Geelong – quick facts
• Population: approximately 210,000
• 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne
• Victoria’s second largest city
Geelong has all the benefits of a sizeable city, but with the relaxed atmosphere of coastal country. Facing north on Corio Bay, Geelong boats a glorious waterfront precinct, sophisticated dining options and all kinds of entertainment on tap. There is a lively calendar of events and the region is perhaps one of the Australian wine industry’s best kept secrets.
The name ‘Geelong’ is derived from ‘jillong’, the Aboriginal word for the bay, which means ‘a place of the sea bird over the white cliffs’. This waterfront city offers a diverse range of food, wine, cultural and recreational attractions and colonial history evident in the city’s 100 National Trust-listed buildings. Geelong is also the major gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and the world famous Great Ocean Road.
Geelong takes full advantage of its unique north-facing bay with fabulous waterfront eateries, landscaped gardens and walking paths set against the backdrop of Corio Bay. Stroll past the sculptured bollards dotted along the foreshore that chronicle characters from the city’s past and present, including dapper young ladies in neck-to-knee bathing costumes, 1930s lifesavers, traditional Aussie families, a Geelong footballer, jaunty sailors, fishermen and a town band.
Close by is Eastern Beach, which features an art deco-style pool, promenade complex and the restored pavilion that houses a pleasant restaurant, café and kiosk. Pakington Street, the wide tree-lined avenue linking the suburbs of Geelong West and Newtown, is also worth a visit and is only a few minutes from the city. There are many different restaurants and eateries to try as well as delicatessens, wine merchants, a park to relax in and a street ambience to experience.
Getting to Geelong
Getting to Geelong is easy! Located less than an hour from Melbourne, there are plenty of options for transportation to Geelong from the Melbourne CBD.
Geelong has its’ own airport at Avalon, which is just under half an hour away from the city centre. Avalon Airport services Jetstar and Tiger Airways flights to and from most major Australian cities. Hire cars and a shuttle service are also available from this point. Further information is available at www.avalonairportshuttle.com.au.
Alternatively, the Ring Road from Melbourne International Airport at Tullamarine makes the journey to Geelong a breeze.
Travelling to Geelong is an easy drive along the Princes Freeway, and should take no more than an hour from the Melbourne CBD.
Daily bus services arrive from interstate to Melbourne and connections can be made via rail or connecting shuttle services.
The Peninsula Searoad Ferry provides a car and passenger ferry service connecting the Mornington Peninsula to the Bellarine Peninsula. The service runs hourly from 7am to 7pm, every day and take about 40 (enjoyable) minutes. Geelong is a short 30 minute drive from the ferry disembarking point at Queenscliff. Ticket and pricing information is available at www.searoad.com.au.
Trains from interstate and capital cities arrive at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station allowing ongoing connections to Geelong. The trip from Melbourne takes around one hour. See www.vline.com.au for further information.
Local Information & Map
Local Area Information is available from www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au/
Geelong has a wide variety of accommodation and although the Waterfront and City is heavily booked during the Festival of Sails – early birds will find options close by. The place to start is www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au which provides a comprehensive search covering Geelong, all surrounding districts including the Great Ocean Road, our famous surf beaches like Torquay (20km), Barwon Heads (28km), Ocean Grove (26km) Point Lonsdale (30km) and bay side resorts like Portarlington (26km).
Book your accommodation for the Festival of Sails early, to ensure you don’t miss out.
Where do I park when visiting Geelong?
There is plenty of car parking available in Central Geelong, with more than 3500 on-street parking bays. Each precinct varies in costs and length, so please make sure you check the signs in each precinct.