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The Brilliant Bellarine Peninsula

  • September 13, 2018
  • By 50 Shades
  • 19 Comments
The Brilliant Bellarine Peninsula

With place names like Queenscliff, Ocean Grove, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads and once known as the playground for Melbourne’s elite, the brilliant Bellarine Peninsula has always been on my wish list. Having grown up in inland Victoria, nowhere near the seaside, I yearned to holiday at one of these seaside resorts. Alas I never got to go.

I remember my mum telling me that she frequently holidayed at these seaside spots on The Bellarine when she was a young girl. I even saw old black and white photos of her smiling with her long hair flowing in the wind sitting atop an old Ford sedan at Barwon Heads looking as if she had not a care in the world. This image was etched in my mind and when I finally got to see Barwon Heads I thought of my young carefree mother.

The Brilliant Bellarine Peninsula

Queenscliff

We drove to the Bellarine Peninsula via the Geelong waterfront and glimpsed Victoria’s largest regional city with its beautifully landscaped gardens and parks lining the foreshores. Amongst the many things to do in Geelong, take a stroll along the iconic Eastern Beach Promenade and stop for lunch at one of the many impressive cafes and restaurants along the way. Or experience something that’s distinctively Geelong, check the Baywalk Bollard Trail which features a hundred or more characters that have shaped Geelong’s history – portrayed by Artist Jan Mitchell, in a quirky and whimsical way.

The Brilliant Bellarine Peninsula

The waterfront in Geelong

Queenscliff

Our first stop was the charming old 19th century seaside holiday destination of Queenscliff. It is like a blast from the past with its collection of stately and historical buildings, such as the Queenscliff Guest House and The Esplanade Hotel.

Queenscliff

It was once a strategic defence base with the Queenscliff Fort and it’s signature black lighthouse overlooking the harbour. For history buffs the Queenscliff Historical Museum and the Maritime Museum are a must see.

Queenscliff Fort

Queenscliff Fort

The revamped harbour area is fringed by lovely parklands and can be viewed from the 42 metre high tower, giving 360 degree views. Queenscliff is also the departure point for the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry which takes you across Port Phillip Bay to the Mornington Peninsula. Well worth the trip if you have time to spare.

Point Lonsdale

Overlooking ‘The Rip’ where Port Phillip Bay meets Bass Strait is the hamlet of Point Lonsdale where there are two beautiful beaches separated at the point with a lighthouse. The front beach is tucked behind the point where it is very safe for swimming and particularly good for small children. The ocean beaches on the other side of the point are great for surfing with a large stretch of sandy beach and around the lighthouse shallow rock pools that are there for exploring.

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale has a delightful selection of cafes and restaurants, a few shops and a great old timber weatherboard guesthouse that takes you back in time when seaside holidaying was ‘the thing’ to do during our long hot Summers.

Ocean Grove

Located between Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads is Ocean Grove where the beach stretches for 10 Kilometres. It’s a beach that would please everyone, from beginner surfers and boogie boarders to the seasoned professionals. Anyone can catch a wave here with decent swells at times.

Ocean Grove

Ocean Grove

The main street, known as The Terrace, is lined with Norfolk Pines that adds to its coastal charm. It has a bustling retail precinct with quite a few surf shops and a variety of possibilities when it comes to dining from fish and chips shops to al fresco restaurants.

If you are after an encounter with nature, you can explore Ocean Grove Nature Reserve that covers 140 hectares and is home to more than 130 bird species and other fauna, including wallabies and koalas.

Barwon Heads

Located on the mouth of the Barwon River, Barwon Heads is as pretty and picturesque as any coastal spot you’ll find. At the top of the town, the bluff offers magical views back to Ocean Grove and Point Lonsdale.

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Bridge over Barwon River

There are moored fishing boats and gorgeous glassy waters on the river that is popular for stand up paddle boarders and kayakers. The Thirteen Beach Golf Links and the Barwon Heads Golf Club are both located within a few kilometres of town and offers a bit of variety for the golf enthusiast. The iconic bar/restaurant called At The Heads on the Barwon River has fabulous views and is the ideal hang out for a drink or as a function venue.

At The Heads, Barwon Heads

At The Heads, Barwon Heads

People love to sip and shop down Hitchcock Avenue, the main street of Barwon Heads, where there is an eclectic mix of retail, including surf gear, boutique clothing and homewares. I found it to be a vibrant town, home to an artistic community, a laid-back atmosphere, and restaurants that rival the quality of Melbourne’s best. It also boasts a great old pub that has views to die for.

