Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Bendigo, Victoria

  • Published 2022/08/10

Hidden in the folds of the Australian land is the quaint city of Bendigo, well-known for its pottery.

While the city’s ceramics are a big deal, Bendigo is also home to many other fascinating things and places.

The mines in Bendigo have generated over 780,000 kilograms of gold, making it among the wealthiest goldfields in the world.

From beautiful parks and interactive museums to serene lakes and excellent restaurants, Bendigo provides a quintessential Australian experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.

These are the best things to do in Bendigo, Australia:

Admire the Amazing Works at the Bendigo Art Gallery

Exterior of the Bendigo Art Gallery

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Even though Bendigo is best known for its pottery, the city also has a lot of attractions that showcase different types of art.

The Bendigo Art Gallery, located on View Street, was established in 1887 and is one of Australia’s oldest and largest regional art galleries.

It is an impressive building filled with an extensive collection of Australian art dating back from the 1850s to the present day.

Entrance to the Bendigo Art Gallery

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This gallery is known to conduct events and exhibitions quite frequently.

Every two years, the Bendigo Art Gallery hosts the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Australia’s richest and most luxurious Open Painting Prize.

During this event, shortlisted artists display their work for several months, while the awardee receives a generous cash prize.

Snap Photos of the Iconic Alexandra Fountain

Daytime view of the Alexandra Fountain

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One of Bendigo’s prominent landmarks is Alexandra Fountain, located at the intersection of Pall Mall and View Street.

The intersection, known as the Charing Cross, is conveniently placed in the center of the city; it also happens to be one of Bendigo’s busiest and most important intersections.

Alexandra Fountain was built as a monumental tribute to the success of the Goldfields and the Bendigo region.

Close view of the Alexandra Fountain

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Built in the 19th century, it was named after the Princess of Wales.

The fountain was designed in a late Victorian style by local architect William Charles Vahland and boasts a design that fascinates visitors immensely.

Taste Wine from the Bendigo Wine Region

Vineyard of Bendigo Wine Region

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The Bendigo Wine Region is a name collectively given to wineries dispersed all over the city, as well as in Bridgewater on Loddon, Madurang, Marong, and Harcourt.

The first grapevines were planted in 1856, after which many families came in and stayed to run several wineries.

Balgownie Estate, BlackJack Wines, Connor Park Winery, and Glenwillow Wines are some of the wineries in the region.

The wines brewed here are made with local grapes, picked and handcrafted by the producers.

One can try wines from the Bendigo Wine Region at local cellars, individual wineries, or restaurants.

The wines are delicious and will leave you wanting more!

Remember Fallen Heroes at the Bendigo Military Museum

Exterior of The Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum

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The Bendigo Military Museum is a significant addition to the city, equally appealing to locals and tourists.

It was initially established in 1921 and was later reopened in 2018 after being redeveloped and refurbished.

The museum houses a vast collection of wartime memorabilia, ranging from ancient books and medals to even knives, cigarette tins, and letters.

Front view of Bendigo Military Museum

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These exhibits—either loaned or donated by organizations and individuals—easily transport the visitors to the war era, showing those times through the soldiers’ well-preserved memories.

Step into the Bendigo Military Museum on Pall Mall and get lost in the memories of the brave heroes.

Step into the World of Pottery at the Famous Bendigo Pottery

Bendigo Pottery is Australia’s oldest working pottery, established by Scottish migrant George Duncan Guthrie in 1858.

Transformed into a global tourist attraction in the 1970s, the pottery has been operating in Epsom since the 1860s.

Bendigo Pottery comprises an antique center with 40 stalls, an interpretive museum where you can take a self-guided tour, a proper function center, several artist studios, a retail pottery sales shop, a rose garden, and a cafe.

The venue hosts many informative events and helpful workshops that visitors are welcome to attend.

Bendigo Pottery is an excellent place to experience the world of pottery.

Bask in the Tranquil Atmosphere at Sacred Heart Cathedral

Exterior of the Sacred Heart Cathedral

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Sacred Heart Cathedral, located on MacKenzie Street, is the principal church of the Diocese of Sandhurst and the seat of the Bishop of Sandhurst.

Designed by an architect from Reed, Barnes, and Tappin in 1895, the cathedral is one of Australia’s largest churches and is the third-tallest in the country.

It is always open for holding masses, events, occasions, and sacraments, including pre-wedding education, baptisms, and weddings.

Interior of the Sacred Heart Cathedral

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The Gothic Revival design suits the building, which is made entirely of sandstone quarried from Geelong and light-weight and steel-framed spires.

If you want to find peace in this bustling city, Sacred Heart Cathedral is the place to go.

Roof details of the Sacred Heart Cathedral

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Tour the Golden Dragon Museum and Yi Yuan Garden

The pond of Golden Dragon Museum & Gardens

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Standing on one of the historical sites of the Chinatowns of Bendigo, the Golden Dragon Museum is a fantastic storehouse of the culture and history of Chinese Australians in the region.

