I love a long weekend. It's a great opportunity to plan a little escape and we did just that for the recent Australia Day weekend. A day trip was planned to Bendigo to explore a few places I had on my ever-growing to-do list.
Bendigo is a country town about 2 hours drive from Melbourne. My husband's family lived here many years ago so there were also personal reasons to make the journey and learn a little bit about his childhood days... While meandering through the city streets and sneakily peeking into people's homes that once belonged to his family, I did stumble across a few goodies I wanted to share with you today.
EAT / Brewhouse Coffee Roasters.
With an unassuming exterior frontage, we may have walked right on by this hot spot. Thankfully, I had my trust-y notes at hand sourced from the good guys at Broadsheet that led us to this little gem.
While the streets of Bendigo were VERY quiet this day, the inside of Brewhouse Coffee Roasters was a crowded place. An industrial-inspired space, showcasing eccentric graffiti wall murals buzzing with energy and life! They make a good cup of coffee and offer a tasty selection of breakfast options (mostly involving eggs but I decided to go against the grain this morning with the muesli).
VISIT / Bendigo Art Gallery.
Images via Bendigo Art Gallery.
Located in the heart of the city, Bendigo Art Gallery is one of the oldest and largest regional galleries in Australia, established in 1887. The Gallery's collection is extensive, with an emphasis on 19th century European and Australian art from the 1800's, alongside a strong collection of contemporary Australian art.
The Gallery was open during the long weekend so we popped in for a little look around. While I must admit I am no expert when it comes to art, I did enjoy roaming the serene, peaceful setting and contemplating the beauty between contemporary and more traditional styles on display. For only a dollar coin donation to enter, a great activity for the afternoon!
EXPLORE / Rosalind Park and surroundings.
In the centre of the town is a spectacular parkland known as Rosalind Park. With sweeping views across the city if you climb the Lookout Tower, the Park is the heartbeat of Bendigo. Here, my husband and his family spent many occasions attending regional football games at Queen Elizabeth Oval, singing Christmas carols with the local community and attending (with utmost glee!) the city's waterpark and swimming pools adjoining the parkland area. Strolling through this green playground on such a beautiful sunny day was complete bliss.
DISCOVER / Art.
There is an arts and culture overtone that runs through the city. From the open air street art, to the reputable Bendigo Art Gallery together with Australia's oldest working pottery at Bendigo Pottery. There's even a fortnightly e-bulletin available for subscription from the local council here boasting regular art events.
Just before we left, we quickly popped into the newly built The Schaller Studio hotel designed by Arts Series Hotel Group, who focus on building boutique hotels around "the hottest art and cultural hubs" in Australia. This particular hotel is inspired by Melbourne based artist, Mark Schaller. The hotel offers open, contemporary communal spaces showcasing the artist's work including some new pieces inspired by the recent bushfires that occurred in and around the area. My favourite painting by far has to be Port Phillip Bay, Red 2011, depicting the moonlight on the waters of the bay (below).
Does Bendigo sound like your ideal long weekend escape? Have you been there before?
All photos taken by me, except where noted otherwise.