Visiting Bendigo with kids is terrific, there are so many fun things to do in Bendigo plus great places to stay and to eat. Read on!
Bendigo is a major regional city in the state of Victoria with lots of heritage attractions. Located close to the geographical centre of Victoria, it is easy to visit from Melbourne or to incorporate into a road trip.
For us, when we go to Adelaide by car, stopping in Bendigo is a no-brainer choice. For this reason, Bendigo is the second recommended stop of our Sydney to Adelaide road trip guide.
Don’t have enough days? Then the Sydney to Bendigo/Bendigo to Sydney drive is also a good trip to discover the outback with a fantastic final destination.
If you are from Melbourne, catching the train is also a good option. Bendigo is just 90-120 minutes from Southern Cross Station.
And, if you are planning to visit Bendigo from Adelaide, the Bendigo to Adelaide road trip distance is possible to do it in one day. However, you will need an early start in the morning to cover a distance of 615 km.
In this article, you will find a list of the best things to do in Bendigo with kids as well as some practical information for your stay.
NB You’ll find info on the best deals at Bendigo hotels at the bottom of this post.
By Mireia Garriga Seguranyes
Contents of this post
- Bendigo: The Big Picture
- What to do in Bendigo with kids
- Central Deborah Gold Mine
- The Vintage Talking Tram
- Rosalind Park and Camp Hill Primary School Playground
- Bendigo Art Gallery
- Discovery Science and Technology Centre
- Lake Weeroona and Adventure Playspace
- Fun Loong Playground at Hargreaves St Mall
- The Golden Dragon Museum
- Other attractions outside central Bendigo
- Bendigo: Places to eat
- Bendigo Family Accommodation
- Bendigo Accommodation Deals Finder
Bendigo: The Big Picture
Bendigo CBD is not big, so it is very easy to explore. Grab a pair of comfy shoes and walk through the streets.
We love Bendigo because of its beautiful historic buildings, its old vintage tram and its cosmopolitan feel. Also, Bendigo playgrounds are terrific!
Bendigo has a rich history thanks to the gold rush boom. It is home to Central Deborah Gold Mine, which dates back the mid-1900s.
Also, the city has a remarking Chinese heritage, which can be discovered in The Golden Dragon Museum.
Besides all the tourist attractions, there are three great playgrounds in the CBD: Camp Hill Playground, in Rosalind Park and Fun Loong Payground, in Hargreaves St Mall. A bit further, there is the Lake Weeroona Adventure Playground, in Napier St, too. The old vintage tram stops by the lake. My daughters loved the ride!!!
Checking out the local information centre is always a good start. Bendigo Visitor Centre is situated in the historic Post Office, a beautiful example of Renaissance Revival style architecture. Bendigo Visitor Centre is an award-winning tourist information centre, which is also home to the Living Arts Space and the Post Office Gallery.
Address: 51 – 67 Pall Mall, Bendigo VIC 3550: 1800 813 153 Phone: 03 5434 6060
Hours: Open everyday 9am – 5pm, except Christmas Day.
Alternatively, the official tourist website for Bendigo is a very good resource, too.
What to do in Bendigo with kids
Central Deborah Gold Mine
76 Violet Street, Bendigo VIC 3550
In the 19th century, Bendigo was the Australia’s highest producing gold town, and nowadays the area still produces a significant amount of gold. Central Deborah was one of the last two commercial mines to cease operation in the wealthy Bendigo goldfields.
Today Central Deborah Mines is a must-visit tourist attraction to understand Bendigo’s history and the significant role gold mining played in developing such a prosperous city. That’s why Bendigo has some of the country’s most impressive architecture, sculptures, fountains and gardens.
Central Deborah Gold Mine is the home of Australia’s deepest underground mine tour and also showcases old mining equipment and lots of informative panels. The precinct allows you to discover some of the original buildings and structures.
We did the “Mine Experience Tour” which runs for 75 minutes and goes down to level 2, 61 metres underground. There are longer and deeper tours, but this was the right one for us as our kids are still little and it was my first mining experience (not for hubby). If you are not claustrophobic and you have adventurous kids, I highly recommend it. Our tourist guide was very entertaining and explained lots of technical information, the types of different machinery and geology concepts in plain English. Therefore, our kids stayed engaged (and I believe that they learnt something, too).
