Despite what most Melbournians will say, there is so much more to Geelong than Ford and the Cats. Located 75km from the CBD, it has all the benefits of a capital city, while still radiating the relaxed atmosphere of a small country town. And it packs a punch when it comes to gourmet food and wine.
Whether you want to devote an entire weekend to the regional city, or are just stopping by on your way to the Surf Coast, here are a few things you can do in the area (that don’t involve watching AFL at Kardinia Park).
Check out the waterfront
With palm trees, a curved art-deco boardwalk and giant ferris wheel, the Geelong Waterfront is a scene straight out of Los Angeles. The seaside strip is lined with delicious eateries, beautiful bakeries and boutique shops so, get some fish and chips from a local retailer and navigate the bay with a crab stick in hand.
Meet the locals
From Indigenous Australians to Victorian Bath Swimmers, the Bayside Bollards chronical Geelong’s past, heroing all the unique characters that made it the powerhouse it is today. There are over 100 of these colourful structures scattered from Rippleside Park to the Botanical Gardens, so follow the Bollard Trail to photograph them all, while exploring Geelong’s beach front.
Meander down Little Malop Street
With ever changing street art, quaint cafes and hip cellar doors, this shady shopping strip reminds me of a Melbourne Laneway. Like its sister city, there is no shortage of places to get coffee, with the smell of the sacred brew filling the street. If I was you, I would get a caffeine hit at Coffee Cartel, then head around the corner to James Street Bakery for some mouth-watering panini and colourful macaroons. You won’t be disappointed!
Head off route to a winery
Forget the Yarra Valley, Geelong is home to over 60 boutique wineries who produce award winning, handcrafted wine. So, stop at a cellar door to unwind, take in the scenery and enjoy a sumptuously cooked meal with a perfectly matched glass of red. Each winery has its own unique charm, but my top pick would definitely be Nicol’s Paddock, a family run business that specialises in locally sourced, seasonal food.
Try a local brewery
Not much of a wine drinker? Don’t worry neither am I. Luckily there are plenty of local hotspots to quench your thirst with a cold pint, including Little Creatures Brewery. With a bustling canteen, barrel hall and brewery tour, it’s every Hop Head’s dream, and you can even learn more about the beer making process by participating in a class on the first Wednesday of every month.
Chase a thrill
Sometimes, all your getaway needs is a surge of adrenaline. Find it at Adventure Park, amongst 24 park rides and theme attractions, including Victoria’s largest waterslide. If you’re not into scary rides, you can take it easy by soaking up some sun by the pool, floating in the lazy river, or unleashing your inner child on an aqua racer.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Geelong? Let me know in the comments below so I can add it to this list.