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Your guide to Bendigo
Name: Paul Scullie Position: RACV Bendigo Shop Manager Why he loves it: Bendigo has a rich history, the facilities of a city and the atmosphere of a country town. Absolute favourite? Bendigo has great food and lots to do.
Explore Bendigo on a Vintage Talking Tram. This hop-on, hop-off tour will transport you through the Bendigo CBD as the tram narrates your journey. Sights include the Alexandra Fountain, the Sacred Heart Cathedral and Pall Mall, as well as Bendigo’s shopping and dining destinations. The tour ticket is valid for two days. View routes and book tickets at bendigotramways.com.
Start the day with a coffee at the award-winning Cortille Cafe (Lyttleton Terrace). It serves all-day breakfast and lunch. I recommend the eggs benedict, but you can see the menu at online.
Catch a show
The Capital Theatre’s 10-metre high Corinthian columns line Bendigo’s View Street precinct. Built in 1873, it now hosts a variety of shows including comedies and musicals. Ulumbarra Theatre is a newly developed venue incorporating the old Sandhurst Gaol with the new features of the theatre. The stage is the largest in regional Australia. For listings and tickets go to thecapital.com.au.
Don’t leave town without a visit to the Bendigo Art Gallery (View Street), which in recent years has attracted fantastic blockbuster exhibitions around icons such as Grace Kelly (2012) and Marilyn Monroe (2016). It is one of the oldest regional galleries in Australia with permanent collections of 19th century Australian and international art, and contemporary works. For more on Victoria’s great regional galleries, see royalauto.com.au.
Finn and the friendly team at Rocks on Rosalind (10-12 View Street) are always worth a visit. The best way to experience Rocks is to select some options from the starter menu, or better still, embrace the banquet. After you have devoured the starters, a steak is the way to go; served medium rare on a slate plate with all the condiments and a nice glass of red, it makes for an ideal night. Those with a sweet tooth will love the chocolate tasting plate.
Bendigo Pottery is Australia’s oldest working pottery, dating to 1858. Near the pottery are stores and galleries. Stop at the Artizen Gallery to see spectacular metal sculptures by Yvonne George. Head to the Great Australian Olive Oil store for award-winning Glenwillow wines from the Yandoit Valley. While there, take a look at stunning prints by Cheryl Fyffe.
Andy, the chef and owner of the Cambrian Hotel (200 Arnold Street, North Bendigo), produces fantastic curries and seafood dishes. The food is great quality and served in a casual environment. The beer garden is the ideal spot for relaxing and watching the footy. Andy provides all your pub favourites, but try something that may be out of your comfort zone. The Cambrian has a wide range of local boutique beers and wines to wash down what can be a warm curry.
The O’Keefe Rail trail is a beautiful ride through the Bendigo, Axedale and Heathcote regions. A stop for lunch at the Axedale Tavern will give you a well-needed rest. At the end of the trail is the town of Heathcote. Renowned for its beautiful landscapes and spectacular shiraz wine, Heathcote is worth the 50-kilometre ride.
The cultural diversity of Bendigo is on display at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Myers Flat. At 50 metres wide at the base and nearly 50 metres high, this Buddhist monument is the largest stupa in the western world. People of all cultures and backgrounds are welcome to visit the monument, the beautiful gardens, meditation areas and gift shop.
Explore the solar system in the planetarium at the Discovery Science and Technology Centre (7 Railway Place). There are more than 100 exhibits, including a collection of insects and invertebrate at the Mini-Beasts exhibition. Kids can participate in interactive science experiments using real lab equipment or hop on the biggest vertical slide in the southern hemisphere.
RACV’s Bendigo shop is at 112 Mitchell Street. Drop in for all your RACV membership and insurance needs, plus great RACV member discounts on travel products.