Rich alluvial gold was first discovered in BENDIGO in 1851, and, once the initial fields were exhausted, shafts were sunk into a gold-bearing quartz reef. Bendigo became the greatest goldfield of the time, and had the world’s deepest mine. Mining continued here until 1954, long after the rest of central Victoria’s goldfields were exhausted, so it’s a city that has developed over a prosperous century: the nationwide department store Myer began here, as did Australia’s first building society in 1858. Larger and more magnificent than Ballarat (this is one of Victoria’s largest regional cities with a population of just over 100,000, including a large number of university and other students), Bendigo offers a thriving arts, culture, and food and wine scene. Its most visited sights are legacies of the mining days – the Bendigo Joss House, Dai Gum San Chinese Precinct and the Central Deborah Gold Mine – as well as the acclaimed Bendigo Art Gallery.

At the heart of Bendigo is the vast, leafy Rosalind Park, and three important religious buildings constructed with money from gold-mining – All Saints Church (now View Hill Fellowship), St Paul’s Cathedral and Sacred Heart Cathedral. The lively View Street Arts Precinct, climbing the hill beside Rosalind Park, features elaborate goldrush buildings now housing charming antique and vintage stores, art galleries, an arts centre, The Capital theatre, and stylish wine bars, cafés and restaurants. Further up View Street is the Queen Elizabeth Oval, with its historic redbrick grandstand, where you can watch Aussie Rules football on winter weekends and cricket in summer.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: exploring Western Australia's remote northwest

In pictures: exploring Western Australia's remote northwest

Australia’s biggest state has often been neglected by travellers in a hurry to hop straight over to the East Coast or the continent’s Red Centre. This year …

17 May 2018 • Nori Jemil camera_alt Gallery
The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

Sun-soaked and healthy? Perhaps. A decent gateway to Western Australia? Definitely. But a cool place to spend a few days? Until recently Perth just couldn’t …

21 Mar 2018 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
The world's quirkiest food festivals

The world's quirkiest food festivals

Tomato-drenched crowds wading through a lake of passata at Valencia’s La Tomatina festival might be a familiar image, but such passionate and eccentric cele…

22 Dec 2017 • Lucy Cowie insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right