A Golden Adventure at the Places to See in Bendigo
The rich history of Australia is reflected in this city in Victoria that is popular among locals and foreigners alike. Bendigo is a heritage-filled place that will bring you to the gold rush era, let you experience the wonders of nature, and revel in the festivities to celebrate arts and culture. One can say that the city is an architecture lover’s dream, with its many buildings that depict different cultures and times. You will be impressed with the activities that you can do here that are not available in other places. With many places to see in Bendigo and the activities you can join in, the whole family will surely have a memorable vacation.
1. Central Deborah Gold Mine
One of the most educational experiences that you can do in Bendigo is to go to Central Deborah Gold Mine. The boom of the gold rush in the 1900s was felt in the city and underground gold mine that was operation back then is now a famous attraction in Bendigo. When you go down Central Deborah Gold Mine, you will see the famous Mine Experience Tour that is 61 meters underground. The friendly guides will walk you through the hidden tunnels below and tell you the conditions that the gold miners worked in. There is also the exciting Underground Adventure tour that takes you 85 meters underground, and the unbeatable Nine Levels of Darkness, the deepest underground mine of Australia that is 228 meters below. The gold fever will surely strike you at this Victoria heritage attraction.
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2. Bendigo Tramways
One of the best ways to explore Bendigo is to ride their trams that have been part of the city’s identity since the 1890s. The Bendigo Tramways have guided tours that have stops all over the city. Park your car and hop on the tram where you can hear all about the architecture, history, and culture of the city. What sets the Tramways apart from others is that you can choose what type of tour you can have. You can choose to hop on the Dja Dja Wurrung Tram where you will hear about the traditions of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, the first inhabitants of Bendigo. A monthly event can also be experienced in the Blues Tram where customers will be treated to relaxing drinks against the musical backdrop of some of the city’s best talents. Every winter, the Yarn Bomb Tram runs through Bendigo’s streets. It is the first tram to be “yarn bombed”, and it has become a famous attraction among tourists on its own. Sit down, relax, and enjoy the sights the city has to offer when you get on the Bendigo Tramways.
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3. Bendigo Art Gallery
No vacation is complete without stopping by a gallery. First opened in 1887, Bendigo Art Gallery takes you from Australian colonial to contemporary art. The permanent collections are some of the most extensive regional collections in the country. There are also temporary exhibitions that showcase artists both local and foreign. The varied collections feature sculptures, paintings, ceramics, photography, decorative arts, and works on paper. The travelling collections featured at the Art Gallery attract many visitors from Victoria and nearby Melbourne, bringing art aficionados together to attend the dynamic programs and varied exhibitions.
4. Golden Dragon Museum
The Chinese people have long been part of Bendigo’s history. Since the gold rush era up to present, Chinese heritage is embedded in the lives of Bendigo locals that it is difficult to imagine the city without its Asian traditions. The Golden Dragon Museum was brought by the Bendigo Chinese Association in its effort to document and celebrate the living history of the Chinese in the area. The museum opened in 1991 and stands as the Chinese Cultural Centre of Australia. It boasts of a vast collection of paper relics from the gold rush of the 1800s, an archived collection of dragon banners, and other Chinese crafts from artisans. The activities set up at the Golden Dragon Museum allows visitors to experience first hand how to make Chinese opera masks or learn Chinese calligraphy, making kites or lanterns, and puppets and headpieces that are both fun to make but educational to learn the history of as well. Guests will surely enjoy the tea room where light refreshments are served and the souvenir shop where you can get gifts for your family. The gardens are architecturally based on the Beijing Imperial Palace and are sure to fascinate guests with its lotus flower and Buddhist temple.
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5. Bendigo Pottery
Step back in time and experience first hand how it is to be a potter at the oldest working potter of Australia. Established in the mid-1800s, Bendigo Pottery has been around more than a century. Here, you can join the hands-on activities and work with clay to experience making your own pot with a potter’s wheel. The Interpretative Museum will walk you through the skills, process, machinery, and working conditions needed to create the perfect ceramic piece. There are galleries that feature work from Australian potters and sculptors, an Antique and Collectible Center, and a retail centre where you can get different pieces like bespoke tableware. Studio galleries also feature artists who create jewellery, glass beads, glass sculpture, as well as those in photography, textile, and printmaking. End your day with a relaxing cup of coffee or light meal at the café and bask in the beauty of traditional and contemporary art in Bendigo Pottery.
