Smack bang in the middle of Victoria, you’ll find the Bendigo region. Start your weekend off in a gold rush heritage town, hit the regions for a dose of adventure, then stuff yourself silly with top-notch food and drinks. For a weekend escape, here are the best things to do in Bendigo.

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Dja Dja Wurrung and the Taungurung Peoples who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


  • Lesser-known walking and cycling tracks
  • Camping and glamping at all levels of remoteness
  • Delicious food and stunning local wines


Known for its gold rush in the mid-1800s, the Bendigo region often brings to mind rich history, old mines, and heritage towns and buildings. But there’s more to the region than meets the eye. With hiking trails, mountain bike tracks, waterfalls, and waterholes, Bendigo has endless things to do for your next adventure-filled escape.


Bendigo Things To Do

Bendigo Hiking

The Goldfields Track

Starting off with a doozy, Bendigo is home to the beginning of the Goldfields Track, a 200km+ walking trail that extends all the way from Bendigo down past Ballarat. You don’t have to take on the whole shebang though, there are plenty of day walks, overnighters (or bike rides) to be done. 

Lots of sections are even open to four-legged friends, so bring the pooch for this one. Just make sure you check before you go as there are a few parts dogs aren’t allowed, and they close some sections of the track for maintenance and back burning at times.

Langs Lookout & Dog Rocks

In between Bendigo and Castlemaine is Mount Alexander Regional Park. The granite outcrop towers 350m above the landscape and offers great views of the surrounding region. Langs Lookout is just a short walk from the car park and facing east, it’s prime for a sunrise viewing.

The West Ridge Track cruises onto Dog Rocks, where you’ll find plenty of granite rocks to scramble around and views out over Harcourt. You can also access Dog Rocks via a short (but steep) walk from a car park.


Pink Cliffs

The Pink Cliffs are a mind-boggler. Once a sluicing site during the gold mining days, the mining work washed away the top layer of earth and uncovered the wild pink cliffs now on display. I don’t want to spoil things too much for you, but if you want to feel like you’re peering across Mars, don’t miss it.

Kooyoora State Park (Long Rock Walking Track & Melville Caves)

Over in the Loddon Valley, Kooyoora State Park is co-managed by the Dja Dja Warrung people, and is full of Box-Ironbark forest, rocky granite outcrops, and plenty of wildlife. There are many spots of cultural significance to be seen here, including rock wells and scar trees. 

The 5.3km Long Rock Walking Track loops out from Melville Caves to the Southern Lookout with views over the area, before dancing along a handful of other viewing points and rocky trails. It’s a grade three hike and should take about 2.5 hours to get through.

There are also the Melville Caves, named after Captain Melville, an infamous 19th-century bushranger. 

Please note! Melville Caves are currently closed due to safety concerns, so double-check the park website before you head there.

Mount Bealiba

If you’re looking for a sunset viewing spot, Mount Bealiba in the Central Goldfields is the place to be. It’s a fun area to explore and great for kids, with plenty of boulders and logs to clamber over… wait, who am I kidding? It’s great for everyone with plenty of boulders and logs to clamber over. Don’t forget your camera, you don’t want to miss out on getting the shot!

Bendigo Biking

The Goldfields Track

The Goldfields Track isn’t just for walkers, it’s also for mountain bikers! Again, you can pick sections or take on the whole 200km+ trail. If you’re planning a bigger ride, there are plenty of historic towns with hotels along the way so you don’t have to load the bike up too much.

It’s worth noting that the Goldfields Track is best suited to mountain bikes and not recommended for hybrids. There are a few sections that aren’t rideable, but you’ll be able to take the bike on most!

O’Keefe Rail Trail

This wouldn’t be a complete list of cycling in Victoria without a rail trail! The whole O’Keefe Rail Trail is 50km long or you can take on sections at a time. It’s perfect for the gravel fiends out there, as it’s a mostly gravel track with just a few sealed sections. 

The full ride takes you from Bendigo through Axedale to Heathcote and passes some great pubs with an option to visit the Pink Cliffs along the way.

La Laar Ba Gauwa Mountain Bike Park

Step things up a notch at La Laar Ba Gauwa Mountain Bike Park. It’s got jumps, drops, and technical features for all you shredders. There are some green and black runs, but the majority are blue runs with 34km of stunning cross-country trails.

Bendigo Creek Trail

You don’t have to stray too far for some good cycling though, with the Bendigo Creek Trail offering up the perfect arvo ride. It takes you past some of Bendigo’s historical hits from the gold rush era. The 20km track extends 10km both north and south from the centre of town and is great for a family ride.

Bendigo Wild Swimming

Vaughan Mineral Springs

After all that walking and cycling those legs of yours must be tired. Time to relax at the Vaughan Mineral Springs! It’s a great spot for a dip and to chill out, with plenty of birds and wildlife, and some BBQs to cook up a storm. You can swim in the creek or the concreted little paddling pool which fills up nicely when there’s more water flowing through.

The Cascades

Around 25 minutes from Castlemaine, The Cascades is a series of pools, crevices, and swimming holes that flow from one to another over smooth rock, making them the perfect hang-out spot on a nice warm day. Just make sure you check the depth of the pools, as some can be shallower or deeper than they look!

