A (mini) LUSCIOUS HONEYMOON: Bendigo, Victoria



The morning after our small registry wedding in March 2016 (see some photos via Facebook), Mr Luscious and I headed off for a mini honeymoon in beautiful Bendigo, as our proper honeymoon was to come a bit later.

We were seeking a country escape of food, wine and culture. Here’s the low down of what we did and where we stayed…


CULTURE VULTURE: A little history, architecture and gallery visiting

Bendigo is a former mining town which flourished during the Victorian gold mining boom of the 1850s-60s. Learn more about Bendigo’s history from the Bendigo Historical Society and Bendigo Tourism.


LUSCIOUS TRAVEL: Origins of Bendigo in country Victoria

HISTORIC PHOTOS OF BENDIGO: Bendigo Post Office and Law Courts

LUSCIOUS TRAVEL: A weekend in beautiful Bendigo, full of history and charm


HISTORIC PHOTOS OF BENDIGO: Bendigo historical buildings - Black and white photos

Learn more about Bendigo via Wikipedia



It is an easy 1.5-2hrs drive north west from Melbourne and we love to visit it for some rural charm once or twice a year to see what’s new.


LUSCIOUS TRAVEL: Bendigo, Victoria

LUSCIOUS TRAVEL: Bendigo, Australia


The residents take pride in their grand, historic Victorian-era buildings, cute weatherboard cottages and pretty gardens. The produce is amazing, and the people are lovely.



AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE: Charming cottages in Bendigo, Victoria

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE: Beautiful houses in Bendigo, Victoria



More recently, the architecture of the area has been taking some risks.

New development includes the modern additions at the Bendigo Library by MGS Architects, and at Bendigo Art Gallery where a more traditional style has been retained at the front on historic View Street, next to the grand columns of the Capital Theatre, and an ultra modern extension has been designed by Fender Katsalidis at the back.


Bendigo Art Gallery

LUSCIOUS BENDIGO: The traditional front of the Bendigo Art Gallery has now got a modern back designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects


Bendigo Library



Learn more about Bendigo’s architecture here and here.

In particular, the Bendigo Art Gallery has been securing my interest by providing my favourite sorts of fashion/photography/popular culture exhibitions for several years now.

These have included Cecil Beaton: Portraits in 2005, Grace Kelly: Style Icon in 2012 and (as of March 2016) the Marilyn Monroe exhibition.


LUSCIOUS CULTURE VULTURE: Grace Kelly - Style Icon exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery 2015


BEAUTIFUL BENDIGO: Hollywood glamour comes to rural Bendigo with the Marilyn Monroe exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2016


We really enjoyed the Marilyn Monroe collection, which will be on until July 2016. It had a great mixture of photos, film excerpts, costumes and some of her own personal clothes, as well as handwritten letters and other items from her home.

We were particularly shocked by how tiny she was – like seriously tiny. I wouldn’t have believed it if we hadn’t seen some of her outfits, and especially a pair of shoes which looked like a child’s bootie. I guess everyone else at the time was also smaller, which is why we had this idea that she was more amply proportioned. To give you an idea of size, think of the Australian performer Kylie Minogue and then make her a third smaller. Amazing, no?

Here are some Marilyn Monroe photos to inspire you to organise a visit:


LUSCIOUS BENDIGO: A weekend in Bendigo to visit Marilyn Monroe


BENDIGO ART GALLERY: Marilyn Monroe publicity image for How to Marry a Millionaire


PHOTO: Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


CULTURE VULTURE: A weekend in Bendigo to visit the Marilyn Monroe exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery


Visiting Bendigo in Victoria, 2 hours drive from Melbourne to see Marilyn Monroe


Be sure to check out our Luscious photo gallery devoted to Marilyn Monroe too.



Learn more from:

Bendigo Art Gallery
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Bendigo Tourism
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube







FABULOUS FOODIE: The “Market to Paddock to Plate” food tour of the Bendigo and Heathcote region

Having already booked tickets for the opening of the Marilyn Monroe exhibition and a night at the Art Series Group’s new hotel, The Schaller Studio (see more below), we were delighted to be offered the chance to embark on the delicious Market to Paddock to Plate tour.


BEAUTIFUL BENDIGO: Food, wine, culture and country life thanks to our mini break in Bendigo, including the Market To Paddock To Plate food tour of Bendigo and the Heathcote region

Photo from myLusciousLife on InstagramSome delicious tea and cake
which we enjoyed on the 
verandah of McIvor Farm. I was in love with all the
tea cups and family heirloom tablecloths!


A new initiative, the tour is hosted by Mason’s of Bendigo‘s Sonia Anthony.

