Fill up the tank, here’s 15 day trip options close to Geelong
30.09.2020

Fill up the tank, here’s 15 day trip options close to Geelong

Lake Wendouree by Photographer Chippy Rivera

Make the most of the weekend.

As regional Victoria re-opens and we start our slow journey back to normality (with added masks and social distancing), many are looking for things to do outside the four walls of their home.

While we’re able to book accommodation, currently it’s only allowed to be with the people you live with, your intimate partner, or the household you have formed a bubble with… which isn’t super helpful if you just want to have time away with your closest mates.

So what better way to ease yourself back into a COVID-19 world than with a day trip?

Luckily Geelong has plenty of day trip options that might tickle your fancy – and they’re just an hour or so drive away. Just make sure to stick to current social distancing measures (maintain 1.5 metres from people at all times) and wear your mask when required to ensure you’re not spreading more than just your picnic blanket.

Hike You-Yangs Regional Park
Situated only 22km North of Geelong the 340-metre high granite peaks of the You Yangs prove themselves to be one of the hottest day trips just outside of Geelong.

With magnificent views and birdlife, you’ll find a diverse range of landscape and scenery. Towering with sparse native trees and eucalypts, you may even spot a koala and other wildlife along your voyage. As part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape, ensure to respect the deep connection of the Wadawurrung People and feel the culture of the traditional owners of the land.

Have a knack for bike-riding? No problem, take your mountain bike along and explore more than fifty kilometres of trails, perfect for beginners and experts. You can even reach the highest point and prepared to be amazed by the views of Melbourne and Geelong.

Hot tip: the hike is incredible at dawn or dusk so you can see the stunning golden sky over the entire bay.

Find out more info here. If you’re with the kids, we recommend also checking out this You Yangs Big Rock walk.

Explore the beauty of Hepburn Springs
About an hour drive from Geelong is the mesmerising Hepburn Springs, Australia’s largest conservation of mineral springs.

We recommend sussing out the Tipperary Walking Track, which runs from picturesque Lake Daylesford to the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, following Sailors Creek and Spring Creek through foothill forest for most of the way. The 16km track can be walked in five to six hours, is mostly level to gently undulating and is quite easy walking.

If you’re looking for a shorter walk, there is a track between Lake Daylesford and Bryces Flat on both sides of Sailors Creek allowing for loop walks of various lengths.

There’s even a pretty decent 18-hole golf course if that’s more your style – just watch for the resident wild kangaroos, and of course the Hepburn Springs Mineral Reserve, Australia’s first Mineral Reserve created in 1865 and houses the historic Bathhouse and Pavilion buildings. If you can get yourself a booking, the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa has just reopened to regional Victorians.

Chase Waterfalls in Lorne
We are very fortunate in regional Victoria to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state – all located an hour away. If you’re feeling like getting out of the house for a day and exploring the beauty that is the Great Ocean Road, there’s at least 10 waterfalls located in Lorne that will keep you both busy and mesmerised for an entire day. There’s Erskine Falls which plunges (or trickles, depending on recent rainfall levels) down a 30-metre drop into the Erskine River; Henderson Falls which cascades over a moss-capped cliff face to a small pool below; Cumberland Falls and its dramatic but magnificent cliffs, gentle streams, peaceful pools, and never ending views, among others.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favourites here, along with links to their locations if you’re ready to go chasing waterfalls.

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Henderson Falls 💦 For the past little while I have had the all new Nikon ℤ5 in my greasy little hands! What can I say.. This ‘entry level’ full frame mirrorless is one powerful piece of gear!! I get the same vibes and excitement using it as I did when I first owned the D750, all those years back.. but this time, with the benefits of the mirrorless tech! 🤤🤤 While the ℤ5 has a few of features from its 2 bigger siblings, ℤ6 & ℤ7, this new body also has on-the-go USB-C charging, longer battery life and 5-axis (gimble-like) stabilisation. This shot was taken hand held annnd one legged, while I reached down off the bank to get a nice low perspective with a 1 second exposure. The inbuilt stabilisation worked a treat here! If you are looking for an upgrade or not sure what to get for you first full frame, this really is the perfect all rounder 👌 Join me this Wednesday as I break down my favourite features from this new mirrorless and go over a few of my photography tips and tricks! For tickets, check out the link on my bio 🤙🤙 Nikon ℤ5 Nikkor 16-35 F4 FTZ Adapter @nikonaustralia #mynikonlife

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Test yourself at Live Wire Park
If you’re feeling agitated after months indoors, then this might be just the thing to get your blood pumping! Known as one of Australia’s most electrifying adventure parks, it’s all about unplugging, recharging and setting your senses alight with the beauty of the Great Ocean Road whilst zip lining, roller coasting, climbing, exploring and wandering through this world class adventure experience.

