Visit Bendigo and experience a vibrant regional city jam-packed with creativity, great food and wine, happening festivals and friendly locals, all thriving among a heritage setting that stacks up to the grand European cities that inspired it.
Bendigo has long been a must-see destination. When gold was first discovered here in the mid-1800s the world soon cottoned on and the box-ironbark forests and creek flats were overcome by people from around the globe hell bent on striking riches. Many did, and much of the wealth exhumed from the earth was invested back into building the city. That’s why Bendigo boasts some of the country’s most impressive architecture, public sculptures, fountains and gardens. And while Bendigo’s built heritage is certainly historic, it’s far from old hat. Today this place has inspired creativity and innovation on show for all to enjoy.
Go Back in Time with a Tour of Ballarat and Sovereign Hill
Victoria’s largest inland city, Ballarat is a thriving hub of contemporary arts with a fascinating heritage backdrop. Explore the legacy of the gold rush, still evident in the magnificent Victorian and Edwardian architecture and tree-lined streets of the town today. Pan for gold and watch the hustle and bustle of an 1850s gold mining settlement at Sovereign Hill.
Other highlights include the Ballarat Botanical Gardens on the shores of Lake Wendouree, Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Arch of Victory, Eureka Stockade Memorial and Prime Ministers Avenue.
In the 1850s Ballarat became the world’s wealthiest town when thousands of international adventurers rushed to the Australian goldfields to seek their fortune. Sovereign Hill is where Australia’s history comes to life – from the hustle and bustle of Main Street where characters dressed in traditional goldfields costumes are more than happy to pose for a photo, to the excitement of the Red Hill Gully Diggings where you can pan for real gold. Visit working shops, hotels, schools, a theatre, crafts, a wheelwright, a candle maker, a confectioner and steam-driven machinery.
After enjoying a two course lunch at the Gallery, Craig’s Royal Hotel or the New York Bakery in Sovereign Hill we will spend the next hour or so taking in the buildings and shops of this historical city. The Lydiard Street Victorian streetscape boasts numerous double story architectural gems highlighting the wealth generated during the gold rush. A stroll up and down the street starts with the stunning Ballarat Train Station, passes the Art Gallery of Ballarat (home to some of Australia’s most famous artists including Sidney Nolan, Arthur Streeton, Russell Drysdale and Tom Roberts), Old Colonists’ Hall, Mining Exchange, Former Ballarat Post Office, the legal precinct, the Ballarat School of Mines, and the remnants of the former Ballarat gaol.
One of Australia’s most significant cool climate gardens, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens feature a remarkable collection of mature trees and marble statues set amongst colourful bedding displays. The Gardens, covering over 40 hectares and divided into four distinct zones are a popular and invaluable heritage and recreational location for residents and visitors.