Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia’s capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country’s other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi). A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, which boosted the population of the country. Nevertheless, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including legal and education services, mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites.
Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria and the second-most populous city in Australia and Oceania. The name “Melbourne” covers an urban agglomeration spanning 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), which comprises the broader metropolitan area, as well as being the common name for its city centre. The metropolis is located on the large natural bay of Port Phillip and expands into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon mountain ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of 5,000,000, approximately 19% of the national population, and its inhabitants are often referred to as ‘Melburnians’.
Melbourne’s events calendar is packed: music, film and design festivals, major exhibitions, sports events, theatre, and food and wine celebrations.
Find out more about Melbourne’s major events here: https://www.visitvictoria.com/events/major-events
A very useful guide to travel in Victoria be found at: https://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/melbourne/travel-information
Geelong is a port city located on Corio Bay and the Barwon River, 75 kilometres (47 mi) south-west of melbourne. It is the second largest Victorian city, with an estimated urban population of 195,000.
Geelong is also known as the ‘Gateway City’ due to its central location to surrounding Victorian regional centres like Ballarat in the north west, Torquay, Great Ocean Road and Warrnambool in the southwest, Hamilton, Colac and Winchelsea to the west, and the state capital of Melbourne in the north east.
Geelong stands as an emerging health, education and advanced manufacturing hub. The city’s economy is shifting quickly and despite experiencing the drawbacks of losing much of its heavy manufacturing, it is seeing much growth in other sectors, positioning itself as one of the leading non-capital Australian cities. Geelong has a vibrant waterfront on which the Royal Geelong Yacht Club is located. During summer the whole waterfront is alive with locals and visitors enjoying the sophisticated cafes, bars and hotel accommodation, the extensive public promenade and beaches and the piers and jetties. Geelong’s famous Bollards are located along the waterfront. See: https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/bollards/article/item/8d250a1f01e3425.aspx
One block back from the waterfront lies the main central business district of Geelong. Here the major shopping centres provide all manner of goods and services. These are joined by cinemas, speciality shops, public buildings and Deakin University.
The main train service from Melbourne passes through Geelong station at the western edge of Geelong’s CBD, about a twenty minute walk from the yacht club.
The Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC), was founded in 1859 and received royal patronage in 1924. It is the venue for the annual Festival of Sails held each January long weekend which is the largest sailing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere. It also hosts a biennial Wooden Boat Festival.
Whilst participating in the regatta, Laser sailors will have honorary membership of the club and will therefore have access to the extensive grounds, with views over Corio bay, members bar, dining facilities, changing facilities and the off-the-beach clubhouse.
Wineries/Breweries – Local Favourites
Bellarine / Travel east from Geelong
- Leura Park Estate Winery
- 1400 Port Arlington Road, Curlewis, Vic 3222
- Jack Rabbit: Winery/Restaurant/Cafe
- 85 McAdams Ln, Bellarine VIC 3221
- Has a café and restaurant, great spot, right next to Terindah Estate
- Scotchmans Hill: Winery
- 190 Scotchmans Rd, Drysdale VIC 3222
- Terindah Estate: Winery/Restaurant
- Fantastic food, great outlook over the bay, a locals favourite
- Basils Farm: Winery/Picknick
- Picknicks and share platters, great spot just outside of historical Queenscliff
- Flying Brick Cider House
- Cider and beer, music and share food
- The Whiskery
- Whiskey, Gin and gourmet pizzas
Geelong – Inner/outskirts
- Provenance Wines
- On the outskirts of Geelong, park at the Fyansford Hotel a have a nice short walk along the river and head up to Provenance
- Little Creatures Brewery
- On the edge of Geelong, offers brewery tours or multiple beer halls and dining options.
West/South West of Geelong
- Mt Duneed Estate : Restaurant
- Nice outlook and great food
The Range @ Curlewis
- 1201 Portarlington Rd, Curlewis VIC 3222
- Driving range, mini golf course, bistro
- Great for kids: waterslides, carousel’s, mini golf, etc
- Historical/Gold rush educational and tourist museum town, about 1 hours drive away
- Hike the summit on well-made paths or do the walk around the base which is a bit more challenging. Great views.
- Otway Fly and zip lining through the trees
- Lots of hiking – national park
Coastal towns to explore
- Barwon Heads
- Torquay: Lots of surf shops, Bells Beach is just outside of Torquay
Great Ocean Road
- One of the worlds great scenic drives
- Begins just past Torquay and winds through coastal villages until you reach Apollo Bay / Cape Otway
Café’s and Restaurants
Pakington Street, Geelong West
- King of the Castle: Café: Great coffee
- Pizza Bar: What it says on the tin
- Donco: Very good Korean – must book in
- Zigfrid’s Restaurant or wine/cheese in the afternoon
- Face Plant: Vegan café
- Mr Umami’s: Asian fusion
- Little Malop Street
- Pedestrianised street in central Geelong
- Wide variety of restaurants, bars and cafes
- ALMA: Fantastic Restaurant
- Chef’s selection every time
- The Greek @ Customers House:
- Wah wah gee
- Asian fusion on the pier, food is good, view is excellent
- The Hot Chicken Project
- Busy, quick friend place to eat
- American style hot chicken and good beer
- Parkers Steak House
- A great steak and very nice setting