Located 30 km South East of Geelong, Queenscliff is a lovely seaside town. Famous for its Queenscliff Music Festival which takes place in November each year. Attractions include Fort Queenscliff, Bellarine Rail Trail and the Queenscliff Ferry which runs daily to Sorrento. Other activities may include simply taking a walk to the pier or visiting the many coffee shops along the main street.
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Queenscliff: Victorian Architecture by the Water
Queenscliff, on the Bellarine Peninsula, is one the earliest towns to be founded in Victoria. As you walk through its centre, you will see many reminders of yesteryear, including elegant mansions and hotels. To uncover the coastal town’s heritage, you’ll be able to visit history museums or join a guided walking tour.
When it comes to family holidays, Queenscliff offers plenty of activities for all age groups. Swim in the calm waters, snorkel offshore or dive to discover shipwreck sites. In the evenings, check out the harbour-side restaurants. While in town, indulge in some retail therapy or hop aboard a scenic train to ride through the surrounding countryside.
Holiday rentals in Queenscliff include luxurious apartments overlooking the water, stately heritage homes and tidy units close to the hustle and bustle of the main street.
History and Culture in Queenscliff
Settled back in the mid-1800s, Queenscliff is proud of its heritage. Visitors can discover the region’s history at one of the many museums. Start off at the Queenscliff Heritage Museum, which takes a close look at the town’s early European settlers, their habits and lifestyle. One popular exhibit showcases samples of Victorian era fashion.
For an in-depth look at Queenscliff’s relationship with the water that surrounds it, head to the Queenscliff Maritime Museum. Learn about the shipwrecks that shaped the town’s early days and wander through displays of 19th century boats and vessels. The museums runs guided tours for those seeking to find out more.
If you’re interested in Australian military history, go to Fort Queenscliff Museum, which focuses on the country’s involvement in the world wars. Discover the exhibits on your own or as part of a group tour.
Queenscliff’s Locomotive Heritage
As of the 19th century, Queenscliff was well connected to the rest of Victoria by rail. Today, travellers can go on traditional train journeys aboard vintage locomotives to relive the experience. There are themed rides for passengers of all ages, organised by the Bellarine Railway. If you’re visiting during major holidays, you can join a special Easter or Christmas ride, accompanied by characters in costume.
Year-round, the 16 km steam train journey provides scenic views of the countryside. During certain tours, travellers can try their hand at operating the train themselves. In the evenings, opt for the Blues Train. Have dinner onboard as you listen to live music and ride at a leisurely pace.
Queenscliff Beaches and Water Sports
Many travellers choose Queenscliff for its seaside activities. The town enjoys an 800 m stretch of sand, consisting of several beaches lined by leafy reserves. No matter where you put down your towel, you will have a safe swimming area and relatively calm waves. Fishermen tend to cast their lines right off the beach or from one of the town’s two jetties.
The crystal clear waters near the coast are favoured by snorkelers and divers. Peer beneath the surface to observe brightly coloured coral and fish, or make your way out to shipwreck sites. Several guided tours make it easier for first time snorkelers and divers to participate.
To discover Queenscliff’s underwater world without actually getting in the ocean, sign up for a semi-sub tour of the coastal waters. You’ll be able to watch fish and sea turtles go by from the boat’s glass enclosure.
Queenscliff: In Town
The pretty town of Queenscliff is home to many original 19th century buildings. Wander off on your own to take in the Victorian architecture gracing the tree-lined streets or participate in a walking tour, run by the historical society. You’ll stroll past heritage houses, churches and shops, among other landmarks.
A number of historical buildings are now rented by gourmet restaurants and art galleries. For some retail therapy, head to Hesse Street’s fashion boutiques, antique shops and bookstores, as well as pet accessory stores and jewellers. When it comes time for dinner, wander over to the harbour, with its endless restaurants and cafes, many of which serve fresh seafood.
Getting to Queenscliff
The easiest way to get to Queenscliff from Melbourne is to drive along the scenic Bellarine Highway. You will reach your final destination in just over an hour. If you don’t have access to a vehicle, you can opt for the train with a connection in Geelong.