COVID lockdowns have been hard on every Victorian - especially so for those based in Metro Melbourne.
Having spent 112 days staring at the same four walls of my tiny two-bedroom apartment with nobody to keep me company but my long-suffering husband and my cats, you can only imagine how excited I am to get a taste of freedom this week. Come the 8th of November, my little 25km bubble will get a bit bigger, with news that the border between Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria is set to be dropped.
You better bet I’m already planning my escape from the big smoke. Here’s what I want to do as soon as I can set foot in Geelong and The Bellarine.
First stop’s Geelong, where my husband and I have been dreaming of a chill craft beer and a pizza at Little Creatures Brewery. The Canteen is pretty expansive, meaning we’ll be able to spread out and keep a safe distance from other patrons.
This will be followed by a walk along the iconic Geelong Waterfront to burn off lunch and to take in the beautiful bay views. Once there’s a little bit more room in my belly, it’s off to Uncle Donut on Little Malop Street - because dessert after lunch should definitely be a thing. I have dreamed of sinking my maw into a Vanilla Slice doughnut for months. MONTHS. If I’m honest, I’ll probably buy a half a dozen to cruise on over the day. Because post lockdown calories don’t count.
The evening will see me sipping on a regional tipple at Geelong Cellar Door and picking at a cheese platter before dinner at Wah Wah Gee on the pier. Wah Wah Gee is an Asian fusion restaurant with the best views of Corio Bay. Plus it has an extensive vegetarian menu so it’s perfect for me and my mostly plant-based husband.
We’re likely to rest our heads at the Novotel Geelong and opt for a room with a balcony and a view (because we’re going to treat ourselves, obviously).
Okay, it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that this is fast becoming a list of things I want to eat in the region. It’s not my fault there’s so much to taste and sample here. The region is practically a giant farmgate with the region’s best produce all in one place. But I digress. Let’s continue. Brunch will definitely be at the House of Jack Rabbit where they have a gorgeous outdoor area to soak in the beautiful bay views with a coffee in hand. I’ve been eyeing their menu hungrily over lockdown, so I’ve had plenty of time to choose what I’m going to have; the potato waffle with jalapeno and cheddar.
Because life is all about balance, it’s compulsory burn-off-your-brunch calories time. Throughout lockdown, I’ve dreamed of hiring a couple of electric bikes from Bella E-Bikes and cycling the Bellarine Rail Trail. Because what better way to safely enjoy the outdoors while getting some exercise in? The whole trek is approximately 32.5km, but because I’m gunning for an electric bike, if I get tired, I can always outsource the pedalling to the little baby motor on the bike. Genius.
Yay, so I’ve burned some calories now so the next thing I’m going to do is...you guessed it. Find somewhere else to eat. Another spot I’ve been greedily eyeing for dinner is 360Q in Queenscliff. Offering panoramic views of the Queenscliff waterfront, this venue is a bit of a local institution. The caramelised eggplant hotpot has been on my radar for a while, and I am so excited to finally try it.
Then it’s back to our digs at Athelstane House for a nightcap and potentially leftover doughnuts from the day before for dessert.