I have a confession to make – in all my years living in Melbourne, I have never actually been to Geelong. Isn’t it crazy how we’ll travel 24 hours on a plane to get to Europe, but don’t make an easy 1 hour drive to one of Victoria’s hippest new destinations?
Geelong, Victoria’s second largest city, is definitely worth the trip. I absolutely loved the spectacular waterfront (which boasts an amazing children’s pool, diving boards, sea pool and playground!) and couldn’t believe I’d waited so long to visit.
I also loved the vibe along Little Malop Street, which was bustling with pedestrian traffic, street-art, hip new eateries and AMAZING food and coffee.
My pick? The quirky interiors and seriously good food at Craft Space hit the spot, while the perfect flat white was found across the way at Coffee Cartel!
We were pretty content to eat our way throughout the day, and burned off some energy on the short walk to the incredible new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre. Inspired by the history of the ‘dome’ in world architecture, the Library is a fab new addition to the cultural fabric of Geelong. I would have been content to wander the different levels of the Library all day, but my daughter quickly found her spiritual home on the Children’s floor.
Featuring activities, games, and books perfectly tailored for the little ones, it’s worth the trip to Geelong just to visit the Library in my opinion!
After a quick change for dinner, we then headed to Little Creatures Geelong. My husband, originally from Perth, was extremely excited to visit such an iconic Perth institution’s Victorian outpost. I was a little worried about heading out to dinner with a 2 year old (as I’m sure a lot of the mama’s out there reading this can sympathise with!), but my fears were quickly allayed when I saw how kid-friendly Little Creatures is.
Think heaps of room to run around with, lots to see and look at plus the ultimate kid magnet – a sand pit! The food and drink were great too – it’s much more than typical pub fare, with vegan and vegie options too. Yum.
If you’re looking to stay the night in Geelong, I can absolutely recommend the Vue Apartments, which was right in the heart of the action – the 1 bedroom apartment was perfect for travelling as a family, with a full kitchen and everything you need for travelling with a toddler!
The next morning, we grabbed a quick and delicious breakfast at Geelong institution, Café Go – the food was fresh and delicious and I loved the beautiful garden filled with art from some of the regions local artists.
We then made the short drive to Queenscliff, just a 30 minute drive from Geelong. I felt like I had stepped back in time as we drove through Queenscliff – I had no idea the town had such beautiful heritage architecture!
Our destination for lunch was Harry’s Kiosk, an iconic eating spot right on the beachfront in Queenscliff. I loved the delicious fresh food and friendly service, and highly recommended trying a sweet treat from the cabinet. They’re all baked fresh by an “Aunty” who bakes daily for the wonderful family who own Harry’s.
After an extremely hard slog eating lunch, I thought it was only appropriate I follow up with a massage at Mud Spa, located at the BIG4 Beacon Resort. I had the 60 minute signature massage treatment, and it was just divine. I loved the fact I felt like I just stepped into a tranquil space that instantly transported you away from the stresses of everyday life, while my daughter and husband were metres away playing on the giant jumping pillow.
After my massage, it was a short drive to wine tasting and our accommodation at the quirky Oakdene Winery. My daughter was enchanted by the “fairy garden” (her words), while mum and dad were enchanted by the amazing pinot and the “upside down” house the wine tasting was housed in.
We stayed in the ‘Attic Room’, and I was charmed by the boutique accommodation (and relieved as a mum there were all the amenities you’d expect in a typical hotel!
We had a delish meal at Mr Grubb, the on-site restaurant at Oakdene. The atmosphere was relaxed, casual and very affordable. For those looking for more of a ‘fine dining’ feel, you can head to the ‘Restaurant’ (which is conveniently just downstairs from the accommodation if you’re looking for a quick trip to bed after your meal ;D).
After a relaxing night’s sleep, we drove the 10 minutes into Barwon Heads and visited the iconic Annie’s Provedore for breakfast. We arrived just after 8am, and the place was packed – full of locals and tourists alike.
The interior of Annie’s Provedore is best described as a food lover’s Aladdin’s cave – every available space is filled with delicious food from around the world. Annie’s Italian heritage strongly influences the menu and deli items, but everything had one thing in common for me – it was just so tasty!
After a delicious breakfast board, we wandered up the main street and happened upon Natural Harry. It’s the stuff Instagram dreams are made of – a super sweet caravan serving delicious (and good looking!) smoothies in their own little lot.
It was with a heavy heart, and even fuller stomach, that we hopped in the car to make the 1.5 hour drive back home. How lucky are we as Melburnians that we have these amazing destinations just a short drive from our front door.
Being on the Geelong Waterfront, or on the foreshore in Queenscliff, or having a delicious smoothie in Barwon Heads – you really could be anywhere in the world. But why would you rather be anywhere but Victoria?
Where else to go?