Bendigo, travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights

THE ONE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

Feel good about good eating and experience some Bendigo history while you're at it. Pepper Green Farm is a social enterprise edible garden, cafe and craft shop, employing people of varying abilities while connecting them to community. It inhabits the site of a former Chinese market garden from the gold rush era where there remains the oldest Chinese kiln outside Asia. Feast on great cakes and savoury baked goods and pick up a jar of house-made relish or a hand-crafted souvenir. See aag.org.au/peppergreen-farm/

THE ONE BAR

Stop by Wine Bank on View for its cosy, fireplace-warmed ambience inside a majestic, beautifully preserved, 1857 bank building where more than 1000 wines, many of them from the region, are on offer with takeaway prices $15 less than drink-in and further discounts for members. Look out for free tastings and Friday pizza nights on the back deck, with the owner himself at the oven. See winebankonview.com

THE ONE LOAF

In Bendigo, history comes in all guises. The Good Loaf inhabits a heritage-listed, tyre-inspired Beaurepaires building in the heart of the CBD. Get a mid-century architectural fix as you taste the lovingly crafted, award-winning sourdough here. Owner Laurie Whelan is dedicated to quality and each loaf takes two-to-three days to prepare. Eat in, amidst the funky vintage furnishings under the circular awning, or take away for a picnic. You can't go past the Pumpkin Bloomer. See thegoodloaf.com.au

THE ONE GLAMPING STAY

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Balgownie Estate glamping

Feel a world away from the Bendigo CBD when you're just an Uber away. Stay at Bendigo's oldest working winery, Balgownie Estate, where, in addition to producing beautiful boutiques wines, the property hosts a collection of cosy glamping tents. Some are en suite, others share exterior bathroom facilities (one between two tents). Just think of a bathroom run on Bendigo's chilly, clear nights as a chance to see a stunning starry sky. Eat dinner in the restaurant or head into town, but don't miss the delicious breakfast served here. See balgownieestatebendigo.com

THE ONE DEGUSTATION

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MASONS OF BENDIGO

Regional restaurants don't come much more awarded than Masons of Bendigo. The Modern Australian menu showcasing Central Victorian produce is just for starters. Even at a time when hospitality workers are thin on the ground, the service at Masons remains impeccable and the ambience of the industrial chic, sprawling former glass factory is top notch. It's an all-day diner that manages to feel special yet comfortable. At dinner, go the Chef Selected Roaming Menu for $85 which comprises five seasonal dishes, including dessert. It changes weekly according to availability and the seasons. See masonsofbendigo.com.au

THE ONE GALLERY

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Front of Bendigo Art Gallery

It may be Australia's oldest regional art gallery but it's arguably the country's most progressive. Established in 1887, Bendigo Art Gallery is also one of the largest regional galleries in Australia, however, it's the institution's relationships with the likes of London's Victoria & Albert Museum and Twentieth Century Fox that has day trippers riding the train from Melbourne, the hugely successful Mary Quant (until July 11) and Forever Marilyn exhibitions being prime examples. Be sure to extend your visit to the restored 19th century rooms where an impressive permanent collection resides. See bendigoregion.com.au

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THE ONE FESTIVAL

Pretty Bendigo is blessed with a verdant, grassy park at the city's centre which lends itself to community activity in the most picturesque way. There are plenty of festivals held in Rosalind Park but a far-and-wide favourite is the Strategem Bendigo Winemakers Festival, that, each April, brings wines from around the region, including Heathcote, into the one big wine garden. Find boutique makers and unusual varietals, be the first to experience a vintage or two and grab some take-home bottles at bargain prices. Live music, food stalls and a lively crowd make for a great day. See bendigowine.org.au

THE ONE STEAK

If you eat meat and you live in Bendigo, you've probably had a birthday or other celebratory dinner at the moody, cosy Woodhouse. For visitors, it's a masterclass in chargrilling, with premium, grass-fed and dry-aged meats cooked on local redgum that adds a distinct and rich smokiness. The desserts are to die for, as is the wood-fired pizza. The Woodhouse uses ingredients from the region as much as possible, and buys direct from producers to cut out food miles. See thewoodhouse.com.au

THE ONE LANE

Sweet little Chancery Lane is home to cool cafes, bustling bars, cute boutiques and excellent street art – if hipsters were still a thing, this is where you'd find them. The Dispensary serves Asian-inspired snacks, great beers and local wines, while El Gordo wears its French and Spanish influences with pride as it caters for the breakfast, coffee, lunch and evening crowds. Visit florist Libertine for remarkable artistry, or pick up something fashionable to wear at Robe. See bendigoregion.com.au

ONE MORE THING

The wider Goldfields region surrounding Bendigo rewards the slow traveller. Little villages such as Maldon with its preserved gold rush streetscapes, Talbot with its amazing monthly market, Bridgewater-on-Loddon where a pub with a grassy, riverside beer garden is an excellent spot for a long lunch, Inglewood where vintage stores abound and the adjoining Heathcote wine region which speaks for itself, combine for a sensational Central Victorian road trip. See visitvictoria.com

The writer travelled as a guest of Bendigo Regional Tourism.

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