Vibrant, fun, versatile and welcoming, the Victorian city of Geelong is a pretty unique spot that combines Melbourne’s cosmopolitan vibe with regional Australia’s laidback lifestyle. Simply put, it’s the best of both worlds!
Should you decide to study and live in the Geelong region, you’ll enjoy everything from cultural and natural attractions to water-based adventures. To get you excited about everything the city has to offer, here’s our guide to the best activities in Geelong.
Explore Geelong beaches
Geelong is located right on the waterfront, which means there are plenty of opportunities for fun by the water. Eastern Beach Reserve, a renowned art deco-style sea-bathing complex on Corio Bay, is one of the city’s best places to swim, boasting a fantastic pool and a large promenade. There are also green areas with picnic and barbecue facilities, so you can take advantage of the surroundings and spend a whole day here.
Portarlington is another great spot, located around 30 minutes’ drive from central Geelong. This sandy beach lets you swim and enjoy views of Melbourne’s skyline.
Experience Geelong nature
Geelong has a similar climate to Melbourne; summer is comfortable, winters can be cold, and due to the city’s waterside location, it can get windy from time to time. All in all, though, Geelong’s weather is pretty mild, making it a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Get out into nature at the Geelong Botanic Gardens, where you can discover plant species from around the world. The best bit is that the gardens are entirely free to enjoy.
To meet some native critters, head to Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can hear stories from the keepers, ask questions about the animals, and get up close and personal with Australia’s most beloved furry friends.
Immerse yourself in history
Visit the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre to learn about Australia’s First Peoples’ histories, heritages and cultures. While you’re there, be sure to keep an eye out for the resident wallabies and emus that roam the gardens. Afterwards, check out the on-site art gallery, home to an extensive collection of artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
Socialise in style
Pay a visit to the Little Creatures Brewery, where you can taste some of the finest brewed beer and cider in Australia. For a fun bar experience, head to Piano Bar to mix with people singing and dancing the night away. For a dose of hipster culture, visit Ms Bartronica, a cool arcade bar and the sister venue to Bartronica on Melbourne’s Flinders Lane. The bar offers a bunch of games including Mario Kart, Nintendo 64 and old-school pinball machines to keep you entertained.
Eat delicious food
Geelong’s CBD offers lots in the way of tasty food spots, including the popular Little Malop Street precinct and the relaxing waterfront. For made-from-scratch Asian dishes, try Mr Umami’s, which serves everything from delicious dumplings to curry pastes that are made fresh every day. For Middle Eastern dishes in a funky warehouse setting, head to Zigfrids, and for burgers, you can’t go past Boss Burger Co in Geelong West. Whether you’re in Geelong for lunch or dinner, you won’t be short of unique cafes and restaurants to try!
Explore the local arts scene
Visit the Geelong Arts Centre for theatre, concerts and other shows, or check out the Geelong Gallery’s magnificent collection of 19th and 20th century Australian and European paintings and decorative arts. From there, go to the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre, an iconic establishment with views over the city. Next, take a stroll through the picturesque Johnstone Park to the National Wool Museum and learn about the history of wool in Australia, explore contemporary exhibitions and browse the bluestone wool store.
Walk or hike
Head towards the waterfront and walk the Geelong Bollard Trail – it’s one of the main highlights of Geelong. The bollards represent historical members of the city and are made from reclaimed timber pier pylons painted by Australian artist Jan Mitchell.
Venture to the You Yangs near Lara (around 45 minutes from central Geelong) and be greeted by granite peaks that dominate Geelong’s skyline – they really are a spectacular sight to see. Then, enjoy nature walks and views from the summit or test your mountain biking skills around the area!
Hit the road
Geelong is perfectly positioned for awesome road trips. The city is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, so it’s the perfect starting point if you want to see Victoria’s amazing coastline. Otherwise, you can visit The Bellarine region, which boasts a mix of a gentle estuary, rocky coastal headland, incredible beaches, and plentiful food options and attractions.
Make a splash at Victoria’s largest water park
While you may think water parks are just for kids, there’s lots of fun for adults at Adventure Park Geelong, a fun-filled theme park with more than 20 rides to make a splash on. You can also adventure in style, with VIP cabanas and sunbeds available for all-day hire – a unique way to kick back and relax with friends once you’re tired of the slides.