Bollards at Cunningham Pier, Ken Stepnell / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 160989

Situated on Corio Bay, Geelong is the largest provincial city in Victoria. Geelong was traditionally a wool-processing centre, and the National Wool Museum in Moorabool Street details its early dependence upon the industry. The town was first settled by Europeans in the 1830s, but Geelong and its surrounds were originally home to the Wathaurong people, with whom the famous convict escapee William Buckley lived for many years. Buckley later described the unique culture of the Aboriginal tribes who welcomed him into their lives, and his writing is now one of the most priceless historical records of Indigenous culture in southern Australia. Geelong is a beautifully laid-out city, and a drive along the scenic Esplanade reveals magnificent old mansions built during its heyday.

Visitor Information

26 Moorabool St; (03) 5222 2900 or 1800 620 888

Nearby national parks

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

Nearby towns

  • Barwon Heads

    This picturesque village, situated on the banks of the Barwon River near Bass Strait in Victoria, was established in the late 18th century...more

  • Drysdale

    Drysdale, situated on the Bellarine Peninsula, is primarily a service centre for the local farming community. The town is close to the...more

  • Ocean Grove

    Ocean Grove is a popular summer-holiday destination near the mouth of the Barwon River. The beaches around the town offer great surfing and...more

In Town

Waterfront Geelong This superbly restored promenade stretches along Eastern Beach and offers a variety of attractions. Visitors can relax in the historic, 1930s-built sea-baths, enjoy fine dining in seaside restaurants and cafes or stroll along the famous Bollards Trail featuring colourful sculptures. The Waterfront district is on Eastern Beach Rd, with the beautiful old Cunningham Pier as a centrepiece.

National Wool Museum The National Wool Museum features audiovisual displays plus re-created shearers' quarters and a mill-worker's cottage. Read More

Geelong Art Gallery: this regional gallery is considered one of the finest in the state. The focus is on late-19th- and early-20th-century paintings by British artists and members of the Royal Academy, such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton; Little Malop St; (03) 5229 3645.

Historic buildings: there are over 100 National Trust–classifications in Geelong, including Merchiston Hall, Osborne House and Corio Villa. 'The Heights' is a 14-room prefabricated timber mansion set in landscaped gardens; contact visitor centre for details of open days; Aphrasia St, Newtown. Christ Church, still in continuous use, is the oldest Anglican Church in Victoria; Moorabool St.

Ford Discovery Centre: Geelong has long been a major manufacturing centre for Ford and this centre details the history of Ford cars with interactive displays; closed Tues; Cnr Brougham and Gheringhap sts; (03) 5227 8700.

Wintergarden: a historic building housing a gallery, a nursery, antiques and a giftshop; 51 McKillop St.

Botanic Gardens: overlooking Corio Bay and featuring a good collection of native and exotic plants; part of Eastern Park; Garden St.

Johnstone Park: picnic and barbecue facilities; Cnr Mercer and Gheringhap sts.

Queens Park: walks to Buckley Falls; Queens Park Rd, Newtown.

Balyang Bird Sanctuary: 50 Marnock Rd, Newton, off Shannon Ave.

Barwon River: extensive walking tracks and bike paths in parkland by the river.

Norlane Water World: waterslides; Princes Hwy, Norlane.

Corio Bay beaches: popular for swimming, fishing and sailing; boat ramps provided.


You Yangs Regional Park These granite outcrops that rise 352 m above Werribee's lava plains have an ancient link to the Wathaurong people as they provided a much-needed water source – rock wells were created to catch water, and many of them can still be seen at Big Rock. The park is a popular recreational area: activities include the 12 km Great Circle Drive and the climb to Flinders Peak for fantastic views of Geelong, Corio Bay, Mt Macedon and Melbourne's skyline. There is also a fairly easy walk (3.2 kilometres return) from the carpark to the top of Flinders Peak. Contact Parks Victoria on 131 963. 24 km N

Werribee Park and the Open Range Zoo The key feature of Werribee Park is a beautifully preserved 1870s mansion with the interior painstakingly restored to its original opulence. Read More

Geelong and Bellarine wine region Geelong is a re-emerging wine district. Read more  Scotchmans Hill owns Spray Farm Estate, which regularly hosts the popular outdoor music concerts known as A Day on the Green. The region’s two other must-visit vineyards are Pettavel, home to one of the best winery restaurants in the state; and Shadowfax, part of Werribee Park where you can also visit Werribee Open Range Zoo and spend a luxurious night at Sofitel Mansion & Spa. Various cellar doors offer tastings and sales; map from visitor centre.