It was established in 1991 and eagerly shares the story of how Chinese heritage is preserved in Australia.

The museum is filled with Chinese arts, crafts, and displays made by visiting tradespeople and artisans.

The gate of Golden Dragon Museum

Tim Gillin from Sydney, Australia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Bridge Street, the Golden Dragon Museum is situated within the stunning Yi Yuan Garden (also known as the Garden of Joy).

The authentic Chinese garden, based on the gardens of the Imperial Palace in Beijing, also comprises a Buddhist temple and the Guan Yin Miao (Temple of the Goddess of Mercy).

These attractions make up a beautiful piece of China woven into Australian culture.

Have a Drink at the Beer Garden at the Gold Mines Hotel

The Goldmines Hotel, well-known for its beer garden, is one of the most sought-after hotels in Bendigo.

It is one of the city’s oldest hotels and was established in 1857.

Since then, the hotel has been renovated and updated to suit modern-day needs.

Apart from its famous beer garden, the hotel’s much-loved features include live music performances on weekends.

Guests can feast on innovative dishes with a glass of beer or wine or spend their time leisurely walking around the hotel’s courtyard and the garden.

The Goldmines Hotel is located on Marong Road, on the outskirts of Bendigo.

Admire the Best Views of the City from Rosalind Park

Gorgeous landscape of Rosalind Park

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The beautiful Rosalind Park is located on the corner of View Street and Pall Mall.

The space was a grassy woodland before the 1850s, lined with large Eucalyptuses by the Bendigo Creek.

Back in the day, it was the Dja Dja Wrung community’s primary source of food and water.

Benches along a trail at Rosalind Park

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Today, it boasts 60 acres of open space and is filled with soft grass and lush trees.

Rosalind Park also comprises a large playground, a conservatory, a fernery, a lookout tower, numerous gardens, and ornate statues dispersed all over the area.

Visitors are welcome to climb to the top of the Poppet Head lookout tower, which offers some of the city’s best views.

Interior of Rosalind Park's conservatory

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Tour the Underground Tunnels at Central Deborah Gold Mine

Signage of Central Deborah Gold Mine

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If you’ve wanted to visit gold mines for a long time, then you are in luck.

Bendigo is home to Central Deborah Gold Mine, a fantastic gold mine that was discovered in 1939.

While it’s no longer operational, it opened to the public as a tourist attraction in 1986.

Pan for gold displayed in Central Deborah Gold Mine

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It has a remarkable history that dates back to Bendigo’s gold rush era, which you can learn all about through Central Deborah Gold Mine’s underground tours.

The Bendigo Trust is responsible for restoring and preserving the gold mine, including much of its fittings and mining machinery.

Central Deborah Gold Mine is located on Violet Street.

The tower of Central Deborah Gold Mine

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Stroll around the Lovely Lake Weeroona

The waters of Lake Weeroona

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Lake Weeroona is a beautiful man-made lake and reserve located on Napier Street.

This ornamental lake, spread over 18 hectares, was a former mining area before being transformed into a lake in the 1870s.

It was created under the supervision of the art director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, William Guilfoyle.

You can reach the lake in a vintage tram, which runs from the city center to the lake.

There is a large playground, accommodation facilities, a car parking area, and many delicious eateries and BBQs.

People can walk around the lake—a path that takes approximately 20 minutes to traverse—or even jog or cycle around.

You can also enjoy some delicious food items in front of Lake Weeroona’s tranquil waters.

Explore the City with Bendigo Tramways

View of a Bendigo Tramway vehicle

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While they are no longer an active part of Bendigo’s public transportation system, trams are an integral part of Bendigo’s tourism.

Bendigo Tramways offers tours based on the world’s heritage trams and gives travelers a wholesome view of the city’s mesmerizing architecture and aesthetic streetscapes.

Tourists riding Bendigo Tramway

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The tourist attraction has a fleet of 45 trams, 15 of which are a part of the Vintage Talking Tram Service.

Providing tourists with an exciting way to tour the city, Bendigo Tramways was named Australia’s Cultural Attraction of the Year in 2016.

These trams are, as the locals claim, a perfect and comfortable way to cover important landmarks and tourist attractions without wasting much time.

Bendigo Tramways on the street of Bendigo

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See the Many Attractions at the Bendigo Botanic Gardens

The Bendigo Botanic Gardens is one of the earliest regional Victoria’s botanic gardens and the city’s first public garden.

Located in White Hills, it was created in 1857 and boasts many features that visitors love.

To begin with, the botanical garden comprises a walk-through bird aviary, a beautiful lake, a musical adventure playground, small gardens, and fantastic barbecue facilities.

The playground is a hit among the children, with its swings, slides, suspension bridge, and hammock.

