Gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and the iconic Great Ocean Road, Geelong has transformed from a once-industrial city into a stylish and renowned foodie destination. Just over an hour west of Melbourne, you’ll find family-owned cellar doors, boiler room bars, intimate French bistros and European diners lauded in The Age Good Food Guide.
Discover the best Geelong wineries and restaurants and get your foodie fix – Victoria’s second-largest city holds its own when it comes to delicious experiences.
Best restaurants in Geelong
Head to Little Malop Street, a vibrant strip popular for alfresco dining and urban street art, and find hidden treasures down laneways and back alleys. Enjoy contemporary European fare at its finest at stylish Felix Restaurant, while the nearby Geelong Cellar Door brings the best of the wine region with a cosy fire in the cooler months.
An elegant and cosy French eatery, Bistrot Plume serves French classics such as twice-baked souffle in a modern Parisian bistro setting. Igni is Latin for ‘fire’, and this award-winning restaurant in Geelong’s CBD certainly delivers. The surprise set-course menu is based around the wood-fired grill in the heart of the kitchen, and features seasonal ingredients sourced from local producers.
Half an hour from Geelong, you’ll find the new Italian farmhouse restaurant La Cantina, part of the Common Ground Project, focused on regenerative farming and locally grown, healthy food. Basil’s Farm is another perfect spot for lunch with panoramic views out across Swan Bay to Queenscliff. You’ll find more food and wine destinations right across the peninsula on the Bellarine Taste Trail with fresh, seasonal produce available at farm gates and providore.
Bars and burgers in Geelong
Good food is not just about fine dining. Explore Geelong’s vibrant waterfront and discover bustling pubs and bars dishing up tasty meals. Sailor’s Rest boasts Geelong’s only rooftop bar overlooking the banks of the Barwon River. For cocktails and fish tacos, head to Tacos y Liquor in Little Malop, enjoy handcrafted beers and bar snacks at microbrewery and bar Valhalla Brewing and Taproom and tuck into delectable fried chicken American-style at The Hot Chicken Project.
Best wineries in Geelong
The varied coastal terrain and rich soils of the Geelong wine region produce a bounty of superb, cool-climate wines and some of the best sauvignon blanc’s you’ll find. Stop by one of over 40 regional cellar doors open for tasting across the region and sample a diverse range of world class varietals from chardonnay to cabernet sauvignon. Part of the acclaimed Pinot Coast, the region is also home to premium pinot noir.
Taste award-winning drops at Provenance Wines’ beautifully-restored 1870s cellar door and restaurant on the banks of the Barwon River. East of Geelong, visit the unique ‘Upside Down House’ cellar door and 1920s restored homestead at Oakdene Vineyards or sip handcrafted wines at boutique vineyard Shadowfax Winery.
A short drive from Geelong on the Bellarine Peninsula, Scotchmans Hill is renowned for its premium cool-climate wines and is open daily for wine tastings. Jack Rabbit is another stellar winery on the Bellarine with panoramic bay views and gastronomic delights on offer in its vineyard restaurant. Enjoy picturesque views across the bay over a grazing platter and a glass or two at Terindah Estate.
Where to stay:
For a relaxed stay settle in at the Quality Hotel Bayside Geelong, situated in a tranquil corner of the Esplanade and overlooking the beautiful waters of Corio Bay. Only a 15-minute walk to the heart of town, and the revitalised Eastern Beach Reserve, this is a great base to explore local attractions.