Bonfire with people sat around

9 unmissable winter events in Geelong and The Bellarine

The weather might be cooling down, but Geelong and The Bellarine is heating up this winter with a warming collection of events. Feel the après ski vibes all winter long at Tulip Restaurant, or join in the snow play fun and be mesmerised by the dazzling lights at Adventure Park Winter Glow. Celebrate the Celtic magic at the National Celtic Folk Festival or embrace the cold heart of winter at Queencliff’s Nightide Festival. Sip on a dram under the stars by a warming fire at the Whisky and Wildfire Night or dance the night away at the Burning of the Canes.

Add to the mix award-winning wineries serving up hearty reds, along with numerous drinking and dining venues boasting cosy fire places and you’ll soon realise that this is one destination that knows how to embrace and celebrate the cooler months.

Here’s a guide to the events and warming events happening around Geelong and The Bellarine this winter.

National Celtic Folk Festival

Friday 7 – Monday 10 June

Expect tartan kilts, pints of Guinness, shamrock handicrafts and soul warming good times as the National Celtic Folk Festival returns to Portarlington. Taking place over the June long weekend, this much-loved event celebrates all that’s iconic from the Celtic nations on the other side of the globe. Join in for four days of folk and Celtic magic featuring live music, bars, markets, workshops, delicious food, dances, theatre, children’s entertainment, caber tossing, Irish Hurling and more.

When: Friday 7 to Monday 10 June 2024
Where: Portarlington Foreshore, plus various venues around Portarlington
Tickets:  Free and ticketed events. Tickets start from $120 for a day ticket or $220 for the full weekend for adults, $70 for youth (13-17), kids 12 and under are free. Camping and ferry packages are also available, book now at nationalcelticfestival.com

Dancers at the National Celtic Folk Festival at night.

Après ski vibes at Tulip Restaurant

Feel as though you’ve stepped into a French ski resort as Tulip Restaurant brings an après ski vibe to their restaurant and outdoor courtyard every Friday afternoon during winter. Sip on warming drinks such as hot toddies and mulled wine as you tuck into brioche toasties with gruyere cheese, black garlic and quince chutney, baked brie with truffle honey, crab bisque with a parmesan crisp.

Where: Tulip Restaurant, 9/111 Pakington Street, Geelong
Tickets: tuliprestaurant.com.au

Whisky & Wildfire Night at The Whiskery

Saturday 8 June

In celebration of the start of their whisky tasting season, Bellarine Distillery is hosting an evening under the stars with drams, fire and fun. Enjoy tastings of three of their own whiskies, including the privately released Superb Fairy Wren (not available for public purchase, only 82 bottles of this whisky were produced). There will also be heel tapping live music from The Stovies and a special menu from Wildfire Craft BBQ.

When: Saturday 8th June, from 4pm-8pm
Where: The Whiskery, Bellarine Distillery, 2102-2120 Portarlington Rd, Drysdale
Tickets: $15 for a gin lovers’ ticket, or $40 for a whisky lovers’ ticket. Available now at bellarinedistillery.com.au/whisky-wildfire-night

After Dark – A Winter Solstice Celebration at 1915

Friday 21 June

1915 and Anther Spirits have joined forces to delight your senses and celebrate winter solstice. Indulge in a delicious 3-course candle-lit dinner at 1915 paired with Anther Spirits cocktails.

Find out more here

When: Friday 21 June
Where: 1915 Geelong
Tickets: $145pp, ticket includes Anther Gin cocktail upon arrival, 3-course meal and 3 drink pairings with your meal. Tickets available now – book here

Nightide Fringe

Friday 21 June

Under the gentle gaze of a Queenscliff full moon, rug up and celebrate the winter ‘soul’stice at this adults only evening ahead of Nightide Festival. Taking place at a secret location, join the incomparable DJ Vince Peach and the inimitable Georgia Rogers to celebrate midwinter in a truly Queenscliff fashion, with a sauna and ice bath, yidaki healing, food trucks, bar and a few other surprises along the way.

