5 Best Sights in Bendigo, The Gold Country

Bendigo Art Gallery

Fodor's choice

A notable collection of contemporary Australian painting can be found in this beautiful gallery, including the work of Rupert Bunny, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and Arthur Boyd. The gallery also has some significant 19th-century French realist and impressionist works, bequeathed by a local surgeon. International exhibitions are regularly hosted. There are free guided tours every day at 11 am and 2 pm.

Central Deborah Gold Mine

Fodor's choice

This historic mine, with a 1,665-foot shaft, yielded almost a ton of gold before it closed in 1954. Aboveground you can pan for gold, see the old stamper battery, and climb up the poppet head, but the thrill of mining is felt belowground. The one-hour underground tour takes you 200 feet below the surface in an industrial lift to widened tunnels, letting you experience the conditions miners worked in during the gold rush era. Hear the roar of the traditional mining equipment and see gold in its natural state. The tour is wheelchair accessible.

Bendigo Joss House Temple

An active place of worship on the outskirts of the city, this small temple was built by Chinese miners in 1871, during the gold rush days. At the height of the boom in the 1850s and 1860s, about a quarter of Bendigo's miners were Chinese. These men were usually dispatched from villages on the Chinese mainland, and they were expected to work hard and return as quickly as possible with their fortunes. Sadly, tensions with white miners were a feature of that era, along with anti-Chinese riots. Luckily this attractive element of their presence has endured from those turbulent times. 

3 Finn St., Bendigo, VIC, 3550, Australia
Sights Details
Rate Includes: Entry by donation, Closed weekdays

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Bendigo Pottery

Australia's oldest working pottery workshop turns out distinctive brown-and-cream pieces that many Australians have in their kitchens. Founded in 1858, the historic workshop hosts demonstrations. You can even get your hands dirty creating your own clay piece during an affordable wheel-throwing lesson (bookings essential during school holidays); there's also a clay play area for small children. Impressive beehive brick kilns, which you can step inside, are star exhibits in the museum. It's 6½ km (4 miles) northeast of Bendigo on the way to Echuca, and there is a small café also on the premises.

Golden Dragon Museum

The Chinese community's important role in Bendigo life, past and present, is explored within this museum. Its centerpieces are the century-old Loong imperial processional dragon, the Sun Loong imperial processional dragon, and the new Dai Gum Loong processional dragon, which, at more than 131 yards in length, is said to be the world's longest. When carried in procession, the body alone requires 70 carriers and 70 relievers, and more to carry the head, neck, and tail; the head alone weighs 64 pounds. Also on display are other ceremonial objects, costumes, and historic artifacts. The lovely Yi Yuan Gardens, opposite, with ponds and bridges, are part of the museum.

1–11 Bridge St., Bendigo, VIC, 3550, Australia
Sights Details
Rate Includes: A$16, Closed Mon.