Fyansford: one of the oldest settlements in the region, with historic buildings including the Swan Inn, Balmoral Hotel and Fyansford Hotel. The Monash Bridge across the Moorabool River is thought to be one of earliest reinforced-concrete bridges in Victoria; outskirts of Geelong; 4 km W.

Adventure Park: Victoria's first waterpark, with more than 20 attractions and rides; open Oct–Apr; 1251 Bellarine Hwy, Wallington; (03) 5250 2756; 15 km SE.

Avalon Airfield: hosts the Australian International Air Show in odd-numbered years; off Princes Hwy; 20 km NE

Serendip Sanctuary: a wildlife research station that includes nature trails, bird hides and a visitor centre; just south of the You Yangs.

Fairy Park: miniature houses and scenes from fairytales; 2388 Ballan Rd, Anakie; (03) 5284 1262; 29 km N.

Steiglitz: once a gold town, now almost deserted. The restored courthouse is open on Sun; 37 km NW.

Fishing spots near town

Western Shore 2 km

Taking a southerly route around the bay from the lagoon you pass a large industrial and waterfront area. The next fishable water from shore is North Shore rocks, just outside the entrance to Corio Quay. During winter,... Find out more

Barwon River 2 km

Sometimes going fishing in our southern rivers is about making the best of what is available, as is the case of the Barwon River, which flows through Geelong. Like the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers, the coffee-coloured... Find out more

Stingray Bay 4 km

Stingray Bay on the southern shore is properly called Stingaree Bay, but many anglers simply refer to it as Limeburners, due to the boat harbour at Limeburners Point. The boundary of the bay is roughly between the... Find out more

Point Henry 7 km

Point Henry is a sand spit point on the southern shore of Corio Bay and is the demarcation between the inner and outer harbours. It is distinctive in that there is a large aluminium smelter and a long pier used to unload... Find out more

Inner Harbour 9 km

Following the inner harbour around from Bird Rock you pass Avalon Beach, which is little more than a collection of old huts. There is a boat ramp at the west end of Avalon Beach and the seagrass beds between the old... Find out more

Curlewis Bank 10 km

Curlewis Bank is well regarded for King George whiting during late summer and autumn. However, this vast bank of sand, seagrass and spoil ground also produces snapper, snook, squid and flathead. It is popular with soft... Find out more

Bird Rock 10 km

An area on the north side of the outer harbour, opposite Point Henry, from Bird Rock east to an area known as the ‘Quarries’ (due to the large quarry on the shore), produces snapper most of the year. Anglers... Find out more

Point Wilson 15 km

Opposite Clifton Springs, the long Commonwealth Explosives Pier easily distinguishes Point Wilson. Boaters need to stay at least  300 m away from the pier at all times. The waters surrounding the pier produce... Find out more

Clifton Springs 16 km

Clifton Springs is a sheltered harbour with a double boat ramp, mooring jetty and toilets. The facility is well signposted. To get there, take the Portarlington road out of Geelong and turn left at Jetty Road just before... Find out more

Barwon River Estuary 18 km

The Barwon River estuary enters Bass Strait about 10 km west of Port Phillip Heads and it divides the holiday towns of Barwon Heads  and Ocean Grove. This estuary  is one of the most productive  waterways... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Marine Discovery Centre, Queenscliff 29 km

Primarily set up to educate school children about the marine environment, this government-run facility also has an interesting holiday program and an interactive aquarium and touch tanks. Holiday activities include... Find out more

Brisbane Ranges National Park 36 km

With a vibrant koala population, this relatively small national park only 80 kilometres west of Melbourne has picnic areas, walking tracks through rocky gorges and a basic camping area.... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Thirteenth Beach Golf Links (Creek Course) 16 km

Sir Nick Faldo won six major titles, playing himself into winning positions on the back of strong shot-making, a trait that is highly prized on the courses he now designs. The Creek course at Thirteenth Beach, created... Find out more

