Sharon Carlson came to Bendigo to study more than 20 years ago and never left. It’s that kind of place, she says.
With a population of 112,000, Bendigo is the third largest city in Victoria, offering many of the opportunities of Melbourne, without the hassles of traffic, commuting and overcrowding.
“Bendigo is extremely vibrant in terms of tourism and events,” says Sharon, who runs the Best Western Crystal Inn in Strathdale, just 4 kilometres from the city centre.
“We have award-winning eateries, a fantastic art gallery, numerous event centres and two large theatres. The city also hosts many sporting and musical events throughout the year.”
She adds that Bendigo is an attractive city with proud, prosperous public buildings speaking to Bendigo’s history as the gold mining capital of Australia.
“It’s a very pretty place, where each season holds something special for visitors and tourists alike.”
Sharon is a country girl and was brought up in Warrnambool on Victoria’s west coast, she earned a teaching degree at La Trobe University in Bendigo.
During her studies, she met her future husband, Tim, in a restaurant where they both worked. He was training to be a chef.
She taught in various local schools for 10 years before the hard-working couple started a café together while also raising a family, which now numbers three kids (two girls and a boy) with a fourth on the way.
One thing led to another and three years ago they bought the Best Western Crystal Inn and haven’t looked back.
“It’s a good life,” says Sharon, who relishes the freedom and flexibility that running her own business provides.