5 Things to do in Geelong – The Perfect Day Trip from Melbourne

best things to do in geelong

The best things to do in Geelong, whether you’re visiting as a day trip from Melbourne or as a stop on the Great Ocean Road. 

Geelong may seem like just another stop on a Great Ocean Road tour, but I found it to be an endearing seaside town. While I enjoyed many day trips from Melbourne, Geelong was one of my favorites. It makes for the perfect day trip from Melbourne and there are enough things to do in Geelong to keep you busy for a day or two.

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 again someday soon.

Enjoy one of the many Melbourne day trips - Geelong

Start your Geelong day trip by leaving Melbourne, for a mere $15 (roundtrip), hop on the V-Line train and enjoy a beautiful hour-long ride into North Geelong station.

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Related: How to Get a Working Holiday Visa in Australia

5 Best Things to do in Geelong

Coffee & Brunch at the Pickers Union Cafe

The first stop on Geelong itinerary should be for 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, handmade furniture, and an eclectic vibe. This is a great cafe to add to your list of Geelong day trip ideas.

Try their popular “smashed avo” (literally toast with smashed avocado and multi-grains 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 my day trip to Geelong 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.

Great ocean road tour - things to do in geelong

Melbourne day trips - exploring Geelong

Stroll Along the Waterfront

Depending on how active you want to be on your Great Ocean Road day tour, you may end up wanting to take the train or bus into the main part of Geelong, but I love walking with great views.

Walking the waterfront from the markets to the pier was one of the 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.

Day trip to Geelong - explore the Great Ocean road

Geelong day trip - Great Ocean Road

It’s a great place to have a walkabout, that is, just think about life, or at least appreciate it. I recommend you add this beautiful walk to your Great Ocean Road itinerary.

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. They’re all crafted uniquely and have a lot of 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 on my day trip from Melbourne, after just walking for an hour along the cold waterfront.

Geelong day trip ideas - Great Ocean road trip

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 was perfect to walk out on and experience the view from multiple angles.

And after sunset, there are plenty of places to grab dinner and a drink if you’re looking to spend some time in Geelong at night, including Alma, Sober Ramen, and 18th Amendment Bar.

Related: Postcard from the Banks of Geelong

Great ocean road tour - Geelong

Great ocean road itinerary - Geelong

I wasn’t sure if taking a day trip from Melbourne 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.

Where to Stay in Geelong

BUDGET

Riverglen Holiday Park

Riverglen Holiday Park is a great budget friendly place to stay in Geelong. Located amongst the gums trees of the Barwon River, Riverglen is just minutes away from Geelong attractions such as Kardinia Park, Simonds Stadium Geelong, and Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong.

The park offers guests access to two swimming pools and BBQ areas. Each cottage includes air-conditioning, a private bathroom, TV, and kitchenette.

MID-RANGE

Novotel Geelong

The Novotel Geelong hotel offers guests modern designed rooms and stunning views of the Geelong waterfront. Located just meters away from Eastern Beach, guests can choose to spend their time relaxing on the beach or enjoying the hotel’s heated indoor pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant and bar.

The hotel also features an outdoor dining area, buffet breakfast with freshly baked bread and barista coffee. This is a great place to chill after a long day of checking out the many things to do in Geelong.

LUXURY

RACV Torquay Resort

RACV Torquay Resort is located about a 30-minute drive from Geelong and is rated the 8th best luxury hotel in Australia. This paradise accommodation offers guests access to a golf course, tennis courts, indoor fitness center, pool and it’s only 1 km from the beach.

All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, air -conditioning, and selected rooms have ocean views. The resort has multiple on-site restaurants that serve delicious locally sourced products. RACV Torquay Resort is the perfect place to turn your day trip from Melbourne into an overnight holiday.

Guided Day Trips From Melbourne

Great Ocean Road Reverse Experience

Spend the day exploring attractions such as the 12 Apostles and Apollo Bay. On the Great Ocean Road Reverse Experience, you will enjoy stunning beach views, walk in the rainforest and much more.

2-Hour Surf Lesson on the Great Ocean Road

Enjoy a 2-hour surf lesson on the Great Ocean Road. This exciting experience is perfect for beginners as it is one of the safest surf locations in Victoria. The shallow water and easy waves will help you catch your first wave.

2-Day Great Ocean Road & Grampians Tour

This 2-day adventure leaves from Melbourne and takes you on an incredible journey showing you the scenery, nature, and wildlife of Victoria. On this tour, you will visit Great Otway National Park and Grampians National Park.

PRACTICAL INFO FOR AUSTRALIA

Find accommodationbook your rental car, or sign up for a local tour.

Book a vacation rental on AirBnB (and get $40 off your first booking).

Buy your Australia Travel Guide here.

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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.
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