Geelong, Australia

The Best Things to Do in Geelong, Victoria

There is no shortage of things to do in Geelong. Often called the gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula, Geelong has tons of attractions to offer visitors. It boasts tasty food, gorgeous seaside views of Port Phillip Bay, and fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

This bustling seaside location is Victoria’s second-largest city, just after Melbourne, and the gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula. It offers tourists the perfect mixture of history, culture, and natural beauty, and makes a great addition to any visit to the Great Ocean Road region. Many people stop here to hire a Great Ocean Road car hire before embarking on a road trip.

Geelong in Victoria

From strolling along the beach, taking in an afternoon at a brewery, or soaking in the culture at an art gallery, it can be impossible to pick and choose just one activity from the list of things to do in Geelong. Luckily, you don’t have to with this guide we help you find the best attraction for you.

Things to do in Geelong

Discover all of the top Geelong attractions with this comprehensive guide to the city. There is no shortage of fun activities and things to do in Geelong. Whether you are looking for family-friendly fun on school holidays or adventurous places to visit along the waterfront, Geelong has you covered.

Eastern Beach Reserve

Who needs the Italian Riveria? Eastern Beach has it all. Eastern Beach and the Eastern Beach Reserve is a scenic recreation area on the shores of Corio Bay. There is a white sand beach which backs onto a grassy park containing all the amenities that you need for a day out including dressing rooms, a children’s pool, BBQ areas and more.

eastern beach reserve

The ocean swimming area is completely enclosed with shark-proof netting, contains floating islands, and there is a walkway that encircles it. Plus one of the best parts of Eastern Beach? It’s completely free to visit. Making it one of the top free things to do in Geelong.

National Wool Museum

What is there to know about wool, anyway? That’s a question easily answered by Geelong’s National Wool Museum. Here, the story of wool is brought to life in one of Australia’s national treasures and a prime destination for those interested in the region’s cultural heritage. This museum is housed in a restored 1872 bluestone wool store.

The National Wool Museum in central Geelong tells visitors the story of wool and other textiles amidst a rotating collection of other exhibits. It is a place to connect and share the history of not only the Geelong community, but the history, science, and heritage of the textile craft.

Baywalk Bollards

The Baywalk Bollards are just one of many charming Geelong attractions. Local artist Jan Mitchell was commissioned to transform old materials from the pier into these unique artworks.

Geelong Waterfront on a Summer's Evening

These quirky bollards are a testament to the fascinating history of Geelong. They chronicle the city’s history from its original Indigenous heritage into the modern era. If you’re interested in viewing the Baywalk Bollards, they are located along the Geelong Waterfront all the way to Rippleside Park. It is a fun challenge is to see if you can snap a photo of all 104 of them!

Little Creatures Brewery

Little Creatures is one of the most popular craft beer brands in Australia. Little Creatures Brewery is home to this famous brand, and there’s no better way to experience it than straight from the taps at this iconic brewery.

Little Creatures Brewery offers guided tours that take you around the property and help you learn all about what makes their beer so special. At the end of the tour, there is a bar area where you can taste-test the beer for yourself and grab a bite to eat.

Geelong Botanical Gardens

This lovely spot is just bursting with natural beauty. The Geelong Botanical Gardens boast flora from around the world so that you can bask in their fragrant blooms and impressive collections of plants and trees. The meandering paths take visitors on a leisurely stroll throughout the gardens, with all of the plants clearly marked from lush roses to tropical botanics.

Geelong botanical gardens

Once you’ve had your fill of stunning flowers, you can enjoy afternoon tea at the cafe. The best part about the Geelong Botanic Gardens is that admission is completely free. For those who are visiting with children, the Geelong Playspace is an award-winning playspace just off of the botanic gardens. It features a pirate ship and several shady rest areas.

Geelong Performing Arts Centre

The Geelong Performing Arts Centre is the perfect opportunity to soak in the local culture of Geelong. They aim to foster the talents of local artists and creatives. Established in 1981, the Geelong Performing Arts Centre is located on Ryrie Street.

This cultural hub boasts high-profile events such as orchestras and concerts in addition to small-scale artistic endeavours. From 1970s laser light shows to retellings of classic literature, this performing arts centre has options that can suit anyone’s tastes. Visit their website to see what’s on.

Bellarine Rail Trail

If you want to add an additional challenge to your Great Ocean Road adventure, the Bellarine Rail Trail is the perfect option. This 33 km trail stretches all the way from Geelong to Queenscliff in the Bellarine Peninsula on Port Phillip Bay. It is a popular cycling trail and takes approximately eight hours for a moderate cyclist to complete in full.

Bellarine Trail

The Bellarine Rail Trail offers a scenic outdoor adventure to anyone willing to trek it. There are also several points of interest along the trail such as local wineries and beaches.

Geelong Gallery

Any art lover is bound to be impressed with the curated offerings available at the Geelong Gallery. This art gallery is one of Australia’s oldest regional art galleries, as it was established way back in 1896. Thankfully, this is one of many free things to do in Geelong.

Geelong Art Gallery

There are over 6,000 works of art on display at the Geelong Gallery. Some of the most acclaimed works at the Geelong Art Gallery include Frederick McCubbin’s A bush burial (1890). Geelong Gallery features many works of art that depict Geelong’s history in its permanent collection as well as several contemporary Australian paintings.

If you’d like an underrated recommendation from us then check out local artist Rachel Hine’s Heard not the voice of a bird (2020) which is a stunning multi-medium piece. There are also several temporary exhibitions available to view.

Explore Trendy Neighbourhoods

If you feel like meandering the streets of Geelong, then check out these areas. The western end of Little Malop Street has a pedestrian street mall with specialty shops and dining options, known for being the hippest area of the city. It is part of a redevelopment project.

Little Malop Street pedestrian mall in central Geelong.

Pakington Street which is known as “Pako” to locals is sprinkled with dining options and street shopping. The South end of “Pako” is better known for its creative endeavours. It is home to a host of art galleries and creatives.

Fairy Park

If you’re interested in exploring outside of Geelong proper, Fairy Park is the oldest theme park in Victoria. It is within the Geelong region, just thirty minutes from the centre. This theme park is designed to feel as if you’re entering into a fairy tale land of adventure and imagination. It offers visitors a playground, puppet tableaus, and model trains with plenty of kids activities.

Fairy Park is open to the public on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This themed attraction has been open since 1959. It’s a magical place dedicated to bringing the wonders of classic folklore to light.

Geelong Gaol Museum

The Geelong Gaol Museum is one of the best places to go when you visit Geelong if you’re looking to get a little spooked. The museum offers a Geelong Gaol ghost tour through one of Australia’s most intact convict prisons. Ghost tours are held after dark — do you dare?

Opened in 1853, this three-story bluestone gaol is full of chilling tales and is not for the faint of heart. It ran continuously until 1991 when the gates of this spooky institution finally closed. In the years prior to its closing, it was a prison, an industrial school for young girls, a hospital for the sick and dying, a military detention centre, and ultimately a training prison.

Geelong Gaol
Photo courtesy of Geelong Gaol.

The old Geelong Gaol offered those incarcerated there a miserable and barren existence. It was also the location of six executions. Today, the land is a museum offering guests a sordid insight into the horrible conditions of Victorian colonial crime and punishment. It is an educational experience that can offer one a ton of insight into the past, and maybe a chance encounter with a ghost.

Museum of Play and Art

Perfect for those who are travelling with children, the Museum of Play and Art is a place to visit in Geelong that is perfect for the whole family. As Geelong’s first children’s museum, this is a great rainy day activity.

There are several immersive hands-on experiences and educational activities at the Museum of Art and Play, one of Victoria’s acclaimed children’s museums. Staff are incredibly informative and always eager to assist with kids’ activities. Although the Museum of Play and Art is open seven days a week, spots are limited. Be sure to book in advance to ensure that you get a spot!

Buckley Falls and The Old Paper Mill

Buckley Falls and The Old Paper Mill area is the ideal scenic locale on the Barwon River. It is a wonderful area for outdoor sports like cycling, hiking, and fishing. Buckley Falls is home to several bird species and makes the perfect destination for bird watching. If you’re incredibly lucky, you might even spot a platypus!

The Barwon River in Geelong, Australia

The Old Paper Mill is a historic complex with a variety of shops, galleries, and cafes housed inside. It is worth a walk around. Otherwise, you can find Provenance Wines nearby if you want a more established cellar door experience. Combine all three locations for a perfect day trip.

Adventure Park Geelong

Just fifteen minutes outside of central Geelong is Victoria’s biggest water theme park. Adventure Park is one of the most popular Geelong attractions and is especially popular with families.