6. Sacred Heart Cathedral
In central Bendigo, we find the sentinel of the Catholic Faith, the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Construction took over a century, and the magnificent Cathedral was finally completed in 2001. The architecture is English Gothic, with a soaring steeple that is impossible to miss, a high-vaulted ceiling, glass-stained windows, carved bishop’s chair, and wooden angels seen throughout the ceilings. The bells at the belfry are from Italy, and the whole city can hear them ringing. The Cathedral is lit at night, making it a beacon of light for the city. There are guided tours for visitors to know more about the history of the Cathedral as well as sacraments of the Eucharist or Mass, weddings, and baptisms for the Catholic faithful.
7. Villa Fortuna
Very few things in Bendigo will rival the opulence and extravagance of this Victorian-era mansion that is Villa Fortuna. Set on a property that is more than 7 hectares in size, it is the former home of George Lansell, a mining entrepreneur who was at one time one of the world’s richest men. It was opened to the public in 2015 and has become one of the most popular tourist sites because of its lavish interiors, beautifully curated gardens, a Roman bath, and Pompeii fountain. You can choose to visit in the morning when an assortment of local produce is served for high tea before touring the grounds, or in the afternoon where afternoon tea includes craft beer and local wines. A string quartet serves as entertainment while eating. It has served dignitaries in the past and is currently preparing to be a high-end boutique hotel. Although there is a fee to enter Villa Fortuna, it will be worth every penny as the tour, wining, and dining will take you the opulence and lavishness of the past era.
8. Rosalind Park
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Bendigo is Rosalind Park. Originally a campsite for the first batch of miners to settle in Bendigo, it has now become a famous tourist area for visitors who want to relax and explore the beauty of the city. Located on the edge of the central business district of Bendigo, visitors will be treated to 60 acres of open space, lush trees, fernery, and old gardens that you can explore. There is a conservatory, ornate statues, and the breathtaking Cascades Fountain, a heritage treasure that was excavated after 120 years of being buried. Rosalind Park is the perfect place to bring your family as children can enjoy a wonderful playground while adults get in touch once again with nature.
9. Great Stupa of Universal Compassion
Planned to be rising 50 meters high above the bushland in Bendigo is the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. Blessed by the Dalai Lama in 2007, it is currently around 25 meters in height and will be the biggest stupa of the Western world upon completion. You can have a self-tour or guided tours that will take you around this place that is home to many sacred objects, including the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, the largest Buddha in the world that is carved from jade with gem-quality. There is a large collection of artwork and relics that you can see inside. The guided tour includes DVD viewing on the introduction of the Great Stupa, the future plans, and the actual tour of the area and its surroundings including the gardens that are famous for its Bodhi tree, Tibetan prayer wheels, and Buddhist sculptures. The Great Stupa is a great place to visit in Bendigo to remind us of the historical and cultural dynamics of the city.
10. Bendigo Botanic Gardens
Completing our list of top places to see in Bendigo is Bendigo Botanic Gardens. Established in 1857, the Gardens are home to exotic flora and fauna. Located 2 kilometres north of town, the land is alongside the Bendigo Creek. A lagoon was dug into the creek, creating a natural wetland that is still seen up to this day. You will be welcomed by the grand Arch of Triumph at the entrance before being treated to the open spaces and beautiful gardens of this piece of paradise. The whole family will surely enjoy a trip to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens as there are playgrounds, picnic sites, and barbecue facilities dotted throughout the Gardens.
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The shared history of many cultures is seen in the way Bendigo thrives and lives today. The famous places to see in Bendigo may seem different from each other at first glance. There are historical sites that touch on the city’s gold rush era, heritage places that describe the rich cultural and religious diversity of its people, art places and festivities that showcase the talent of the city and its surrounding areas, and sites of natural beauty that speak of the wonders of nature thriving in Bendigo. Day or two may not be enough to explore the whole city and enjoy all the activities that it can offer but if you have the time, visit Bendigo and revel in its beauty, culture, and history that reflects the dynamics of the whole country.