As well as being a fabulous chef (she cooked for us in her own home that night!), she is the passionate President of Food Fossickers, a network of local food and beverage producers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, butchers and bakeries.


FOOD AND WINE IN BENDIGO: Explore Chancery Lane cafes and restaurants

Chancery Lane in Bendigo is worth checking out for fab dining options



As we were driven around in a Schaller Studio minivan – equipped with useful cool bags to buy goods and keep them cold, maps, tourism info and a thorough briefing document about the local producers – Sonia provided a personal introduction to the region.

We appreciated hearing a bit about Sonia and her husband-and-fellow-chef Nick’s own culinary story (which has included stints in Melbourne, London and Singapore), and their integration with the Bendigo community.


CULINARY BENDIGO: Mason's of Bendigo restaurant

Mason’s of Bendigo restaurant in Queen Street, Bendigo


One of the things which had struck me when I was googling the area before this trip was how supportive the businesses seemed to be of each other through social media, and this was confirmed ten-fold when I met some of them in person.

Instead of rivalry and potential conflict, there is an enormous desire to help and encourage.


LUSCIOUS BENDIGO: A luscious spread at McIvor Farm on our Market To Paddock To Plate foodie tour

A delicious platter on our fabulous foodie tour from McIvor Farm Foods.
See even more photos from the day via Luscious on Instagram.




We started off in the heart of the town at Bendigo Wholefoods but future tours will include the Bendigo Community Farmers Market which operates  on the second Saturday of each month, from 9am to 1pm in Sidney Myer Place.


BENDIGO TOURISM: A visit to Bendigo Whole Foods as part of our foodie tour of Bendigo and the Heathcote region

The exterior of Bendigo Wholefoods on Lyttleton Terrace, Bendigo


Bendigo Wholefoods – essentially a grocery store, deli and nursery – was a great introduction to an enormous amount of locally-produced items (we tasted a few samples – yum!), and there is the Wholefoods Kitchen cafe next door to stop and enjoy some of it fully.

Bendigo Community Farmers Market
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bendigo Wholefoods
Website | Facebook | Instagram


A LUSCIOUS WEEKEND IN BENDIGO: Photos from our visit to Bendigo Whole Foods as part of the Market To Paddock To Plate tour

See the full collection of photos from our Market To Paddock To Plate
tour via Luscious on Instagram









Next, we headed to B&B Basil, a microgreens producer.

To be honest, I’d never given any thought to microgreens before, other than seeing them on my plate in fancy restaurants, so it was quite a treat to see thousands of tiny plants being grown in multiple greenhouses.

Most of them were actually green (as in microgreens, duh) – think tiny herbs and salad leaves such as watercress, basil and sorrel – but they also grow colourful edible flowers.


LUSCIOUS AUSTRALIAN FOOD: Local produce on our foodie tour of Bendigo with Sonia Anthony from Mason's


The thing that surprised me – which probably shows how ignorant I am as a consumer – was that they produce plants which look like herbs but have the same taste as a vegetable.

For example, you can get celery or carrot but it looks a bit like parsley. An amazing way to capture flavours without the bulk. I felt like I was eating Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Fabulous!

B&B Basil:
Website | Facebook | Instagram


LUSCIOUS PRODUCE IN BENDIGO, VICTORIA: Micro greens growing at B&B Basil


Then we drove for about 40 minutes to the 300 acre farm of McIvor Farm Foods in Tooborac, south of Heathcote.

The Hagan family have been farming in the area for about 100 years, and regrarian farmers Belinda and Jason Hagan are devoted to raising old breed Berkshire pigs (black pigs with distinctive white markings) in a stress-free and sustainable manner.


MARKET TO PADDOCK TO PLATE: A foodie tour of Bendigo and the Heathcote region of Victoria

Some of the photos I posted on Instagram during our visit to McIvor Farm Foods


The pigs are free from hormones and antibiotics, the land is cultivated and restored using the methods developed by Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia, and the pork products are delicious.

Belinda was so inspiring that I thought she should be on the speaking circuit. She also put on a beautiful lunch on the verandah of the old farm house, and I was thrilled to see the tea cups and family heirloom tablecloths.


MCIVOR FARM NEAR HEATHCOTE - Part of the Market To Paddock To Plate food tour of the Bendigo region

From myLusciousLife on Instagram


In the minivan on the way to our next destination, it was fascinating to watch part of the “Polyfaces” documentary about this type of farming, and I encourage you to check out the trailer which gives you a glimpse into this proactive way of living and working. Or watch the whole thing via the official website.

As a girl who prefers not to get too dirty, I was really impressed by this visit and what it taught me about farming. It’s great to see people trying to change the world one day at a time.

