Everything to see, eat and do in Bendigo

Alexandra Fountain in Bendigo


Posted March 28, 2024

From its world-class food and vibrant arts scene, to its Victorian architecture and relaxed vibe, Bendigo is full of attractions for all ages. 

Built upon on a gold-rush legacy dating back to the 1850s, Bendigo is a regional city located approximately two hours north-west of Melbourne, making it one of the best day trip destinations for families.

After gold was discovered in the area in 1851, Bendigo because home to tens of thousands of diggers hoping to find their fortune, and was once considered the richest city in the world due to the amount of gold found in the region.

For visitors, there is a wealth of attractions to do. Take a vintage tram ride, go on a gold-rush tour, party at a festival or relax in tranquil gardens. Enjoy the old-fashioned appeal, vibrant arts scene and delectable food offerings of this dynamic regional Victoria city.  

RACV Members save on travel and experiences around Bendigo and the Goldfields.


The best things to do in Bendigo

Attractions and experiences in Bendigo

There’s always something to do in the Bendigo area, no matter the time of year.

In summer there’s outdoor entertainment and live music, in autumn there’s the Bendigo Easter Festival – Australia’s longest running cultural festival – in winter there’s the Bendigo Writers Festival, and in spring there’s the annual Bloom spring program, with vibrant tulip displays blossoming in many colours of the rainbow.  

Bendigo Visitor Centre

Begin your Bendigo adventure at the Visitor Centre, your gateway to discovering this gold-rush city’s attractions.

Gather maps, brochures, and expert advice about historical sites, events, and accommodation, ensuring you make the most of your visit.

Bendigo Art Gallery

Establishing itself as a must-see destination for arts and culture lovers alike, Bendigo Art Gallery has been home to some of Victoria’s most exciting exhibitions.

As one of the country’s best, largest and oldest regional galleries, it boasts a rotating schedule of art, events and exhibitions. 

Past exhibitions have included a celebration of Marilyn Monroe’s life, a collection of celebrity wedding gowns from the Victorian and Albert Museum London, and Elivs: Direct from Graceland.

From 16 March to 14 July 2024, Paris: Impressions of Life 1880-1925 will feature more than 170 works of art and objects from France's Musée Carnavalet. 

Take a historical tram ride 

Operating since the 1890s, Bendigo’s heritage trams offer a hop-on, hop-off tour of the town. Plus, they’re dog friendly if you’re taking your pet on holiday.

Through the Vintage Talking Tram Tour audio guide, visitors can learn about Bendigo’s first people, the Dja Dja Wurrung, and explore the city’s highlights, including the heritage-listed Alexandra Fountain, the Deborah Gold Mine, and the Bendigo Tramways Museum.  


The talking tram is one of Bendigo's best known attractions. Image: Visit Victoria
Bendigo Art Gallery's reputation has grown significantly through its exhibition programming. Image: Visit Victoria
You can see extensive remnants of the region's prosperous gold mining heritage. Image: RACV

Discovery Science and Technology Centre

Ignite your curiosity at the Discovery Science and Technology Centre, a hands-on haven for science enthusiasts of all ages. 

Engage in interactive exhibits, thrilling experiments, and mind-bending displays that make learning about science a captivating adventure.

Golden Dragon Museum and Chinese Gardens Reserve

Discover the vibrant cultural heritage of Bendigo at the Golden Dragon Museum and Chinese Gardens Reserve.  

Explore the museum's extensive collection of Chinese artifacts, and immerse yourself in the beautifully landscaped Yi Yuan Gardens (Garden of Joy), celebrating the city's strong Chinese influence and history.

Catch a performance

Bendigo has a thriving arts community, and features a range of entertainment venues that showcase theatre, musicals, art and song, as well as exhibits, markets, festivals and events.  

From the gaol-turned-performance venue Ulumbarra Theatre, and the National Trust-listed building The Capital, to the Bendigo Town Hall, you can find out about the latest shows and events on in the region at the Visitor’s Centre.

Piano Bar

Come nightfall, immerse yourself in the soulful melodies and vibrant atmosphere of Bendigo's famed Piano Bar. Have a singalong with friends old and new to some of your favourite tunes.

Enjoy live music, sip on expertly crafted cocktails, head to a themed Drag Bingo or Open Mic night, and relish the entertaining and colourful atmosphere.


