Easter in Bendigo

I’m so busy with work that it took me till today to post about something we did last Sunday. Anyway, we decided to spend Easter Sunday in Bendigo for Bendigo Easter Festival (from April 6 to 9). Bendigo is one of Victoria’s bigger cities out in north central Victoria.

We decided to let Melbourne Victoria Route Planner provide us with the simplest route from Werribee to Bendigo. Yeah, right. We drove through coarse roads we’ve never seen before that provided almost no signs as to where we were at any given time or where we’re heading. I was overjoyed when we finally got on the Calder Freeway which meant that we’d get to Bendigo if we just stay on that road.

We went to Bendigo for the big Chinese cultural events that they apparently hold annually every Easter. While waiting for the start of the major events, we dropped by the Yi Yuan Chinese Garden to watch some kids perform cultural dances there. Afterwards, we went to the adjacent Golden Dragon Museum which I actually liked very much. The museum has lots of historical and cultural Chinese artifacts from the 1800s when Chinese migrants left China to seek their fortune in Bendigo’s gold mines.

Of the Chinese Bendigo events, we specially wanted to see the Bendigo Chinese Association Awakening of the Dragon. From the event’s website:

Awaken the Dragon! Bendigo’s own Sun Loong is the longest Imperial Dragon in the world. Take part in a special Chinese ceremony to wake him out of slumber for his special appearance at Monday’s Gala Parade.

It was a very hot afternoon for it though. The sun was beating down on us. Thankfully, we had our backs to the sun. We went to the open plaza 15 minutes before the event was to start but even then, we were too late. All the seats were taken and the crowd has already gathered behind the seats. Thankfully, we were still able to find a spot where we could still see the event at the centre of the plaza.

We enjoyed the first several minutes of various cultural dances like kids doing a ribbon dance (click here to see our video) and the lion dance (click here to see our video). But after over an hour under the smouldering heat, we gave up waiting for the Awakening the Dragon event. We only stuck around for the smaller “Awakening the Lion” number which was too drawn out, in my opinion. After that, we just wanted to spend the remainder of the afternoon going around Bendigo.

Although, I liked the Chinese cultural portion of our trip, I also liked the Talking Tram Tour. The tram took us across Bendigo while providing very educational commentary about the community and its history. What I loved the most was when we stopped at the Tram Museum where all Victorian trams go to die, it seemed. A lot of old trams used in Melbourne were eventually transported there and it was great to see these antique vehicles up close.

All in all, it was a wonderful out-of-town experience and I’m glad we went. It was certainly lovely to see a different part of Australia.

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Published in: on April 12, 2007 at 12:47 pm  Comments (3)