One of Victoria’s finest regional galleries (founded in 1887), Bendigo Art Gallery has a permanent collection that includes outstanding colonial and contemporary Australian art. It showcases works by the likes of Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd, Brett Whiteley and Fred Williams. Aim to visit at 2pm for a free tour. The equally impressive temporary exhibitions (both ticketed and free) are cutting edge and have been an important part of Bendigo's revival, bringing big numbers through the doors.
There's an art and design shop, and the Gallery Cafe overlooking Rosalind Park is a good spot for coffee or a light lunch.