Explore goldrush history, culture and colonial architecture in Victoria’s former boom town.
The gold might have gone but the good times are still rolling in the elegant, historic regional centre of Bendigo. Its grand, opulent buildings, Chinese heritage and living museums are a visible legacy of the 1850s and 60s gold rush that transformed the region.
In the 1880s Bendigo sat on the world’s richest goldfields, a wealth which funded many fine buildings, including Bendigo Town Hall, the newly restored Alexandra Fountain, the magnificent former post office, the art gallery and law courts. Visit them on a stroll through the broad boulevards and tree-lined streets, where you half expect to see ladies with huge hoop skirts and prospectors puffing on their pipes.
Take a historic excursion on Bendigo's talking tram, see Australian art dating back to 1850 or browse the many antique stores. You can even don a hard hat and drop the equivalent of three stories down an old mining shaft on a guided tour. Afterwards, calm your nerves with a pint at the Shamrock hotel, which was rebuilt three times, each more sumptuous than the last.
While you’re connecting to gold-rush history, Bendigo also has an important Chinese story for you to explore. Learn about the tens of thousands of Chinese miners who flocked here during the gold rush in the Golden Dragon Museum, then soak up serenity in the classical gardens. You can visit the original 1860 Joss House or temple, explore Australia’s largest Chinese burial ground or see the remnants of Chinese diggings. You’ll love the annual Easter Parade, where the world’s oldest and longest imperial dragon does a colourful dance through town.
Long before the Chinese and Europeans, the Jarra Jarra people occupied the land where gold was discovered. You can celebrate with the descendents of this Aboriginal tribe during annual NAIDOC Week festivities in Bendigo. Or see Jarra Jarra rock wells on the Eureka Reef Walk.
When you’re done with history, relax in one of the city’s beautiful parks, visit a local winery or cycle the Bendigo Bushland Trail past dazzling flowers, abundant wildlife and famous heritage buildings.
You don’t have to stay long to realise Bendigo is still booming in more ways than one.