Bendigo Art Gallery
Once, travelling hours to see an art exhibition several times a year might've raised a few eyebrows; but these days, crowds flock from around the state to visit the Bendigo Art Gallery – one of Australia's most oldest and largest regional galleries. In addition to its impressive permanent collection of Australian artists (among them Bill Henson, Patricia Piccinini and Emily Kame Kngwarreye), the gallery has become well-known for hosting major travelling exhibitions. Locals and out-of-towners alike have marvelled at visiting Marilyn Monroe and Toni Maticevski exhibitions. Keen for more art experiences? Head to the nearby La Trobe Art Institute and encounter works by cutting-edge student artists.
Bendigo Pottery was founded in 1857 and houses Australia’s oldest pottery kilns, which still operate today. You'll have the opportunity to watch potters and artisans at work as they create everything from dinnerware to sculptures – and even buy something special to take home. You can peruse the museum, shop in the Antiques and Collectables Centre, or have a go yourself Ghost-style.
Central Deborah Mine
Bendigo's story began with miners lured to the town by the promise of discovering gold. Today, the true drawcards are cultural and culinary; but it's still well worth immersing yourself back in Gold Rush times to get a feel for the region's history. Half a kilometre deep, the Central Deborah Goldmine Bendigo operated from 1939 to 1954 and yielded nearly a tonne of gold. Find your inner prospecter during a guided tour through the shafts and tunnels and keep an eye out for any remaining seams of gold.
Did you know that Bendigo boasts a thriving performing arts scene? Jump in and discover all the best the region has to offer at The Capital; a grand old building that was originally built as a Masonic hall in 1873, but now plays host to everything from Russian National Ballet performances to comedians to performances by local arts organisations. While you're in town, make sure you also check out what's happening at it's sister venue the Ulumbarra Theatre, where big acts like You Am I, Ross Noble and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra wow audiences every week.
One of the big reasons why Melburnians decide to make the treechange to Bendigo is the region's abundance of beautiful wide open space. The crowning jewel of the town is Rosalind Park; 60 acres of leafy walkways, playgrounds, statues, a fernery and a grand old conservatory. Given its close promixity to Bendigo's CBD, it's the perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a picnic for when you need a break from your culture-packed trip.