Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Melbourne, Geelong is Victoria’s second largest city. It’s also the gateway to the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula and the spectacular Great Ocean Road. With cute seaside villages, rolling hills and wineries, fabulous restaurants and great galleries, this is a region well worth exploring.
Geelong boasts a stunning waterfront precinct. Take a stroll past the many public artworks that display icons of Geelong’s past. Make the most of the setting to enjoy lunch or dinner overlooking the water at any of the fine restaurants or lively cafes.
Geelong is rich in history, which you can explore with a visit to the art deco pool, restored Eastern Beach Pavilion and the National Wool Museum, housed in a historic 1872 bluestone building on the waterfront. For a unique destination, visit the Old Geelong Gaol Museum. Don’t miss the wonderful Geelong Gallery, and the beautiful Botanic Gardens, a perfect spot for a picnic or relaxing stroll.
Visit Geelong any February and you’ll discover the wonderful celebration of cultural diversity known as Pakofesta. Now in its 30th year, this award-winning festival features a colourful parade, a smorgasbord of flavours from around the world, international music, live entertainment and free activities for children.
For an introduction to local Indigenous culture, the Narana Creations centre offers didgeridoo playing, cultural demonstrations and the chance to try your hand at boomerang throwing.
While in Geelong you might choose to stay in a waterfront apartment to be close to the action, but if you’d prefer something more budget friendly or a little further from the action, you’ll find boutique guesthouses, hotels and budget accommodation options throughout town. There are always plenty of options for accommodation in Geelong.
Geelong is surrounded by wine country. If you’ve had a tipple at any of the restaurants and bars on Pakington Street, then you might be enticed to take a drive or join a tour to some of the region’s incredible vineyards. You’ll not only get to savour some fine drops at cellar doors, you have the bonus of enjoying the stunning rural setting.
Running alongside the Bellarine Peninsula Tourist Railway, the Bellarine Rail Trail is a walking or cycling track that extends from Geelong through to Queenscliff. For a change of pace, why not cycle one way and return in a vintage steam train? Bikes are welcome on board the train.
South of Geelong, the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s best known road journeys. Stretching along the south coast of Victoria, this incredible region takes in seaside villages, national parks and stunning deserted beaches. At the most eastern point of the Great Ocean Road is Torquay, an iconic surf destination and home to the world famous Bells Beach.
If you know your surf labels, you might know that the Quicksilver and Rip Curl surf brands both originated here. The town bustles every Easter as surfers from around the world gather for the Rip Curl Pro.
Just east of Torquay, Barwon Heads lies at the mouth of the Barwon River. It’s a relaxed seaside destination that would make a great stop for a few days. Fish, swim or simply take a leisurely stroll along the lovely beach.
You might include a visit to the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, where you can swim or snorkel among protected marine life. Experienced divers may explore two shipwrecks located on the edge of the reef.
Geelong and the surrounding districts are home to fabulous local produce, wonderful wineries, and the best in both rural and coastal destinations. So if you’re looking for an adventure with variety, look no further and book your holiday today.
- Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula: From Waterfront to Wine Country
- Geelong: Galleries, Gardens and Culinary Delights
- Queenscliff: Seaside Strolls and Maritime Museums
- Anglesea: Coast and Kangaroos
Image Courtesy: Getty Images/Tourism Victoria