Thirteenth Beach Golf Links (Beach Course) 17 km

After all the accolades Tony Cashmore received for his design work at The Dunes, on the Mornington Peninsula, he must have felt some pressure to produce an equally fine layout when it came time for his next project:... Find out more

The Sands, Torquay 18 km

Sands by name . . . Sands by nature. It doesn’t take long to figure out the overwhelming feature of a round at Torquay. Standing on the 1st tee of this Stuart Applebydesigned layout, a blanket of white is... Find out more

Barwon Heads Golf Club 18 km

From the moment you pull up at the car park in front of the Barwon Heads clubhouse, it is as if you have travelled back in time to a more genteel era. The old-world charm is present not only in the architecture of the... Find out more

Portsea Golf Club 36 km

Portsea Golf Club has long been regarded one of the best-kept secrets on the Mornington Peninsula. Although it is a private club, the public is welcome at most times to experience this visually striking layout across... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

2 Faces

This restaurant is housed in a former 1857-built bluestone bank that is heritage-listed and considered of state significance. Its rooms boast soaring ceilings with cornices, and the windows still sport the bars from its... Find out more

The Beach House

On the beach at Waterfront Bay, this two-storey property on the promenade overlooks the children’s swimming pool by day and the lights of Melbourne across the bay by night. The upstairs restaurant is light-filled... Find out more

Fishermen’s Pier

Sitting out over the water of Corio Bay, this enormously popular seafood restaurant has been pleasing locals since 1971. Embracing a simple, modern bistro style, the ever-changing menu has an emphasis on local seafood.... Find out more

Campsites around town

Breamlea Caravan Park 16 km

Fringed by tea-trees and sand dunes, this caravan park is located on Horwood Dr in the small, low-key town of Breamlea, near the beginning of the Great Ocean Rd. A patrolled surf beach is only a short walk away and... Find out more

Barwon Heads Caravan Park 19 km

The campsites here are sprinkled alongside the Barwon River, right where the watercourse flows out into Bass Strait. Aside from the picturesque views, the park offers safe freshwater swimming, quick access to a surf... Find out more

Riverview Family Caravan Park 19 km

The beach here at Ocean Grove is a lovely stretch of sand that’s very popular with holidaymakers when the summer sun is shining. Equally popular is the nearby nature reserve, where there is over 140 ha of native... Find out more

Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park 21 km

Torquay is the centre of the Victorian surfing scene, so it’s no surprise that this caravan park is adjacent to a great surf beach at the southern end of Paterson Bay – not very far from the best known surf... Find out more

Portarlington Seaside Resort 26 km

You’ll usually need to book well in advance of your visit to get one of the campsites arrayed along the beachfront at this sprawling holiday complex, located on Sproat St in Portarlington. Popular activities here... Find out more

Royal Park camping area 27 km

Point Lonsdale is joined to Queenscliff by a narrow isthmus and shares the same ocean-wide view. It’s here you’ll find snug Royal Park. Stroll the promenade behind the seawall down to the point itself, or... Find out more

Victoria Park caravan and camping area 29 km

Victoria Park is on Hesse St, near Queenscliff’s main street with its quaint cafes and shops, and is almost as close to the dramatic entrance to Port Phillip Bay. Its campsites are arrayed opposite the town’s... Find out more

Queenscliff Recreation Reserve camping area 29 km

This foreshore reserve has lots of shady sites and plenty of wide open spaces for playing games. Go for a wander through the streets of the historic township or watch enormous tankers and cargo ships navigate the Rip,... Find out more

Anderson Reserve camping area 31 km

Anderson Reserve is one of 3 foreshore camping options at Indented Head on the Bellarine Peninsula, the others being Batman Park and Taylors Reserve. John Batman, Melbourne’s founder, set up camp at Indented Head... Find out more

Taylors Reserve camping area 31 km

Several dozen campsites are congregated at Taylors Reserve, off The Esplanade in Indented Head. Like the 2 other campgrounds in the bayside township, Batman Park and Anderson Reserve, this place is popular with... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Barwon River Tourist Park 2 km

On the south side of the Barwon River about 2 km from the centre of Geelong, this place has good facilities and is easily accessible. There are nicely shaded sites and it is just a short walk to the shopping centre. A... Find out more

Riverglen Holiday Park 2 km

This is a large, owner-operated park with good facilities and is located just 2 km from the centre of Geelong. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends, with a minimum-stay period at Easter and long... Find out more

Geelong Riverview Tourist Park 2 km

This is a great park on the south side of the Barwon River, just 2 km from the centre of Geelong. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends.... Find out more

Geelong Surfcoast Highway Holiday Park 9 km

This park between Geelong and Torquay has been rejuvenated as a tourist park and importantly for those who travel with pets is one of the very few parks in the region that takes pets. It is easily accessible from the... Find out more

Barwon Heads Caravan Park 19 km

This is a large park fronting the wide picturesque estuary of the Barwon River close to the river mouth. It is a popular summer beachside park and just a short walk from the town centre. Waterfront sites are available at... Find out more

Riverview Family Caravan Park 19 km

This is a large holiday park with a long frontage to the Barwon River. It is popular with families during summer. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends, with a minimum-length stay period during... Find out more

Torquay Holiday Park 20 km

The park is located on the highway about 400 metres from the centre of town. It is a very good quality park and facilities include tennis courts, putting greens and private bathrooms with spas. Bookings are required in... Find out more

Bellarine Bayside Holiday Parks - Portarlington 26 km

This beachfront park with a large number of powered sites is a very popular summerholiday park on a safe, bayside beach, with loads of appeal for families. The park has extensive facilities and is just 1.25 km from the... Find out more

BIG4 Beacon Resort 27 km

This award-winning establishment has all the trimmings you would expect of a park of this quality, including an indoor heated swimming pool and tennis courts. It is just a short walk to the beach. Bookings are required... Find out more

Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park 32 km

This large beachfront and riverfront park is centrally located just 500 metres from the town centre. It has large expanses of lawn, shady sites and a range of good facilities. It is a very nice park! Bookings are... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Chifley on the Esplanade

This hotel right on Corio Bay has been refurbished in recent years to offer 67 hotel rooms and apartments. All have air-conditioning and heating, tea- and coffee-making facilities, minibar, iron and ironing board and... Find out more

Novotel Geelong

This is considered the plushest hotel along the vibrant Geelong waterfront, with all 109 rooms, studios and one luxurious suite enjoying uninterrupted views of Corio Bay. Staff here like to think it is the little things... Find out more

Haymarket Boutique Hotel

This multi-award-winning boutique hotel is centrally located in the heart of Geelong’s CBD. Built in 1855 as The Haymarket Hotel, the historic building has undergone extensive renovations in recent years to re-open... Find out more

Mercure Hotel Geelong

This hotel has 137 rooms in several categories including standard, family, bay view and privilege, as well as apartments and luxury suites – all in the heart of the ‘city by the bay’. Privilege rooms... Find out more

Werribee Open Range 
Zoo Slumber Safari

Running between September and May, an overnight stay at Werribee Zoo is the closest thing to an African safari without the flying miles. Guests are treated to four up-close animal encounters, including a tour through the... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Torquay park area 20 km

At Torquay

Overlooking the beach on the esplanade.

Leigh River rest area 26 km

At Inverleigh

Large grassed area just off the highway under shady trees. On the east side of town.

Anglesea Park Area 32 km

West side of town

Large area adjacent to the road on the west side of town. Good facilities.

Urquharts Beach park area 37 km

6km SW of Anglesea (L) or 23km NE of Lorne (R)

On the foreshore 500m off the highway.

What's on around town

Steampacket Gardens Market: on foreshore at Eastern Beach; 1st Sun each month.

Geelong Farmers Market: Little Malop St; 2nd Sat each month.

Audi Victoria Week: sailing regatta; Jan.

Pako Festa: Victoria's premier multicultural event; Pakington St; last Sat in Feb. 

Highland Gathering: Mar.

National Celtic Folk Festival: Port Arlington, June.

Geelong Show: Oct. 

Geelong Cup: Oct.

Christmas Carols by the Bay: Eastern Beach; Dec.

Geelong New Year Waterfront Festival: New Year's Eve.

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