The Gold Rush boom town and surrounding region is becoming a regional gastronomy heartland for regional Victoria. In Partnership with Visit Victoria, we seek out the best places to eat, drink and stay.
The Bendigo region has always been a plentiful food bowl. Just under two-hours north of Melbourne, it’s an area rich with producers who support and (literally) feed off each other, creating the perfect microclimate for paddock to plate produce. In 2019 the town’s shift from gold rush relic to modern dining destination was officially recognised, when it was named a UNESCO Creative City and region of Gastronomy, in recognition of its forward-thinking approach to locking in a self-sustaining future.
For the second half of the 19th century, the Victorian city of Bendigo produced more gold than anywhere in the world. But the region’s history goes back much further, and its riches far deeper. It’s the traditional land of the Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung people of the Kulin nation, and their enduring culture continues to be recognised in the heart of the city at Rosalind Park, in Bendigo Art Gallery, and in countless sacred sites throughout the region.
The Bendigo region takes in many towns, each with something unique to offer. Travellers can follow their nose in the Heathcote and Bendigo wine region, taste Australia’s “best” vanilla slice, visit a local butcher, enrol in cheese school (actually a thing) or drink cocktails on a rooftop bar. At the end of the day, retire to a serene stone cottage for a night cap by the fire pit.
Welcome to Bendigo and Surrounds
Local producers are at the heart of everything in this UNESCO City of Gastronomy
Plunge deep into the heart of shiraz country for premium cellar door experiences, or taste locally brewed craft beer.
Fill your basket with local goodies direct from the growers, get your cultural fix with international blockbuster art exhibitions and explore Australia’s original National Trust designated town.
This sprawling parkland in the middle of the city was once a maze of goldfield activity. Now its 60 acres features a historic conservatory, artworks such as Michael Doolan’s Happy Ending?, a 1931-built poppet head, functioning as a lookout tower and 50,000+ Tulips in flower in Spring.
Few towns have done as good a job of preserving their history as Maldon, a historic gold mining town 35 minutes south-west of Bendigo. Maldon boomed in the 1850s at the height of the gold rush and remarkably much of the streetscape remains largely unchanged. In 1966 it became the first Australian town to be classified by the National Trust, in recognition of its success in preserving its 19th century heritage. The town has many tours and workshops available to experience throughout the year as well as three self-guided historic walks taking you around Maldon’s most notable historic buildings, including the Kangaroo Hotel, the Freemasons’ Hall, the Royal Hotel & Theatre and Warnock’s Flour Mill.
From rustic escapes to water views, accommodation options lean into the land.
The Stables @ Heart of Gold Vineyard
A luxe retreat inside a revamped 1860’s sandstone cottage on a rural vineyard. It’s ten minutes from Bendigo, so you don’t have to go far to pull up stumps. And when you’re winding-down this close to a cellar door, you may as well taste all the wares on offer.
Sample local specialities
Take a tour through wine country and finish off with craft beer at the back of a stunning theatre.