These are the local quirks you discover when you relocate to the great regional city.
While a lot of people make the move to Melbourne for that big city life, in my humble opinion, Geelong’s lifestyle is hard to beat. With quality living, wide-ranging recreational choices, a strong and growing economy and a cosmopolitan, vibrant community, there is real reason to love Geelong.
At first, it can take some time to adjust to life in the largest regional city in Victoria, especially if you’re coming from somewhere a lot smaller like myself. But once you’ve been in Geelong for a while, you’ll be all over the quirks and little Geelongisms, and you’ll be referring to yourself as a local before you know it.
Here’s a few that spring to mind:
1. Geelong is affectionately known as G-town.
2. Geelong is a town, not a city. When venturing into the CDB you are going to ‘town’. If you say I am going to the ‘city’ people will mistakenly think you are going to Melbourne.
3. You have to get to know your pub nicknames ; ‘The Grovey’ is the The Grovedale hotel, ‘The BC’ is the Barwon Club, ‘Lordy’s’ is Lord of the Isles, ‘The Dog’ is the Barking Dog, ‘The Commo’ is the Commun na Feinne , ‘The Yardz’ is the Saleyards Hotel – basically, just shorten the main word in any pub name and/or slap a Z or an O on the end, and you’ll fit in just fine.
4. Geelong born and bred love complaining about Geelong… and us newcomers just never understand why.
5. The prime first date location is Eastern Beach. Within your first year, you’ll have either taken your bae or be taken down to park at Eastern Beach for a ‘romantic’ first date, complete with ice cream and a ride on the Ferris wheel.
6. Geelong invented the Furphy. Well a massive multinational company called ‘Lion Nathan’ did, but they did it in Geelong at Little Creatures.. We think, maybe.. we are not sure. But the old water tank on the back of a truck was called a Furphy and the beer was named after that truck and it was from Geelong. Actually, maybe the truck was from Ballarat… either way, Geelong have claimed it. Don’t fight it.
7. Locals consider the Geelong traffic to be pretty horrible – and only getting worse. Definitely true if you’re coming from a small country town that didn’t even have traffic lights (guilty), but for those coming from Melbourne, Geelong’s worst traffic would be akin to Melbourne’s best day ever.
8. When there is a Cats game on, you will notice their supporters walking on the way to games don’t obey pedestrian road rules. So basically, look out! They tend to just sprawl dangerously out across the main roads and thoroughfares, and will expect you – the car – to stop for them even if in direct defiance of usual road rules. Trust us, you learn this one pretty quickly.
9. There are two malls and they are Westfield (aka Bay City) and Market Square. Half the time you will see shops and you will be spending money, but you will never really know which one you are in!
9.1 Don’t ask why it’s called a mall. A road runs through it, it’s called Lt Malop St Central; the fountain and playground have gone, but still it’s a mall.
10. The Geelong Cup is Melbourne Cup’s less fancy, slightly drunker sister. It’s also a day-off in G-town.
11. When the Cats are playing – at home or away – the shopping centres are a ghost town, making it the perfect time to get some retail therapy in!
12. The Argyle – now Murphys – will always be the Arglye.
13. We don’t lineup anywhere unless it’s at Lambys (pre-COVID). You’re Geelong-born mates did it, their mums did, and their nan probably did it and it was probably a Sunday night. Oh, how we miss that low-ceiling-ed, sticky-carpeted nightclub.
14. When you’re drunk at 4am, Kardinia Cafe (better known as K- Caf) is your best friend for something greasy to eat. The chips and gravy go down a treat.
15. Pakington Street is super trendy, so if you want to be seen sipping a juice, eating a pear infused, chia seed and guava, almond, berry, kale, yoghurt rice ball… Pako is where you head.
16. Darryn Lyons’ is a divided figure. As is his floating Christmas tree. You’ll learn this very, very quickly if you ever mention his name in a group.
17. You can get free demos of someone’s sub woofers from the Macca’s car park, even if you’re half a block away. Super generous, we know.
18. If you work or go to uni in the CBD, don’t drive. Unless you’re happy to walk roughly 15-20 minutes into town from one of the free parking spaces at the likes of Eastern Park.
19. One does not go to Beavs Bar on a Wednesday night without partaking in karaoke. This is also THE place to go for a boogie when you still want to be home by 1am.
20. If you need to go to Melbourne airport, the Gull Bus is not so bad. Certainly better than the V/Line.
21. When it comes to the aforementioned footy, the Geelong Cats are big business in town, but that doesn’t mean you have to change your team. Just be prepared for hefty arguments.
22. Monday night is not time to go to a restaurant. Pre-COVID, most Geelong restaurants would take Monday off so you’ll often be wandering down Little Malop Street with a hungry tummy and end up eating some form of drive-thru takeout.
23. It’s ‘Parmi’ not ‘Parma’. People get pretty fiery about this one.
24. If the Cats are ever in an AFL Grand Final, leave town. I haven’t had the joy of experiencing the reason why, but I’ve been told enough horror stories to believe it.
25. If you’re one of those people who can’t say no to others – even when you should – avoid the the Moorabool St bus stop.
26. You will never know whether or not the Speaky’s Homeless Guy was a secret millionaire. If you haven’t heard of him, in due time you will.
27. VN Rolls is the Vietnamese bakery that’s worth going out of your way for to get your hands on the best bahn mi in town.
28. The first commercial refrigerator was designed in Geelong by newspaper editor James Harrison in 1851. Someone will tell you.
29. In 1999, Cat’s star onballer Garry Hocking changed his name by deed poll to “Whiskas” to help the club out of strife. We don’t talk about this, but you need to know not to talk about this.
30. Owning (or having previously owned) a pair of Ghanda trackies is a rite of passage for any local. Go snag yourself a pair.
31. The greatest spot for a hangover cure is now gone and nothing can ever replace it. Raj’s was the go-to for massive, greasy breakfasts that you could pay for with what you dug out of the couch cushions. There was even free juice. The people are still grieving.
For more fun content, check out our piece on 15 of Geelong’s most iconic places gone but not forgotten.