When: Friday 21 June 2024, 6:30pm-11pm
Where: A secret location in Queenscliff
Tickets: This adults only event is $42pp with limited tickets available, booking online now at trybooking.com/events/landing/1220288

Nightide Festival

Saturday 22 June

Embrace the dark heart of winter at Nightide, Queenscliff’s premier winter solstice Festival. From the explosive fireworks display to the transformative power of bonfires and a line-up of pulsating live music, Nightide invites you to step beyond the veil of the ordinary. Experience chilling ice baths, mystical tarot readings, and exclusive escapes into luxury. At Nightide, the night is not just celebrated—it’s transformed.

AFTERDARK – Official party

Join the “official” Nightide party and warm up inside, away from the crowd and the cold. DJs and live music fill the void with pulsating vibes while a welcome drink, continuous canapés and food stations will sustain the energy, all included in the ticket.

A speakeasy cocktail and whisky lounge offers a chilled space delivering high-end spirits, hand-crafted cocktails and an exclusive balcony, enveloping the night darkness.

Roving performers and vagabonds, entertain party goers with moments of weird and wonderful. Or tempt fate and see what your future holds from tarot card and horoscope vaticinators.

When: Saturday 22 June, 2024 from 5-9pm.
Where: Searoad Ferry Terminal, Queenscliff
Tickets: Free or ticketed events.
Further information: nightide.com.au

A fire twirler dances with flamers and a crowd watching on the beach.

Adventure Park Winter Glow

Saturday 22 June – Sunday 21 July

Discover a glowing winter wonderland at Adventure Park during the mid-year school holidays. Experience the magic of snow and build a snowman in the Snow Play Zone with realistic snow. Roast marshmallows over the roaring open fire and warm up with delicious hot chocolates, spiced cider and mulled wine. See live ice-sculpting and fire-twirling displays plus millions of dazzling lights and hundreds of glittering installations all over the park. Ride eight awesome theme park rides and play mini-golf over two courses. Enjoy five hours of entertainment and activities for the whole family.

When: Saturday 22 June to Sunday 21 July, 2024 from 3.30pm-8.30pm
Where: Adventure Park Geelong, 1249 Bellarine Highway, Wallington
Tickets: Online prices $40pp (over 120cm), $32.50pp (90-120cm) or free for under 90cm. Gate prices an additional $5pp. Entry includes unlimited rides and entry to the snow play zone. Pre-purchase at adventurepark.com.au/winter-glow

Family playing with snowman at Adventure Park's Winter Glow
Adventure Park's Winter Glow

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride

29, 30 June, 1, 5, 6, 7 July

Get ready to collect your Golden Ticket and be welcomed by the Conductor to embark on a magical journey as THE POLAR EXPRESS™ returns to The Bellarine Railway this winter!

Everyone, regardless of age, will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the magical world of Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved children’s book in an entirely new and captivating way.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ passengers will be captivated by an immersive theatrical experience that brings iconic characters to life. From the Conductor’s memorable question to the lively ‘Hot Chocolate’ dance, a mysterious encounter with the Hobo, carolling onboard the train, and a magical visit from Santa, each moment captures the essence of the movie.

When: 29, 30 June, 1, 5, 6, 7 July
Where: Queenscliff
Tickets: $55 per person. Available at bellarinerailway.com.au/the-polar-express-queenscliff

The Polar Express

Burning of the Canes

Saturday 3 August

Celebrate the “Burning of the Canes” at Austin’s Wines. This annual ritual marks the end of the grape harvest and the beginning of a new season. Head along for a spectacular bonfire on our 1500-acre property, symbolising rebirth and prosperity. Enjoy live music, heart warming winter food and award-winning wines. With mulled wine, winter cocktails, and delicious food, this all-weather event promises an unforgettable night.

When: Saturday 3 August, 2024 from 5pm-9:30pm
Where: Austin’s Wines, 870 Steiglitz Road, Sutherlands Creek (15-minutes from central Geelong)
Tickets: $40 includes entry and entertainment. Restricted to adults only, 18 years plus. Available at austinswines.com.au/event/burning-of-the-canes-2024

Vineyard canes in purple and green light
Burning of the Canes

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