26 September 2023

Experience the Memphis loved by Elvis Presley

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By Rama Gaind.

Elvis Presley strolls the grounds of his Graceland estate, 1957.

Excitement prevails in Bendigo, Victoria, following the opening of a major exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Elvis Presley.

In fact, Priscilla Presley travelled from Los Angeles to Bendigo earlier this month for the opening of Elvis: Direct from Graceland at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Curated by Bendigo Art Gallery in collaboration with Graceland, this exclusive exhibition explores Elvis’ stellar career, his larger-than-life persona, lesser-known aspects of his early years, interests and personal life and his radical sense of style.

Elvis: Direct from Graceland features around 300 authentic artifacts owned by Elvis Presley, direct from the icon’s Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee – including his military uniforms, his 1976 Red Bicentennial Custom Harley Davidson, and an amazing array of his famous jumpsuits – to personal items like Lisa Marie’s baby clothes, Elvis’ first job application and the 1st grade crayon box he took to school. In Australia for the first time ever is a bright red convertible 1960 MG from the movie Blue Hawaii. The exhibition continues until 17 July.

If you want to experience the Memphis Elvis loved and lived in, then do include this ‘established and beautiful’ city in your itinerary when you next visit the United States.

Memphis is a city on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, famous for the influential strains of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll that originated there. It is one of the more historic and culturally significant cities of the southern U.S.

Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash recorded albums at the legendary Sun Studio and Presley’s Graceland mansion is a popular attraction. Other music landmarks include the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Blues Hall of Fame and Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The legendary musician and cultural icon was influenced heavily by his Deep South roots, from gospel music to the Mississippi Blues, which are still alive in Memphis today.

Graceland Mansion has been open to the public for 40 years.

Travel highpoints

Here are some highlights of places to visit:

  • Graceland Mansion: 2022 marks 40 years of Graceland being open to the public and it remains as the most famous music residence in the world. It is the second most visited private home in the U.S. after the White House in Washington, D.C.
  • Elvis Presley’s Memphis: Opposite the mansion is the 200,000-square-foot Elvis Presley’s Memphis, an entertainment complex filled with museums, exhibits and immersive experiences, shops and restaurants, for visitors to “follow the path that Elvis took, surround themselves with the things that he loved, and experience the sights and sounds of the city that inspired him”.
  • The Guesthouse at Graceland: Less than a five-minute walk from the mansion is The Guesthouse, a hotel dedicated to Elvis and exuding in his style – from the southern colonial exterior to the suites. The ideal place for any Elvis fan to rest their head after a day immersed in his world.

His stomping ground:

  • The Arcade: The oldest diner in Memphis (serving the South Main Arts District since 1919). Elvis became a regular here, ordering their fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.
  • Downtown Memphis’ Lansky Brothers: A family-owned clothing retailer that helped to create Elvis’ signature, style, Lansky Brothers is known as the Clothier to the King.

His music trail:

In 1954, an unknown Elvis Presley made his first recording here and transformed Sun Studio.

Sun Studio: In 1954 an unknown Elvis Presley made his first recording here and transformed Sun Studio into one of the most famous recording studios in the world. A guided tour through this life-changing location in Elvis’ history is a must for any music fan. The studio also launched the careers of such top musicians as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich.

Beale Street: Elvis was a regular on the Beale Street live music circuit which is just as vibrant today. Explore over two dozen restaurants and bars, see his tribute at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and take a picture beside his larger-than-life statue at Elvis Plaza and take a walk ‘10 feet off Beale’ to discover more than 150 brass music notes embedded in the sidewalk, including one dedicated to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Known globally as the ‘home of the blues & birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll’ – not to mention gospel, jazz, R&B, rap and soul – Memphis is a popular destination for music and food enthusiasts.


Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria

Elvis: Direct from Graceland

19 March-17 July 2022


Accommodation, exhibition ticket prices and gift vouchers:



Going to Memphis


Delta flies to Memphis from around $2,350 return via LAX (based on fares in September 2022). www.delta.com

Staying there

Here are some suggested tour packages and hotels in Memphis for an Elvis-themed trip. Tastes and Sounds of the South tour package with Trafalgar from $4,204:


Southern Grace tour package with Insight Vacations from $7,825:


The Guesthouse at Graceland

Deluxe Guest rooms from around US$195 per night in low season (currently stay more save more deal for 3 nights plus booking direct)


The Peabody

Superior Double room from around US$280 per night


The Memphian

Standard King Rooms from around US$215 per night (weeknight rate)


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