Everything to do on the ultimate road trip through Geelong & The Bellarine and Great Ocean Road

It's the road trip of a lifetime

Everything to do on the ultimate road trip through Geelong & The Bellarine and Great Ocean Road

It's the road trip of a lifetime
great ocean road

An adventure through Geelong & The Bellarine and The Great Ocean Road is undeniably the best road trip in Australia, if not the world – yep we said it. 

There is just so much to see, do, and experience from postcard perfect coastal stretches to hinterland, glorious local food and wines, thrilling outdoor adventures, or relaxing nature-filled escapes. 

Pack the car, get your trip itinerary out and tick off our top picks for the all-time ultimate road trip

Geelong & Bellarine

geelong and the bellarine

From reinvented urban precincts to chilled-out coastal towns, food, wine, history and picturesque natural beauty, there aren’t many ‘best of both worlds’ places as wonderful as a trip to Geelong and Bellarine.

It’s around an hour and a half out of Melbourne CBD, and is a popular weekend getaway for locals or stopover for tourists hitting the open road.

Stay

geelong and the bellarine - ocean grove
The Woods – Ocean Grove

The Nest

With panoramic views high on the hill above Point Lonsdale, The Nest is a little taste of luxury.

It’s just minutes from restaurants, cafes, wineries and the beach shoreline, yet still feels like your very own private sanctuary a world away. 

Portarlington Grand Hotel

Referred to as the jewel of the Bellarine Peninsula, Portarlington Grand Hotel is history meets modern luxury in a boutique experience. 

It’s a real country town feel here with friendly staff, and the perfect base camp for days of fun-filled exploration.

The Woods – Ocean Grove

The Woods bush cabins are stylish, peaceful and homely, based in central Ocean Grove and considered one of the best tiny cabins in Victoria.

You’ll be tucked away in tranquil bushland and spend afternoons hitting the beach, setting up underneath the gum trees, or exploring the Bellarine Peninsula wineries. 

Eden Oak Geelong

Eden Oak serves as a dreamy weekend retreat in its botanical garden surrounds. 

It has easy access to all the Geelong CBD attractions and is right alongside the sparkling Geelong Waterfront and Eastern Beach precinct.

Adventure

geelong and the bellarine - hot air balloon
Geelong Air Ballooning

Hot air ballooning

Get a real high from Geelong Ballooning, floating you over the magnificent region as you watch the sunrise over the Barrabool Hills, or Port Phillip Bay (depending on which way the wind is blowing) and snap some unreal photos.

Plus, you’ll have a gourmet breakfast and some sparkling wine waiting for you once you’re done. 

Swim with dolphins and seals 

Sea All gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with some adorable sea life that includes wild dolphins and seals. You’ll have a guided snorkelling tour through the world-renowned Pope’s Eye marine park before heading to Chinaman’s Hat and Port Phillip Bay for some unforgettable underwater experiences. 

See some Twisted History
If the weird and paranormal are your forte, a Twisted History tour might be on the cards. You’ll explore the darker side of history with guides in a tour of your choice ranging from prison ghost tours, murder stories, and haunted hotels.

Chill

geelong and the bellarine - you yangs
You Yangs

Explore the You Yangs 

North of Geelong you’ll come across the You Yangs – a series of granite peaks rising high into the sky. Enjoy a simple walk through the nature-filled scenery here to relax or make your way to the summit for breathtaking views and soak it all in. 

Visit the Geelong Gallery
Geelong Gallery is one of Australia’s oldest regional art galleries, standing the test of time to this day and still pulling in a crowd. It has a huge collection of 19th to 21st-century Australian and European paintings to marvel at, as well as some more contemporary pieces and inspiring exhibitions.

Eats and drinks

geelong and the bellarine - baah lah dining
BAAH LAH! Dining

Murphys

Murphys is everything you want from a pub lunch. 

They’ve got a front bar, restaurant, vibrant rooftop space and third level sky garden, serving up timeless tap beers, sports on the big screen, classic pub grub, live music, and cocktails. 

Westend Geelong

Westend is sophisticated meets modern, with the bar offering over 30 beers and an award-winning wine list. 

Food-wise it’s serving up contemporary Australian cuisine with dishes like breaded pork cutlet, crispy skin salmon, and hand rolled potato gnocchi. 

BAAH LAH! Dining

BAAH LAH! is all about bold Singaporean flavours, with Head chef Brian Anderson’s curated menu combining plenty of diversity and traditional techniques. 

This place is seriously impressive, and one of Geelong’s best kept secrets among eager foodies looking for something on the finer side. 

Jack Rabbit Vineyard

Delectable a la carte cuisine and award-winning cool climate wines await at Jack Rabbit Vineyard

A true gem of the Bellarine region, the views are equally as impressive as the menu – looking out over the bay to Geelong, the You Yangs and Melbourne.


The Great Ocean Road

great ocean road
Port Campbell

Heard of The Great Ocean Road? Undoubtedly. Truly experienced everything this hot spot has to offer? Unlikely. 

