Point Lonsdale: The Bellarine’s unassuming gem just waiting to be discovered
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03.08.2022

Point Lonsdale: The Bellarine’s unassuming gem just waiting to be discovered

Point Lonsdale. Photo by Pat Whelen

There’s something incredibly intoxicating about Point Lonsdale, or ‘Lonny’ as the locals affectionately call it.

Nestled on a rocky outcrop at the south-eastern end of the Bellarine Peninsula, overlooking the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, sits an intoxicating yet humble township that has long been a favourite for holidaymakers. 

Sitting pretty on the Bellarine, near Queenscliff, just 30 minutes south-east from Geelong, and one hour, 41 minutes from Melbourne, this coastal hamlet is a picture of seaside tranquillity, complete with a historic lighthouse, surf break and calm bay waters and offers a relaxing alternative for one’s next weekend getaway. 

There are only a few thousand people who live in Point Lonsdale – further adding to the town’s warmth and community feel. But its size says nothing of its tourist experiences. From its outdoor treasures and its cafes and restaurants to its arts and cultural scene and its accommodation offerings, there’s more to this destination than meets the eye.

Ready to explore? Let’s go!

Outdoor Adventure 

Point Lonsdale Lighthouse

As you enter into the township it is impossible to miss the iconic and magnificent Lighthouse, which overlooks The Rip – a treacherous stretch of water where ships navigate the narrow gap between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean. Its presence governs the skyline and highlights the path to travel to discover the wonders and delights of the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park; dive sites, snorkelling spots, rock pooling, bike tracks, walking paths and surf breaks; all located around the very eminent lighthouse.

Insta-famous for its striking skyline and the lofty views from the top, the lighthouse still serves a functional purpose. It is one of only a few lighthouses that is staffed 24 hours a day. The iconic lighthouse is always a treat for kids and tourists alike. Appreciate the views of the beach, the shipping action in the Rip, and The Heads from the free platforms, and explore the lighthouse surrounds.

Find out more here.

Rip View Lookout

Another must in Point Lonsdale is the Rip View Lookout, which offers fine ocean views over The Rip – the iconic three km stretch of water dividing Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean – the two headlands at the mouth of Port Phillip Bay. With its turbulent cross-currents and variable depths, it is recognised as one of the most dangerous stretches of water on the Australian coastline.

The lookout is on the water’s edge and is signposted off Point Lonsdale Rd. Alongside providing a truly spectacular view of The Rip, it also affords the opportunity to observe the ships entering and leaving Port Phillip Bay.

A walking track leads from the lookout to the lighthouse and around to Point Lonsdale Lookout so make the most of your day out and explore all the area has to offer.

Point Lonsdale Pier

Just north of the lighthouse is the Point Lonsdale Pier (build in 1890!) which is a popular spot for fishing and a good vantage point for taking in views of the beautiful lighthouse and surrounding coastline.

Renowned as one of the best fishing piers in all of Victoria, one that stands quite high above sea level, the surrounding beach makes for stunning pictures with rock formations, clean water, rock pools and reef. Because the pier is so close to the rip, a wide variety of species will be drawn to the area including sharks, snappers, whiting, squid, garfish, salmon, flathead and snook so make sure to go for a wander.

This pier is not only boardwalk all the way, with those glimpses of waves right under your feet as you walk the planks, but it also has a beautiful line of timber piles, marking a corridor underneath the pier. It’s likely you’ve seen photographs of this iconic view circulated at some point in time. That never end pier shot is always a winner.

Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park

Grab your snorkelling gear and explore the amazing diversity of marine life within Port Phillip Marine National Park.

Located around the southern entrance to Port Phillip, Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape in the traditional Sea Country of the Wadawurrung Peoples.

The intertidal reefs at Point Lonsdale is a great location for both beginner and experienced snorkelers to explore the diverse marine life, including colourful reef fish, octopus, feather stars, cuttlefish, seals and gorgonian corals, making it the perfect spot for underwater photography.

In the entrance to Port Phillip – ‘The Rip’ – qualified divers can experience spectacular wall diving and challenging drift dives. The clear waters and outstanding colour and diversity of hard temperate coral outcrops, colourful sponge gardens, fish and invertebrates rivals even the tropical coral reefs.

Surfers and bodyboarders can ride the waves from outstanding breaks at Point Lonsdale while the nearby waters of Swan Bay attracts canoers and kayakers, including regular social paddling groups.

Buckley’s Cave

There’s also walk from the base of the lighthouse leads to Buckley’s Cave, located in the cliffs under Point Lonsdale lighthouse.

