Two friends eat ice creams smiling while they walk along the waterfront together.

Your guide to a great a long weekend in central Geelong

Long weekends are made for lounging, lunching and letting go of the construct of time.

Whether it’s for Labour Day, Easter or a long weekend of your own making, hello days off, here’s how to make the most of a few days spent in and around central Geelong.

Where to eat and drink

When the sun’s shining Geelong’s north-facing bay sparkles. Luckily there are plenty of spots to wine and dine so you don’t have to stray far from those shimmering waters.

Tempo Kitchen and Bar is the latest food offering to join the waterfront. Passionate about local produce and flavours of Victoria, they source directly from local farmers, fishermen and producers to get the freshest of the fresh.

On the menu you’ll find seafood and grill-style mastery on show with plenty for the non-seafood lovers too. Think everything from seafood linguine using Portarlington mussels to pork belly paired with pepper leaf jerk marinade, rum BBQ glaze.

Stick around when the sun sets and grab a carefully crafted cocktail or select from the extensive collection of wines and beers. It’s also handy for guests staying at Novotel Geelong as it’s located at the base of the hotel.

Dishes plated up for a long weekend at Tempo Kitchen and Bar.
Tempo Kitchen and Bar

For more elevated views of the bay, Sailors Rest is as high as it gets. Head to the rooftop bar for views over the waterfront precinct and beyond.

Balmy evening over the long weekend? Cool down with a scoop or two from Gelato Gelato. Passionate about sourcing local ingredients, this gelato is award-winning and you can taste it with each lick.

What to see and do

The Carousel is an Armitage-Herschell portable steam driven, hand-carved wooden carousel which was constructed circa 1892 and is one of only 200 in operation around the world.

Geelong’s historic carousel boasts meticulously restored animals, charming music, and an atmosphere that transports you back in time. Gather your friends and family for a spin filled with laughter and nostalgia.

For rotating exhibitions and often several at once, wander a block back from the waterfront to the National Wool Museum.

This place might have its origins in celebrating Geelong’s illustrious history as wool capital of the world, but alongside the displays on textiles and looms (the enormous 1910 Axminster Jacquard carpet loom with 1,323 bobbins is unmissable), a big part of the focus is now dedicated to changing art exhibitions.

Hotly anticipated is the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year. It’s all set in a gorgeous heritage bluestone woolstore. Before you leave pay a visit to the gift store where you can pick up Australian made goods and knick-knacks – including some bollard themed items to remember your trip to Geelong.

A mother and daughter sit at a table inside a mock older building. At the National Wool Museum
National Wool Museum

Venture a little further into central Geelong and you’ll soon hit the cultural heart of Geelong. Here you’ll find the Geelong Arts Centre. A $140m state-of-the-art, whimsical building where you can catch a musical, play or show; or enjoy a comedy act or orchestra performance. It incorporates specially commissioned artworks by First Nations artists which is worth visiting on its own.

For a chance to spot dolphins in the wild, jump on the Hygeia boat tour. The 20-metre catamaran will take you on a 1hr cruise of the bay, looking for the favourite water-based locals. There’s also the option for fish ‘n’ chips will you sit back onboard.

Two dolphins swimming in front of the boat.
Dolphin Discovery - Queenscliff

No trip would be complete without a whirl on the Giant Sky Wheel, taking in the views over central Geelong, Corio Bay and beyond.

Afterwards take a stroll around the promenade at Eastern Beach, Geelong Botanic Gardens following the bollard trail. If you’re after a thrill, test your nerves jumping off the diving platform into the cool waters below.

A coastal landscape with the sun setting over the water, casting a warm golden glow across the beach. Silhouettes of people are scattered along the shore, some strolling, some sitting, all enjoying the peaceful beauty of the moment.
Eastern Beach Promenade

Where to stay

For a stay that’s right on the waterfront, it’s hard to beat the Novotel Geelong. With 109 refurbished guest rooms with balconies, six flexible function spaces. restaurant and bar, complimentary Wi-Fi, indoor pool, steam room and fitness centre it’s got the lot. And if you’re lucky to get a bay view balcony room the views are so good you’ll never want to leave. You could even make it a long, long weekend?

Make use of the buffet breakfast onsite which has everything you need  to fuel up for a day of adventuring. Parking is also available on site.

The deluxe king room with views of the bay at Novotel Geelong.
Novotel Geelong

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