There is literally so much to do when you travel along this coastal road, from some of the state’s most breathtaking nature to unforgettable hiking trails and charming eats. It really is the adventurers’ dream destination, with something new around every corner.

While there are plenty of magical spots to discover just about anywhere along this stretch of road, the most popular places among travellers include Torquay, Apollo Bay, Lorne, and Port Campbell.

Stay

great ocean road - ocean house
Ocean House, Lorne

Anchors Port Campbell

Aside from a pretty perfect location nestled behind the Port Campbell township, this super cute and private couples accommodation is perfect for a romantic getaway.

We’d recommend Anchors Port Campbell as the perfect couples stay for a night of romance in a pretty country setting, yet super close to the cafes and restaurants of Port Campbell. 

The Pole House 

Located at Fairhaven, the Pole House is one to tick off your  bucket list, and not only a luxurious place to stay, but one of the Great Ocean Road’s landmarks. 

With stunning views along the coastline, and an exhilarating feeling like you are suspended above the water, a stay here is truly like no other.

Glenaire Cottages

Be whisked away into true country living vibes at Glenaire Cottages

The four timber cottages all feature views from outdoor desks and cosy lounges, and border on the Great Otways National Park which is just a short trip downhill to Castle Cove. 

Ocean House 

Reconnect with your favourites at Ocean House.

Here, just a stroll from North Lorne’s secluded beach, you’ll find the most luxurious of homes where special moments can be played out in the most extraordinary setting.  The Rob Mills designed glass and timber pavilion is the perfect setting for unforgettable good times.

Adventure

great ocean road - cape bridgewater
Cape Bridgewater

Hit the waves

The Great Ocean Road coastline is famed for some seriously wicked surf spots. Whether you’re a whitewash beginner or wave pro, you’ll be able to find a break to suit. Some of the more popular spots include Bells Beach, The Surf Coast, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy East Beach and Warrnambool Main Beach. 

If you’re keen to learn, you can easily find a business in local towns offering surfing lessons. 

Cycle the 12 Apostles Trail from Timboon to Port Campbell

Hire a bike or e-bike from Ride With Us and cycle the brand-new trail connecting artisan foodie haven Timboon to the iconic coast of the Port Campbell National Park and the Twelve Apostles.  Pick up handmade whisky, cheeses, pick your own strawberries at Berry World (between November and April), and grab an ice cream from the Timboon Icecreamery before you cruise through the scenic countryside along the 18km trail, stopping along the way at the Schulz Organic Creamery and Cafe.

Take a scenic flight

See the glistening coast from the sky. 

12 Apostles Helicopters has flights taking you over the iconic Twelve Apostles coastline. In whale season it can be the best spot for spotting whales.

Chill

great ocean road - hopetoun falls
Hopetoun Falls

Go chasing waterfalls

The whole Great Ocean Road region is a natural breeding ground for cascading falls among nature. 

Our top recommendations for a wholesome experience and Insta snap stop include Beauchamp Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Erskine Falls, Kalimna Falls, and Hopkins Falls. 

Get lost in local surf shops

With a whole range of local surf shops spotted through the quaint coastal towns, a stop-in for some relaxing retail browsing is never hard to come by.

Torquay in particular makes for some of the best surf shopping, and you can find Quicksilver and Rip Curl headquarters remaining in the town to this day. 

Visit Melba Gully

Melba Gully is like something out of a fairytale. 

The gully is a range of low ferns and mosses among dense rainforest surroundings, and the short Madsen’s Track Nature Walk provides a quiet stroll into the world of ancient trees and cool fern gullies. At night you can also see glow worms light up along the walking tracks.

Eats and drinks

great ocean road - the wharf
The Wharf at Port Fairy

Apollo Bay Distillery 

Locally handcrafted gin is the tipple of choice at the Apollo Bay Distillery

Modern and light-filled, with a family-friendly vibe, it’s a popular stop among tourists and locals alike. Apart from their range of handcrafted gins, stunning cocktails, and local beers and cider, they also serve delicious wood-fired pizzas.

Fish By Moonlite

If seafood is often your dish of choice, Fish By Moonlite is one of the better fish and chip stops you’ll try. 

Slinging out only the freshest seafood produce, it would be rude not to stop in for a cheeky and truly Aussie sunset dinner here. 

Conlan’s Wine Store 

Located in the historic seaside town of Port Fairy, Conlan’s Wine Store has food of fine dining quality and even finer wines. 

It’s a cosy little corner to unwind with friends while digging into a four course tasting menu, and also features a retail store stocked with all the best wine, spirits and beers.

The Wharf at Port Fairy

The Wharf sits on the water’s edge of the Moyne River, whipping up modern Australian plates utilising fresh and seasonal produce. 

It’s an ideal spot for cocktail sunsets, a sit down meal with a bottle of wine, or a mid afternoon lunch stop in the sun.


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