How to spend a day in Geelong

Geelong may seem like just another stop along the way to the Great Ocean Road, but I found it to be an endearing seaside town, a perfect escape from the big city for the day. Once the wool capital of Australia, Geelong has just the right amount of history, beauty, and small town charm to make me want to come back someday soon.

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If you’re coming from Melbourne, for a mere $15 (roundtrip), hop on the V-Line train and enjoy a beautiful hour-long ride into North Geelong station.

Coffee & brunch at the Pickers Union Cafe

First stop, two of my favorite things, coffee and food. Located next to an old wool mill, you’ll find the adorable Pickers Union Cafe with vintage and handmade furniture and an eclectic vibe. Try their popular “smashed avo” (literally toast with smashed avocado and multigrains on top) for a healthy start to the day. When you’re done with the expertly crafted coffee of your choice, head over to the Geelong Vintage Markets that are right next door.

Peruse the Geelong Vintage Markets

One of my favorite parts of the day, was looking into the Geelong Vintage Market stalls, not sure what quirky discovery I would make next. The old and classic jewelry was gorgeous (and cheap!), and I especially liked the book stalls that included a wide variety of genres and tastes.

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Stroll along the waterfront

Depending on how active you want to be, you may end up wanting to take the train or bus into the main part of Geelong, but as I’ve mentioned before, I love walking with great views. Walking the waterfront from the markets to the pier was one of my most beautiful experiences I’ve had thus far in Australia, especially since it was completely deserted along the path, and the off-and-on rain made everything glisten. It took me a little over an hour to walk from Rippleside to Limeburners point.

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It’s a great place to have a walkabout, that is, just think about life, or at least appreciate it. One of the cool things about the waterfront is the 104 bollards that line the pathway. Each one represents a different part of Geelong history, and they are a hilarious way to mark your walk. Each one is crafted uniquely and has so much character, it was fun to spot as many as I could and take pictures as I went.

Stay warm at the Geelong Gallery

I was originally planning on seeing the National Wool Museum (sounded random enough), but after walking in and realizing it cost money for entry, I thought the free Geelong Gallery was a better choice, and probably more interesting.

It was a great collection of art and although on the small side, I found it much more manageable to appreciate all the individual pieces as opposed to the sprawling National Gallery in Melbourne. Plus, it was a warm place to hang out, after just walking for an hour along the cold waterfront.

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Walk the pier at sunset

One of the most photogenic places I’ve found in Australia, the pier in Geelong at sunset. It was stunning when the pastel colors took over the sky, the bay filled with sailboats, and the Cunningham pier to walk out on and experience the view from multiple angles.

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I wasn’t sure if taking a day trip to Geelong would be worth it, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found in this overlooked gem by the bay. I would recommend a day trip here to anyone who needs a break from city life.

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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