This waterpark is one of Victoria’s best. It offers dozens of rides as well as VIP cabanas to relax in after taking in the sun. The most popular out of all the 24 attractions offered at Geelong Adventure Park is by far the Tornado. It’s Victoria’s longest and arguably the most epic waterslide around. Thrill-seekers take note!

Geelong Waterfront

The Geelong Waterfront is by far the most popular attraction in Geelong. It boasts spectacular sunset views and has a great atmosphere and dining options. The sunsets make for the perfect romantic stroll along the waterfront and to Cunningham Pier. Cunningham Pier is 330 metres long and was built in the 1850s.

Cunningham Pier

The Geelong Waterfront is also a great option for families to enjoy during their trip and icon in the city. The Geelong Giant Sky Wheel is a humongous Ferris wheel that is a must-try during your Geelong trip. If you have little ones, they will love Poppy Kettle Playground which contains a big slide and climbing nets. Poppy Kettle Playground is located near the end of Cunningham Pier.

If you’re shy about heights, there is also a hand-carved wooden carousel that dates back to 1892. The architecture is simply stunning and makes this historic carousel a must-see for any history buffs.

Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre

At the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre, you’ll get the opportunity to learn about the world’s oldest living culture with interactive experiences. Throw a boomerang, learn traditional heritage, and admire Indigenous art amid lush native gardens. The Narana Art Gallery offers works of art from local artists and Indigenous artists across the country.

Aboriginal art

This amazing educational experience is offered free of charge to visitors and is open seven days a week. The word ‘narana’ means to deeply listen and understand. The Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre aims to foster a spirit of learning and reconciliation through educational engagement and the fostering of dialogue.

The centre also offers cultural education programmes designed to include people of all ages, from school holiday activities to the business community. There is also a cafe and a small wildlife sanctuary.

Special Events and Festivals

If you’re interested in mingling with Geelong locals, these special events and festivals are the perfect place to meet someone new. Geelong is host to a wide variety of celebrations throughout the calendar year.

South Geelong Farmer’s Market

The South Geelong Farmer’s Market offers fresh produce on the first Sunday and the third Sunday of each month. It offers local farmers a chance to sell their wares to visitors. Be sure to get up early for a chance to enjoy all it has to offer and experience the growing artisanal food culture in Geelong.

Wallington Strawberry Fair

The Geelong Wallington Strawberry Fair is fun that any fruit aficionado can enjoy. This school fair is hosted every March. It draws massive crowds due to its music, rides, and entertainment attractions — as well as bountiful strawberries.

strawberries

There are rides and carnival music available for children during the Wallington Strawberry Fair as well as raffles and market stalls.

Pako Festa

Pako Festa is one of the most exciting things to do in Geelong. This celebration of diversity and heritage is a vibrant street party celebrating multiculturalism in Geelong. It was founded in 1983 but has grown massively since then.

Today, Pako Festa draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands. It is a completely free event that hosts global foods, artistic projects, and dozens of events from various cultural communities. Pako Festa is held every February.

White Night Geelong

White Night Geelong is an evening of cultural enrichment with plenty of vibrant visual art, family fun, light projections, and music for attendees to enjoy. White Night draws thousands of spectators each year to engage in the festivities. It transforms Geelong into an immersive art display.

white night geelong

White Night is held every October. It is a vibrant celebration of local culture and artists that celebrates the community and heritage of Geelong.

Meredith Music Festival

The Meredith Music Festival is a three-day outdoor music festival held every December in the nearby town of Meredith. This music festival features a wide range of musicians to suit anyone’s tastes, from EDM to country to rock. It is truly an experience like no other.

Steampacket Gardens Outdoor Movies

During December, the Steampacket Gardens area becomes an open-air movie theatre. Movies are screened for free at the Geelong waterfront. The movies tend to be light, family-friendly fare. It is one of the little things to do in Geelong that make the city so special.

Toast to the Coast

Toast to the Coast is a Geelong wine festival held every May on the waterfront. This iconic festival is one of the most popular things to do in Geelong. It features only the best local wines that the Victoria region has to offer.

Geelong harbour with Cunningham Pier in Australia in the background.

Ticket holders get the opportunity to sample over twenty different regional wines in addition to live jazz and acoustic bands. Oh, and there is plenty of delicious food to enjoy with your Pinot Noir.

History buffs, foodies, and anyone simply looking for fun things to do should add a visit to Geelong. It is simply a gem on the Bellarine Peninsula which is great for short or long visits.

Will this be your first visit to Geelong?


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