At Live Wire Park, you’ll find the ‘Shockwave Zip Coaster’ (Australia’s most extreme zip line), epic ropes courses and the treetop canopy circuit. All the ingredients for experiencing nature supercharged.
It’s located in Lorne, so just over an hour from Geelong but you will have to book ahead. There are a few different experiences on offer too, so it caters to any type of adventurer – whether you prefer a nice, cruisy treetop walk, or you’re wanting to challenge your physical and mental abilities.

If high intensity is what you’re after, we recommend checking out the ‘Super Circuit’, which features 53 mid-air trails, suspended bridges, tree-scaling activities, an electrifying tarzan swing and a supercharged 10m QuickJump bungee. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

Prices start at $12 and you can book here.

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Weekend is here… who’s ready to fly?

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Head to Kyneton for Australia’s best pie
If you love your pies and you’re willing to drive an hour and a half, then this is a bucket list item for any local day-tripper.

Victoria’s Country Cob Bakery, located in the darling regional town of Kyneton, was named the winner of Australia’s Best Pie with their pepper-beef pie for the third year in a row last month – and that’s just something you have to taste for yourself to understand why. If you’re not a fan of pepper-beef, they’ve also won prizes for Australia’s best plain beef pie; best gourmet pie (for the barbequed pork and quail egg creation); best flavoured beef pie (another win for the pepper-beef); and best vegetarian or vegan pie (for the curried cauliflower, lentil and chickpea), catering to absolutely any taste bud.

The bakery is open 6am to 3pm daily, and is located at 130-132 Mollison St, Kyneton. Visit the website for more info.

Hike Hanging Rock Reserve
If you’ve left enough time on your pie-eating mission, then we recommend you also check out Hanging Rock Reserve, a 17-minute drive from Kyneton or an hour and a half from Geelong if you’d prefer to bypass the famous pie (why would you though?).

The massive 105-meter-high extinct volcano, now eroded into columns, was the location for Peter Weir’s iconic film, Picnic at Hanging Rock, based on the book by Joan Lindsay. The rock is also an important aboriginal landmark and was reputedly a refuge for bushrangers during the Gold Rush.
If you’ve got your walking shoes on, Hanging Rock Reserve is truly a beautiful spot to hike in the fresh eucalyptus-tinged air. The round-trip climb to the top takes about 50 minutes, with plenty of secret nooks to slither in along the way and beautiful views over the countryside. You can also explore the other hiking trails that weave through the reserve. Definitely a bucket list visit for regional Victorians.

You can find out more here.

Treat yourself at Great Ocean Road Ice Creamery and Chocolaterie
There’s no denying this venue’s pull. Chocolate and ice cream, is there anything else you need in life? This sweet retreat features a showroom filled with thousands of chocolates, chocolate tastings (with social distancing measures in place) and an international team of six chocolatiers. Located just 30 minutes from Geelong, it’s the perfect excuse for an afternoon of browsing handcrafted chocolates, enjoying ice cream, and sussing out the sweet and savoury delights to take-away – including lasagne. Oh, and did we mention there are 15 acres of landscaped grounds to discover too? The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery is located at 1200, Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae. Open every day from 9am-5pm.

For more information visit the website.

Admire the Lake Wendouree Precinct
Located just a little over an hour’s drive from Geelong, you won’t regret taking a roadie to see the jewel in Ballarat’s crown — Lake Wendouree and the adjoining Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Providing the perfect escape from reality, you can admire the local swans glide along the glistening waters as you walk, run or ride around the six-kilometre Steve Moneghetti track. Stop by one of the lakeside cafes for a takeaway coffee, or picnic by the water’s edge, then meander along pebbled paths at the historic Ballarat Botanical Gardens and soak up the beauty of the grand floral displays, heritage oak trees, Italian marble statues and the iconic Prime Ministers Avenue.

Fun fact: the lake hosted the rowing and canoeing during the 1956 Olympics.

Give the Surf Coast Walk a go
Grab your best walking shoes (and your mask) because this beauty is just a short drive away and will keep you occupied for a few hours. Spanning 44 kilometres, The Surf Coast Walk is an adventure that boasts total immersion in nature and the sanctuary of coastal villages within easy reach along the way.

The world-class multi-use trail is located at the start of the Great Ocean Road region from Torquay to Aireys Inlet and in its entirety, the Walk connects the coastal towns of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet and will see you exploring the likes of Point Impossible, Bells Beach, Bird Rock, Airey’s Lighthouse, and Fairhaven.

If you’re not quite up for the 44km adventure, the walk can be split into 12 distinctive tracks, each inviting you to explore inspiring landscapes on foot or bike beyond the edge of Victoria’s beautiful Great Ocean Road.

If you’ve got the time, it’s also a good opportunity to check out the food and retail outlets around town.

You can find out more here.

