Geelong and its surrounding areas are home to an extensive selection of travel attractions for visitors seeking a short getaway from Melbourne. Rich pickings await visitors keen to immerse themselves in the city’s history and heritage, its cultural precincts, its gardens, its high quality and wide ranging local produce, its dining and café culture, its bright, busy and extensive retail centres, and many entertainment options.
With hourly daily V/Line services running from Southern Cross Station, visitors can discover the waterfront city and surrounding areas by jumping on and off at a variety of different stops. Whether you want to do your bit for the environment, relax without driving or enjoy a few drinks at one of Geelong’s many new restaurants and bars, there are plenty of reasons to ditch the car, climb aboard and enjoy Geelong one train stop at a time.
Stop 1: Little River or Lara
Little River or Lara can be used as a the gateway to the You Yangs – one of Melbourne’s favourite adventure playgrounds. After checking out the heritage listed train station in Little River, adventure seekers can commute the short distance to the park entry either via taxi or bicycle (if you bring your own bike).
The area is particularly well known as a mountain biking destination, boasting two designated mountain bike areas with 50 kilometres of track. The You Yangs are also a popular location for rock climbing, abseiling and horse riding and there are BBQ and picnic areas available.
Visitors can get a further nature fix at the nearby Serendip Sanctuary. The sanctuary is an excellent example of the open grassy woodlands and wetlands of the volcanic Western Plains. Here you can view 150 different species of birds and learn about and experience birdlife and wetlands ecology.
Where to eat: pack a picnic and make use of one of the many designated BBQ and picnic areas in the You Yangs or Serendip Sanctuary.
Stop 2: North Geelong
Head across to the Federal Mills building to see some of the amazing reinvention of Geelong, starting with the Geelong Vintage Market. It boasts over 2000sqm of vintage wares. Browse one of over 60 stalls for home wares, vinyl records, vintage fashion and collectables. Before you leave be sure to stop by The Pickers Union Café for freshly brewed single origin coffee and tasty homemade fare.
Where to eat: The Pickers Union Cafe
Stop 3: Geelong
The next stop puts you in the heart of Geelong. Begin your visit by checking out the city’s cultural precinct around Little Malop Street. The Geelong Gallery is home to a magnificent collection of 19th and 20th century Australian and European paintings and decorative arts.
Nearby the Metropolis Gallery on Ryrie Street is home to a collection of works from artists from the Geelong and Bellarine region, Melbourne and interstate. From there take a stroll through the picturesque Jonhstone Park towards the Waterfront and make your way along the Geelong Waterfront Bollard Trail. Stop along the way and experience the old world charm of the beautifully restored Geelong Carousel and meander to the early century beach promenade at Eastern Beach.
Central Geelong is also home to a myriad of shops, restaurants and cafes. Enjoy freshly brewed coffee at Coffee Cartel Roasters on James Street and explore the Little Malop Street precinct for trendy cafes and bars.
Where to eat: Coffee Cartel Roasters, Little Malop Street precinct
Stop 4: South Geelong
Lovers of a fine brew matched with tasty food can walk the short distance from the South Geelong train stop to the hugely popular Little Creatures Brewery. Located in a renovated historic woollen mill, the venue incorporates brewing facilities, a restaurant and large bar serving up the range of Little Creatures offerings including Geelong’s own beer, a refreshing ale named Furphy.
Those seeking a cycling adventure can also begin the scenic Bellarine Rail Trail from South Geelong. Winding 32.5 kilometres from Geelong through to Queenscliff, the trail meanders past wineries, farmgates and coastal villages, with the second half of the trail running alongside the Bellarine Railway (from Drysdale to Queenscliff). Pick up a copy of the Bellarine Taste Trail map to see which operators are located close to the trail.