Looking out at the view from your suite at the Quality Hotel Bayside, you’d be excused for thinking there’s no place you’d rather be. A bay view apartment might be difficult to leave, but then you’d be missing out on all the fun things to do in Geelong.
Geelong is Victoria’s second largest city, but its atmosphere is relaxed. Don’t confuse relaxed with sleepy though. Geelong is a thriving cosmopolitan hub, the heart of which is the waterfront precinct facing Corio Bay.
The Geelong Waterfront is packed with sumptuous restaurants and cafes offering alfresco dining and great views. The foreshore area stretching from Rippleside to Limeburners Point is famous for the Baywalk Bollards, a series of over 100 sculptures. Geelong’s most popular swimming spot is also here. The iconic Eastern Beach has a large tower and diving boards, and an enclosed children’s swimming pool. Nearby is an adventure playground and picnic area. If you’re looking for surf then Torquay is just down the road.
Whether you’re young or old, no waterfront visit is complete without a ride on the steam driven, hand-carved wooden carousel. Made in 1892, it was painstakingly restored in 1996 and is one of only 200 left in the world today. The carousel, which tells the story of King Arthur and Camelot, truly is one of the must-see things to do in Geelong.
Geelong is fun things to do for families, like the National Wool Museum. Wool might not sound that interesting, but the museum manages to make it kid-friendly and interactive. And where else can you cycle safely beside a steam train? The Bellarine Rail Trail links South Geelong to Queenscliff. The 35-kilometre bike ride is fairly easy, with families often opting to ride part of the way and catch a steam train back.
The surrounding region is home to some of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes, from surfing beaches, to rainforests and bushlands.
It is the gateway to the 243-kilometre stretch of breathtaking scenery, along the Great Ocean Road. And if that’s not enough to impress the kids, then take them to Victoria’s largest theme park, Adventure Park. Keep in mind that the park closes over winter. Open all year is the wonderful A Maze ‘n Games, which offers an 18-hole mini golf course as well as one of Australia’s largest timber mazes.
Whatever time of year you visit, Geelong will be throwing a party. The city is home to over 1000 events every year, including the Festival of Sails in January, and October’s Royal Geelong Show.
And if all that sounds exhausting, then perhaps you’re better off relaxing at the Quality Hotel Bayside, and watching all the Geelong Waterfront action take place from afar. It’s not a bad option at all.
About Jane Tara
Jane is a travel writer, author, and the director of Itchee Feet, a publishing company that produces travel books for kids, and travel information for their parents. She has written for Sunday Telegraph/Sunday Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Telegraph, The Age and The Courier Mail, Marie Claire, New Woman, and Punto! She has over two-dozen children’s picture books published in Asia, and two novels published through Momentum Books. She has spent years travelling, and has lived in Tokyo, London, Vienna, New York, and various parts of Australia. She is currently based in Sydney, with her partner and their four sons.