Barwon Heads Cafe

Barwon Heads Cafe

The Bellarine Taste Trail

Whilst visiting The Bellarine do yourself a favour, (or should I say flavour!) and indulge yourself in The Bellarine Taste Trail. There are local wines, boutique breweries, farmgate produce and fresh seafood. You can sample a huge range of delectable produce, meet local producers – including winemakers, goat breeders, berry growers, beer brewers, fruit fanciers and seafood lords.

The Brilliant Bellarine Peninsula

A vineyard on the Bellarine Peninsula

There are half or full-day tours on offer which take the hard work out of planning an itinerary.  Otherwise plan your own by downloading a map from The Bellarine Taste Trail or pick one up at the Visitor Information Centre. Sounds like a great epicurean encounter not to be missed!

Where To Stay On The Bellarine

There is a veritable smorgasbord of places to stay on the Bellarine Peninsula. We stayed in our caravan at the Ocean Grove Caravan Park, but if you prefer hotel accommodation then there is a wide range available to suit all budgets. Search for the best deals on Bellarine Accommodation HERE

I was so rewarded by my short stay on the Bellarine Peninsula and I only wish that I had discovered this little corner of paradise a lot earlier.

Have you visited any of these seaside locations on The Bellarine?

This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

Lyndall from SEIZE THE DAY PROJECT
Deb from DEBBISHDOTCOM
Min from WRITE OF THE MIDDLE.
Leanne from DEEP FRIED FRUIT
Jo from JOANNE TRACEY
and of course me, Kathy from 50 SHADES OF AGE


 

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By 50 Shades, September 13, 2018 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 19

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

19 Comments
  • Pinky Poinker
    March 21, 2014

    Love that pic with the Norfolk pines. There is so much of our country I haven’t seen and you are whetting my appetite for travel Kathy!

  • kathymarris
    March 21, 2014

    I know, I know! It is all so beautiful. Wait until you see the Great Ocean Road – it was stunning!

  • Rae Hilhorst
    March 21, 2014

    Barwon Heads and the Bellarine Taste Trail I’m up for that. You’ll need to book a Margaret River Wine tour with a small tour bus, not one of those big ones. xxx

    • Kathy
      March 21, 2014

      Yes the Taste Trail is a big attraction, however I don’t know whether it would compare to the one you have in your backyard. I thought Margaret River was amazing when I was there 7 years ago.

  • Johanna
    March 21, 2014

    Another interesting place you’ve introduced me too Kathy! The taste trail looks like something we’d love to get stuck into ;) Keep them coming :)

    • Kathy
      March 21, 2014

      Mmmm! Taste Trails do appeal don’t they? Margaret River has one of the best from what I have experienced. I can’t wait to get there!

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    September 13, 2018

    Absolutely stunning, Kathy and once again your have captured the landscape perfectly with your images. We have so much to see in Australia, perhaps I need to start planning that trip! I’ve done the Mornington Peninsular and Phillip Island and we drove the Great Ocean Road but that was about 20 years ago now so perhaps another visit is in order. Have a fabulous week and hope you are settling into your new home. #Lovin’Life

    • Kathy
      September 13, 2018

      The Bellarine is right at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road and we were so glad that we took the time to visit this beautiful region. You’re right – there is so much to see in Australia. #TeamLovinLife

  • Natalie
    September 13, 2018

    Beautiful landscape and photos. It’s great that you’ve got to visit a place that you’ve always wanted to go see.

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    September 13, 2018

    Some absolutely gorgeous scenery there. Queenscliff looks divine! #teamlovinlife

    • Kathy
      September 13, 2018

      Queenscliff was my favourite place on The Bellarine. I loved the Art Deco style of the buildings and the old fort.

  • Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    September 13, 2018

    These look like some gorgeous places Kathy! I have to admit i had never heard of ‘The Bellarine’. I do know of Geelong though. Interestingly, we are heading to Melbourne in November, hiring a car and doing The Great Ocean Road. We might get to check out some of these places! :-) #TeamLovinLife

  • Joanne Tracey
    September 13, 2018

    I want to go…NOW!!!!!!!!! Seriously though, we’ve only been through once & I always said I wanted to have a much better look around.

    • Kathy
      September 13, 2018

      It really is a remarkable region with gorgeous seaside towns. I could easily go back here.

  • Patrick Weseman
    September 14, 2018

    Wow, such beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing it with was. Very nice. #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      September 21, 2018

      The Bellarine Peninsula is a wonderful seaside travel destination. There is so much beauty here. #TeamLovinLife

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