There are some things that are quintessentially summer. Barbeques. Thongs. The Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. That last one got us thinking about our own hottest 100 and our team has come up with a century of our summer favourites. How many have you done?
1. Scoff a big bundle of fish and chips on the lawn behind Queenscliff beach.
2. Pick your own blueberries at Tuckerberry Hill (then eat what someone else has slaved over in the café).
3. Jump off the Eastern Beach tower.
4. Hike to the top of the You Yangs and watch the sun rise.
5. Go on a sunset cruise of the Port Phillip Bay coastline with Searoad Ferries.
6. Help the kids bury Dad in the sand at Ocean Grove.
7. Get lost in A Maze n Games at Wallington and have to cheat (crawl under walls) to get out.
8. Cardboard races on the hill at Eastern Beach.
9. Ice cold drinks in the sun on the rooftop bar at Vue Grand Hotel.
10. Have a picnic on the lawn at the Botanic Gardens.
11. Drive up to Ceres on a balmy clear night, even if it is cold, and look at the beautiful lights of Geelong.
12. A game of Patonk on Portarlington beach.
13. While you’re at Portarlington beach, grab some hot jam doughnuts.
14. Swim with the wild dolphins and seals of Port Phillip Bay on a Sea All Dolphin Swim.
15. Brunch at Basils Farm including something grown in their garden.
16. Walk along the beach at St Leonards looking across to the Melbourne skyline (and pitying all those fools in the city not walking along the beach!)
17. Crown the family champion on the Aqua Racer waterslide at Adventure Park.
18. Watch the ships negotiate The Rip from the Rip View Lookout in Queenscliff.
19. Taste some yummy, Summery cocktails at Salt Lounge.
20. Grab a Scandanavian Ice Cream in Barwon Heads or Queenscliff. And, it’s summer – get more than one flavour!
21. Have breakfast at Harrys in Queenscliff after an early morning beach walk.
22. Watch (and listen to!) the white cockatiels that invade Portarlington over summer.
23. Play golf somewhere you’ve never played before – pro-style in Barwon Heads or country style at Curlewis or Point Lonsdale.
24. Rattle off Happy Gilmore quotes and argue over scores and rules at Bellarine Adventure Golf.
25. Walk around the Eastern Beach promenade and get your toes wet in some of Port Phillip Bay’s best quality seawater.
26. Learn to stand-up-paddle-board (by falling down repeatedly) with WSUP at Barwon Heads.
27. Have a parmi and pot in the middle of the Geelong Waterfront at Edge.
28. See what you can find in the rockpools under the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse.
29. Time your visit with a hot rod run into Queenscliff.
30. Surf (or if you can’t surf, ‘gut slide’) at Thirteenth Beach.
31. Have a Furphy and some sliders under the umbrellas at Little Creatures.
32. A twilight ride alongside the Barwon River (maybe finish with a rewarding beverage at the Fyansford Hotel).
33. Listen to the summer seaside carnival music float through the air of an evening at Portarlington, Queenscliff or Barwon Heads.
34. Go on safari and feel the Rhythm of Africa without a visa at Werribee Open Range Zoo.
35. Have a beachside BBQ with smells to make other beachgoers jealous.
36. Sit out on a veranda anywhere on the Bellarine on a hot summers evening sipping Pimms – it’s an exclusive summer beverage.
37. Smell then taste the huge strawberries they sell on the street in Portarlington over Summer.
38. A cold one in the beer garden at the BHP (Barwon Heads Pub).
39. Take the dog for a swim in the sea and a dig in the sand. He’ll go all day if you let him!
40. Go fishing on the Barwon Heads jetty.
41. Have iced coffee and cake on the balcony of At The Heads.
42. Take a basket (actually, make it an esky) on a trip around the Bellarine Taste Trail grabbing berries, vegies, olive oil and seafood as you go. AND some drinks, obviously.
43. Drink cider on the lawn and listen to the music for a Friday Night Roots sesh at Flying Brick Cider House.
44. Get the kids to go rabbit hunting on the Bollard trail to see how many bunnies they can find.
45. Make the return trip back along the Waterfront on board Thomas with Eastern Beach Train Rides.
46. Get towed! Find a friend with a boat and either waterski, wakeboard, kneeboard or take a biscuit ride down the Barwon River behind them.
47. Have a long, long, long lunch in the garden at Mr Grubb Café at Oakdene.
48. Hit the beachside playground at Point Lonsdale with some little peeps.
49. Take advantage of the longer days with a helicopter flight over the Geelong Waterfront.
50. Meet the traditional characters from your childhood reading list at Fairy Park.
51. Cool down with an ice cream slice, a cupcake sundae or a chocolate ice cream shell at Moorabool Valley Chocolate.
52. Go for a bushwalk in the Brisbane Ranges.
53. Borrow a book from the amazing new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre and start reading it under a tree in Johnstone Park.