The Bendigo Botanic Gardens is also home to a billabong, heritage tree collection, lavender collection, cottage garden, WW1 Arch of Triumph, grape walk, and a proper picnic pavilion dating back to the early 1900s.

Visit the Planetarium at Discovery Science and Technology Centre

Located on Railway Place, Discovery Science and Technology Centre is one of Bendigo’s most fascinating attractions.

It is known to induce scientific curiosity in its visitors, especially children, with a fun and exciting approach.

There are more than 100 impressive displays that visitors can check out, along with a Planetarium and an early learning space called Kaleidoscope, designed for children under six.

In addition, there are some exciting attractions, such as the southern hemisphere’s tallest vertical slide.

Discovery Science and Technology Centre is known for its science and planetarium shows, which visitors are welcome to attend.

The center has something for people of every age group to enjoy to their heart’s content.

Tour the Elegant Rooms at Fortuna Villa

Fortuna Villa, located on Chum Street, features a lake, gardens, a Roman bath, and the Pompeii Fountain.

The 7.57-acre attraction is situated amid beautiful gardens filled with lush greenery.

The stunning home itself serves as the property’s aspirational focal point.

George Lansell, who made money from his ventures and gold mining activities, purchased Fortuna Villa and the 180 Mine connected to the New Chum Reef in 1871.

Despite being a bustling business for 65 years, the villa is amazingly intact as a home.

Numerous public activities are frequently held at this venue.

Engage in Sports Events at Bendigo Stadium

Located along Inglis Street, Bendigo Stadium is a center of excellence for sports and entertainment, hosting everything from major sporting activities to corporate events and local recreation.

As it is the biggest indoor stadium outside of metropolitan Melbourne and the most extensive netball facility in rural Victoria, it has become a desirable location for major athletic events.

Three significant modifications have been made due to the rising demand for indoor athletic and entertainment venues.

Given its popularity, Bendigo Stadium can potentially increase travel and tourism in the Bendigo area.

The economy benefits from hosting such events, notably the lodging, tourism, and retail industries.

Stop by and Get Information at Bendigo Visitor Centre

Exterior of Bendigo Visitor Centre

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Bendigo Tourist Centre, located on Pall Mall, can assist you with your inquiries on travel requirements, places to eat and shop, and tourist attractions and activities.

They also provide visitors with maps and guidebooks.

More than just an information center, it is one of Bendigo’s most stunning historic structures, first used as the Post Office and inaugurated in 1887.

The building is an iconic exemplar of Renaissance Revival architecture.

In addition, the Post Office Gallery, highlighting the area’s history, and the Living Arts Space, which features the best of local artisans, are currently located here.

Bendigo Tourist Centre is a must-visit attraction that also provides high-quality gifts and souvenirs.

Stroll around the Bustling Chancery Lane

Chancery Lane is one of Bendigo’s most famous laneways, thanks to its unique mix of cuisine, clothing, and art.

This charming little street was formerly known as Dispensary Lane in honor of the bustling pharmacy that once stood there.

The energy and Melbourne laneway atmosphere are enhanced by the continuously shifting artwork and many gastronomy events.

As you explore the salons and boutiques along Chancery Lane, you will also find some of Australia’s up-and-coming fashion and beauty businesses.

Visit this hip, cozy location that serves modern Australian cuisine, drinks, and more than 100 varieties of beer.

Have a Peaceful Stay at Quest Bendigo Central

There are 60 luxury accommodations at Quest Bendigo Central, including studio, single, double, and triple bedroom apartments.

This hotel on McCrae Street offers apartment-style hotel rooms for short-term or extended stays, providing visitors with a calm and comfortable Bendigo lodging experience.

Guests at Quest Bendigo Central have a wide variety of specialty food and wine delights to choose from.

The hotel’s high-speed Internet connection, telephone line, in-room workstations, and business support services will help you stay connected.

Central Deborah Gold Mine and Bendigo Pottery are close to the accommodation.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Witness the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

Exterior of Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

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The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is one of the most sacred places in Victoria.

This grand Buddhist monument is located in Myers Flat, 15 minutes from Bendigo.

Measuring 50 meters wide and 48 meters tall, it is a proud home of many holy objects, including the largest Buddha statue carved from gem-quality jade in the world, known as the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace.

After touring the world for nine years, the Jade Buddha has found its final home in the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion.

Visitors can join guided tours, which start with an introductory video and take you through the Peace Park and into the stupa.

As you walk around this attraction, you will see relics and artworks and learn about Buddhism and Asian art and culture.

Final Thoughts

Bendigo is a diversified city with lovely parks, engaging museums, tranquil lakes, and fine restaurants.

While it’s famous for its pottery, the city is also known for its gold mines, and tourists are invited to explore their underground tunnels.

Bookmark this list of the best things to do in Bendigo, Australia, and enjoy an authentic Australian adventure!

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