VictoriaThe Bellarine PeninsulaWander historic streetscapes, tee off at spectacular golf courses and indulge in some of Victoria’s freshest seafood.
The Bellarine is complete with craft breweries, local wineries, farm gates and provedores. It’s the perfect place to kick back, surf, paddle and swim at bay and ocean beaches while experiencing local wildlife, up-close, in Port Phillip Bay.
Play a round of golf in Barwon Heads
Nestled at the mouth of the Barwon River on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula, the seaside hamlet of Barwon Heads is the ideal place to slow down. Soak up the coastal scenery all year round, rejuvenate in friendly cafes, and find a beach for every occasion, from renowned surf breaks to calm beaches and snorkelling grounds. Stay awhile and be greeted by quiet river beaches on your doorstep, the main shopping strip featuring quirky boutiques, cafes and produce stores, and a large hotel to accommodate locals and the summer influx of visitors. Studded with superbly sculpted, five-star courses, Barwon Heads is home to three of Australia's Top 50 public access courses, as voted by Ausgolf magazine. Choose from two renowned courses at Thirteenth Beach – the Creek Course, designed by six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo, or the Beach Course, designed by Tony Cashmore. Barwon Heads Golf Club with its National Trust and Heritage Victoria listed clubhouse is another favourite. The wide and picturesque river estuary is perfect for year-round water-based fun, including swimming and fishing. Enjoy safe swimming along the sandy river foreshore at the river mouth and lively surf action over the Bluff at Thirteenth Beach. Cross Victoria's longest wooden bridge (built 1927) to reach Ocean Grove, where you'll find an impressive sweep of beach. From the heads at Point Lonsdale, the unbroken stretch of sand reaches out to the mouth of the Barwon River many kilometres away and it is one Victoria's most popular ocean beaches for surfing and swimming. Barwon Heads is 95 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, or about 90 minutes' drive, on the Princes Highway and Barwon Heads Road.
Play and swim in Ocean Grove
Soak up some sun in Ocean Grove, a popular surf town surrounded by renowned wineries, pristine beaches and golf courses. Soak up the coastal atmosphere all year round, build a sandcastle with the kids, or use the town as a base to explore the countless natural and contemporary attractions across the region. Situated on the southern coast of the Bellarine Peninsula and fronting Bass Strait, life in Ocean Grove centres on the beautiful wide surf beach. Cool off with a spot of swimming or sign up for surfing and bodyboarding lessons so you can join the throngs of seasoned experts out on the waves. An unbroken stretch of sand reaches out to the mouth of the Barwon River, with the village of Barwon Heads lying opposite. The sandy shoreline is safe for swimming and a great location to bring the kids. The Geelong wine region dips into Ocean Grove, with Oakdene and Banks Road vineyards among those with welcoming cellar doors and restaurants serving up delicious meals to match the wines. Wander along coastal walking tracks that offer superb ocean views, or head into the flourishing nature reserve. Visit the vibrant shopping precinct and browse local art pieces and gourmet produce. At the end of the day, walk down to the beach to watch the sunset over Ocean Grove. Keep the kids occupied with a day on Adventure Park's rides and waterslides or enjoy a round of minigolf at A Maze 'n Games in nearby Wallington. Ocean Grove is just under 100 kilometres from Melbourne, or around an hour and 20 minutes by car along the West Gate and Princes freeways.
Discover Queenscliffe's Maritime Museum
Sea, sand and sail are the key to Queenscliff’s history. Visit Queenscliffe Maritime Museum to discover the treasures of its rich maritime heritage, shaped by its proximity to the entrance of Port Phillip and its notorious ‘rip’. From sea pilots to sailors, fishermen to boat builders, lightkeepers or ferry captains, the sea has created a world full of stories of boats and maritime industry. Highlighted is the lifeboat 'Queenscliffe' which operated for fifty years rescuing people and ships. Manned by the lightkeepers and volunteers, including many fishermen, this was the last of the lifeboat service which operated for 120 years. Shipwrecks are numerous in the area, so discover their stories and artefacts amongst the exhibitions. See the old diving equipment, and try the diving bell helmet for yourself. Lighthouses have been beacons along the coast, despite changing technologies. As well as an extensive display of equipment, visits can be booked for Point Lonsdale Light station on Sundays between 9:30 am until 1:00 pm for the general public. With Queenscliff’s unique couta boats, its brave fishermen and a maritime history stretching back into the early days of Victoria as a colony, there is much more to discover on a visit.
