Insider's Guide to Bendigo

Despite working throughout Australia at some of our country's most notable venues, owner of Rocks on Rosalind Finn Vedelsby chooses to stay in Bendigo where he grew up. He filled us in on some of the biggest draw cards the bustling regional centre has to offer - where to eat, drink and be merry in Bendigo.

Best Place for an afternoon tipple
I like to stop off at The Dispensary for an interesting beer or a well made drink depending on the time of the afternoon. But if food is on the cards, the team and I love to pop over to Mr Beebe's. They have an all day menu with some seriously tasty selections and a simple but well-crafted selection of delicious beers on tap and some great local wines represented by the glass.

Favourite winery to visit and their ‘must taste’ vintage
Pro tip from me – Nebbiolo from the team at Sandhurst Ridge and Monastrell from Wes Vine at Mandurang Valley Wineries are what wine from this region is all about, so many flavours, so many styles. All great.

Best café for breakfast and what to order
Percy and Percy - if you can make it past the counter displays piled high with baked goods and pastries, try any of the hot breakfasts on offer. They are big, tasty and often feature some local produce highlights. Elisha and her team have transformed the heritage corner store into a funky 'Fitzroy-esque' café, with a throwback to the history of the two original owners, both named Percy.

Best restaurant for a splash out meal
Well my own joint is the best venue for fun, obviously (haha). Masons of Bendigo's attention to detail with their food and produce is a real coup for Bendigo, as is their wine list. Beef lovers can expect great things from Paul Pitcher and his wood grill at The Woodhouse.

Best kept local secret
The Brougham Arms has the best pub food I have seen since I left Melbourne.

Tastiest coffee in town
Bendigo Wholefoods brand new café has Tim Dalton working there, he makes a very tasty brew. I haven't been there yet though. Otherwise try The Wholesome Bean, Luke Gray has been making awesome coffees for years.

Favourite local producer and what to take home with you
I get my T-bones from Meats on Mitchell. Ask for the Finn Special – needs special cooking instructions. Visit the Winebank across the road from Rocks to see the worlds largest cellar of Bendigo and Heathcote wines. Vegies and other good stuff from Bendigo Wholefoods.

Best place to mix in with the locals
Head to the Bendigo Farmers Market on the second Saturday of the month, fill up your basket then pull up a picnic rug in Rosalind Park next door.

Time your visit for Courtyard Cook Fest, Sunday 6 March, where Rocks on Rosalind will host  a family-friendly party out in their courtyard, sizzling up tasty delights on the giant outdoor grill and super wok, accompanied by a great selection wine, beer and music.

Otherwise hop on the Bendigo Blues Tram running from 4 to 6 March, and experience the rich culture of the streets of Bendigo aboard a restored 1930s charter to the soundtrack of jazz, followed by dinner at Rocks on Rosalind.