Bendigo Kayaking

Serpentine Creek Canoe Trail is a 5km trail with ecological and historic stories along the way, and more birds than you could conjure up in your wildest dreams. Ramps to get in and out of the water are all-access so it’s a great adventure for all ages and skill levels. Pick up a hire canoe or kayak from Boort Lakes Holiday Park. The team can even drop it off at the start of the canoe trail for you!


The Bendigo Region is a Gold-Mine of Adventure, Ben Savage, Kayaking, river, couple, serpentine creek canoe trail

Lake Eppalock is another great spot to get the kayaks out or to try your hand at some waterskiing and fishing. Make a day of it, enjoy the BBQs and treat yourself to a lakeside picnic. You’ve earnt it.

Bendigo Picnicking

Speaking of picnics, my top choice is the stunning Rosalind Park in Bendigo itself or the Bendigo Botanic Gardens. The Bendigo Botanic Gardens is one of Victoria’s first and both parks have a whole lot going for them. Nice and grassy and surrounded by plenty of trees, flowers, and a couple of playgrounds, they’re the perfect way to see out an afternoon.


Photo thanks to Visit Vic / Rob Blackburn


If you’re after a place to lay down a picnic rug in the Central Goldfields region, Princes Park in Maryborough is the spot to do it. Nestled right next to Lake Victoria, Princes Park has enough to keep you contented all day long. With a scenic walking track, free BBQs, a kid’s playground and a grassy area for lounging, Princes Park is a winner for everyone.

Where to Refuel & Stay Around Bendigo

Where to eat around Bendigo?

Holy smokes, let’s just get this out of the way and say that if you head to the Bendigo region, you’re not going to leave hungry. The Bendigo region is actually a UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy – that should tell you all you need to know!

In Bendigo, you can’t go past El Gordo. With Spanish food and goooooood coffee, they’re the perfect spot for brunch after a morning out exploring.

Down in Castlemaine, you’ll be spoilt for options at The Mill. The old Castlemaine Woolen Mill has been transformed into a space for artists, vintage treasures and of course, great food. They’ve got local cheese and dairy producers, a sourdough baker, and a chocolatier and we’re just getting started. Das Kaffeehaus and Cabosse and Feve Chocolate are two crowd favourites. All I’ll say is make sure you bring an empty stomach…

Chauncy in Heathcote brings some French style to regional Vic. With influences from France and Melbourne, they pair great food with good wine from the Bendigo region.


Where to drink around Bendigo?

We’ve got to make sure you keep your fluids up after such a big day of adventure and The Dispensary Bar within Chancery Lane in Bendigo is a good place to start. They’ve got over 100 beers on offer, cocktails and do great modern Australian food. 

The place is also stocked to the brim with local drops from the Bendigo and Heathcote wine regions, so you’d be missing out if you didn’t try a red the area is known for. Pair that with a cosy vibe and you’re on to a winner.

Nimbus Rooftop in Bendigo’s CBD is the spot to wash down a cold one and watch the sun set. It’s a year-round affair with shutters and heaters to keep things toasty in the cooler months. They’ve got local beers, wine and plenty of cocktails, and the food’s nothing to sniffle at either.

Back at The Mill in Castlemaine, they aren’t shy on drinks options. Boom Town Wines make their own wines in-house which are a must-sip. If beer’s more your speed, mosey over to the Shedshaker Brewery. They brew handcrafted small batches locally and you can taste the passion in every mouthful.

Where to stay around Bendigo?

Accom-wise, you’ve got options. From some cruisy campsites to glamping and cabins, you won’t be disappointed.

Starting at the wilder end, there’s the Upper Terrace Campground at Vaughan Springs. It’s bush camping so you’ll need to bring everything in and out with you, but you’ll get to commune nice and close with nature.

Notley Campground in Greater Bendigo National Park is another stellar option. It’s got fireplaces and grills so make sure you bring a whole lot of veggies to roast up and don’t forget the smores.

The Castlemaine BIG4 Holiday Park will sit well if you want to check off a few nights in the tent but not stray too far. They’ve even got some Glamtainers (glamping container cabins) which look like an absolute DELIGHT.

If you like your glamping to come with a side of wine, then Balgownie Estate has your name all over it. They don’t do things by halves there and the biggest problem you’ll have is never wanting to leave.

After a couple of big days adventuring you might just want to pamper yourself, in which case The Cellars at Heathcote II should be at the top of your list. The four cabins here each have their own decks, with stunning views out over Mt Camel, cosy fireplaces and you’ll even get a gourmet breakfast made from local produce.

Essential Gear for Bendigo

  • Gravel or mountain bike
  • A pair of togs
  • Water 
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking boots
  • Camera

How To Get to Bendigo

The Bendigo region is only a two-hour drive north of Melbourne on the Calder Freeway. Or, if you’re looking to ditch the car for the weekend, grab your bikes and jump on the V-Line. They run express to Bendigo on the weekend taking two hours, then saddle up to explore the area.


Leave No Trace

The Bendigo region has it all, with lakes, trails, and camping. At We Are Explorers, with something so beautiful we reckon it’s a good idea to keep it that way, so make sure to take all of your rubbish with you, minimise your plastic use as much as possible, stick to the paths and try not to disturb the area or animals. Mother Nature will thank you for it!

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!


Photography by @ben.savage