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The 12 Best Things To Do In Geelong

Victoria’s second largest city marries the relaxed aura of a coastal town with a bustling food, wine and arts scene.

Geelong
Geelong

Sun, surf and excellent local culture – Geelong is a city that has all bases covered. Whether you’re a creature that thrives in the great outdoors, or prefers exploring galleries and sipping wine (or both), this buzzing regional powerhouse offers a boundless array of things to do. To supercharge your itinerary we’ve put together the best things to eat, drink, see and experience while you’re there. Got kids in tow? We’ve picked out some fun and family-friendly activities for you to get around too.

THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN GEELONG: OUT & ABOUT

Go Ride A Wave
Go Ride A Wave
Learn To Surf In A Day With The Help Of Pros

You’d be remiss to visit this part of the world and not take advantage of its famed surf. If you’re feeling a bit rusty however (or are a first-timer), fear not because there are trusty schools that’ll have you standing up in no time. Learn-to-surf schools like Go Ride A Wave offer introductory lessons with qualified instructors to teach you the basics, providing full-length wetsuits, soft surfboards and essential safety instructions to help you progress quickly. Already know what you’re doing? You can hire surf equipment and stand up paddle boards too.

Barwon River
Barwon River
Explore The Lush Surrounds Of The Barwon River

The 160-kilometre Barwon River is one of Victoria’s iconic waterways, and it passes right through the heart of Geelong. The river and its surrounds are rife with opportunities for watersports, walking, cycling, fishing and relaxing. Pack a picnic to enjoy by the river at leafy Queens Park, make your way up to Buckley Falls to see water cascading over rocks, explore the sculptures and rock art at Yollinko Aboriginal Garden or go birdwatching at Balyang Sanctuary. There are also many kilometres of sealed paths along the river’s banks that are perfect for strolling and cycling.

Soak Up Village Vibes and Score Goodies At Markets

If there’s one thing Geelong locals love, it’s a good market – they’ve got dozens of them sprinkled throughout the calendar. Spend a morning wandering around one to meet passionate local producers and makers, try delicious regional food, nab a bargain and simply soak in the atmosphere. Visit the South Geelong Farmers Market for stunning gourmet goods and farm fresh produce, while the Waterfront Growers Market offers seaside views, live music and food trucks. After a gift to take home? The talented artisans at Piccadilly Market sell lovely handmade and designed wares that are a cut above the mass-produced stuff.

THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN GEELONG: ARTS & CULTURE

Geelong Gallery
Geelong Gallery
Wander Around The Hallowed Halls Of Geelong Gallery

Geelong Gallery is one of Australia’s oldest and most lauded regional art galleries. Since 1896 it has been amassing an outstanding collection of Australian and European painting, sculpture, printmaking and decorative arts dating from the 18th century to today. Visit to see images documenting the early days of Geelong and its evolution into a thriving modern city. Thrilling temporary exhibitions, creative events and workshops, plus an enticing gift shop make it an extra worthwhile destination.

55 Little Malop Street, Geelong

Visit Victoria
Visit Victoria
Take Yourself On A Street Art Tour

The art in Geelong certainly isn’t limited to Gallery walls, however. Take a walk around town and you’re bound to see vibrant, humourous and breathtaking street art splashing the city’s streets and laneways. Don’t miss Cam Scale’s ‘To The Unknown Mariner’, a large mural on the corner of James St and Mimms Lane that pays tribute to Geelong’s maritime history, as well as the colourful, community-driven Union Street mural.

Geelong Arts Centre
Geelong Arts Centre
Catch A Gig At Geelong Arts Centre

Did you know that Geelong is a UNSECO-designated Creative City? So it only makes sense that it has a flourishing performing arts industry, and Geelong Arts Centre is at the heart of it all. Check out their what’s on to see the wide range of shows you can book, from exciting local theatre to big name visiting artists. Raucous comedy, moving musicals and head-banging rock gigs – they’ve got it all, and it’s only going to get bigger and better. A massive $140 million upgrade of the Little Malop Street building is almost complete, with multiple new performance venues and striking design to come.