Central Deborah Gold Mine

Explore one of Bendigo's historical highlights by visiting the Deborah Gold Mine. Image: Anne Morely.


Enjoy the nature in Bendigo

From tranquil walks and hikes to mountain bike rides, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in this regional city and nearby Greater Bendigo National Park.

Lake Weeroona 

Escape to Lake Weeroona, a serene oasis that locals call the ‘jewel in Bendigo’s crown’. This scenic destination offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and families alike.

Relax with a picnic by the water, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lake with your dog, or simply relax with a book in hand. 

Bendigo Botanic Gardens

Surround yourself with the beauty of nature at one of regional Victoria’s oldest botanic gardens.

Bendigo Botanic Gardens, which is protected by Heritage Victoria, stretches over 15 acres, and features a range of diverse natural precincts, including the Indigenous Garden, the Lavender Collection, the contemporary Garden for the Future, and the famed World War I memorial, the Arc of Triumph.

There are also playgrounds, lagoons, and a walk-through aviary that will appeal to families, birders and botany enthusiasts.

Walks and hikes in Bendigo

Spanning over 17,000 hectares, Greater Bendigo National Park is part of the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung people.

The park features native wildflowers, a protected Box-Ironbark Forest, Australian wildlife, and designated picnic areas.

Stroll along the Old Town Mine Walk and learn about the area’s fascinating gold-rush history, climb to the summit of One Tree Hill for a panoramic view across Bendigo, or enjoy the easy 1.1km loop walk to the Flagstaff Hill Lookout.

Bike rides in Bendigo

If adventure is what you’re looking for, there’s no shortage of adrenalin-filled bike tracks around Bendigo and the wider Goldfields region.

Serious cyclists can take on the Goldfields Track, which at 210km is the state’s longest off-road cycling course. It runs along the Great Dividing Range, all the way from Bendigo to Ballarat.  

The 49km O’Keefe Rail Trail takes you from Bendigo to Heathcote, passing bushland, waterways, Lake Eppalock, and the town of Axedale.

Those looking for a one-way journey can choose to take public transport back, if needed, with bike rails provided on the front of the bus for the return journey. 

The 18.7km Bendigo Creek Trail takes family riders past the city’s historic icons and landmarks, while those looking for a more leisurely ride can try the 4.5km mountain bike track at the back of RACV Goldfields Resort.


The nearby RACV Goldfields Resort is home to the family-friendly restaurant, Three Founders. Image: RACV


Best places to eat and drink in Bendigo

As a UNESCO-listed ‘City of Gastronomy,’ the hardest part of dining in Bendigo won’t be finding somewhere to eat, but making the choice between the many cafes, bakeries and restaurants in the area.

Chancery Lane 

Uncover the hidden gems of Bendigo's culinary scene at the famed Chancery Lane. This bustling laneway is a hotspot for diverse eateries, from quirky cafes to upscale restaurants in a vibrant and charming setting.

Three Founders

Nearby Creswick in the Central Highlands features RACV’s signature restaurant at the  RACV Goldfields Resort.

Named after the Creswick brothers who founded the town in 1842, Three Founders  features a seasonal menu that celebrates the best of the region’s food and wine scene.

Guests can choose to dine indoors or relax on the outdoor terrace.

Percy and Percy 

Experience the charm of Percy and Percy, a trendy cafe nestled in a historic building. With a focus on quality coffee, delectable brunch options and a vibrant atmosphere, this cafe has become a local favourite. 

El Gordo

Spice up your culinary adventure at El Gordo, Bendigo's go-to for authentic Mexican cuisine.

Enjoy the lively atmosphere as you indulge in flavourful tacos, enchiladas, and mouthwatering street food, bringing the festive spirit of Mexico to the heart of Bendigo.

The Dispensary Bendigo

Step into the historic charm of The Dispensary Bendigo, a gastropub offering a fusion of classic and contemporary dishes.

With a carefully curated selection of craft beers and a menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, this establishment provides a cozy setting for a casual meal or a laid-back evening with friends.

Malayan Orchid Restaurant

Delight your taste buds with the exotic flavours of Malaysian cuisine at Malayan Orchid Restaurant.

Known for its diverse menu of aromatic curries, satays, and traditional dishes, this restaurant offers a culinary journey to Southeast Asia. 

Other highlights include Masons of Bendigo, Borchelli Ristorante, Hustler, and Wine Bank on View.