Take the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff
Make your way to the tip of the Bellarine Peninsula and uncover the best of old and new in this historic seaside village. Take in heritage streetscapes filled with elegant Victorian-era hotels, stately churches and fishermen's cottages and then walk on to the modern waterfront development, the perfect base for adventures in Port Phillip Bay. Reminders of Queenscliff's elegant past are everywhere you look - especially the huge military fortress guarding the entrance to Port Phillip - but there's more to Queenscliff than nineteenth-century history. Wander along Hesse Street and find art galleries, shops and great places to dine. Unwind with a quiet brew at a local cafe, suit up and enjoy fine regional cuisine or stock up on fresh produce at specialty shops and community markets. Alternatively, just grab a parcel of fish and chips and enjoy a seaside picnic under the giant pines. Queenscliff attracts visitors who come to enjoy the beach and the history, the buzzing arts and crafts scene and the sweeping golf greens. Check out local galleries, play a round on the island golf course, or rev it up on the Blues Train with some of the best blues artists in the country. Take your pick of countless opportunities for water-based fun, from swimming and sailing to water-skiing, fishing, or even swimming with dolphins and seals. The bay's southern reaches also offer some of Australia's best diving on reefs and shipwrecks, with abundant marine life to see. Celebrate the onset of summer at the Queenscliff Music Festival. Join musicians and music fans when they converge on Queenscliff for the annual festival, which boasts an eclectic mix of Australian artists and international guests. Ferries sail regularly between Sorrento and Queenscliff taking around 40 minutes to transport passengers and their cars from one side of Port Phillip Bay to the other. Queenscliff is 103 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, or about an hour-and-a-half by car on the Princess and Bellarine Highways.
Enjoy fresh seafood in Portarlington
Take a drive down from Geelong, past the surrounding wineries and olive groves, or make your way across the bay by boat to Portarlington, a historic seaside town and popular holiday location on the Bellarine Peninsula. Explore the local wineries, restaurants and producers scattered across the landscape and discover why the region is garnering a reputation as a foodie destination. Sample freshly caught seafood, sip on renowned cool-climate reds, and fill the boot with goodies from local provedores and farm gates stocked high with seasonal bounty. Discover the local history in Portarlington at buildings such as the National Trust flour mill, built-in 1857, and the Ol' Duke, built-in 1855. Admire the sweeping views from the gently sloping hills behind the town, taking in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne's skyline and the You Yangs. Freshen up with a swim at the bay beach, kick back on the beautiful foreshore, or treat yourself to a day out on the water. Anglers can bring their boat, join a charter or hire one by the hour and try their luck with the rod and reel. And landlubbers can always throw a line off the pier. Kiddies will love a ride on the Portarlington Miniature Railway – open the first and third Sunday of every month. Seafood fans won’t want to miss the Portarlington Mussel Festival, a fun day full of music, local wines, beer and, of course, plenty of mussels, while June brings the joy and merriment of the National Celtic Festival. Portarlington is just over 100 kilometres from Melbourne, or around one-and-a-half hours by car along the M1 and the Geelong-Portarlington Road.
Discover more in Victoria
- Arthurs Seat
- Barwon Heads
- Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges
- Falls Creek
- Great Ocean Road
- Great Otway National Park
- Halls Gap
- Main Ridge
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
- Mornington Peninsula
- Mount Buffalo National Park
- Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
- Ocean Grove
- Phillip Island
- Point Nepean National Park
- Red Hill
- Tarra Bulga National Park
- The Bellarine Peninsula
- The Goldfields
- The High Country
- Wilsons Promontory National Park
- Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges