A popular holiday spot for Victorian locals, the Bellarine Peninsula isn’t well known among international travellers.
We’re lucky enough to live on the Bellarine’s doorstep and we’ve spent many hours exploring the region.
It’s perfect for a weekend getaway whether you prefer to camp or stay in one of the fab Bellarine Peninsula accommodation options.
This stunning destination is dotted with historical seaside towns, and tiny fishing villages, and everywhere you go, you’re treated to breathtaking ocean views.
Each town has its own individual character with historic buildings, pristine beaches, breweries, wineries, gourmet food, markets, as well as festivals and events.
Read on to discover all the best Bellarine Peninsula things to do.
#1 Soak up the sun, sea, and surf at Bellarine Peninsula beaches
From world-class surf beaches to calm sheltered bays the Bellarine Peninsula has a host of beautiful beaches for you to enjoy.
On the southern side of the peninsula, you’ll find the impressive Ocean Grove surf beach.
A favourite with local surfers, its relatively small waves makes it ideal for anyone wanting to learn how to surf.
The 2-kilometre-long beach has a wide expanse of soft sand that’s perfect for beach games, building sand castles, and just chilling out.
The Dunes restaurant and kiosk are located on the foreshore, as well as a large car park, an amenities block, and outdoor showers.
Ocean Grove beach is patrolled during the summer months. Please swim between the flags.
#2 Visit boutique Bellarine Peninsula wineries
There is an abundance of boutique wineries scattered throughout the Bellarine Peninsula.
Each one is different, but they are all family owned and operated, and most of the time the person pouring your glass is the same person who made the wine.
For a winery that has it all, great wine, good food, and gorgeous views then you can’t go past Jack Rabbit Winery.
Offering panoramic views across the bay, this stunning winery produces some of the best wines in the region.
The cafe and cellar door open onto a deck and lawn area where you can enjoy a glass of wine and something tasty to eat while soaking in the views.
If you prefer something more upscale then the award-winning Jack Rabbit restaurant offers fine dining with views to match.
#3 Tour The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse
Built-in 1902 to help ships navigate a treacherous stretch of water known as The Rip, Point Lonsdale Lighthouse is an iconic landmark on the Bellarine Peninsula and is considered to be the most important ‘light’ on the Victorian coastline.
It is one of the few lighthouses left, and possibly the last in Australia, that is still staffed 24 hours a day.
Guided tours are available on a Sunday morning where you can learn about the history of the area and the workings of the lighthouse.
From the top, you can see over to Sorrento and look down onto the beach and rock pools. Sometimes you can even see seals playing in the waves.
If a tour isn’t an option the lighthouse surrounds will keep you busy.
You can watch the ships navigate the heads, stroll along the beach and explore the rock pools, or take a walk out onto the pier. There are also several walking tracks along the cliff tops.
#4 Chill out at Flying Brick Cider House
Located just outside of Geelong at the start of the Bellarine Peninsula, the Flying Brick Cider House creates true Australian craft cider.
The company’s unusual name comes from the Black Cockatoo’s local nickname ‘Flying Brick’. On a side note, it’s also said that you’ll have good luck if a flock of Black Cockatoos flies over your head. (Just don’t look up!)
The cider house has a cool, chilled vibe, and there’s a large expanse of lush lawn for relaxing with a tasting paddle.
Their range comprises 3 core ciders, Original, Draught, and Pear, as well as boutique specialty batches made from fresh seasonal fruit.
The Flying Brick also has a cellar door for Yes Said The Seal wine tastings. So if cider isn’t your thing you’ll still be taken care of.
They’re open for lunch 7 days a week and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights when local artists play a range of contemporary pop classics.
#5 Queenscliff Harbour
Once a quaint 19th-century fishing and pleasure boat harbour, Queenscliff Harbour has been transformed into a modern 21st-century marina filled with yachts, power boats, and mind-blowing luxury watercraft.
There’s a boardwalk you can stroll along while admiring the boats, as well as cafes, restaurants, fashion boutiques, gift shops, and a day spa.
