Once, they came here lured by gold. Today, Bendigo’s cultural and culinary riches are the drawcard. This town at the geographic heart of Victoria boomed during the Gold Rush of the 1850s, a legacy of which are many grand Victorian buildings, parks, and surrounding villages. In recent years, Bendigo and its villages have attracted a new breed of tree changers with experience in the arts, design, food and wine.
Just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne Airport or 90-120 minutes via V/Line from Southern Cross Station, Bendigo has plenty to offer visitors, whether they’re seeking exclusive exhibitions and festivals, world class eating and drinking, or simply an escape from the frenetic pace of Melbourne.
Before you book your stay in Bendigo, visit the Bendigo Tourism website for some specially curated accommodation packages that will suit Marilyn fans of all budgets; we're talking day spas, bottles of wine on arrival and late checkouts.
The Schaller Studio
Part of the Art Series Hotel Group, the Schaller Studio celebrates the art and working space of Melbourne-based artist Mark Schaller. There are large communal spaces, rooms filled with original artwork and landscaped gardens with sculptures and mosaics. Make sure you pay a visit to The Pantry, the hotel’s café which boasts a locally sourced menu and pre-packed picnics which are perfect for a trip to nearby Rosalind Park.
Cnr Lucan & Bayne Sts, Bendigo 3550. 03 4433 6100. www.theschallerstudio.com.au.
Built in 1854, Hotel Shamrock retains its period grandeur and boasts spacious suites named after historic personalities connected to the hotel or significant to Bendigo. Since you’ve made the trip to Bendigo, we recommend splashing out on the spa suite, where you’ll have a luxurious spa bath in a beautiful room looking at the famous Alexandra fountain.
Cnr Pall Mall & Williamson St, Bendigo 3550. 03 5443 0333. www.hotelshamrock.com.au.
Looking to stay somewhere socially minded? Your best option is Stay Social, an environmentally responsible hotel which offers warm and welcoming rooms for an accessible price. The best part about Stay Social is its communal atmosphere, so make sure you find a spot at one of the up-cycled outdoor tables and make a new friend.
212 Queen St, Bendigo 3550. 0473 987 770. www.staysocial.com.au.
Balgownie Estate Accommodation
Imagine waking up on your first morning in Bendigo and gazing out of the window at endless rows of green vineyard. This is a reality at the historical Balgownie Estate, one of Australia’s premium small vineyards and an undisputed gem of the region. Just steps from your self-contained unit is the cellar door (which is open for tastings seven days a week), and Bendigo’s town centre is ten minutes away.
46 Hermitage Rd, Maiden Gully 3551. 03 5449 6222. www.balgownieestatebendigo.com.
Quest Bendigo Central
Stay smack bang in the middle of the action for a great price at Quest Bendigo Central. These serviced apartments offer everything from studios to three-bedroom rooms. When you're not exploring all the sights of Bendigo, you can take a dip in the swimming pool or chill out in the barbecue area.
228 McCrae St, Bendigo 3550. 03 5410 1300. www.questapartments.com.au.
If you’re planning on bringing your whole crew on your Bendigo weekender, then there’s nothing better than making a big, beautiful house your home for the weekend. Head to Ellesmere – a beautiful Edwardian-style period house that's just a three-minute drive to the Bendigo CBD.
440 Napier St, White Hills 3550. 0427 865 245. www.ellesmere.com.au.
Time Out and Bendigo are giving you the chance to win one of ten double passes (valued at $25 each) to the Marilyn Monroe exhibition. To win, simply email us at email@example.com and explain in 25 words or less what Marilyn means to you. Tickets are valid on any day at any session time until July 10. Simply present your tickets on the door for arrival. View Time Out's competition terms and conditions. Competition ends Friday March 18.
For more information on Bendigo visit wandervictoria.com/goldfields.