Located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the coastal experiences in Geelong and The Bellarine are simply stunning. Geelong has a north-facing bay, rare in the southern hemisphere and the Bellarine has beaches perfect for water-based adventures from paddling and swimming in the gentle waters to surfing and boarding at the popular surf breaks. There are rock pools to ramble and shallows to snorkel.
World class beaches – surf, swim, paddle
Avid surfers head to popular surf spots such as 13th Beach or Raffs Beach in Barwon Heads, while beginner surfers can enjoy a surf lesson at Ocean Grove with Go Ride a Wave, Sea Earth Adventures or Great Ocean Road Surf Tours. Families can take advantage of the pristine sand and gentle waves at the Ocean Grove main beach. The mouth of the Barwon River, Barwon Heads is great for paddling and rock pooling is a favourite pastime at Point Lonsdale. Other great beachside spots are the sheltered and family friendly bay at Portarlington. Geelong has the Eastern Beach Reserve with sandy bay beach, sea bath pool, playground and the iconic bollards.
It’s all about the water
With a spectacular coastline that spans from Geelong to Barwon Heads and beyond, it’s no surprise there’s plenty of water-based activities. Swim with the dolphins and seals with See All Dolphins Swims or cruise between the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsula aboard Searoad Ferries vehicle and passenger ferry. You can now access Geelong and Portarlington direct from Melbourne as a foot passenger with Port Phillip Ferries. Great Ocean Road Surf Tours and Wards Stand Up Paddle Boarding will have you up in no time or snare a catch on a fishing charter from Queenscliff Harbour.
Best beach offerings
Nestled in between the Barwon River Estuary and the open ocean of Bass Strait, Barwon Heads is uniquely positioned to provide a range of beach options. The sandy areas of the river on either side of the bridges are favoured by families with young kids. Ocean Grove Main Beach is renowned as one of the safest family surf beaches in Victoria. Its sandy shoreline stretches for two stunning kilometres and the rolling waves are perfect for catching a wave or diving under safely. Point Lonsdale front beach is great for wandering, wading and rock pool rambling.
Portarlington offers calm waters and a vast stretch of golden sand, gentle lapping waves and shelter. Eastern Beach Reserve is an iconic, charmingly cosmopolitan waterfront area in the heart of Geelong. Built in the 1930s, the reserve is home to an enclosed sea bath, boardwalk, diving towers, children’s pool, floating islands, café, changeroom, terraced lawns and playground. Ideal for a family outing, it has safe swimming areas (patrolled by lifeguards during summer), barbeque facilities, picnic tables, public toilets and lots of parking. The heritage listed pavilion has just been reopened as The Beach House café.