A very pleasant day trip from Melbourne is through to Geelong, Barwon Heads and Queenscliff.
Geelong is about one hour’s drive from Melbourne and is the second largest city in Victoria.
We loved the Geelong Waterfront and in particular the Baywalk Bollards track along the shores of Port Phillip Bay. We did part of the walk from Steampacket Gardens to the Art Deco Eastern Beach sea baths, however, if you have time, we recommend doing the whole walk starting from Geelong Botanic Gardens to Ripppleside Park which takes about 1.5 – 2 hours.
Artist Jan Mitchell has created over 100 colourful painted, wooden bollards along the Baywalk track, depicting characters and events from throughout Geelong’s history. Try to spot the rabbits painted on many of the sculptures – they represent rabbits introduced to Australia by an early English settler in the bay in the mid-1800s.
If time permits, the National Wool Museum and Geelong Art Gallery are also worth a visit.
From Geelong it is about a half-hour drive to beautiful Barwon Heads.
This charming village enjoys a wonderful location at the mouth of the Barwon River and on the sandy shores of Thirteenth Beach (an ocean beach). Golf lovers will be right at home in Barwon Heads as it has some of the leading courses in Australia including the beachfront Thirteenth Golf Course and Barwon Heads Golf Club with its historic club house.
On the other side of the river is Ocean Grove and the fabulous Ocean Grove Beach.
If you loved Noosa in the 1980s, then you will love Barwon Heads. It has a great feel with an eclectic mix of shops and cafes.
We had lunch at the communal outdoor table of Annie’s Provedore & Produce Store. We ordered Annie’s Tasting Board and it was sensational! Don’t miss this dining experience!
You may recognise some of the landmarks in Barwon Heads as it was the location for the ABC TV series Sea Change.
From Barwon Heads it is an easy 20 minute drive to Point Lonsdale via Ocean Grove.
Point Lonsdale is located on one of the headlands at the narrow entrance to Port Phillip Bay (the Rip). There are spectacular views of the ocean, lighthouse and jetty at Point Lonsdale.
The Point Lonsdale Pier is a popular fishing spot and provides a perfect viewpoint over the bay. It was built in the late 1890s to assist in rescuing people from ships that were wrecked while coming through the Rip.
The Point Lonsdale lighthouse is still manned and helps ships navigate through the notoriously treacherous Rip.
From Point Lonsdale it is less than a 10 minute drive around to Queenscliff.
Queenscliff is a charming, historic village surrounded on three sides by the sea.
In the mid-1800s Queenscliff played an important role as a strategic defence post at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.
Visit the Maritime Museum, the Historical Museum and Fort Queenscliff to learn about the town’s maritime past.
Queenscliff was a popular seaside resort in the late 1800s and has many fine Victorian buildings. Take time to wander down Hesse Street, visit the harbour and take a ride on the Bellarine Railway if you have time.
From Queenscliff, you can continue over to Sorrento (Mornington Peninsula) on the ferry, or return to Melbourne via Geelong (about a 1.5 hour drive). Better still, book accommodation, stay awhile and explore the area at leisure.
Have a look at our photos of this day trip to Geelong, Barwon Heads and Queenscliff.