81 Ryrie Street, Geelong 

THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN GEELONG: FAMILY FRIENDLY

MoPA
MoPA
Delight The Little Ones With A Day At The Museum Of Play And Art

Geelong’s MoPA is a state-of-the-art children’s museum that’s acclaimed around the world – so if you’ve got little ones in tow, this is a must visit. The beautiful facility is dense with immersive, interactive exhibits that celebrate play-based learning. Both fun and educational, kids from 12 months up to early primary age will be enthralled for hours as their creativity is nurtured. Considerate change room facilities, pram parking and low-sensory spaces ensure it’s a comfortable visit, and the onsite café has lots of healthy snacks (and great coffee to boot).

51 McKillop Street, Geelong 

The Geelong Boat House
The Geelong Boat House
Graze On Crispy Fish And Chips All Over Town

There’s no better place to unwrap a classic fish and chip lunch than in a seaside town like Geelong (and it’s a universally kid-approved meal). Take the family on a fish and chip tour of the city and find your favourite. Start at the Geelong Boat House, a local icon that’s perched over the water on a barge, where you can eat freshly delivered seafood, cooked simply, at tables on the gangplank or upstairs on the bridge deck. Other waterfront venues where you can get a killer rendition include Fishermen’s Pier, King George Fish and Chips, and Sailor’s Rest.

Eastern Beach
Eastern Beach
Frolick In Water At Eastern Beach

Spend the day splashing in seawater and feel your worldly stresses melt away. Eastern Beach is located conveniently at the city’s waterfront on Corio Bay, and is home to a charming art-deco sea-bathing complex that was first built in the 1930s. Here you’ll find an enclosed sea bath, boardwalk, diving towers, floating islands and children’s pool for the whole family to enjoy. Meanwhile a bustling kiosk, barbecue facilities and terraced lawns provide everything you need for a leisurely post-dip picnic.

THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN GEELONG: EAT & DRINK

IGNI
IGNI
Dine At These Unmissable Top Restaurants

You’ll never be short of an unforgettable meal in Geelong, where the dining options are as brilliant as they are broad. Consult our guide to the best restaurants in Geelong for all the must-book places to put on your radar, from the highly acclaimed Igni, a fine diner where everything is cooked over wood fire, to the cosy Bistrot St Jean, a quintessentially French spot where the onion soup is steamy and carafés of wine are flowing.

Geelong Winery Tours
Geelong Winery Tours
Embark On Day Of Tastings With A Friendly Wine Tour

Geelong and the wider Bellarine region produce some of the finest wines in the state, and the best way to experience the cream of the crop (without worrying about finding a designated driver) is to hop on a winery tour. Experienced operators such as Wilson’s Wine Tours, For the Love of Grape and Geelong Winery Tours offer convenient pick up and drop offs, tastings at all the top cellar doors, delicious lunches and invaluable insights. While there’s a diverse range of varietals grown throughout the area, pinot noir, chardonnay and shiraz are done particularly well.

Little Creatures
Little Creatures
Sink A Cold One At Geelong’s Many Breweries

More of a beer person? Geelong has you covered for that, too. The Little Creatures outpost here has become as much of a destination as the original brewery in Fremantle. It’s the birthplace of their Furphy ale, that staple of bottleshops and barbecues everywhere, and continues to be 100 per cent brewed in Geelong to this day. Swing by for that classic brewery experience: bustling canteen, fresh tap beers and seeing where the magic happens. Little Creatures also kickstarted a local brewery scene that’s stronger than ever – so put Valhalla Taproom, Blackmans Brewery and White Rabbit Barrel Hall on your visit list too.

Continue exploring this unforgettable part of the world with the help of our picks for great accommodation in Torquay, Lorne and all along the Great Ocean Road. And why not stay on the road with eight more bucket list road trips to take across Victoria.