Restaurant IGNI is fast becoming Geelong’s best-known secret.
And why not? It’s where oft-awarded chef Aaron Turner champions a tasting menu of sustainable produce like no one else can.
Thinking about joining the flock of foodies and restaurant disciples heading to IGNI? Why not make a weekend (or even a week) of it? There’s so much to see and do in Geelong and the Bellarine, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to visit.
Back-up your IGNI pilgrimage with a gourmet experience at new restaurant on the CBD block, ALMA. With a wicked fit-out and a South American flavour vibe, ALMA is all about sharing great food, booze and laughter. Snakeskin wallpaper, edgy street-style wall art and a wine list dripping with fizz and distinctive varietals – all the trappings tell you this is one hell of a contemporary dining experience.
In the arts and cultural precinct, the Geelong Gallery collection is always browse-worthy. Even more so when it’s had a makeover ready for a blockbuster exhibition. After the Archibald Prize closed in early December, there's now Kylie on Stage exhibition - with costumes and glamour from Australia's favourite songbird, Kylie Minogue.
Just beyond the city there’s a myriad of epicurean delights to explore. The Geelong Wine Region traces its roots back to the 1800s. Today there are more than 60 vineyards stretching across the Moorabool Valley, Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast. Many have lively cellar doors offering tastings, snack and restaurant meals, and entertainment.
Clyde Park in the Moorabool Valley recently picked up a Gourmet Traveller gong for Star Cellar Door 2017, and it’s totally deserved. Deemed by the judges to be “knocking it out of the park with a series of single block and estate chardonnays and pinots”, Clyde Park boasts a 7-day bistro with staggering valley views, a menu featuring local-source ingredients and, of course, a wine list flowing with super-sippable vino.
Take the highway eastward from town and discover more than 40 unique food and wine destinations mustered together in the Bellarine Taste Trail. Spend an afternoon, a day or a leisurely week exploring the tastes, fraternising with farmers, meeting the makers and getting to know the love-what-we-do ethos that drives the region’s gourmet reputation. Look-up an old favourite or tick off a first-time experience among fresh-caught seafood, just-plucked tomatoes, award-winning cheese, wineries aplenty, breweries galore and an array of markets, cafés, restaurants and provedores.