William Buckley was a convict who escaped the prison near Sorrento in 1803, just two months after arriving from England. He made his way around the Bay (Melbourne didn’t exist until the 1830’s) and evaded capture for the next 30 years, living in this cave and others like it along the coast, and befriending the local Wathaurung people. In 1835 he decided to re-emerge from hiding and walked into Melbourne, told his story, and was soon pardoned by the Governor.

Lonsdale Links

Feel like a spot of golf? You won’t regret making a day of it at Lonsdale Links – a challenging yet fun course, unique for Australia that has been ranked 20th in Australia.

Opening back in 2020, after a complete redevelopment 20 years in the making, Lonsdale Links has been made with strategy in mind, being a course that reveals more of itself each time you play. Drawing inspiration from trailblazer, the course was designed as a deliberate throwback to an earlier age with template holes featuring throughout.

The practice facilities include a range, short game area and two practice putting greens. The range also doubles as a six-hole par 3 course called ‘Mulligans’ which is available to play on set days throughout the year.

While the course itself is a sight to behold, so it the clubhouse, designed by renowned architect, Wood Marsh Architecture. Sitting at the highest point on the course overlooking the water, the state-of-the-art facility is welcoming to the public with a separate restaurant, outdoor kiosk, and children’s playground, making it a venue the whole family can enjoy.

 

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Coastline

Point Lonsdale has both ocean and bay beaches, the latter being safe and protected, making them ideal for families.

Take a dip at the sheltered bay beach with its pleasant foreshore reserve and barbecue facilities or cut up the waves on the back beach. The foreshore around the headland is very pleasant if you’re just wanting to go for a stroll, particularly at low tide when there are plenty of exposed rock pools and caverns.

There are also plenty of other opportunities for walking along the beaches, cliff-tops and through the abundance of ti-tree.

Eat & Drink

Lago Restaurant

Located at the Lonsdale Links, Lago is a brand-new Italian restaurant that opened in 2021. With modern architecture and picturesque sunset views across Lake Victoria, this stunning venue is ideal for those looking for a unique and simply charming dining destination towards the end of the week.

Boasting pure opulence, the focus here is Italian: the palatable menu name-checks most of the cuisine’s classics made using only the freshest locally sourced Bellarine Peninsula ingredients. Our picks are the lobster fettuccine made with creamy shellfish sauce, bocconcini, confit tomato and basil; a classic ratatouille; the butternut gnocchi with sage, wilted spinach, parmesan and pistachio and for dessert, the dark chocolate mousse.

As for the drinks, there’s a sizeable selection of imported and Australian wines, mainly sourced from South Australia, the Bellarine and Italy.

Grab a glass of red and settle in – Lago is Point Lonsdale’s best new Italian.

Where: Lonsdale Links – 31 Clubhouse Drive Point Lonsdale

Flouch’s Point Lonsdale

Comfortably nestled at the Point Lonsdale Guest House (see below), Flouch’s is a quaint restaurant specialising in delicious produce of this bountiful region, expertly sourced and prepared by renowned chef, Michael Flouch.

Operating from Wednesday to Saturday nights, Flouch’s is a French-inspired bistro with an ever-changing menu. Past delights have included pistachio brulee, roasted duck, crayfish bisque, French gnocchi, vol au vent, cured salmon, and quail, among many other delicious dishes.

All that’s left to do is put on your beret and practise your ‘bonjour’.

Where: 31 Point Lonsdale Road

Noble Rot

Tucked into the elbow of the Bellarine is a charming wine bar, Noble Rot.

Situated in the heart of Point Lonsdale, this wine store/bar is a great place to enjoy a stunning coastal view and a glass of wine or two from their large selection of local and international wines with a delicately curated pairing menu of fresh local food.

Perfect for those who are interested in the cultivation of wine, with the owners and occasional connoisseurs available to chat with you about all things grape. Noble Rot is a gorgeous seaside bar with a focus on attention to detail.

Where: 51 Point Lonsdale Rd, Point Lonsdale

 

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Plated Cafe

A bright and airy cafe, Plated is situated right opposite the main beach at Point Lonsdale with beautiful ocean views.

With prime position, Plated is the perfect stop to fuel up for the day, boasting good coffee, hot chocolates and yummy snacks by day.

For breakfast, indulge with pancakes, the famous Eggs Benedict or the Seeded Cracked Avocado (aka Smashed Avo), or treat yourself with a lunch offering including beer battered flathead tails, gourmet beef burger, fisherman’s basket or the calamari salad. There’s also wine, beer, cider and cocktails available for those that want to level up from coffee, teas and iced drinks, though they are all available too.

