There’s a nostalgic allure about Bendigo.
History seeps from every corner, a stark reminder of the area’s mining past. Gold miners from around the world converged on Bendigo in 1862 once word got out about the rich strikes in Central Otago.
Early reminders of its beginnings such as the original bakery, huts and houses still stand today amongst the Bendigo vineyards. The Bendigo gold settlement tells the story well and in the surroundings hills mineshafts, water races and even a restored stamping battery are visible on the many walking and biking trails.
The first miners found alluvial gold and lots of it but the Bendigo “rush” was shortlived and quartz mining proved more lucrative. Bendigo was home to New Zealand’s largest quartz reef and there was intense activity until the early 1900s when mining gave way to farming.
Bendigo Station is famous for its quality merino wool but in the late 1990s diversification was in the air and viticulture became the new gold with the first grape plantings on the Bendigo terraces.