Geelong is situated an hour drive from Melbourne and a short drive to the famous coastline along the Great Ocean Road with Torquay Beach and Bells Beach being just a half hour drive from the city. Major tourist attractions in Geelong include the Geelong Waterfront along Eastern Beach, the Ford Discovery Centre or the National Wool Museum. Geelong also hosts a number of events including Queenscliff Music Festival, Meredith Music Festival and Offshore Festival.
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Geelong, City of 1000+ Events
Summer or winter, rain or shine, the lively city of Geelong always has something going on. Soak up the seaside atmosphere along the foreshore. Immerse yourself in Australian art of all kinds or catch a show at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre. Wander the stately streets of the CBD to snap some shots of heritage-listed buildings.
Geelong is a very kid-friendly city, with plenty of parks, playground equipment and designated children’s swim areas. But there are offerings for the adults as well, such as whisky tastings during the annual Geelong Highland Gathering.
Holiday rentals in Geelong include modern apartments, chic beach houses and spacious family homes.
Along the Waterfront
Geelong benefits from an expansive waterfront, boasting attractions for the whole family. Wander along the historic pier stretching out into Corio Bay and let the kids ride Geelong’s iconic vintage Carousel. Keep going past the harbour, where you’ll be able to buy fresh prawns right from the boats.
Keep on going to the heart of Geelong’s oceanfront action, the Eastern Beach Recreation Reserve. There’s a stretch of golden sand, Geelong’s main beach, as well as spacious, protected sea baths and a shallow pool for toddlers. Playground equipment is located next to the beach. When you’re ready for a break, have a picnic on the grass as you watch sailing lessons unfold out in the bay. The whole area is patrolled in the summer.
Arts and Culture in Geelong
Geelong enjoys a thriving arts scene, with many installations both indoors and out. Start off at the Geelong Gallery to view an extensive collection of pieces by Australian artists, from paintings to sculptures.
Visit the award-winning Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre to find out about the region’s First People. Discover their heritage via Dreamtime stories, didgeridoo performances and various workshops and talks. Spend some time in the exhibit spaces or go for a walk along the Curragundi Garden Trail.
In the evenings, head to the Geelong Performing Arts Centre for comedy shows, theatre performances and concerts. The bustling centre always has something new going on.
As you wander through Geelong and especially along the waterfront, you will see a series of bollards, wooden sculptures representing important figures in the city’s history.
Geelong’s History and Heritage
An important regional centre, Geelong boasts roughly 100 heritage-listed buildings, dating back to the 19th century. Group tours lead you past some of the most significant properties, including the town hall, customs house, telegraph station and various schools, shops and pubs. Of course, you can also spend the afternoon wandering around Geelong on your own - information panels in front of heritage buildings tell their story.
For a glimpse into Geelong’s convict past, head to the Old Geelong Gaol, dating back to 1853. You will be able to visit the prison’s solitary confinement wards and wander down its preserved halls as you learn about some of the region’s most famous criminals. If you want to be spooked, join one of the ghost tours.
Geelong’s Parks and Gardens
It won’t be hard to find green spaces in Geelong, as there are parks and gardens spread throughout the city. Escape the hustle and bustle by visiting the Geelong Botanical Gardens. Stroll along paved paths on your own or take a guided tour to find out more about the park’s plant species.
The waterfront Steampacket Gardens are filled with artwork and there’s plenty of open space for the kids to run around as you take in ocean views. These gardens host events throughout the year, from markets to festivals.
If you’re looking for playground equipment, you can choose from 8 different parks in the city. One of the most popular is Rippleside Park Adventure Playground, with wooden equipment of all sorts.
Geelong Festivals and Events
Geelong residents like to stay entertained, so there’s something happening no matter the season. In fact, there are over 1000 events each year. In October, the Royal Geelong Show has activities suited to all interests. Options include carnival games, truck shows, arts and crafts workshops and even jazz competitions.
Each year in March, the city celebrates its Scottish heritage at the Geelong Highland Gathering. Dance to pipe bands, watch dog shows and swordplay tournaments or do some whisky tasting. If you’re traveling with kids, you can take them to the petting zoo onsite.
During the Christmas holidays, visitors can join in a number of events, including fireworks on the waterfront, popup carol stations, movie showings and even a floating Christmas tree show.
Getting to Geelong
Drive to Geelong from Melbourne in under an hour. Alternately, take a direct train in 1.5 hours. Geelong is very compact, so you can easily get around on foot once you arrive.