After the tour, you might feel a bit hungry. Don’t forget to try the miner’s pasties. They are yummy.
Note: there is an age limit, your kids must be 3 years and over to go underground.
Tip: wear enclosed shoes and warm clothes, as it is muddy and cold, especially in winter.
The Vintage Talking Tram
The Vintage Talking Tram Tour starts at Central Deborah Gold Mine but you can hop on a tram at any of the six tram stops (Central Deborah Mine, Alexandra Fountain, Bendigo Tramways Depot, Lake Weeroona, Tyson’s Reef and Bendigo Joss House Temple).
If you are from Melbourne or Adelaide, catching a tram might not be so exciting. However, this one in Bendigo captures the essence of Bendigo’s past. You can hop on and off the tram to explore the city. Each tour includes a 10-minute stop at the Tram Depot, the oldest operating in Australia and home to Bendigo’s heritage tram fleet.
Tickets can be purchased onboard the trams, from the Gift Shop at the Tram Depot, at Central Deborah Gold Mine, the Bendigo Visitor Centre or online.
Tip: before planning your trip, check the timetable on its website, as sometimes it changes. Also, you can save some money buying one of the packages, when you visit Central Deborah Gold Mine and / or the Bendigo Joss House Temple. The tram takes you to the door of Central Deborah Gold Mine (Tram Stop No. 1) and the Bendigo Joss House Temple (Tram Stop No. 6).
Rosalind Park and Camp Hill Primary School Playground
Corner of View Street and Pall Mall in the centre of Bendigo
Located in the centre of town, Rosalind Park spreads over 60 acres of grassy open spaces with lush and leafy trees, beautiful cascades, ornate statues, elegant avenues, a fernery and established gardens.
The highlight of the park is the Poppet Head lookout offering stunning panoramic views of the city.
Also, the park has a fabulous fenced playground but it is only open outside school hours. The playground consists of a big climbing net and a separate structure that has several ramps, walkways and slides.
Note: Rosalind Park has public toilets, which is good to know when you are out and about exploring a new place.
Bendigo Art Gallery
42 View St, Bendigo VIC 3550
Bendigo Art Gallery is one of the oldest and largest regional galleries in Australia. Despite being regional, it attracts audiences from around Australia to see the world class modern exhibitions, public programs and events.
The Bendigo Art Gallery offers self-tours for families and organises school holiday workshops for kids.
Discovery Science and Technology Centre
7 Railway Pl, Bendigo VIC 3550
Located in the restored Railway Goods Building, the Discovery Science and Technology Centre provides a fun and educational science experience. With over 100 interactive exhibits, which are 100% hands-on and based on science-related learning areas, kids cannot get bored. And, it has the tallest vertical slide of the Southern Hemisphere.
Other attractions are the Planetarium, the Kaleidoscope for young scientists, the whacky mirrors, the echoing chamber and the ‘play a tune phone’. Also, each school holidays the Discovery Centre puts together a brand new program around different topics.
Tip: plan enough time to spend in the centre, as there are lots to see.
Lake Weeroona and Adventure Playspace
Napier Street, Bendigo VIC 3550
On the banks of picturesque Lake Weeroona, the Lake Weeroona Adventure Playscape is a terrific playground. The park has all sort of facilities, from picnic spaces to a kid-friendly cafe. No wonder is very popular with the locals.
The adventure play space consists of a central big timber fort structure. It is a bit aged but still it is in a fair condition. There is heaps of equipment: walkways, bridges, tunnels, steps, ladders, climbing walls, monkey bars, etc. So, it is perfect for letting your kids run wild after a long drive. Also, the playground has several swings.
Nearby the playground, there are picnic shelters with tables, toilet block and a coffee truck.
Also, don’t miss Favourite Flavours, home of Bendigo’s finest handmade gelato. What a treat! And, for a meal or coffee with a view, enjoy the food at the Boardwalk, which offers kids menu, too.
Note: Lake Weeroona is the 5th stop of the old vintage tram.
Fun Loong Playground at Hargreaves St Mall
Are your kids tired of sightseeing? Give them a break at the Fun Loong play space which is conveniently located in the pedestrian-only Hargreaves Mall right in the CBD. The playground takes its name from the iconic Bendigo dragon Sun Loong. The equipment is very colourful and innovative.