Take a drive to Portarlington
With uninterrupted bay views across to the You Yangs and, on a clear day, Melbourne, Portarlington is a beautiful bayside town with loads of local flavour. The coastal road from Portarlington to St Leonards is glorious, hugging the water closely and showing off big blue skies, clear calm water and the surrounding wineries and olive groves. If it’s a nice enough day, take a slow walk and have a swim at the bay beach, kick back on the beautiful foreshore or try your luck with the rod and reel. Finish the day with a feast of freshly caught mussels and oysters from Advanced Mussel Supply available at The Little Mussel Cafe, take away fish and chips, and of course, make sure you stop by Daniel’s Donuts for doughy treats with familiar combinations and surprising twists. There’s also The Whiskery, a rustic space to have a cocktail, gin or whisky on the way home.

Hot tip: on your way to Portarlington, take a detour to Leura Park Estate and take advantage of their massive Barrel Shed Sale showcasing some of The Bellarine’s biggest brands, guaranteeing something for all wine enthusiasts and budgets.

This option’s close to home but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

Go Strawberry Picking
Nothing says summer on the coast quite like juicy strawberries warm from the sun, and fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to pick-your-own right on our doorstep.

Located between Geelong and Torquay, Surf Coast Strawberry Fields is a ‘pick your own’ strawberry farm with approximately nine acres of delicious strawberries, making it a great place to unwind, and enjoy the experience of fresh fruit picking, paddock to punnet. You can usually find a coffee and ice cream cart is on site, and their strawberry preserves available for purchase.

Just make sure to check their website or Facebook for updates on when they’re open as it’s purely dependent on the berries.

Embrace nostalgia at Split Point Lighthouse
If you ever watched Australian adolescent TV show Round the Twist, then this is definitely a day trip for you! Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet was the filming location for the home of the Twist family, and is now simply home to breathtaking views on the Shipwreck Coast.

While tours of the Lighthouse itself are currently on hold, you can still go check out the iconic structure, which can be spotted as you travel along the Great Ocean Road. There’s also heaps of walking opportunities abound in Aireys Inlet with the Surf Coast Walk, the Cliff Top Walk and the Lighthouse Precinct Walk all within easy reach. Take in stunning views of the coastline on the Cliff Top Walk and discover the fascinating surf culture, abundant native wildlife and coastal forests along the Surf Coast Walk. It’s also whale season now so keep your eyes out!

Explore The Redwoods
Located an hour and a half from Geelong and tucked within the heart of the Otways, on the banks of the Aire River south of Beech Forest surrounded by the native eucalypts, stands a spectacular forest of Californian Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) worthy of a day trip. This 85 year old plantation of Californian Redwoods has become a favourite local picnic area, and walking between the massive trunks flanking the river for the first time creates a special feeling of awe and reverence – one that’s really not to be missed in your lifetime.

As you’ve already jumped in the car, Hopetoun Falls and Beauchamp Falls are within close driving proximity to The Redwods and are highly recommended to visit while in the region.

Find out more here.

Hang with some Meerkats at Ballarat Wildlife Park
Good news now the animal lovers! The Ballarat Wildlife Park has recently reopened and is the perfect day trip for anyone that wants to get up close and personal with wildlife.

Featuring Ballarat’s friendliest Meerkats, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, giant Tortoises, Rattlesnakes, giant Anacondas, Pythons and even Tasmanian Devils and Victoria’s only Komodo Dragon, it’s a place of beauty for any wildlife and animal lover… and it’s one championed by a strong passion for the conservation of wildlife and the environment.

Standard entry tickets are currently reduced by 10 per cent, with visitors required to present photo ID with a current address at the ticket office.

In line with Victorian Government regulations, face coverings must be worn at the park, groups are limited to 10 people, and a number of COVIDSafe measures have been put in place, including increased sanitisation efforts, closure of some areas and takeaway café service.

Situated on the corner of York and Fussell streets, the Ballarat Wildlife Park is open daily between 9am and 5pm.

Visit the website for more details.

Snap a photo at Loch Ard Gorge
Offshore stacks, blowholes and the indescribable beauty of formations like the Razorback and Island arch make this precinct the one with the lot and definitely worth putting on your bucket list. It’s named after the famous 1878 shipwreck on nearby Mutton Bird Island, where fifty-two people were lost from the Loch Ard and only two teenage survivors were fortunate enough to be washed into the only safe gorge on the coast. Other people on the ship were washed into adjacent gorges and perished. The Gorge is unusual for this section of coast, in that it has a relatively calm interior. It has a low energy beach and moderate sloping dune that makes the beach accessible with caution in most tide and ocean conditions, and is definitely worth exploring.

To witness the magic, there are a few different walks to choose from, ranging between 200m – 3km.

It is almost impossible to walk the trails and not be moved by the powers of nature that have shaped and the shipwreck history that defines the area. There are also three separate Loch Ard Gorge car parks so make sure you remember which one you’ve parked at.

You can find its exact location here.