For every gold mining ghost town there are prosperous cities like Bendigo which wear their gold wealth with both pride and ostentation. Bendigo can proudly boast that it has one of the finest collections of Victorian buildings of any inland city in Australia. The streets are literally awash with huge granite edifices and, in the centre of the city, a fountain dedicated to Queen Victoria’s daughter-in-law, Princess Alexandra, sits in the main street. The Roman Catholic cathedral is the largest cathedral in the state outside Melbourne and the best way to experience the city is to join the “talking tram” – the trams date back to the gold rich era of the 1890s. This is a hugely impressive city which, if you want to do it justice, requires two or three days of dedicated exploration (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).
Leaving Lake Lascelles (see earlier post) we travelled south to Bendigo and booked into the Bendigo Park Lane Big4 Holiday Park for a few days (maplink). We’d never stayed in Bendigo before, so this was a chance to have a look around and we discovered that it was a great choice. Bailey mates – Anne & Tim Begg and Ron & Collen Mills joined us too. These are some of the sights we checked out…
Bendigo Botanical Gardens
Based in the centre of Bendigo the Botanical Gardens are truly beautiful. We took particular interest in their spectacular rose gardens. We then headed off to the Beechworth Bakery for lunch – pies and “beestings”
Bendigo Sacred Heart Cathedral
The Sacred Heart Cathedral began construction in 1895 and took 82 years to complete (in 1977). It is a truly beautiful cathedral, just as impressive as some of the ones we visited on our Mediterranean Cruise.
Bendigo Buddhist Stupa
The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is a momentous Buddhist site being created just outside of Bendigo (maplink) and what an amazing place it was to visit. Our volunteer guide Adam took us through the main building (the Stupa) and spoke with tremendous compassion about the construction of the building and amount of work still to be undertaken for it’s completion (expected to be another 50 years or so)
The Great Stupa is home to many holy objects. Foremost amongst these is the magnificent Jade Buddha for Universal Peace which is the largest Buddha carved from gem quality jade in the world. The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace toured the world for 9 years and over 10 million people have seen it. The Jade Buddha has now come to its final home inside The Great Stupa.
Here’s a couple of videos about the Stupa…
Bendigo Chinese Gardens
These are small and rather old looking. We were a bit disappointed in the visit but still got some nice photos.
Bendigo Deborah Mine Tour
This is a definite “must do” when in Bendigo. We learnt so much from Annie our volunteer guide. It is pretty incredible to find the Deborah Mine is pretty well in the middle of town (maplink) – just down the road from Beechworth Bakery. Want to read more about the mine?