Geelong is Victoria’s second-largest city located on Corio Bay. Just an hour and a half drive southwest of Melbourne, it’s super convenient for a quick weekend getaway or a weeklong stay. There’re so many things to do in Geelong for couples, families, and solo travellers. From unforgettable animal encounters to culinary experiences or cultural experiences to splashing about in a water park, there is something to enthral just about anyone. Here is our pick for the top ten things to do in Geelong and the surrounding regions.
Things to do in Geelong for couples, families, and solo travellers
Barwon River is one of the most iconic rivers in Victoria. Starting in the Otway Ranges and flowing through to Geelong, this 160-kilometre stretch of water is a great place for water sports. Test your balance with paddleboarding, explore the lake by kayak, cast a line to catch a fish, enjoy water-skiing, take a dip, or sit back and relax with a picnic lunch on the banks of this beautiful river. There are also great walking and cycling tracks to enjoy.
Swim with Dolphins and Seals
Jump on a cruise to explore Port Phillip Bay Marine National Park and meet some of the marine locals. You can enjoy an experience like no other getting up close and personal with playful seals and friendly dolphins. From October through to May, tours depart from Queenscliff where you will be taken out on a guided snorkelling trip to encounter these creatures in the wild. You’ll start your day snorkelling in shallow and protected waters to see an array of colourful fish. You will then go to Chinaman’s Hat which is a temporary home to 30-40 young Australian Fur Seals. After a play with the puppy dogs of the sea, you’ll be off on a search for dolphins to swim with for an experience you will never forget.
A once in a lifetime experience.
Adventure Park Geelong
If you’re travelling with kids during summer, you must visit the Adventure Park. It’s an epic water park with waterslides, action rides and fantastic events. The whole family will enjoy unlimited rides all day long. During the cooler months, they close their doors and reopen during the winter school holidays for their Winter Glow event. Experience a winter wonderland with snow play, ice sculptures, light displays, fire twirlers, rides and more.
Take an easy stroll down the Geelong Baywalk, a flat smooth promenade that runs from Limeburners Point to Rippleside Park for a 3-kilometre stretch. It’s littered with beautiful picnic spots and the iconic Baywalk Bollards. The Baywalk Bollards are large wooden pylons that a carved into colourful characters. There are over 100 of them to check out and take a selfie with. You will also find the children’s pool and playground as well as the historic carousel and ferris wheel. There is an Art Deco swimming pool and a white sandy beach to relax on.
Bellarine Taste Trail
The foodies will absolutely love the Bellarine Taste Trail. Taste the flavours of the Bellarine Peninsula on a guided tour or self-guided trip visiting wineries, farmgate producers, provedores, restaurants, and cafes. There are nearly 50 food and wine destinations along the taste trail. Enjoy fruit, vegetables, and other produce fresh from the paddock and sea, family-run and award-winning wineries with breathtaking views, and award-winning restaurants and cafes serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wear loose-fitting clothing for this one so you can fit it all in.
Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre
For a cultural experience visit Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Learn and celebrate Aboriginal history and the world’s oldest living culture. There are many cultural education programs you can join to find out more about Australia’s Indigenous culture, connection to the land, spirituality, laws cultural designs, dreaming stories and more. Their programs are catered for all ages and include boomerang throwing, a guided walk through a native garden to learn about traditional medicine and bushtucker, feeding animals, dreaming story and dance and a tools and weapon presentation. There is also an art gallery showcasing traditional and modern style art from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Come check out the heritage trains at the Bellarine Railway. This volunteer-operated organisation features a collection of steam and diesel trains originating from all over Australia. Train rides run on selected Sundays and public holidays departing from Queenscliff and Drysdale stations. There are special experiences you can enjoy including the Blues Train, a mini music festival featuring blues music on board, the Q Train for a fine dining experience, and you can live out your childhood fantasy with a private steam train driver experience. There are special events held throughout the year including a day out with Thomas, heritage train trips, Easter Bunny specials, Mother’s and Father’s Day, magic shows and more.
The Geelong Gallery is one of Australia’s leading and oldest art galleries. It has a collection of over 6000 impressive works including paintings, sculptures, prints and decorative arts from both Australian and international artists. See many iconic Australian paintings including Eugène von Guérard’s Aborigines met on the road to the diggings (1854), The Weatherboard Falls (1863) and View of Geelong (1856). You will also see a collection of colonial paintings including early images of the Geelong region. You can book in for a guided tour or view the gallery at your own pace.
National Wool Museum
Visit Australia’s only comprehensive museum of wool, the National Wool Museum. Learn all about the Australian wool story from the 1840s to today. View the collections on display consisting of over 8000 textiles, documents, objects, paintings, photographs, and machinery that tell a story of the people involved in the wool industry throughout history. There are plenty of interactive displays for the kids and a gift shop with a unique range of woollen souvenirs and gifts sourced from around Australia.
Geelong Botanic Gardens
For a walk amongst the flowers come and explore the Geelong Botanic Gardens. View a beautiful display of nature with a range of plants from all over the world. Wander through desert landscapes with cacti and succulents then smell the roses in the rose garden. You can also see geraniums, salvias, a range of trees and more. There are plenty of spots to enjoy a picnic or visit the Tea House for a hot tea and a delicious pastry.