Beaches & Nature
Take in the beauty of a tangerine-painted sky over the Geelong Waterfront as you relax on the grass at Steampacket Gardens near the Geelong Pier and the Geelong Yacht Club.
The scene at Eastern Beach is reminiscent of the picturesque lakeside swimming spots found throughout Europe. Walk the length of the promenade around the half-moon ocean bath that juts out into the bay, let the kids take turns swimming to the elegant fountain in the centre of the children’s pool, or make use of the diving platform. The beach is also patrolled by lifeguards throughout the summer months.
North Shore Beach (also known as Moorpanyal Beach) is a well kept local secret and a top notch spot to swim, enjoy fish and chips or walk the clifftop trail above it. Enjoy the uncrowded sand and calm waters of Rippleside Beach. There is also a floating marina and small jetty for fishing and swimming off.
One of the best surfing spots in Victoria can be found nearby in Barwon Heads at 13th Beach. The many beaches of the Bellarine are also within easy driving distance from Geelong, or you could make a day trip to any of the beaches along the Great Ocean Road.
Traverse the trails within the You Yangs Regional Park past towering eucalypts, native shrubs, birds flittering in the trees and native wildlife. Set on nearly 2000 hectares of volcanic plains between Geelong and Werribee, the park is home to several majestic granite peaks that rise from the plains. Don’t miss Flinders Peak, which is an impressive 350 metres high.
Cycle or walk the Rail Trails from Geelong South to Drysdale and along the Bellarine Peninsula Tourist Railway all the way to Queenscliff. The 32.5km track will take you through the full scope of the region’s breathtaking scenery – from coast to bushland, past wheat fields and along the edge of Swan Bay.
History & Culture
Learn about Australia’s wool industry from its inception in the 1840s until today at the Geelong National Wool Museum inside the 1872 bluestone wool store. Pick up a woollen gift at the store on your way out or stay awhile and dine at the licensed restaurant.
Walk through the gardens of Barwon Grange past the fountain and take in the beauty of the century-old trees leading down to Barwon River. Inside the 1850s Gothic Revival home, you’ll find early Victorian furniture and fittings to admire. Once the home of merchant and banker Jonathon Porter O’Brien and his wife Ann, it is now the only remaining residence of the many built along the river during this period of Geelong’s history.
Gain an understanding of Geelong’s indigenous culture and purchase Aboriginal arts and crafts at the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Visit the city’s cultural precinct at the west end of Little Malop Street and spend a few hours viewing the Geelong Gallery’s outstanding collection of 19th and 20th century Australian art, spot the street art murals in the area and catch a performance at the Geelong Arts Centre.
Attractions & Activities
Head to the Geelong Waterfront to walk along the famous Bollard Trail, meeting bathing ladies from the 1930s, a Koori family and many more iconic characters from Geelong’s past painted on the bollards dotted along the trail which extends into the Geelong Botanic Gardens.
Peruse over 60 stalls selling books, jewellery, furniture, antiques, vintage clothing and footwear, vinyl records and everything in between at the Geelong Vintage Market. The Mill Markets are just as good for antiques, collectibles and retro finds. Both markets are indoors, which means you won’t have to worry about the weather.
The Geelong and Bellarine wine region, which is home to over 40 regional cellar doors, is best known for producing cool-climate pinot noir. Make your way along the wine trail, stop by for a tasting, and enjoy a meal at the many wineries with adjoining cafes and restaurants (including the award-winning Jack Rabbit Vineyard), and leave with a bag stocked with your favourite drops to enjoy later.