Overlooking the whole area is the 42-metre-high Queenscliff Observation Tower.
You can either climb the stairs or take the lift to the top for 360-degree views of Queenscliff, Port Phillip, The Rip, Swan Bay, and the harbour.
#6 Kick up your heels at Portarlington Celtic Festival
Each long weekend in June the tiny hamlet of Portarlington becomes a hive of activity when the National Celtic Festival comes to town.
The 4-day event is thought to be Australia’s largest Celtic celebration with thousands of festival goers arriving from all over the country to join in the fun.
There are concerts, workshops, comedy acts, singing sessions, medieval sports, and dancing held in warm and cosy venues throughout the town.
Although this is a ticketed event, it’s free to wander around the outdoor market and enjoy the street performers and live entertainment on stage.
There are also plenty of food trucks offering all kinds of yummy delights.
#7 Stock up at Annie’s Provedore
Tucked away in hip Barwon Heads Annie’s Provedore and Produce Store is a foodie haven for locals and holidaymakers alike.
The store is filled to overflowing with local and internationally sourced produce, farmhouse cheeses, freshly baked bread, jams, chutneys, and homemade cookies.
Annie’s also serves breakfast and lunch at large communal tables where you can relax with a newspaper and a chilli egg croissant, baked egg shakshuka, a breakfast board, or a classic crushed avo on toast.
Be sure to fill up your shopping basket before heading out for the day.
#8 Try local craft beer at Queenscliff Brewhouse
Located just a hop, skip, and jump from the foreshore and pier, the Queenscliff Brewhouse & Distillery is a brewhouse, distillery, hotel, whisky bar, bistro, and regional produce cellar door all rolled into one.
It’s a one-stop food and beverage destination with over 250 craft beers and ciders, over 420 spirits, and a whopping 400 regional wines as well as a family-friendly bistro that has a cosy open fireplace.
There’s an onsite microbrewery and gin distillery offering a range of packages from ‘information and tasting’ to ‘working with a brewer’ experiences. You can even brew and blend your own.
Spend a relaxing afternoon in the beer garden with a tasting flight or on the terraces with views of the bay.
#9 Gorge on mussels at Portarlington Mussel Festival
The Portarlington Mussel Festival started life in 2007 as a street festival to help promote the local mussel industry.
It’s now one of the most popular events on the Bellarine Peninsula with over 30,000 festival-goers slurping down ten tonnes of succulent mussels.
Held on the second Saturday in January every year, it’s a great day out even if you’re not a fan of mussels.
There’s live music, cooking demonstrations, kids’ activities, and over 200 stalls to browse through.
#10 Enjoy the views at Ocean Grove Lookout
Whether you visit early in the morning or come to watch the sunset, the Ocean Grove Lookout is a great spot at any time of day.
From this vantage point, you can see the whole coastline between Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads stretched out before you.
Information signs dotted around the area share interesting facts about the region, including its history, the flora and fauna, and significant people from its past.
You can visit for just a few minutes or if you’d like to spend a bit longer, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a picnic or some fish and chips.
If you’re travelling with children there’s also a good playground where they can burn off some energy while you relax and soak up the views.
Where to stay in Bellarine Peninsula?
Nightcap at Gateway Hotel – Just a 5-minute drive from the Geelong waterfront, Nightcap at Gateway Hotel offers an onsite bar and buffet restaurant. All air-conditioned guest rooms feature a flat-screen TV and a fridge.
Athelstane House – Situated in Queenscliff, 31 km from South Geelong Station, Athelstane House features accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking, a garden and a terrace.
Ti-Tree Village – Ti-Tree Village is situated in the heart of Ocean Grove, approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes drive from Melbourne CBD (Central Business District.
Bellarine Peninsula – Summary
For those looking to get off the main tourist trail, the Bellarine Peninsula has a lot to offer.
From beaches to wineries, festivals, foodie haunts, and eye-popping scenery this delightful peninsula has plenty of attractions to keep you entertained.
Whatever you choose to do you’re bound to have a wonderful time on the Bellarine Peninsula.
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