6 Reasons To Visit Geelong, Victoria
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Have you ever taken something for granted?
We used to take our hometown Geelong for granted.
We’d become so used to seeing it every day, it blended into the background and we couldn’t truly see it anymore.
Travel gave us a new perspective (it does that to you). And opened our eyes not only to its beauty but to all the reasons to visit Geelong.
And we were blown away!
One thing we’ve never taken for granted is its fantastic location.
Only an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Geelong is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road and Bellarine Peninsula.
It’s the perfect spot to base yourself while you explore the area.
Here’s why we think Geelong, or G-Town as us locals call it, is so great.
6 Reasons To Visit Geelong
1. The Waterfront
Starting life as an industrial port the Waterfront is now Geelong’s most popular tourist attraction with restaurants and cafes, gardens, art, and spectacular views of Corio Bay.
One of our favourite things to do on a Sunday morning is to take a walk along the Waterfront from Rippleside Park to Eastern Beach.
You can find many of Geelong’s famous bollards along here. We often see tourists having their photo taken with them.
Fun tip: look for the hidden rabbits lurking around the bollards feet!
The kids will enjoy the historic carousel, poppy kettle playground, and the youth activities area. There’s also a cute children’s train that runs along the foreshore.
After our walk, we usually pop into Sailors’ Rest or the Waterfront Kitchen for a delicious Aussie breakfast.
2. Eastern Beach
With the feel of times gone by Eastern Beach features an art-deco style pool and diving area, and a pavilion that’s home to a cafe and change rooms.
The whole area is covered with beautifully manicured lawn where families gather for picnics, barbeques, cricket matches and games of footy.
Kids have fun sliding down the grass embankments on boogie boards, tumbling head over heels at the bottom.
At the end of the day, it’s lovely to grab an ice-cream and take a stroll around the promenade for spectacular views as the sun sets over the bay.
3. A River Runs Through It
The Barwon River begins its 160-kilometre journey in the Otway Ranges and flows through Geelong on its way to the sea.
Once occupied by the Wathaurang people many sites in the area have names reflecting its Aboriginal heritage.
It’s a wonderful area for water sports, walking, cycling, fishing, and relaxation.
Follow the path along the riverbank and enjoy the beautiful old river gums and natural wildlife. If you make it as far as Buckley’s Falls there’s a chance you may even see a platypus!
Bird lovers can try to spot the endangered orange-bellied parrot, along with plovers, rosellas, magpies and perhaps a kookaburra or two.
There are plenty of spots to stop for a quiet moment to escape the clamour of our everyday lives. Bring a picnic or enjoy a coffee and some lunch at Barwon Edge Boathouse.
4. Wining and Dining
Geelong is full of great places to eat. Whether it’s seafood, steak or a good pub meal you’re after you’ll never go hungry.
Here are our top picks to choose from:
- For classy options with a view try Fishermen’s Pier or Le Parisien.
- Set back from the main thoroughfare the Customs House Restaurant and Wine Bar has old charm ambience.
- Or if you fancy some steak then it’s Parkers Steakhouse you need – us locals wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else.
- For pub grub, we like The Yardz or the more upmarket Geelong Hotel.
For a fabulous day out take a drive along the Bellarine Peninsula or Moorabool Valley and spend the day exploring the regions cool climate wineries.
In Geelong itself, Geelong Cellar Door is located in a beautiful old building and specialises in fine wines, cheeses, and charcuterie.
There’s also the cool Union Street Wine bar. You’ll find it down an alleyway hidden behind an industrial roller.
It’s also worth checking out Unwined Cellar Bar across the river in Belmont for wine tasting, local produce and live music.
5. It’s Cool!
Once known as “sleepy hollow” G-Town is now a hip and happening place.
With laneways, graffiti art and industrial spaces, the home of Chrissy Amphlett can’t be anything but cool!
We think the coolest area, is the up-and-coming Little Malop Street, home to the Piano Bar, Hot Chicken Project and the Coffee Cartel.
You’ll find restaurants serving food from around the world. Fancy some Italian? Or perhaps you could go a fiery Indian or Malaysian curry?
It’s all here.
At the end of your night out, pop into quirky Armageddon Cake and treat yourself to a decadent dessert.
The always busy multi-cultural Packington Street packs a cool punch too.
It’s where you’ll find the Resident Barber who snips, cuts and shaves men in a decked out shipping container.
Check him out for the coolest barber experience you’re ever likely to have.
And while you’re in the area why not enjoy a craft beer in a chilled out setting at Zigfrids Dining Hall and Bar.
6. Festivals and Events
Hardly a weekend goes by in Geelong when there isn’t a festival or sporting event taking place.
From Food Truck Fridays to the Nightjar in the City there’s always something to see, eat or do.
Some of the more popular festivals include the multi-cultural Pako Festa, the Festival of Sails and for beer lovers, there’s the Great Australian Beer Festival featuring the annual keg rolling competition!
The river and Waterfront are put to good use too, with rowing regattas, the Ironman Triathlon, and Cadel Evans Ocean Road Race.
Where To Stay In Geelong
Here are our top tips on where to stay in Geelong.
If you’re after a great location with spectacular views (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you can’t go past the Novotel Geelong hotel.
Set right on the waterfront, it has valet parking, comfy beds and buffet breakfasts.
The gorgeous Gatehouse on Ryrie is an old-fashioned BnB with the grace and charm of a bygone era.
Built in 1897, the eye-catching two-story building still retains its original features.
And there’s a fabulous balcony where you can sit and relax with a wine or beer.
Located right in the heart of the city the Gatehouse is just five minutes from the waterfront and shopping centres.
See the Gatehouse on Ryrie for more information, room rates and availability.
If you’re driving then the Best Western Admiralty Motor Inn is a good option.
Sitting on the edge of the city it’s just a short walk to the waterfront attractions and shopping centres.
And there are plenty of cool cafes nearby.
Highlights of the Admiralty include the landscaped outdoor pool and fabulous rain showers.
We’ve heard good things about the helpful staff.
So, there you have it, 6 reasons to visit Geelong. We can’t believe we ever took it for granted.
For more information on the Geelong area check out our post on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Overseas visitors might find the tips for travelling around Australia in this post useful.
Have you ever been to Geelong? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.