It’s no secret that all of us here at Melbourne Girl are BIG fans of a road trip, so I didn’t hesitate when I was invited to spend the Grand Final long weekend in Bendigo with my family.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it was my first visit to Bendigo, and I can’t believe I have waited so long to visit!
Our visit started with a unique tour of Bendigo on one of the city’s iconic Talking Trams. The historic tram (which has been beautifully restored to its former glory) took a leisurely route right through the heart of Bendigo, and is the perfect way to see the town if you’re short of time. The tour stops mid-way at the historic Tram Depot, where guests are treated to a tour of the Depot and a chance to meet the Tram Depot mascot, an adopted cat called ‘Birney‘.
I had the pleasure of sharing my lunch with Cheryl, the co-owder of Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery (Bendigo’s most delicious and friendly sourdough bakery) and was treated to a tour to see how their bread is made each day.
After a quick walk to see the beautiful tulip gardens in the centre of Bendigo (and burn off some of those delicious carbs!), I headed into the iconic Bendigo salon ‘Jools for Jim’ where I was treated to a She Uemera Hair Ceremony.
I can’t recommend this incredibly luxe treatment highly enough – it combines shiatsu massage, customised hair treatments and then a glam blow-dry (served up with a cheeky glass of bubbles). It was such a lovely treat, and the perfect way to prep for a glam night out, or just treat yourself!
What better way to show off glam hair? Head out for dinner of course! We decided upon The Woodhouse, after reading about their redgum charcoal grill, and their dedication to choosing locally sourced produce wherever possible.
Our dinner was incredible, and we felt so lucky to be able to dine on meat and produce that had been sourced from Bendigo and the neigbouring regions. If you ever have the chance to eat Cohuna Beef or Sher Wagyu, I highly, highly recommend you do so. Yum! Chef and Owner Paul’s passion for the area, and producing insanely delicious food that does it credit, ensured our meal at The Woodhouse ticked all of the boxes.
After a restful night sleep after my hectic day of eating, exploring and luxe hair treatments, we woke up and drove the short distance out of town to enjoy breakfast at the (incredibly ‘Instagrammable’) Edwards Providore in Kennington.
Established 5 years ago, this beautiful cafe/deli/food store is a dream destination for foodies, and those who who want to treat themselves to a delish meal or coffee at the in-house cafe. I had the pleasure of meeting Mandy, the owner of Edwards Providore, and her passion for the region was a delight to hear.
Mandy loves stocking Edwards Providore with the most delicious produce and goods she can find from the local area, such as fresh out of the orchard apples from nearby Harcourt.
After breakfast, we headed back into town for our Manager’s Tour of the incredible Ulumbarra Theatre, housed within the historic Sandhurst Prison.
Led by David Lloyd, the incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining Theatre Manager of the Ulumbarra, we were treated to a fascinating history of both the Theatre and the historic Prison it’s housed within. I loved being able to take a sneak peek at the backstage areas of the theatre too, as the tour enables to you to see all the ‘off-limits’ areas that are normally not accessible to the general public.
From the Dressing Rooms, to the Lighting Box and the incredible stage, the Ulumbarra Theatre Tour is a fascinating glimpse ‘behind the curtain’ that would appeal to any theatre buff!
After a quick rest, we headed back to into town to check-out the fab range of shops in the incredibly cool Chancery Lane. Chancery Lane is a pedestrian only walkway, that runs between Pall Mall and Hargreaves Street, right in the middle of town and is a must see if you’re in Bendigo!
Full of great boutiques and creative spaces, I particularly loved Robe for their edit of some of my favourite labels, and some newer labels I’d yet to come across.
Once my retail therapy had been completed with great success, it was time for dinner and cocktails at The Dispensary, conveniently located right next door to Robe.
The incredible food at The Dispensary is complimented by one of the most amazing wine and drink lists I’ve ever come across – think 5 pages dedicated to just ‘Gin’ alone!
Bendigo and the surrounding regions are known for the incredible wine, but I’d highly recommended letting the team at The Dispensary mix you a cocktail – it’s definitely an experience not to miss when in Bendigo.
Waking up the next morning with slighly sore heads (totally worth it!), we headed for breakfast at the newly opened Spring Gully General Store.
This converted milk bar is the stuff of Industrial/Rustic interior dreams, and it’s backed up by an incredibly delicious menu.
I wish I had the time to eat my way through the entire menu, however the Red Velvet waffles and hotcakes were insanely more-ish. Even better for this mama, there was a great kids menu and colouring books on offer (along with a cute outdoor space when your little one wants to go free-range!)
It was nearly time for our tour of Bendigo to come to a close, however we wanted to end our trip with a bang so headed straight for the Bendigo Art Gallery where we toured the incredible ‘Maticevski: Dark Wonderland‘ exhibit.
As you can probably tell, I was blown away by Bendigo – it truly is one of Victoria’s gems and offers something for everybody. From travelling with little ones, to wining and dining, and cultural and arts experiences – I really couldn’t recommend a visit enough when you’re planning your next roadtrip.
I loved the ‘small town’ friendliness we experienced everywhere we went, but also loved the incredible standard of dining, entertainment, arts and shopping that’s available.
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