With owner Ken at the helm, who moved from Queensland to open up his dream cafe after working as a chef, Plated is a real hidden gem that’s just waiting to be discovered by locals and tourists alike.

Where: 79-81 Point Lonsdale Road, Point Lonsdale

Pasquini’s Deli and Cafe

Sitting pretty on the main strip of Point Lonsdale, Pasquini’s sits opposite the beach with food that lives up to big city expectations.

Here the staff are always lovely and helpful in serving customers as they enjoy sitting and looking out to the beach. There is a bakery inside as well as a dining area for when you’re looking to fill your belly, alongside great coffee, while the shop stocks gourmet items such as breads, condiments, pasta and so on.

With ample seating outside, you can bring your pooch along while you make your way through the breaky menu, featuring traditional eggs through to some amazing local seafood and other unusual dishes.

Where: 1/85 Point Lonsdale Rd, Point Lonsdale

Brusketta Foodtruck

We love a food truck, especially one that specialises in one of our favourite Italian entrees.

Italian by design packed with Australian flavours, Brusketta Foodtruck is the first and only Italian ‘Bruschetteria’ to open in Australia. Here they create healthy and tasty food by joining the ancient tradition of Bruschetta with high-quality and locally sourced products from the local area.

Tradition and innovation mix together based on seasonality and availability of their ingredients so you’ll always discover something new.

Where: 204 Point Lonsdale Road, Point Lonsdale 

Art, Treatment & Culture

Point Lonsdale Market

With an abundance of makers creating a plethora of stunning crafts, paintings, fashion, homewares and some of the best eats and produce in town, the Point Lonsdale Market is the place to be on weekends.

Held every second Sunday of the month, this market is perfect for those wanting to support local businesses, giving shoppers, tourists and locals alike, the opportunity to talk to the makers and get a feel for bespoke handmade products.

The Point Lonsdale Market is held at the Point Lonsdale Primary School in Bowen Road, which is just on the left heading into Point Lonsdale after turning off the Bellarine Highway.

Lon Spa

High on the hill and inspired by the farm and coastal surroundings, Lon Spa is a simple yet luxurious spa experience.

A small and exclusive space, Lon Spa consists of three unique treatment rooms featuring mineral water-fed soaking tubs, steam rooms and breathtaking views to the ocean, lighthouse and coastal landscape.

Water therapy is sourced from natural mineral springs running beneath the farm that has been held within the family for over 100 years. The mineral water sourced heated pool leads to a sunroom, private gardens and sundecks gazing towards the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.

Treatments include massage, facials, full body shower jet massage, drenching rain showers, DIY detox body scrub, body wraps, and mineral soaks, among others.

 

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Tussock Art Gallery

Practising artists Bevan Shepherd and Janet Goldman are directors of Tussock Upstairs, a light-filled space that used to overlook the heads in Point Lonsdale’s busy tourist strip. Bevan and Janet have a strong background in making and exhibiting their own art, with work held in Australian and overseas collections.

Now taking over a street-level space at 61 Point Lonsdale Road Point Lonsdale, the bright and welcoming gallery features work by local and Melbourne artists, as well as preloved clothes available for purchase. Here you’ll find paintings, prints, drawings and homewares.

Accommodation

Lon Retreat

Escape the busyness of life on over 200 acres of rural and conservation land, hidden away on a hill by the ocean. Lon Retreat features seven luxurious suites and a Mineral Spa, located in Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula.

For those searching to reconnect with the beauty of slow and simple, the luxury suites are an absolute must. Spread throughout the sandstone retreat, each is individually designed with its own unique character and connection to the ocean, lakes and surrounding farmland. Each suite is a personal sanctuary, inspired by its natural surroundings combining earthy tones with contemporary luxury.

Please note, the Lon Retreat is an adult-exclusive retreat available to 16 years and over.

Book here.

 

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Point Lonsdale Guest House

If you’re looking to embrace the old-world seafaring charm of Lonny, the Point Lonsdale Guest House (previously Terminus House, circa 1884) will make your stay a truly nostalgic one. Situated a mere stone’s throw from the iconic lighthouse in the tiny seaside village of Point, this icon has been providing accommodation for over 100 years, combining its heritage with the more modern, nautically-inspired motel décor.

Perfect for those looking for a quiet getaway to relax and recharge, Point Lonsdale Guest House accommodates holiday-makers, local and nationwide Australian tourists, families and travellers from all over the world.

