|The 'talking' tram|
After a round of googling, I have decided to go to see the dragons! By train nonetheless. I was a little apprehensive if there would be enough things to keep my occupy for the whole day. It turned out that I don't have enough time to see all the things I wanted to. :P
|View along the way|
The earliest Sunday train is scheduled at 8:36 am, arriving Bendigo at 10:40 am. If you check the train schedule, this train is flagged as requiring reservation but a note somewhere in the website mentioned one does not need to reserve if only travelling to Bendigo. I actually rang up PTV and confirmed that I didn't need to make reservation but would need to get on to the unreserved carriage, also I could use my myki. For once I think that is very convenient of myki.
After much contemplation, I decided not to the tickets for the 'talking' tram. *Gasp* The vintage 'talking' tram is the icon of Bendigo. It is probably wrong for me to forgo it but the sights I wanted to see are along the tramline but in between stops and within very walkable distance. The Asian gene thinks it is not cost effective to pay $17.50 for a two day fare. Even if I made a combined package fare, it would still cost me $43 (together with a Mine Experience ticket). No 'talking' tram for me, so I am comforting myself that it is similar-ish to the Melbourne City Circle Tram (which is free by the way ;))
This was my planned route, the time in red are the walking time from Google map. The actual route on the day was a much smaller circuit. After Golden Dragon Museum, I made my way back to Bendigo Railway Station because by the time I left the museum, it was closed to 4 pm and the Bendigo Joss House Temple opens from 11 am to 4 pm whereas the Bendigo Prince of Wales Showground market finished at 3 pm. I guess Bendigo would be quiet at night, either that it was because it was the day before Australia Day. As you can see, I've actually only done a very small circle. Alright, first stop...
Central Deborah Gold Mine
I've always associate gold mines with Ballarat so I was surprised to see the top attraction in Bendigo listed in tripadvisor is Central Deborah Gold Mine. The reviews were very good so this was my first stop.
I went on the Mine Experience Tour, the most basic and cheapest tour on offer at $30 for adult. It is a little cheaper if you combined it with other attraction, example Mine Experience & Vintage Talking Tram cost $43. Individual tickets would be $30 + $17.50 = $47.50. I only got the mines ticket as the Golden Dragon Museum that I wanted to go does not come in combined ticket. The lady at the reception was very nice and told me if I changed my mind on wanting to buy the 'talking' tram tickets, they can add it on for me.
The Mine Experience Tour only goes down down to 61 metres underground to Level 2. The more adventurous (pardon my lack of description) Underground Adventure Tour descends to third leve of the mine, 85 metres underground but it costs $85. Going down to Nine Levels of Darkness drops down to 228 metres underground sounds exciting but cost $199.
I had a little time to kill before the start of the next tour, so I walked around the surface level of the mine while waiting. The tour guide who led my tour session was Peter. I was the only one token Asian in the tour, as well as alone in the tour. The rest were there with families. I have reservation about joining tours especially when I"m alone because sometimes I stood out like a sore thumb but I had fun in this mine tour. I think Peter made an effort to talk to me because I was alone.
|Clockwise from top L: (1) We were equipped with a hard hat and lights, (2) Peter demonstrating on the equipment, (3) Gillies Pie were heated up in the oven in the function room, (4) Peter explaining another equipment, (5) Entrance to the gold mine.|
From the cathedral, I walked towards the Alexandra Fountain. This area is Pall Mall in the city centre. Alexandra Fountain was named after the Princes of Wales and erected in 1881. There's a tram stop near this fountain and it is the nearest tram stop from the railway station.
After crossing the road from Alexandra Fountain lies Rosalind Park, right in the middle of the city. Along the street are the Military Museum followed by Bendigo Visitor Centre.
Across the street from there is Hotel Shamrock. Hotel Shamrock is a grand 19th century hotel and it is one of the first building that came up when I started to look up what's to see in Bendigo. It started off as a The Exchange Hotel servicing miners during the Victorian gold rush time. This building was designed and directed by W.C. Vahland who was also the man behind the Alexandra Fountain.
... to be continued as the post is getting too long for a day trip :D
Side note: Is HK a good place to work to earn and save more money?