“A day trip to Bendigo to see the Grace Kelly Exhibition” – isn’t that a glorious sentence? Somehow the concept of day trips still sends a nanna like thrill through me and add stunning fashion from princess and you have me hooked.
When HD suggested organizing a group expedition/adventure to Bendiogo to visit the Bendigo Art Galley and their Grace Kelly: Style Icon exabhition I was excited; images of train travel, beautiful dresses and the sense of adventure filled my imagination. Despite having heard fantastic things about Bendigo Art Gallery and their ability to get some amazing (and travel worthy) exhibits I haven’t actually been before so I was all geared up for our trip.
We decided to catch the train up (and oddly enough, back again) as we thought it would be a little more adventure like and fun. We booked our train tickets during the week (about $37 return) and were able to easily reserve seats and pay online. The catch? You still have to queue on the day to collect your tickets with other passengers who haven’t pre booked and paid online. The line, where we met at Souther Cross, was massive and we were worried that our 20 minute coffee and time would be eaten by the queue – it was! Luckily with a few of us we were able to take turns queuing and managed to run for the train.
The train ride took around two hours and was packed, several people were left standing so I was glad we had reserved our seats online. It was a scenic trip with lots of beautiful countryside rolling past and a few cute (and not so cute) station stops along the way. An awesome surprise was a Bendigo Tourist Volunteer (lovley man) who walked through the train offering advice and handing out maps – amazing service!
Upon arrival with plenty of time before our 2pm entry slot (we reserved our tickets during the week knowing time slots can sell out) we walked into town, browsed some op shops (I was trying to find some cheap sunnies as it was a surprisingly sunny and lovely day – in the end I “borrowed” Beans off her head). There was also a host of intresting fashion shops with some really nice things for sale. We visited the stunning Sacred Heart Cathedral and then headed to The Wine Bank on View for lunch.
Then it was time to see the Grace Kelly exhibition (yay yay yay). We aimed to be fairly prompt for our 2pm entry time but found this shuffled us into the room as part of the giant crowd and meant it was had to see some of the displays (my recommendation is arrive a little lat or do the exhibit backwards). The Grace Kelly exhibition features her fashion over her many years in the public eye. The exhibit was decided into five (approx) areas showing fashion from films, her Hollywood years, engagement to the prince and her stunning wedding dress, princess fashion and then her later years fashion (a little more eccentric).
The clothes and photos were stunning and it was lovely to see such beautifully tailored and composed outfits on display. One of the nicest touches was that for many of the items there was a corresponding picture showing Grace wearing the ensemble. She was a stunning woman all the way through her life and the fashion and her sense of style was generally conservative, tailored with a soft flare of originality. They also run inside the exhibition a large screen showing portions of reel and footage from appearances and films. For an additional few dollars you are also able to see one of her movies (Rear Window or High Society – both films I love).
It took us about an hour to wander through the Grace Kelly exhibition section and then another half hour to wander the gallery and little shop. Afterwards we went for a stroll through the Botanic Gardens, browsed the Book Barn (great second hand shop) and headed back to the station.
A lovely day out and perfect to do in a small or large group! While I think next time we will drive catching the rain really added to the adventure.
**no photos were allowed to be taken during the exhibition.