The king of rock and roll died almost 45 years ago, but Bendigo is still feeling the burning love thanks to their VIVA Bendigo program.
Everything Elvis Presley is being celebrated in the regional Victorian town, thanks to the arrival of a treasure trove of memorabilia from Graceland.
The Bendigo Art Gallery is putting more than 300 items on show in the Elvis: Direct from Graceland exhibition. These include his bedazzled jumpsuits and a red convertible 1960 MG featured in the movie Blue Hawaii.
But the Elvis celebrations don’t end there. The entire town is behind the exhibition in what is massive post-pandemic tourism push sure to attract thousands of visitors.
Local Bendigo restaurants, chocolateries, wineries, patisseries, cinemas and even celebrants have got on board to offer all things Elvis.
Shake, Rattle and Roll Cocktail Tram
You might get all shook up when you step aboard this fun cocktail tram.
Elvis tunes are playing and the sights of Bendigo are passing by as you cruise up and down Pall Mall, the town’s main drag.
The Elvis-themed cocktails and the wait staff that skilfully serve them aboard a vintage tram make this a must-do.
The 1.5-hour tram ride runs every Saturday evening and select Friday evenings (until July 16) at the pre-dinner time of 5pm or the post-dinner time of 7.30pm. Costs $40 per person, which includes your first cocktail.
Food fit for a king
Elvis was famed for his love for all things sweet, so Bendigo foodies have a lot of material to work with.
At popular café Percy and Percy, there’s the Hunk O’Love burger, which consists of tempura banana, bacon, caramel peanut butter sauce and toasted coconut on a brioche bun.
Balgownie Estate Bendigo has parcelled up exhibition tickets with a lunch package that includes a glass of cuvee and transfers from the train station, to the vineyard and then to the exhibition.
Fun toastie café Ghosty Toasty is serving up the King’s PBB – a toasty with peanut butter, maple bacon and banana.
The Bendigo Pottery Cafe also has peanut butter and banana toasties as well as Blue Hawaii milkshakes, while café Hoo-gah has a slightly sweeter variation with peanut butter ice-cream sandwiched between banana bread served with crispy bacon and maple syrup.
If all of this wasn’t enough, there’s the sweet stuff. The Blue Suede Choux eclairs are unmissable at Bluebird Patisserie, as are the Always on My Mind edition of the moreish Bendigo Brittle.
Save the American Trilogy at Indulge Chocolates for a decadent day out because it includes a Big Hunk o’ Love’ banana split drizzled with Belgian chocolate, a jailhouse peanut butter hot chocolate and a King of Choc peanut butter and jelly bonbons.
One for the money, two for the show
There are plenty of venues where you’ll find a little less conversation, a little more action.
Elvis films will play at the Star Cinema on Friday nights and fine dining restaurant Ms Batterhams will also play an Elvis movie on June 3, 10 and 17 with dessert and drink – ideal for an after-dinner session.
For something a little less conventional, you can get hitched with a Las Vegas-style wedding or renewal of vows.
Hustler has partnered with Celebrations with Steph to make it happen. The ceremonies will be on Sunday and include burgers and champagne.
Green thumbs will enjoy a walk through The Conservatory, which has been modelled on the Jungle Room – Presley’s recording studios at Graceland.
After all of this you’ll be saying thank you to Bendigo, thank you very much.
For more info, visit Bendigo Tourism.
Image credits: Elvis Presley, publicity still for Jailhouse Rock, 1957. © EPE. Graceland and its marks are trademarks of EPE. All Rights Reserved. Elvis Presley™ © 2021 ABG EPE IP LLC.
Elvis Presley in the 1968 NBC television special, Singer Presents… Elvis, later known as the ‘Comeback Special’. Photograph: Fathom Events/CinEvents © EPE. Graceland and its marks are trademarks of EPE. All Rights Reserved. Elvis Presley™ © 2021 ABG EPE IP LLC.