A couple sits on a rock together beside Barwon River looking up at Fyansford Paper Mills.

72 hours in Geelong and The Bellarine

The perfect mini break might bundle up a bit of city action with glorious beaches, walks, wineries, art and the great outdoors and luckily you can get it all here. The region has way more options than you could fit into 72 hours but check out these ideas and choose your own adventure.

Trains, planes, automobiles and ferries

You don’t need to spend much of your valuable holiday time travelling here. Interstaters flying into Avalon Airport have an easy 25-minute drive to reach Geelong.

Known as Victoria’s second airport it’s an easy way to fly. Jetstar fly direct from Sydney and the Gold Coast to Avalon Airport and from June 2024 they’ll do the trip to and from Brisbane as well.

For everyone else, Geelong is an hour’s drive from Melbourne (Searoad Ferries can whisk you to Queenscliff from Sorrento if you’re coming from the east), the V/Line train from Melbourne is a stress-free 70 minutes, or catch the fast cat from Melbourne’s Docklands with Port Phillip Ferries (70 minutes to Portarlington).

Passengers walk into the entrance of Avalon Airport with their luggage in tow.
Avalon Airport

See & do

There are so many cool things to see in the region, including a few hidden surprises, letting a tour guide show you around can be the quickest way to discover it all. Epic Taste Experiences will give you a good taster (literally!) with their bespoke private tours that drop in at the region’s many makers and growers.

Discover a different side of Geelong on your own by following the 20km of paths that make up the scenic Barwon River Trail. It’ll take you near the heritage Fyansford Paper Mills, a National Trust complex of brick and bluestone buildings that now house artists’ workshops and Provenance Wines. You can learn a bit more about the precinct’s history and follow the paper making trail with Fyansford Paper Mills Heritage Tours.

A young family walk into the Fyansford Paper Mills gallery while on a 72 hour itinerary.
Fyansford Paper Mills Precinct

Nearby, the buzzing Pakington Street (known as Pako) precinct is full of interesting boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, plus The Rock Adventure Centre for those who look to test gravity. Be sure to explore both ends of the street; riverside offers boutique fashion and provedores whereas the Geelong West end has homewares, gift shops, op shops and a food grocer with everything from fine cheeses to Italian sweets.

A man is in a harness on a rock climbing wall at The Rock.
The Rock Adventure Centre

You’ll get a dose of invigorating coastal air down at Barwon Heads and while the sheltered beaches of the Barwon River are a magnet for swimmers and lovers of SUP, if you can tear yourself away from the water there are some great walks. The Barwon Heads Bluff trail has epic views over the ocean, or follow an easier 5km return amble alongside the river.

The view from the Bluff of surfers at 13th Beach.
Views from The Bluff trail

Eat & drink

Choices are rapidly increasing but you can’t go past Geelong’s Little Malop Street precinct. This foodie hub includes Sober Ramen for Geelong’s best noodles, the super cosy speakeasy style 18th Amendment Bar, and for the taste and sounds of the Deep South, head to Pistol Pete’s Food n Blues (live music on most Fridays and Saturdays).

A hand is just in shot using chop sticks and a spoon to scoop up noodles from a bowl of ramen.
Sober Ramen

Pakington Street has plenty more options such as BAAH LAH!, with its inspiring Singaporean menu, or Box Office which does everything from early morning coffees (they’re seriously good) to evening wines and excellent food.

Walk the Geelong Waterfront and it’s hard to resist popping in for a drink or a bite at Sailors’ Rest, but if you’re near the waterfront in Barwon Heads, Annie’s Provedore is a must.

A waitress walks out of focus through the dining space at Baah Lah.
BAAH LAH! Dining

Stay

It’s hard to beat the location of Novotel Geelong, positioned right on the waterfront (a 2-minute walk from where the ferry arrives) and nudging up against all the bars, restaurants and shops by the water. All rooms have a balcony and many look out over the bay.

Novotel Geelong is pictured along the waterfront, with the bay and Carousel also in view.
Novotel Geelong

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