Stay close, go further
Get among the great outdoors and enjoy outstanding food and wine in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula this spring. Here are our top tips for a spring trip.
1. Little Malop Street
The vibrant heart of Geelong's emerging food and drink scene is packed with gastronomic highlights. Choose between Sober Ramen, The Continental or Pistol Pete's Food and Blues for a feed. Enjoy a drink at The Arborist, cocktails upstairs at 18th Amendment, or a performance at Piano Bar.
2. The You Yangs
Part way between Melbourne and Geelong are the You Yangs, a series of distinctive granite peaks. The range and surrounding regional park is popular with mountain bikers. Look out for native wildlife. More than 200 species of birds call this area home, along with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, brush-tail possums, echidnas and lizards.
Take the dog-friendly walk to Flinders Peak, 450 steps towards magnificent views of Geelong, Melbourne and Port Phillip.
3. Seaside walks
Stroll along Eastern Beach to follow the trail of carved and painted bollards. Strike out along the new Wangim Walk, a boardwalk that's also a 'wave attenuator' for the Royal Geelong Yacht Club. It's soon to feature interpretive content relating to the Wadawurrung people, the land's Traditional Owners.
The Bellarine is fertile country, and local producers are making sophisticated cool climate wines here. Head to Basils Farm, a vineyard, cellar door, farmhouse cafe and modern pavilion on the shores of Swan Bay. Share a bottle of the local vino and enjoy a meal made from produce grown locally.
Head to Jack Rabbit Vineyard for fine dining, award-winning wines and unrivalled views across the bay to Geelong, the You Yangs and Melbourne.
5. Pubs and breweries
Make the most of the changing seasons with an afternoon beer and bites. The village-like Little Creatures Brewery sprawls across the old Valley Worsted Mills building, with plenty of nooks to explore. Enjoy the famous Little Creatures Pale Ale or a White Rabbit. Sit inside or out, and tuck into some delish dining.
Closer to the water and set in a stunning historic building, Sailor's Rest has a beer garden and rooftop bar. Pause here to soak up the spring sunshine.
6. Searoad Ferries
Add on a day trip or take the long way home. Searoad Ferries connects you to the Mornington Peninsula in style. The car and passenger ferry crosses between Queenscliff and Sorrento hourly, every day, in all weather.
Geelong's waterfront has plenty of great spots to rest your head and explore. Stay in one of 128 hotel rooms and apartments at the R Hotel Geelong, set behind the facade of a 167-year-old landmark hotel. You'll wake to stunning views over Corio Bay and Geelong CBD.
On the Bellarine, discover coastal seclusion at Lon Retreat and Spa. Set within 200 acres of rural and conservation land by the ocean at Point Lonsdale, privacy is assured. It features just seven luxurious adult-exclusive suites and a mineral spa with a range of pampering treatments.