McIvor Farm Foods
Website | FacebookTwitter





The final “touring” section of the trip lead us onto Paul Osicka Wines in Graytown, east of Heathcote where we had delicious wine tastings from four local winemakers:

  • Simon Osicka and Alison Phillips from Bull Lane and Osicka Wines
  • Emily McNally from Lo Stesso, Occam’s Razor and Jasper Hill
  • Liam Anderson from Wild Duck Creek Estate (unfortunately, Liam wasn’t available on the day but we still loved his wines)
  • Adam Foster from Foster e Rocco and Syrahmi


BENDIGO: Market To Paddock To Plate food and wine tour of Bendigo and Heathcote

From our Market To Paddock To Plate wine tasting
via myLusciousLife on Instagram


Paul Osicka Wines
Website | Facebook

Bull Lane
Website | Facebook

Lo Stesso, Occam’s Razor and Jasper Hill
Jasper Hill website | Occam’s Razor | Twitter

Wild Duck Creek Estate
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Foster e Rocco and Syrahmi
Website | Twitter







After all this adventuring, we returned to the Schaller Studio for a break, reconvening an hour or so later to be driven to the home of Nick and Sonia Anthony where Sonia put on an incredible meal for us, paired with wines we’d experienced in the afternoon, with Alison from Bull Lane and Osicka Wines acting as sommelier.

Unfortunately, I was somewhat full and a little weary after our wedding the night before and all our countryside gallivanting, so I didn’t take any decent shots, nor take note of the wonderful dishes she presented. (And how she managed it when she’d been working hard all day educating us about the area!)


Photo: Food from Mason's of Bendigo - Nick and Sonia Anthony

This photo of food from Mason’s of Bendigo is similar to the gorgeous dishes presented
by chef Sonia Anthony in her own home. I’ve procured it from Broadsheet’s Bendigo page
to give you an idea of what we ate.


Special thanks to the fabulous Sharon Wells on behalf of Bendigo Tourism for her generosity and enthusiasm, and to everyone who participated in driving us around and talking to use about the Bendigo and Heathcote region.

There are four more dates for this season (April 9, May 14, June 11 and July 9), so do book quickly to secure a spot via the Bendigo Tourism website.



TOURING BENDIGO with the Market To Paddock To Plate food and wine tour


See some photos from the tour which I posted on Instagram and learn more:

Market to Paddock to Plate tour
Enquire/book here

Masons of Bendigo
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter








We normally like to stay at Pengallie (details below) but they were busy with a previously organised booking. So we were pleased to score a $90 per night deal at the Schaller Studio for the Saturday night.


LUSCIOUS BENDIGO: The exterior of the Schaller Studio Bendigo


I like to think of the tiny room we had as “modern bijou” – it was too small for the likes of Mr Luscious and I, but contained everything one could need if you had the time to unpack and store your cases away. It was a bit like being in Tokyo – well thought out and compact.

But when you think about it, Bendigo is best for exploring not hiding in a hotel room. So get out and about, folks!


The Schaller Studio Bendigo - room photo - modern contemporary compact

The Schaller Studio Bendigo - bathroom photo - modern contemporary compact


I was impressed to hear that the rooms were designed using pre-built pods which made the overall construction quicker and more efficient. As an obsessive watcher of design shows, I love this sort of technology.


BENDIGO TOURISM: The Schaller Studio Bendigo - photos and review - Art Series Hotel


The public areas of the hotel are full of colour and contemporary design, and we loved it when we walked in from peace and quiet of the car park (where we scored the ultimate George Costanza spot right out the front) to a glorious buzzing of happy punters.

The staff were friendly and keen to help, and we were offered a free coffee in the lounge whilst we waited for the Market To Paddock To Plate tour to start. Nice!


BENDIGO HOTEL PHOTOS: The Schaller Studio Bendigo - The Pantry



The Schaller Studio (an Art Series hotel)

Where: Corner of Bayne & Lucan Street, Bendigo, within the grounds of the Bendigo Hospital
Why: For a contemporary, hip vibe. And as a package deal with the Market To Paddock To Plate tour.
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter



Where: 41 Langston Street, Bendigo
Why: A charming fully-contained, self-catering cottage (sleeps up to 5 adults) in a great location on a wide Bendigo street…and steps way from the Bendigo Corner Store where we often go for breakfast when in town.
Website | Facebook







Don’t forget to check out the LUSCIOUS SHOP for men’s and women’s fashion, kids, homewares, gifts and themed pages for beach and countryside lusciousness.

And follow Luscious on FacebookPinterestInstagramYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter here.

Cheers, Natasha








What do you think of this post?
  • Truly luscious (3)
  • Fab tip - thanks! (0)
  • Oh so glamorous (1)
  • Yes please! (1)
  • I ADORE this (2)

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *