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Museums, History & Heritage

Much of the region's maritime history and heritage is still visible in the lighthouses that dominate the landscape at various points along the road.  In Queenscliff the Maritime Museum celebrates the town's background in the marine industry with fantastic displays. 

Also in Queenscliff, Fort Queenscliff is an interesting look at a still functioning Australian Defence Force facility that was initially built on the cliff overlooking the Rip to protect ships during the gold rush of the 1800's.

Torquay's position as the capital of the international surf industry makes the local museum 'Surfworld' ideally placed to deliver a historic look at the origins of surfing and the phenomenon it has become.

Geelong grew on the back of the sheep, and the 1800's bluestone building in the centre of town that now houses the National Wool Museum was initially a woolstore facility.  The wool industry in Geelong was built around the need for wool grown in the surrounding districts to be processed and shipped internationally from the docks on Corio Bay.  Also in Geelong, the Ford Discovery Centre is an interactive museum profiling the history of Ford in Geelong as well as giving a behind the scenes look at the design, engineering and manufacturing processes in the automobile industry.

Across the broader region, there are several National Trust properties open to the public that give an indication of early life in the region.  There are also a range of interpretive historic sites, such as the old mill site at Triplet Falls and guided heritage walks in towns such as Queenscliff.

Historic means of transport in the region have been preserved by the Bellarine Railway, with their steam hauled engines still running on weekends and holidays and also powering The Blues Train - a moving, progressive concert on board.

Highlights

Bellarine Railway

The Bellarine Railway is a volunteer operated organisation located on the Bellarine Peninsula, offering heritage train rides and experiences between Queenscliff and Drysdale, on board a collection of steam and diesel trains originating from around Australia. The heritage service is available on Sundays, most public holidays, as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school holidays. Extra running days are available of the summer holidays. Carriage hire is available as part of the heritage service and perfect for children's parties or groups looking for the benefits of private train hire without the added cost. Experiences and special events offered are Steam and Diesel Train Driver Experiences, a Day out with Thomas weekends, Special occasion and wedding charters, Mid-week steam and diesel trips, Tailored group and school tours and Home of The Blues Train. Gift certificates and vouchers are available for all services, experiences and events.

Fort Queenscliff

With over 150 years of Australia's heritage on display, Fort Queenscliff is one of Victoria's most important historic sites and one of the largest and best preserved Forts in the Country. Enjoy the rare opportunity to tour a 19th century Coastal Artillery Fort. Amongst the fascinating artefacts and historical objects is the opportunity to try on uniforms from different moments in time. For any further information please contact Fort Queenscliff or view their website.

Surf World Museum

The Surf World Museum in Torquay, Australia’s surfing capital, celebrates the story of surfing. It also charts Australia’s significant contribution to the development of surfing around the world. Through the colourful and exciting permanent displays and temporary exhibitions of important surfing artefacts and memorabilia, the museum commemorates Australia’s fantastic surfing heritage and rich beach culture. An unforgettable experience, Surf World provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in one of Australia’s most popular pastimes. It’s a place where you can experience or relive, surfing’s sense of fun, and marvel at the changes that have taken place over the years. We look forward to welcoming you.

Barwon Grange

Barwon Grange is an elegant intact brick home dating from Geelong's earliest residential settlement. It was built in 1855 and reflects the aspirations of middle class businessman Jonathan Porter O'Brien and his family who had emigrated from Liverpool. The picturesque Gothic style architecture includes steep gables, unusual decorative timber bargeboards and veranda parapet. The interior contains a fine collection of early Victorian furniture and fittings faithfully accumulated according to an inventory compiled when the house was auctioned in 1856. The garden complements the house with a Victorian fountain. Lawns sloping down to the Barwon River are planted with species from a mid-19th century plant catalogue.

The Heights Heritage House and Garden

The Heights Heritage House and Garden dates back to the 1850s. The house was built in 1855 and is remarkable for being the largest (14 rooms) German, prefabricated house in Victoria. During the 1930s, the building was extensively altered to reflect contemporary taste although the extensive gardens, stables, outbuildings and water tower survive intact from the 19th century. The Heights retains a small collection of fine Georgian furniture collected by the last owners, Louis and Marnie Whyte. Early 1860s plantings still dominate this beautiful Geelong garden today and the aged oaks and conifers provide great delight to visitors.

Baywalk Bollards

104 bollards line the arc of Waterfront Geelong from Limeburners Point to Rippleside. Artist Jan Mitchell transformed the old timber pier pylons into this colourful piece of public art. Each bollard represents a different character from Geelong's history, from the Wauthaurong and together they tell a fascinating story. Further information and a booklet is available at local Visitor Information Centres.

Geelong Walking Tours

Start your trip to Geelong with a guided walk where you will visit the key attractions, the arts precinct and our stunning Waterfront. Get some inspiration for the remainder of your stay and even some discounts. Walks depart from the National Wool Museum, Cnr Brougham & Moorabool St. The 2 hour walk costs $12 and includes a delicious morning or afternoon tea hosted by Four Points Sheraton Geelong on the spectacular Waterfront. Bookings are essential - 03 5244 7102.

Queenscliff Heritage Walk

Stroll the beautiful Heritage town of Queenscliff and enjoy afternoon tea at one of Queenscliff’s grand old buildings to finish. Guided walks run 2.00pm every Saturday and take approximately one and a quarter hours. Group walks available at other times by appointment. Check with the Visitor Information Centre for availability and prices. Bookings essential – Phone the Queenscliffe Visitor Information Centre 5258 4843 or call in to the Centre 55 Hesse Street Queenscliff. A self guided booklet, “Queenscliff – A Living Heritage.” Is also available for sale from the Queenscliffe Visitor Information Centre. This short self guided walk will take approximately 45 minutes and take you past a few of the town’s historic buildings.

Old Geelong Gaol

The Old Geelong Gaol museum has a great variety of displays that tell the history of the gaol and visitors get hands on experience of the harsh conditions prisoners and staff endured at the facility Open from 1pm - 4pm Saturdays, Sundays, school and public holidays, Visitors can experience solitary confinement cells, get a taste of prison life, meet some infamous figures who have spent time at the gaol and see the original hallows.

Queenscliffe Maritime Museum

The Queenscliffe Maritime Museum was built in 1986 to display Queenscliff's last Lifeboat. Since then, the Museum has expanded to cover the maritime history of Queenscliff and Southern Port Phillip. This history includes the Bay Steamers Weeroona, Hygeia and Ozone. Old post cards of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale, artefacts from shipwrecks, a display of early diving equipment including a divers suit and helmet air compressor and early scuba equipment. The Museum houses a unique hydrographic model of The Rip which shows the underwater contours at Port Phillip Heads and the shipping channel, a display which tells the fascinating history of the Port Phillip Sea Pilots and a work boat from the Pilot cutter Wyuna. An extensive history of Victorian Lighthouses including flashers, lamps globes and intact fresnel lenses are also displayed. On display are artefacts and a history of the Chinese fishermen, the couta fishermen and a restored Fisherman's Cottage. The boat shed contains the history of the early Queenscliff boat builders, couta boats, boat building tools, outboard and early marine motors and an oar making machine. In the Museum grounds you will discover the heritage listed Fishermen's Waiting Shed from the old fisherman's pier which holds the world renowned ship paintings by Henry Zanoni, the deck house from the Shandon, an iron sailing ship built in 1883. An array of channel markers, buoys and anchors and the hull of the torpedo boat Lonsdale are buried in the grounds of the Museum Museum volunteers conduct tours of Point Lonsdale Lighthouse every Sunday morning between 9.30am and 1.00pm at half hourly intervals (children under five years not admitted). Lighthouse tour bookings can be made on 0419 513 007.

Geelong Gallery

Treat yourself by visiting the Geelong Gallery, one of Australia's leading and oldest regional galleries. From iconic colonial masterpieces to compelling contemporary works of art, the Geelong Gallery is the perfect place to unwind and be inspired. Each year the Gallery presents a vibrant program temporary exhibitions along with a diverse range of artist talks, tours, workshops, lectures and family-friendly activities. Home to a number of iconic works such as Eugene von Guérard's 'View of Geelong' (1856), Frederick McCubbin's 'A bush burial' (1890) and Arthur Streeton's 'Ocean blue, Lorne' (1921), the Gallery's significant collection spans the art of Australia from the colonial period to the present day and includes Australian and international paintings, works on paper, sculpture and decorative arts. For further information please view the Geelong Gallery website or connect on Facebook. Drop-in tours of the permanent collection each Saturday from 2pm. Entry is free.

Geelong Heritage Centre

The Geelong Heritage Centre is Victoria's largest regional archive and history resource facility. The Centre provides public access to collection records for family history research, legal administrative recall, establishing citizen's rights and entitlements, cultural enjoyment and historical display purposes. The archive collection embraces the histories of locations in the City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast and Golden Plains Shires, dating back to 1838. The Geelong Heritage Centre has an extensive local and family history collection that includes council records, newspapers, reference works, maps and plans, photographs and oral histories. The Centre provides assistance and guidance to members of the general public in family, local history and school projects. The Geelong Heritage Centre has exhibitions of collection material for free public viewing all year round , and most of these displays are developed to enhance understanding of significant historic events, and, or celebrate anniversaries of major 'milestones' in Geelong and local district history. The Geelong Heritage Centre Reading Room is located on Level Two at the National Wool Museum in Geelong. The Centre collection consists of approximately 2 km of shelved archived material including over 40,000 images and more than 30km of microfilm. The Centre has a permanent staff of three, supported by a team of dedicated volunteers who help in a variety of ways. In 2012, the Centre received over 7000 visitor and client inquiries. The local community, as well as visitors from Melbourne and regional Victoria, interstate and international tourists have discovered amazing information about their ancestors who have lived, worked or travelled through the Geelong and surrounding region in the past. Visit online via the Centre's web page and access to the new historic image library is attached to it .

Narana Creations Aboriginal Cultual Centre

Narana Creations Aboriginal cultural centre is an Australian Aboriginal cultural tourism and educational enterprise, which is committed to providing a welcome entree to today's indigenous culture. Visitors can experience exhilarating cultural demonstrations, amazing didgeridoo playing and try hands-on boomerang throwing. Also available for purchase is genuine Aboriginal art and craft of the highest quality.
 

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Packages & Offers

Twilight Cruise - Searoad Ferries

Take a stroll on the viewing decks, sample some of the regions finest produce, all in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge.

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort.

Legendary Blues Train Weekend: Stay & Play, Save 50%

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, cool drinks and a good laugh.

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite.

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

$240 per couple per night

Girls Indulgence Getaway

Reboot your life with an indulgent Girl's Getaway.

Twilight Cruise - Searoad Ferries

Take a stroll on the viewing decks and find the best spot to capture the setting sun. Sample some of the regions finest artisan products from both the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas. Enjoy a regional produce platter with an award winning wine, locally made ale or cider, all in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge.

$35.00 per person (includes return sailing between Sorrento and Queenscliff)

Every Friday and Saturday from April to December
4pm sailing from Sorrento
5pm sailing from Queenscliff

To book visit www.searoad.com.au or contact 03 5258 3244

 

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.
Enjoy table service in elegant surroundings, exquisite food, quality tea and real coffee!

$40.00 per person and includes immediate return travel on the same ferry for a leisurely experience.

Every Sunday from February to November
12pm sailing from Sorrento
3pm sailing from Queenscliff.

To book visit www.searoad.com.au or contact 03 5258 3244

 

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort

$317 for 2 adults & up to 2 children (save 60%)

  • 2 nights in a Lonsdale Villa
  • Unlimited Mountain Bike Hire
  • Unlimited DVD Hire
  • A daily Espresso Coffee or Hot Chocolate per person
  • A bottle of local wine
  • Free Daily Kids Activities
  • An extra Long Late Check-out to 6.00pm

Plus get two LI'TYA Deep Ocean Renewal Facials for the price of 1 at the resort's Mud Day Spa (save $120)

And there's plenty of indoor fun at the resort with an indoor heated swimming pool and 8-seater spa, an indoor toddler playroom and a games room. Add another layer of clothing and there's even more to explore outside! BIG4 Beacon Resort is the ideal base to check out Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale.

Phone 1800 351 152 or Book Online.

Terms and Conditions: Offer expires on 31/08/2014

 

Legendary Blues Train Weekend: Stay & Play, Save 50%

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, cool drinks and a good laugh. Make a weekend of exploring Queenscliff with 2 nights’ accommodation at the award-winning BIG4 Beacon Resort including Blues Train tickets, return transfers to the event, buffet breakfast, 6pm checkout, local discounts and more.

Only $487 per couple.

Phone: 1800 351 152 or visit BIG4 Beacon Resort for more information.
 

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite. Enjoy fabulous bonuses including:

  • A $70 dinner voucher
  • Welcome pack including wine, chocolates and a breakfast basket
Stay between Sunday and Thursday nights and receive THREE nights accommodation for the same price.

T: 03 5254 1066
 

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

This winter, guests who book a standard room at our normal Bed and Breakfast rate play golf for free. Want an even better reason to take a break? The Club is rated one of Australia’s Top 10 public access courses.

From $240 per room per night.
($120 p/p twin share)

  • Accommodation in a standard room with ensuite at Barwon Heads Golf Club
  • Fully cooked breakfast
  • A complimentary round of golf each person (normally up to $85 each).

Address: Golf Links Rd, Barwon Heads, Victoria 3227

To book:

Phone: 03 5255 6255
Fax: 03 5255 6266
Website: www.bhgc.com.au
Email: reservations@bhgc.com.au

T&C's: Valid Sunday to Thursday inclusive. 1st June to 31 August 2014. Dress requirements apply on course and in the clubhouse.
 

Girls Indulgence Getaway

Reboot your life with an indulgent Girl's Getaway. When life gets a little overwhelming, an escape with your best friends can be the best way to share some uninterrupted catch up time, a little relaxation and, of course, some well-deserved indulgence on looking after you.

$798 is for 4 people ($199.50 per person) and includes:

  • 2 nights accommodation at Beacon Resort in a Curlewis Villa
  • A Food Purveyor "Little Extra" Hamper (special treats from our region including jams, chocolates, tapenade and much much more)
  • 1 x bottle of Jack Rabbit Sparkling
  • 4 x 60 minute relaxation massages in our day spa
  • Return transfers to a venue of choice (within 3225 postcode area during your stay)
  • Unlimited DVD Hire
  • 12 noon check-out

This offer is valid until the 20th December 2014; No further discounts apply; Some exclusion periods to apply; Package is subject to availability at the time of booking.

 

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