We've got Bendigo down to a nine art: paddock-to-plate eateries and deep red shiraz, live-music tram tours and blockbuster exhibitions, open spaces for art and ambling, and state-of-the-art(y) hotels.

Explore our nine top reasons to Bendi-go.

1. Bendigo Art Gallery

Get to the art of it all at one of Australia's oldest and largest regional galleries, home to infinitely wanderable permanent collections and host of blockbuster touring national and international exhibitions.

2. Blues Tram

A tram ride through the city streets with live music and local beer? It's almost too good to be blue(s). Time your visit with the monthly Saturday tram tours for tunes from the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival.

3. Art Series Hotel

Stay in state-of-art comfort at the Mercure Bendigo Schaller. Inspired by artist Mark Schaller's working studio, this Art Series Hotel is decked out with original artworks and large scale sculptures. Beat the doubters and join an art class while you're there.

4. Masons of Bendigo

No secret handshakes, just the best of central Victoria's produce at this all-day eatery, wine bar and pantry store hatted by The Age Good Food Guide. This is your place for a top local paddock-to-plate experience.

5. Bendigo wine region

Paint the town red with the famous deep red shiraz and cabernet sauvignon from the Bendigo wine region. Meet the vignerons and sip, swill and dine among the vines at cosy cellar doors. Don't miss Balgownie Estate.

6. Chancery Lane

Take a trip down Chancery Lane, with its cafes for people-watching, wine bars for red-quaffing, live music for toe-tapping and street art for selfie-snapping. Take it all in with a tipple at The Dispensary or El Gordo.

7. Coffee

Find the small-batch specialty roast with the most at Brewhouse Coffee Roasters, where you can watch the roasters at work, or head to the corner store with more, Percy and Percy.

8. Architecture and parks

Wander wide streets paved with gold-rush goodies: grand banks, ornate hotels, majestic theatres and the gold-leaf-daubed town hall. Off road, amble 60 acres of open spaces in Rosalind Park.

9. Bendigo Pottery

Get behind the wheel at Australia's oldest working pottery. Book a lesson with a potter and learn to throw a wheel. Pots of gold? Arrange on-site glazing and firing of your new treasures. Little Harry Potters in tow? Sign them up for Clay Play.

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