My weeks seem to be flying by at the moment. I was in Bendigo last week for my Bold Thinking Series lecture at the beautiful Capital Theatre, which went well although you see different things when you visit a place for the second time – there is a darker element to Bendigo and nearby Heathcote and an underclass of people from a lower socio-economic background who live there. No-one wins when there is such a marked disparity in our society but I will leave that for another time.
I stayed at boutique hotel The Schaller Studio, which was gorgeous – I’ve recently come across The Larwill Studio at the Royal Children’s Hospital and both of these Art Series Hotels have a great look and feel to them. The rooms are small at the Schaller Studio and it’s not suitable for families but if you’re a business traveller – it’s a perfect place to stay and I had breakfast and lunch the following day at the in-house cafe The Pantry.
I also met a friend, who happened to be in Bendigo for work, for coffee at the Bendigo Art Gallery cafe which looks out onto Rosalind Park and I had been lucky enough to have had dinner in the Sculpture Annexe next door the night before with La Trobe University’s Vice Chancellor John Dewar and VIP guests.
Mr Rosanna and the kids came up on Friday night for the weekend and we had a great time as a family visiting some of the places we hadn’t been to on our previous stay in Bendigo a couple of years ago. We spent a lazy Saturday morning having brunch at El Gordo in Chancery Lane and I had a chance to shop at Robe next door, which stocks some beautiful Australian and overseas designer brands. We discovered cut-price barbershop Royal Jims which had a line of men and boys waiting to get their $15 hair cut so my two sons ended up joining the queue for the walk-in service.
We also visited the Golden Dragon Museum, which had extra special meaning for me as many of the Chinese diaspora came to Australia in the gold rush era, including those from my family’s area Sze Yup (‘Four Counties’) in Guandong province. It was a great way to spend a hot afternoon in the relative cool and quiet of the museum. We had a late lunch in the teahouse cafe there as well as spent time in the adjoining gardens and temple. I would have loved to have visited the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Eaglehawk or the amazing looking historic house Fortuna Villa, if we’d had more time.
We tried for a last minute booking at The Woodhouse but couldn’t get a table so ended up having a gastro pub meal at The Old Boundary Hotel that night for dinner, which was lovely. We love a good pub meal at the best of times and drove past the popular Toorborac Hotel & Brewery, which was surrounded by a sea of cars, on the way home via Heathcote, which is the more picturesque way to go.
We’d never been to Heathcote before and grabbed a quick lunch at the Heathcote Wine Hub which has a lovely outdoor dog-friendly courtyard at the back. Mr R ducked across the road to stock up on shiraz at Heathcote Estate while we both enjoyed wandering through the antiques and homewares stores with adjoining cafes on the main road.
All too soon we were back in Melbourne and back to school and work. I’ll be back with more on what I’ve been up to, including some events you can book into if interested, later this week.