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Bendigo - A Golden Experience
 
bendigo vicJourney to the smack bang centre of Victoria and you will come across the infamous town of Bendigo. Situated an easy 90 minutes from the capital city of Melbourne, Bendigo is easy to find and access, via the Calder Highway. This is a great place to visit if your are looking for a place to escape the crowds and get in touch with some true Australian history.

Bendigo is most famous as one of Australia's major gold mining towns. In fact, in the years between 1850 and 1900, more gold was found here then in any other part of the world. This rich town has produced somewhere near $9 billion worth of this precious metal, which has essentially made it the 7th richest gold field in the world.

Bendigo's position on the northern fringe of the Great Dividing Range, means that it enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate. This is ideally what makes it a popular place to holiday, all year round. Another rich aspect of the town is its history, which is evident through its strong focus on art, culture, food and wine. A truly well-rounded place to visit.

Drive along the streets of the town centre and you will be met with awe-inspiring Victorian buildings, that clearly demonstrate and emphasise Bendigo's rich history and heritage. Among the most remarkable of these buildings is the Bendigo Town Hall, the School of Mines, the Bendigo Art Gallery and the Law Courts. Admire these buildings as you either drive or stroll along these quiet and quaint streets.

Bendigo boasts a vivacious arts and cultural scene and the town itself is home to several inspiring art galleries. The Bendigo Art Gallery is the most notable of these and offers a wide and diverse range of art. It is one of the largest and oldest regional art gallery's in Australia, specialising in exhibiting artworks that encompass the essence of Australian art. Browse the displays of traditional Australian art and artefacts, as well as many pieces from the Bendigo goldfields. These works are pleasantly contrasted with 19th Century European art which creates a cultural experience like no other. The Bendigo Pottery also offers an enlightening experience for tourists with the interpretive museum depicting even further, the true extent of Bendigo's history.

The local way of life in Bendigo can be uncovered by taking one of the guided and self-guided tours around town. Taking a Mine Experience Tour allows you to walk in the footsteps of the miners as you dare to mission underground and discover where the gold is hidden. There are also gold panning opportunities on offer, which offer a unique and unforgettable experience for the entire family.

The City of Greater Bendigo spans quite a lot of ground and it is almost impossible to see it all from land. So why not book as hot air balloon and see it all from the sky? There are several local destinations that the balloons take off from and all of these tours offer incredible views that are simply unsurpassed and impossible to view from the ground.

Set your feet back on the ground and relish the opportunity you have just gained to find the hidden treasures that lie in Bendigo. Take a short drive into the surrounding hills and you will stumble across the Great Dividing Trail. Trek along the Bendigo Goldfield's Walk, which begins in these hills and will take you through to the Bendigo Railway Station. This walk truly is a hidden treasure, and is characterised by deep gorges, fern lined rivers and local artefacts. Take this cultural experience at your own pace and then head out to the Greater Bendigo National Park, which is home to some of the highest quality Box-ironbark forest in the region. The native flora and fauna of this park are truly spectacular and give you a taste of Australia's wonder and splendour.

Fine dining is another of Bendigo's specialties, and the best place to experience this is at Bendigo Ninesevensix. This refurbished 1952 Melbourne SW6 Tram has been transformed into a classy dining tram. It will take you on a tour of the sights in Bendigo, allowing you to absorb the historic architecture all while enjoying the fresh, local cuisine and fine wine.

You will later be met with a wide variety of accommodation options, with something to suit every budget. The local caravan and tourist parks are perfect for those travelling in a campervan, while the comfortable cabin-style accommodation adds an extra touch of class. No matter what your needs, you are sure to find something here that suits you!

So whether it's from the depths of the underground mines or the clouds in the sky, Bendigo is guaranteed to offer something for the entire family!

Christine Barton




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