Bendigo is a historic city smack in the heart of Victoria’s gold rush heritage towns.
Victoria’s mammoth gold boom of the mid-1800s saw Bendigo evolve from a tent city into today’s prosperous region, which proudly displays its rich heritage and cultural attractions for visiting campers. About two hours’ drive north of Melbourne, greater Bendigo National Park is a great spot to try your hand at gold panning, while Bendigo Bushland Trail, O’Keefe Rail Trail, and Bendigo Creek Trail are popular spots with hikers and mountain bikers. Further afield, campers can paddle a kayak or SUP board along the Murray River and opt for a stay at a tent or caravan park. Bendigo holiday parks are typically well equipped, some with glamping tents and luxury facilities like swimming pools and ensuite bathrooms.
Castlemaine is a small city with an eclectic arts scene, which attracts creatives from around the globe. A thriving food scene is supported by an artisan precinct, home to vintage collectables and vintage markets where makers produce cheeses, small goods, clothing, furniture, art, and more. Campers are welcome at nearby Hipcamps and holiday parks that offer easy access to the town’s fun.
Maldon proudly displays its heritage with grand historical architecture from the mid-19th-century gold rush era, a Vintage Machinery Museum, and a steam train ride on the Victorian Goldfields Railway. Shop for local produce, antiques, and handcrafted souvenirs at Maldon Market, then escape town for an overnight stay in the bush or on the Loddon River.
Midway between Bendigo and Heathcote, enjoy the BBQ area and shady picnic spots in riverside parklands at Axedale, where you might see the river’s famed platypus. Axedale is a popular stopping point for cyclists or walkers on the O’Keefe Rail Trail, while lunch at the Axedale Tavern, a family-friendly country style pub, is a must do.
Summer is peak season in Victoria with campsites, caravan parks, and holiday parks best booked far in advance—Christmas and Easter holidays are particularly in demand. If you’re looking for fewer crowds, visit after the Australia Day long weekend in January, which marks the end of the summer school holidays, and before Easter, which is generally when nights start to get cool. Vineyards harvest vines from February to April, making it a good time to book a wine tour around Bendigo.