Sitting at the gateway to the famous Great Ocean Road, Geelong is Victoria’s second largest city and offers beautiful beaches, elegant architecture, and stunning natural beauty. The commercial centre runs right down until it hits the beachfront making it the perfect city to mix exploring and relaxation.
Experience local art at the Geelong Gallery which has been showcasing its collection since 1896. This building houses one of Australia’s best collections of 19th and 20th century European and Australian paintings and decorative art. The focus of the permanent collection is the early images of Geelong including works of significance such as Eugène von Guérard’s View of Geelong (1856) and Frederick McCubbin’s A bush burial (1890).
Take in the views across Corio Bay in the Geelong Botanical Gardens. Preserving plants from all over the world, this escape is the perfect place to enjoy some nature. While there check out the statue of Queen Victoria and the rose garden showcasing the history of rose cultivation and breeding.
Next, continue down the shoreline and set up your beach blankets for a relaxing afternoon on Eastern Beach. Take a dip in the ocean or head over to Cunningham Pier for a bite in one of the restaurants or cafes recently established there.
Located in a historic bluestone wool store down on the Geelong waterfront, sits the National Wool Museum a quirky building telling the story of Australia’s history with the wool trade, combined with exciting temporary exhibitions.
A must see while at Geelong’s waterfront is the restored steam-driven Carousel. Large glass windows allowing adults and children alike to look out over the ocean while swirling around on a well-restored horse with carnival music playing overhead. While a ride will cost you $3.50, entry to the building to see the Carousel is free.
Learn about Australia’s history at the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture through the Ancient dreaming stories or meet the native emu, wallaby, and kangaroo residents. You can even learn how to throw a boomerang nestled among native Australian trees. While there check out the Narana Coffee shop, serving up traditional Aboriginal dishes for your dining pleasure.
Get out of the city and take a day trip over to Bellarine. Tour the local wineries of the peninsula and take in a meal at one of the gourmet restaurants popping up everywhere around the area. If staying active is more your speed check out the Bellarine Rail Trail and go for a bike ride with scenery ranging from rolling farmland to stunning sea views over Swan Bay.