54. Eat your lunch on a patch of grass outside – even in the middle of a city road!
55. Drink wine and eat pizza, alfresco style, at Clyde Park Vineyard.
56. Paddle in the shallows of the Barwon Heads river mouth.
57. Get seaborne with South Bay Eco Adventures and see incredible wildlife up close without getting (too) wet!
58. Have a picnic at one of the Eastern Beach picnic tables that have been there for my entire living memory!
59. Work off the Christmas holiday spread with a boot camp at the Eastern Beach stairs.
60. Open the windows and let cool breezes in on a Bellarine Railway vintage train ride (and if you’re travelling with toddlers, make it a Day Out With Thomas day!)
61. Go out on a fishing charter from Queenscliff Harbour.
62. Sunset walks on any of the beaches the Bellarine is surrounded by = bliss!
63. An iced coffee (or a hot one, depending on the forecast) at Annies or Beach House in Barwon Heads.
64. Build sandcastles on the beach at St Leonards.
65. Reward your sandcastle prowess with a beer in the St Leonards pub beer garden.
66. Explore the amazing State Rose Garden at Werribee Park.
67. Run. Or jog. Or walk along the Bellarine Rail Trail, anywhere between South Geelong and Queenscliff.
68. A game of beach cricket at Ocean Grove.
69. Fly a kite at Thirteenth Beach.
70. Skate or scoot at the most ah-may-zing-ly located skate park on Earth at the Geelong Waterfront.
71. Playground hop around the arc of Corio Bay – from Rippleside to Western Beach to Eastern Beach to Eastern Park.
72. Add so many mixes to your frozen yoghurt at FroYo on the Geelong Waterfront that you need to lie down on the lawn at Steampacket Gardens to recover.
73. Get a unique insight into indigenous culture (and cuisine!) at Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
74. On a really, really, really hot day – slurp a huge soft drink and giant popcorn at a dark, air-conditioned cinema.
75. Bounce as high as the waterfront palms on the Eastern Beach bungee trampolines.
76. While you’re in the mood for going up and down and you’re in the neighbourhood, have a ride on the Carousel overlooking Corio Bay.
77. Walk along The Pier, ask the fishermen what’s biting and grab a drink on the balcony at CQ at the end.
78. Let the kids bounce free (and you don’t even need to do the sunscreen waltz) at Supatramp. They can also climb the walls rather than drive you up them.
79. Take a mountain bike and try the trails at the You Yangs – some are for beginners.
80. Get a birds eye view of the Geelong waterfront on the ferris wheel.
81. Eat, drink and be merry with the most amazing views across Port Phillip Bay at Jack Rabbit.
82. Get out on the ocean with a cruise around Corio Bay from the waterfront.
83. Learn to ride two different kinds of wheels with Segway Geelong (and finish with a spread of food and drinks at Leura Park Estate).
84. Treat yourself to an upgrade and chill out in the P.O.S.H. Lounge on board Searoad Ferries.
85. Some of the most interesting stuff to look at is below the surface – don some snorkel gear and check out our amazing underwater places at Point Lonsdale.
86. Have a bite to eat and check out the impressive fleet moored at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.
87. Check how far your eye can see from the top of the tower at Queenscliff Harbour.
88. Tour the region in style in a red drop-top 1966 convertible with Mustang and Co.
89. Make like Cadel and ride along the coast, including 13th Beach Road. Lycra optional.
90. Let the kids loose at Barwon Valley Fun Park (while you relax in the shade of the big, old trees).
91. Seafood tastes best enjoyed with a sea breeze - at Fishermen’s Pier.
92. Find the secret picnic / lookout / photo spot over Lake Connewarre via Staceys Road.
93. Saddle up with the experts at one of the horse riding centres around the region.
94. Let your teenagers make the most of the free wifi hotspots around town.
95. Go green and stock up your garden at Van Loons – enjoying a cool drink in the middle of it.
96. Get your thrills in an open topped plant with Adventure Flight Co.
97. Or, if you don’t fancy being in the plane too long, jump out of it with Skydive the Beach and Beyond.
98. Yoga + Saltair = happiness. Yoga Grace is at Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads in summer.
99. Get up close to wildlife at Serendip Sanctuary.
100. Let someone else do the cooking but it still tastes homemade at The Groove in Ocean Grove.
So, that's our Hottest 100. Let us know how many you've ticked off the list or what we've missed!