Autumn in Bendigo
BENDIGO IS A VIBRANT regional centre, boasting beautiful streets created from one of the world's greatest gold rushes. Now fondly regarded as an arts and cultural hub, Bendigo's historic streets beat with a contemporary feel. Good food, wine, boutique shopping, attractions and experiences are ready to be explored. Magnificent buildings and monuments remain in Bendigo to shed light on the formative hey days, and today they are the beautiful backdrop to a fascinating destination. Over 50 events are showcased during autumn celebrating Bendigo's modern culture of arts, fashion, food and wine, against a magnificent backdrop of gold rush architecture.
FOOD, WINE AND CRAFT BEER
Discover hidden bars, funky cafés, elegant restaurants and traditional pubs offering cuisines from around the globe. There's nothing better than sampling a local Bendigo or Heathcote wine in a cosy heritage pub or bar. Visit more than 40 cellar doors across the Bendigo and Heathcote wine regions for a heartwarming chat with the winemaker about the latest vintage.
Autumn is all about food and wine in Bendigo and foodies will love a visit during the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Regional Weekend, from 31 March to 2 April. Events include Regional World's Longest Lunch and Bendigo Blues Tram & Underground Banquet.
If craft beer excites your taste buds Bendigo Craft Beer & Cider Festival on 25 March will showcase the best craft beers and ciders in Victoria and beyond. Sample up to 100 different beers and ciders with up to 25 breweries to attend. Strategem Bendigo Winemakers Festival is held on 29 April at the historic Rosalind Park in central Bendigo where you can meet the winemakers from more than 20 wineries from the region to taste.
Bendigo Art Gallery celebrates 130 years in 2017 and to mark the occasion will present a dynamic new exhibition of historic, contemporary, curious, significant, and much loved favourites from the gallery's renowned collection. They are also presenting House of Mirrors in collaboration with Latrobe Arts Institute. Take a fascinating walk through exclusive Victorian installations composed of a labyrinth of seemingly endless mirrors, a play on the 19th century mirror mazes. Getting out is an art. Groovin the Moo on 6 May will see more that 15,000 people converge for the annual concert at the Bendigo Showgrounds.
If you love a bit of drama, then you will want to visit Bendigo's stunning Ulumbarra Theatre for two powerful and contemporary live performances. “Coranderrk”, based on the true story of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve near Healesville, is both great theatre and great history. The critically acclaimed shake & stir's “Dracula” is ‘another bloody classic'. Visit gotix.com.au for all the details.
SPORT AND WELLBEING
Sport takes centre stage with the Bendigo International Madison and the AFL JLT Community Series (Geelong Cats v Essendon) over the Labour Day long weekend. 1 April will see top jockeys and horses converge on Bendigo for the Golden Mile Raceday at the Bendigo Jockey Club. It’s one of regional Victoria’s premier fashion and racing events. On the same weekend is the inaugural Yogafest, which focuses on promoting physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing for yoga participants of all levels.
From 15 to 24 March Eaglehawk celebrates its Dahlia and Arts Festival, with street processions, flower shows, dancing and more. Bendigo’s Easter Festival is held from 14 to 17 April. It is Australia’s oldest running cultural festival, featuring Sun Loong, the world’s longest imperial Chinese dragon. The Bendigo Festival of Cultures is held during cultural diversity week and this week long celebration (18 to 26 March) puts on display the rich offerings that multiculturalism makes to our community.
To finish autumn is the Vesak Festival of Light on 20 May. This multicultural celebration of peace and harmony is inspired by Buddha’s birthday. The highlight of the event includes the evening light and fireworks show at The Great Stupa, the largest Buddhist temple in the Western World.
Experience the thrill of Bendigo’s gold rush history. Descend 85 metres underground at Central Deborah Gold Mine, explore Bendigo’s heritage streetscapes by Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram, visit the Golden Dragon Museum’s world-class Chinese collection and create your own clay masterpiece at Bendigo Pottery. n Bendigo is ideally located in Central Victoria and only 90 minutes from Melbourne Airport along the Calder Freeway, and 90–120 minutes via V/line trains from Southern Cross station in Melbourne. For more information, freecall the Bendigo Visitor Centre on 1800 813 153 or visit bendigotourism.com