The Golden Dragon Museum
1-11 Bridge St, Bendigo VIC 3550
If you are interested in learning about Chinese history and culture in Bendigo from the gold rush of the 1850’s to the present day, the Golden Dragon Museum is one of the most important Chinese Cultural Centres in Australia.
The museum displays processional regalia, carved furniture and costumes embroidered with gold bullion thread. Artefacts date as far back as the Shang Dynasty 1600 – 1026BC. Besides the task of preserving Chinese heritage, the Museum is also famous because of the traditional dragon Sun Loong, which is the world’s longest dragon. It measures 200 metres and it takes 54 people to carry him at every Easter parade when he comes out.
Note: the entry includes the beautiful Chinese Gardens and the Kuan Yin Temple, which contains numerous colourful murals.
Other attractions outside central Bendigo
Bendigo Pottery, Australia’s oldest working pottery.
Bendigo Botanic Gardens Play Space with its award-winning playground, inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, situated near Bendigo, it is the same size and design as The Great Stupa of Gyantse in Tibet.
PepperGreen Farm, a non profit social enterprise farm where food and heritage collide.
Victorian Goldfields Railway, an authentic steam heritage train that links the historic gold mining towns of Castlemaine and Maldon.
Bendigo: Places to eat
There are so many good places to eat in Bendigo. In fact, you would need several days just to explore Bendigo historic pubs. Most of them have a good reputation because they serve out-of-the-ordinary food. In general, expect to eat better than any other place in Australia. The Bendigo Official Guide is a fantastic resource to find places to eat in Bendigo. Every restaurant has a description including very handy icons for special dietary requirements, wheel-chair-users or kid-friendly eateries.
We like La Cecil’s Pizzeria, Cantina Bendigo, The Golden Vine and The Arms Hotel.
In South Bendigo, the Spring Gully General Store is a good choice for breakfast, with its nice outdoor patio, kids menu and colouring pencils provided. The Spring Gully General Store has its own veggie garden, so the menu is full of dishes with home-produced, organic ingredients.
NB Beth, a reader of Hello Sydney Kids, wrote: ‘Wine Bank (on View St) is worth a visit – a beautiful building (used to be an old bank, obvs!) that has some outdoor tables so it’s acceptable to try a local wine with kids in tow. Find the Wine Bank website here.
Bendigo Family Accommodation
There are plenty of accommodation options available in Bendigo. Our favourite place is Barclay on the View because of its central location. View Street with its impressive buildings takes you back in time.
181 View St, Bendigo, VIC 3550
Phone: 03 5443 9388
Located in the heart of Bendigo, Barclay On The View’s location is perfect for families who are planing to explore the city on foot. It is not the average motel, it has an indoor spa, a sauna and fitness equipment. The rooms have been recently renovated. We stayed in the triple room, it is not very spacious but it is ok if you have a young family.
96-102 High St, Bendigo VIC 3550
Phone: 03 5442 5333
Best Western Cathedral Motor Inn is located very close to the Cathedral. If you look at the map, it is between the Central Deborah Gold Mine and the city centre. The family room is large and the beds are very comfortable. As it is not right in the city, the rates were cheaper than other places. Very close to it is the famous Beechworth Bakery (158 High St, Bendigo VIC 3550) which offers kids meal deals all day, including an activity book. Open from 6:30 am to 6:00pm is a good place to eat without breaking the bank.
26 Forest St Bendigo VIC 3550
Phone: 03 5443 2077
This motel is on our list, but we have never stayed in it yet because rooms were not available for the dates needed, or full payment in advance was requested. It is fantastically located in the city centre. It should be perfect for families like us that have more than two children as it offers units with two and three bedrooms.
Bendigo Accommodation Deals Finder
Use this Booking.com tool to find Bendigo bargains
PS You might also like to read: Things To Do in Melbourne With Kids
The historic town of Bendigo is definitively one of the highlights of the Sydney to Adelaide road trip.
Have you ever visit Bendigo?
What’s your favourite attraction?
Ours were the Central Deborah Gold Mine and the Vintage Talking Tram!