Known as ‘Pako’ to the locals, Pakington Street spans Ballarat Road Geelong West all the way down to Barwon River. This lively multi-cultural strip is home to boutique shop fronts, restaurants, cafes and bars, fine food purveyors, art galleries and more. There’s plenty to see and do - here’s what we think you should get up to next time you find yourself in the area.
What’s On: Pako Festa
When: 27 February 2021
A reimagined Pako Festa has been developed to run over a four week period from the 27th February – 27th March via three main elements GLOBAL FOOD, NIGHT PROJECTIONS and THE ELEMENTS OF CULTURE ARTS TRAIL along Pakington Street. www.pakofesta.com.au
Pako Festa is a celebration of the region’s many multicultural communities. The very first Pako Festa was held in 1983, when the Ethnic Communities Council banded together with Geelong West Traders and the council to kickstart an ambitious community-led party. The inaugural event was deemed a success, with 12,000 people in attendance. Flash forward to present day and it is now the state’s largest multi-arts and cultural fest and draws in crowds of over 100,000. We imagine this year’s celebration will look a little different, considering COVID-safe capacities put in place by the State Government.
A big part of the Festa this year is Global Food including an offering of - yep, you guessed it - global food from 19 local diverse ethnic communities. To ensure a COVIDSafe event, the event will run across a broader area than just Pakington Street with 13 food hubs set up across Geelong. All guests will be required to pre-book online, choosing their preferred location and time across the day from 10:30am-4pm to ensure that social distancing limits can be maintained and to ensure that contact tracing can occur if required. Guests will be able to place takeaway food orders at as many sites as they wish, but due to COVID restrictions will be only able to dine-in at one location.
Hyping the art scene on Pako is Boom Gallery, a contemporary space showcasing a collection of eclectic pieces by local, interstate and international artists and makers. Situated in a former mill, this vibrant space is a hub of creativity, featuring exhibition spaces, a design gallery showcasing handmade ceramics and jewellery and a fantastic cafe to get your caffeine fix.
Eat your heart out
You can’t go to Pako and not eat. It’s physically impossible. Looking for a hearty breakfast? King of the Castle should be on your list. This trendy, industrial-style cafe has one of those menus where everything looks good. Plus, it’s perfect for those with dietary requirements. Vegans? The vegan breakfast is worth writing home about. Gluten-free crowd? The eggs benedict has your name all over it.
Box Office is also a favourable breakfast destination, with a menu celebrating all things local. Everything from the wine menu to the produce is sourced directly from vendors in the region. The menu is extensive and is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Personal favourites include the vegan bao buns and the chilli scrambled eggs.
Got a milestone to celebrate? Birthday or anniversary, perhaps? Tulip on Pako offers a delicious tasting menu and chilled atmosphere. Perfect for the foodies in our lives, the menu spotlights quality ingredients, and while technically classified as ‘fine dining’ is entirely unpretentious.
Find calm in Pako by booking yourself in for a treatment at Endota Day Spa Geelong. From deep tissue massages to refreshing facials, let this oh-so-zen day spa recharge and revitalise you. Go on...you deserve it.
Shop till you drop
While there are countless boutiques to check out on Pako, here are just a few suggestions to get you going. The Happy Shoe Shop is a cute wee store that delivers on its namesake. Do you like shoes? Do you like being happy? Make sure you pop by to check out their range of footwear. For all things bed, bath and beautiful - Jade and May is a boutique retailer you’ll want to check out. Homewares, wall art and ceramics await you. If indoor plants are more your vibe, do yourself a favour and get to Daisy Does - immediately. This gorgeous boutique is pretty much a mini indoor jungle. Get lost amongst the ferns, scope out the massive monsteras and make room in your boot to get it all home.