The Hobart

A Short Geelong Getaway

by Stephanie Williams
A Short Geelong Getaway

Since the Spirit of Tasmania terminal moved from Melbourne to Geelong late last year, a visit to Geelong has been on the radar.

During the school holidays, while on a visit to Melbourne, we decided to spend a few extra days exploring Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. Geelong is a harbour city set on Corio Bay, an inlet of sorts from Port Philip Bay. According to ABS numbers, Geelong’s population sits at around 290,000 (whereas Hobart, for comparison, is around 250,000). It has a similar feel – vibrant waterfront, coastal vibes, period architecture and while we were there….lots of rain. We wore warm jumpers for most of our early February trip, which we were a little unprepared for, but being good Tasmanians, we had packed for all seasons, always!

With such a pretty waterfront, we booked into R Hotel (10 Bellarine Street, Geelong), a newish apartment hotel a street or so back from the bay and on the edge of the CBD. Our two bed apartment was perfect for what we needed – kitchenette, laundry and comfortable beds, all with a nice balcony view looking out to Eastern Beach.

A train for all ages

The rain definitely put a dampener on taking in the city on foot, but this is a great city to explore in that way. The Geelong Gallery, the National Wool Museum, which is housed in a restored 1872 bluestone wool store, the Botanic Gardens, and Little Malop Street with boutiques and restaurants were on our hit list.

Heading out of town, the surf coast was pulling us in. Even with the rain, we loved stopping in at the beaches, watching the skilled surfers negotiating the waves, and just enjoying the expansive coastline with golden cliffs and grey ocean swell. It would have been criminal to be in these parts without taking a look at Bell’s Beach, home of the world famous Rip Curl Pro. It’s the longest running event in competitive surfing, and an important stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour. If you win, you get to ring the Bells Beach bell…the saying goes, ‘you have to win it to ring it!’” Nearby the Jan Juc surf club was an epic spot to dry off and take in yet more surfing action.

Barwon Heads (home to Australian cyclist and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans for the past 20 years) is a pretty, blink and you’ll miss it, town full of homeware and clothing boutiques and cafes. Had I not been there with children, I could’ve spent a decent few hours combing through the stores. But we were on a mission to get to Ket Baker (377 Grubb Road, Wallington) a backyard sourdough bakery with a cult following. Started by Miek Paulus, a Belgian born, French trained baker and chocolatier, the bakery is a timber hut on her property. Each delicious croissant takes five days to make – “Each one takes on the natural elements of our shed kitchen – our sourdough culture, our weather, our moods,” according to Miek. There was a steady stream of shiny SUVs and hire cars heading out on weekend trips the day we were there, all in on this delicious secret.

Dinner at Little Creatures

On our final morning the sun finally came out and it was time to properly explore the waterfront. After breakfast at Pavillion, the beautifully restored 1927 building which I’d say has the best location on the waterfront, the water beckoned for a dip. Little kids will love the paddling pool, while just behind that are the ocean baths. The swimming enclosure has been around since 1939, when it was built as a shark-proof enclosure following a shark attack in which a woman lost both her arms. It was the last stage in the development of the waterfront, leaving a livable, useful waterfront space for the people of Geelong. The toy train was the perfect way for us to cover more waterfront ground – covering a couple of kilometres, ambling past the famous Baywalk Bollards (huge timber bollards painted to represent different people), the Carousel and yacht club. The friendly driver even let our youngest pop up the front once we’d stopped, to sit in the driver seat and ring the bell – a definite highlight for a four year old!

Ket Baker

The dining options abound. While we should’ve booked ahead to secure some of the hotter seats in town, ‘eat streets’ such at Pakington Street and Little Malop Street had us covered. Little Creatures Brewery is a big part of Geelong so that was a must, and perfect for an easy dinner. On different days of the week you can also visit the home of Furphy Beer and White Rabbit Brewery, each with their own dining and bar areas within the same complex.

Watching the Spirit of Tasmania come and go across Corio Bay was out of place at first, but soon it felt normal. The next trip we take we now know what to expect in the Victorian port, with much more now on our list to explore next time. The writer’s accommodation was supported by Tourism Greater Geelong & The Bellarine.

Pastry haven

Love this

Cold Water Wake Up Call
It seems everywhere I turn someone is talking about or participating in cold water swimming right now.
A Short Geelong Getaway
Since the Spirit of Tasmania terminal moved from Melbourne to Geelong late last year, a visit to Geelong has been on the radar.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
May 2024

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!