens of cellar doors. Many of the vineyards are clustered together just south of the town making it an easy day out enjoying the good life. Many varieties are found, but Bendigo is particularly well known for its Shiraz.

After experiencing the local dining scene, head to the historic and elegant Capital Theatre or the brand new Ulumbarra Theatre for a show.

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