Bendigo Weekends

I moved house about 3 weeks ago. And not around the corner – around about 10 corners and a few miles beyond that. I am now a resident of the far north (pretty much the edge of civilization) and in addition to moving, the new commute is pretty stressful.

A weekend away in Bendigo was timely and (I feel), well deserved. Yes please and thank you, I’d love to spend two days in an idyllic country town. Jumping in the car and heading up the highway was an escape, and I couldn’t wait to spend two whole days (and nights) with my soon to be husband, whom I haven’t seen much of in the past six months.

I arrived at the Quality Resort All Seasons Bendigo, part of the Choice Hotels, on a sunny Friday afternoon and while it was pretty chilly outside, the room at the hotel was warm and inviting. The colours and décor were rich and opulent – AND THERE WAS A SPA! I dumped my bag and went exploring.

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Having been to Bendigo in the past few years for various girls’ day trips to the art gallery (an AWESOME day out), I knew that Bendigo’s op shops were a treasure trove of delights, and so I headed off in search of bargains. A few hours of hunting, and sudden darkness at 5pm, and it was time to return to the hotel.

Husband to be wasn’t due for another two hours, and the mini bar beckoned. Kudos to the All Seasons for having the most appropriately priced mini bar I may have experienced, ever. Champagne, F.R.I.E.N.D.S reruns and all the cosyness, I settled in to read a mag for a few hours.

We headed to the Seasons bistro within the hotel for dinner, and watched the footy on big screens over steak and salad. Nearby, patrons were winning raffles left right and centre, while around another corner, kids were happily distracted by an incredible facility designed for the little tackers to leave Mum and Dad alone while eating. Brilliant.

Saturday morning started with a lazy wake up and a return to the bistro for a buffet breakfast. Note to future guests – breakfast finishes at 10am! We rocked up at quarter to, so a big thanks to the staff for keeping the eggs hot for an extra few minutes for us.

A tour of the property followed, and I suddenly found myself rethinking my wedding plans. The Quality Resort All Seasons has a gorgeous function space (several, actually) with art deco trims, mirrors, wallpaper and outlooks over gardens. The ‘city meets country’ element of Bendigo was hard to ignore – I almost think I’d rather be living in Bendigo than my new suburban existence!

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A drive around the city followed – we visited the original Myer store, wandered through the Conservatory Gardens, stopped at The Brewhouse for coffee and drooled over the furniture and homewares at Oliver Birch. And then – that SPA.

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For dinner, we braved the cold and ventured into town to the relatively newly established Mr Beebe’s Eating House. With the kind of quality, service and atmosphere you would find in any CBD restaurant, we really enjoyed our meal here before popping up the street for a nightcap at the famed Wine Bank.

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Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, and so to Percy and Percy for brunch, the most Melbourne café you’ll find outside of Melbourne. The coffee was a great and the food excellent, but the crisp morning in the sunshine really made it magical. We stayed for several hours.

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Heading back to Melbourne and the monotony of ‘real life’, I couldn’t help but think about the people who live in Bendigo and the simpler lives they lead, with everything within a few kilometres, and the kind of facilities and eating spots that would rival Melbourne.

A gorgeous place to bring your family, your sweetheart or to escape on your own for a weekend, or longer! (I would love to try some of the other spots – there are just not enough meals in the day!) The Quality Resort All Seasons is an ideal spot to base yourself and features a pool and spa area, conjoining rooms if required, a bar, bistro and lounge and the best mini bar in Victoria.

Thanks to the Choice Hotels Group for having us!

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