ASTRA stars take notice of central Victoria's wealth

Celebrities and television talent are recognising the influence and attractiveness of the Bendigo region.

Central Victoria is a popular place to visit - with arts and culture, property and regional produce all areas of interest. 

TV chef Matt Moran might have only flown over Bendigo in a helicopter but he still recognises the potential of quality restaurants and the region's produce.

"All restaurants should be using produce that is available in their region," he said. "Places like Bendigo and Ballarat should be doing that."

Moran, whose lifestyle program Paddock to Plate won an Astra Award on Thursday night, said the Bendigo region's reputation was pretty good. "It's definitely a greater region for food," he said.

MTV presenter Kate Peck was another who encouraged people to explore regional areas.

MTV hosted a house party in Bendigo last year, something Peck missed out on. "I was devastated I couldn't come. It's so beautiful out there and the region has so much to offer," she said.

Peck said regional music events like Groovin' the Moo and the Blues and Roots Festival were important for Bendigo.

"There is such a huge fan base in regional communities," she said. "It's a great chance to celebrate and enjoy the region."

Bendigo's property market is also booming, according to Selling Houses Australia host Andrew Winter.

"Bendigo is an established area with a lot of industries there to keep it going," the five-time Astra winner said. "Some regional areas have it tough if there is only one resource base but places like Bendigo have a more sustainable feel to it and that is an ideal lifestyle choice for a lot of people."

Property opportunities are something that keeps Real Housewife of Melbourne star Janet Roach coming back.

Roach is a property developer and loves the potential of Bendigo and central Victoria.

"I spend a lot of time in regional areas and think there's a lot of growth there" she said. "Compared to the city market, there is so much happening (in regional areas)."

Fellow Melbourne housewife Chyka Keebaugh said the arts precinct was also attractive.

"Last time I was up there was for the Grace Kelly exhibition, which I loved," she said. "The gallery stole a few things from the NGV and they were wondering why so many people were heading up there.

"With (exhibitions) like that and so many great restaurants, it is no wonder."

But for others it was fond memories of the area that made them love Bendigo.

Andrea Moss, of the Real Housewives of Melbourne, said she used to spend most weekends in Castlemaine and Chewton.

"We used to have a holiday house in Chewton when I was a girl. I spent every weekend there," she said. 

"It was a little miner's cottage that my grandpa had and I have very fond memories of Castlemaine and its products.

"The best part about being a kid was going to Chewton."

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