Approximately 95 miles north of Melbourne, Bendigo is another Victoria city that was founded in Victorian times as the result of a gold rush, with more gold found here in the years between 1851 and 1900 than anywhere else in the world. It went on to become a regional manufacturing and administration center (one with a high percentage of people whose ancestors derived from Cornwall, England). Like Ballarat, Bendigo is celebrated for its Victorian heritage and architecture, many of which are Bendigo MICE venues. There also are 40 or so winemakers in the city's immediate area.
Also as with Ballarat, there is no commercial airport in Bendigo, so groups would fly to Melbourne Airport (MEL), which is also known as Tullamarine. Approximately 85 miles south of Bendigo, the airport has both flights all around Australia and also to Europe Asia, Middle East and to Los Angeles on two carriers, United and Qantas.
Chief among MICE venues, Bendigo Convention Centre is the main gathering spot here, with three meeting rooms, a capacity of 3,400 persons and a location in the Prince of Wales Showgrounds approximately two miles from the centre of the city.
Bendigo MICE hotels include the 75-room Quality Resort All Seasons, which has room for groups of up to 1,100 persons; the 33-room Comfort Inn Julie-Anna, which has one meeting room and function space for up to 100 persons; the 32-room Shamrock Bendigo, which has been in operation since 1984 and has room for events of up to 200 persons; the 24-room National Hotel/Motel, which has one meeting room; and the 20-room Bendigo McIvor Motor Inn & Lotus Conference Centre, which has meeting space for up to 50 persons.
Places that are unique in which to hold memorable events run to Nanga Gnulle, a large private garden that has been turned into event space, with five acres of grounds in a valley and the Garden Sanctuary for meetings and events; The Capital, with its Greek-style columns, stately bearing, Victorian history, 480-seat theater and banquet space for 220 persons; Bendigo Club, which was formed in the first years of the 20th century and today has the ability to cater to up to 250 persons; La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre, which has one meeting room, lobby space and a 90-seat theater; and Bendigo Town Hall (which was designed by W.C. Vahland, the same architect who created The Capital), with two towers, grand architecture and room for banquets of up to 300 persons and receptions of up to 360.
Able restaurants in Bendigo include Italian restaurant and cocktail bar Dispensary Enoteca; Masons of Bendigo, which is in a former glass shop and has an excellent Asian-tinged menu and two private rooms, able to host 25 and 10 persons, respectively; Bouchon, a celebrated touch of France; Malayan Orchid for beautifully presented food with a mix of Asian and Australian; and Boardwalk Bendigo, which has a deck beside a small lake called Weeroona.