21 Mar 2009
After a good fry up to start the morning with a creeping coronary, we head off to Bendigo – a fairly sizable town in these parts (greater Bendigo population 100,000). Heck, let’s stick our neck out and call it a city.
Bendigo is famous (probably world famous) for being the home of both the Myer department store, and Bendigo Bank (I’m assuming they named the bank after the town, not the other way round). It also has a reputation of being ‘one of the best inland places to live in Australia’. We make it our mission to uncover the truth behind this bold allegation.
So, for those of you that have future plans that include the city of Bendigo, here are Nick and Lynn’s Cliff Notes (compiled after 2 hours of painstaking research):
Building and boulevards – 3 stars. The main street is pretty good and offers the added attraction of a taking tram running down the middle, but the town boasts more than a couple of eyesores also.
Visitor centre’s claim to be the ‘grandest in the land’ – pretty much confirmed. When you see it, you have to admit, it’s a pretty grand building.
Bendigo Bank – check – still there. But now housed in a shockingly ugly modernesque chrome and glass thing.
The Mall – 1 star. Boring, ugly and little improved by daylight.
Delusions of grandeur – medium. Tourist brochure up-sell is about par for the course, but the ‘greater Bendigo city’ boarder starts 60 km out, so they’re definitely going for the land grab.
Other points of interest:
Home to the best pies in Australian (winner, 2008) – Blackhawk Bakery. So, if pies are your thing, this is a plus.
Place to be, and be seen (eating) – The Wine Bank. A combined wine store / café (always a promising combination). Book a table though – we were rejected as unprepared.
Having spent much of the day driving and generally being un-energetic, I decide to tackle the rather large hill behind our cottage on our return. Turns out to be considerably steeper close up, and it’s a bit of a wonder that my lungs haven’t exploded by the time I eventually get to the top. The view is however spectacular.