Bendigo lies in the heart of the Goldfields, an area blessed with forests and farmland, pristine rivers and historic villages bustling with creative life. The city is characterised by impressive nineteenth-century architecture – a legacy of the great wealth unearthed by the world’s treasure hunters back in Victoria’s gold rush era. Today, it is famous for its local produce, restaurants, vineyards, vintage boutiques, attractions and art galleries.
The Festival will host a Regional World Longest Lunch in Bendigo on Friday 4 March 2016.
Dine under the canopy of heritage trees and enjoy award-winning wines and six courses of locally produced food at Regional World Longest Lunch Bendigo in Rosalind Park.
Here are some ideas on how to make the most of a weekend away:
The artists’ scene
Art lovers will be in their element at Bendigo Art Gallery – the largest regional gallery in Australia, with a track record for rolling out big international exhibitions. Set to continue this tradition, Bendigo Art Gallery and Twentieth Century Fox present Marilyn Monroe (5 March – 10 July 2016). Those looking to create their own work of art can throw a pot at Bendigo Pottery. A stroll through View Street Arts Precinct will reveal a bustling ambience where art, culture and vintage set the scene. Here, visitors can check out the locally made furniture at Jimmy Possum – just one of many shops dedicated to arts, craft and design.
Food Fossicking Tour
In an area increasingly known for its quality produce, the recently launched Food Fossicking Tour is a must. Participants meet the city’s food heroes at retailers and restaurants including Bendigo Wholefoods, The Epicurean Delicatessen, The Good Loaf, Indulge Fine Belgian Chocolates and Masons of Bendigo. And of course, taste some of Bendigo’s best local produce.
For a bite to eat
Hatted restaurant Masons of Bendigo promises to highlight the exceptional local produce of Central Victoria, while Rocks on Rosalind offers the chance to dine in an old bank vault, eat underground or enjoy a cocktail masterclass. For lunch on the go, The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery is a top choice, as is Edward’s Providore where all produce is sourced locally.
Music and performance
For a night of entertainment, the Bendigo Blues Tram certainly delivers. On board, fans can enjoy a live concert performed by some of the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival’s finest talent, while relaxing with a drink and taking in the city. The Blues Tram and Underground Banquet (4 and 6 March 2016) will combine a meal with music. For a stage production, the new Ulumbarra Theatre (housed in what was once Sandhurst Gaol) is the place to go.
The Golden Dragon Museum showcases a living history of the Chinese people of Bendigo from the gold rush of the 1850’s to the present day. It is now connected via a new ‘Chinese precinct’ to the Yi Yuan Gardens and Kuan Yin Temple. Those keen to experience the life of a miner can don a hard hat and miner's lamp at the Central Deborah Gold Mine, then descend 61 metres beneath the surface to Level 2 for a guided tour through the honeycomb of tunnels where almost one ton of gold was unearthed.
With so much to see and do, it makes sense to stay at least one night in Bendigo – an option too good to refuse with the Art Series’ The Schaller Studio, inspired by Mark Schaller's working studio.
Visit the Vines
Boutique Bendigo region wineries offer a welcoming cellar door experience and chances are you'll even meet the winemaker who'll be keen to chat about the latest vintage.