Only 90 minutes from Melbourne, there are so many things to do in Bendigo we are sure you will find it makes a perfect day trip or short getaway from the Victorian capital. From its grand historic buildings that sprouted up during the gold boom to its famous potteries and growing food scene, there is a lot to love about this regional city. Today local Kate Comer shares some of her favourite places to visit in Bendigo when you visit.

This page may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy for more information.

Planning a visit to Bendigo?

If you are planning your first trip to this gorgeous town in Victoria this page is all about finding fun things to do in Bendigo

Where is Bendigo?

The regional city of Bendigo is in Central Victoria and is only a 150km drive north of Melbourne. Having a car is the best way to explore the city, but the train is an excellent option for a day trip.

Map Melb to Ballarat
Our road trip

When is the best time to visit?

Autumn or Spring are perfect times to visit Bendigo, the weather is a great temperature, and the parks come alive. There is also a great range of events held at this time of year. I tend to find over the Christmas/New Year period, many of the cafes and restaurants that Bendigo is famous for close their doors to enjoy the break.

How long do you need to visit Bendigo?

A day trip to Bendigo is perfect for exploring the Bendigo CBD, but a stay of at least three nights is needed as there is so much to do! The history of Bendigo is rich, and the beautiful buildings reflect the money that was made during the gold rush of the 1800s.

The best things to see and do in Bendigo

There is a great deal of variety on offer in this central Victorian city. From discovering its history to exploring all the great dining choices, pick a few of your favourites from the list below and start planning a getaway soon.

The Bendigo HOHO Tram

The best way to get a feel for the city and learn about the history is to jump on one of the Bendigo Trams. They travel from the Central Deborah Gold Mine past the Sacred Heart Cathedral, through the centre of Bendigo down the famous Pall Mall, past Lake Weeroona ending at the historic Joss House Temple.

The famous Bendigo Tram in one of the must things to do in Bendigo
The famous Bendigo Tram Credit: Visit Victoria

The tram is a hop on hop off service, and the ticket is valid for the entire day.

Where: 1 Tramways Ave, Bendigo
When: 10am-4.30pm

On View Street, in the centre of Bendigo beside the gorgeous Rosalind Park, you will find the Bendigo Art Gallery. Whatever you do, don’t miss a visit to this fantastic gallery. They have a great range of exhibitions of high-quality art and textiles.

Bendigo Art Gallery
Bendigo Art Gallery Credit: Visit Victoria

Once you have finished exploring the art gallery, check out the poppet head that overlooks Bendigo. The view over Rosalind Park on one of the many sunny days in Bendigo is worth climbing the stairs.

Where: 42 View St, Bendigo 
When: 10am-5pm

Central Deborah Gold Mine

The Central Deborah Gold Mine is another must-see destination in Bendigo. Once a working gold mine, there is a tremendous amount of information on the gold rush days and if you are keen, you can head underground to experience what the miners went through during those days.

Over 700,000kg of was gold found on the Bendigo goldfields between 1851and 1954 making it the 7th largest gold producer in the world.

If going underground is not your thing, the surface of the mine still has a fantastic display of gold rush memorabilia.

Where: 76 Violet St, Bendigo
When: 9:30pm-4:30pm

Golden Dragon Museum

Chinese history is a huge part of Bendigo, and a visit to the Golden Dragon Museum should also be on your list of things to do in Bendigo. A great range of Chinese artifacts from the Gold Rush period and a ticket also includes entrance to the Chinese gardens and the Kuan Yin Temple.

Before you book your trip to Bendigo, I highly recommend searching to see if tickets to the High Tea at Fortuna Villa are available. A wonderful way to spend a few hours sipping champagne, listening to the harp and going on a tour of this splendid heritage-listed building.

The following two activities require a car and are well worth the short drive.

Where: 1/11 Bridge St, Bendigo 
When: 9:30pm-5pm

Bendigo Pottery

Bendigo Pottery is located north of Bendigo in the suburb of Epsom and is Australia’s oldest working pottery. The interactive museum gives excellent insight into the history of ceramics, and you can also purchase a piece of pottery to take home.

Bendigo Pottery
Bendigo Pottery Credit: Visit Victoria

Don’t miss the antique and collectable store next door; we love finding unique items. On the drive back into Bendigo, the Bendigo Botanical Gardens is worth visiting on a sunny day.

Where: 146 Midland Hwy, Epsom
When: 9am-5pm

The Great Stupa

A 20-minute drive from Bendigo is The Great Stupa, and please don’t miss out on a visit! The largest Stupa in the Western World, this is a fantastic place to wander and so peaceful. The garden is beautiful surrounding the Stupa, and it is only a gold coin donation to visit. The café serves delicious, wholesome food.

Where: 25 Sandhurst Town Rd, Myers Flat 
When: 9am-5pm weekdays, 10:30am-5pm weekends

Where to eat in Bendigo

The range of Bendigo cafes and restaurants is huge, and you will need many visits to Bendigo to eat at them all. I am a huge coffee lover, and here are my top three choices for the best takeaway coffee spots. Hustle Coffee on McCrae Street, Get Naked Espresso Bar on Mitchell Street and Peachy on View Street.

Visit Vic Bendigo Cafe 147156 3
Credit: Visit Victoria

For brunch and a coffee, I suggest Old Green Bean on Lyttleton Terrace, Adam and Eve on Williamson Street and Percy and Percy on Hargreaves Street.

Bendigo Cafe Visit Victoria 143225 3
Credit: Visit Victoria

For lunch and dinner, you are spoilt for choice. Everyone must dine at Masons of Bendigo and The Woodhouse restaurant at least once on a stay in Bendigo.

Mason Bendigo
Dinner at Mason is always a good idea Credit: Visit Victoria

Incredible food that is sourced locally from Central Victoria. For drinks, Nimbus Rooftop and Ms Batterhams do spectacular cocktails, not to be missed!

Where to stay in Bendigo

Where you stay in Bendigo really depends on if you have a car. If you don’t have a car, I would recommend staying in the Bendigo CBD or near Lake Weeroona.

Bendigo Shamrock Hotel
Bendigo Shamrock Hotel Credit: Visit Victoria
  • The Shamrock Hotel in Bendigo CBD has an amazing amount of history and location cannot be beat.
  • For amazing value and hospitality, check out the Julia-Anna Bendigo near Lake Weeroona has motel rooms and apartments
  • There are also two Quest properties that have larger apartments for groups
  • Mercure Schaller is a modern hotel a short walk from town. The property features work by Australian contemporary artist, Mark Schaller
  • The Byronsvale Vineyard Accommodation is a beautiful choice with vineyard and bush views a short drive from Bendigo CBD.

Bendigo is a gorgeous place to visit, and there is always something going on, and there is a great selection of things to do for both families and couples.

About the Author: Kate Comer is a mum of 2 and loves to travel with her family to Bali. She lives in the regional Victorian city of Bendigo and loves exploring Australia, finding child-friendly spots, plus the best coffee in town. Follow her on Instagram for the latest Bendigo happenings or join her FB group Travel Around Bendigo if you have any questions about visiting the area.

Got a question? Head over to our Australia Travel Tips Facebook Group and ask a local.