Offering a choice of guest house or motel accommodation, both boasting excellent amenities to ensure a comfortable visit, your friendly hosts, will do their best to make your stay relaxing, comfortable, enjoyable and above all memorable.

Set on a spacious property with ample off-street parking, the Point Lonsdale Guest House offers wireless internet access, fans, heaters, free barbecue facilities, an open courtyard, table tennis, tennis court, solar-heated swimming pool and spa, a fully-equipped guest kitchen, guest laundry and lounge.

As for the motel, there are nine charming, older-style rooms in the guest house and another 13 more contemporary, maritime-inspired rooms in the motel to choose from if you so desire.

Book here.

The Lonsdale Palms

If you’re looking for flexible accommodation that’s pet-friendly, the Lonsdale Palms features a heritage house and two separate cottages on the one property and is only 200 metres from the beach.

The Lonsdale Palms can sleep up to 14 adults in comfort and style. The property is ideal for three or four families or friendship groups, looking to share a holiday experience while retaining the ability to take a break from the group in your own, totally self-contained cottage, if desired.

Doonas, pillows, all bed linen and towels are supplied. Additional roll-away beds and portacots are available.

All cottages are fully furnished including washing machines and dryers, have ducted heating and cooling, television, DVD and CD players, family size mains gas barbecues. The bathrooms are designed for use by people of all abilities and ramps for wheelchair access – Winner 2008 Alcoa Access Award.

Great for family get-togethers, reunions, hens weekend, golf or fishing ventures. Large kitchen and dining room, also barbecue and billiard table.

Each cottage is fully fenced, well-behaved pets welcome.

Book here.

The Nest

For stunning sunrises, sunsets and night skies, The Nest Luxury Stay bed and breakfast accommodation ‘pods’ are ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway or a solo place to unwind and relax surrounded by stunning views.

Located just minutes to the beach, restaurants, cafes and wineries, yet nestled away from the crowds in a gated forty-acre Private Sanctuary, guests can watch the ships sail through the heads, flocks of birds both local and migratory fly directly over, stunning sunrises and sunsets, relax by the fire pit, marvel at the stunning night skies from your private deck spa.

Each Luxurious Nest was architect designed to bring the stunning outdoors within, sustainably. Water supply is 100% pure filtrated rain water with solar power during the day. With a luxe king-size bed, dressing gowns, huge ceiling-to-floor sliding windows, generous lounging deck, bird-attracting gardens and quality fittings and furnishings  (plus a coffee machine) make a very special time away.

Book here


BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Queenscliff Beacon

If you’re travelling with the family, this BIG4 Beacon Holiday Resort is the ideal option, nestled across the road from the beach in Queenscliff and on the very edge of Point Lonsdale.

The shining light of the Bellarine Peninsula, this multi-award winning BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Queenscliff Beacon is a popular holiday destination offering the ultimate holiday experience for families, couples and groups.

Set amongst impeccably landscaped native gardens, surrounded by national marine parks and just a two minute walk from the beach, choose from luxury one, two and three-bedroom villas, modern apartments, contemporary self-contained cabins or caravan and camping sites to complete your perfect coastal getaway, providing the ideal base to explore Port Phillip Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula’s many attractions.

Here, there are extensive year-round facilities to suit a variety of holiday styles. The kids will love the free and expansive children’s activity program, an indoor adventure playground for the little ones, shaded giant jumping pillow, interactive NEOS360 and a heated indoor pool and therapeutic spa.

Busy kids mean parents will have the time to pamper themselves in the on-site day spa, workout in the 24/7 resort Fitness Centre, re-energise with free daily Yoga & Pilates classes or relax with a barista-made coffee (with delivery to your door able to be arranged!)

Book here.

Kipsie Cottage

Kispie Cottage is everything that you’d hope for in a coastal getaway. Just a five-minute stroll to the front beach, local cafes, and shops, it’s a stay that you’ll never want to leave.

The stunning yesteryear double-storey miner’s cottage (circa 1870) is thought to have been transported by bullock train from the Victorian Goldfields to its current seaside location. Kipsie has an ambience all of its own – restful, restorative, nurturing.

Equipped with everything you need to cook a delicious meal, hang in the yard or cosy up in the lounge room, and soak up the nurturing and restorative effects of Kipsie Cottage, the cottage has three bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, dining table, generous sized lounge, a gas log fire, bathroom, new outdoor shower, plus a spacious rear garden with lawn for cricket and other ball games. Other features include BBQ, sun loungers, an outdoor fire pit, a covered all-weather front porch and Off-street car parking.

Located only 600m from Point Lonsdale’s famous surf beach and a 5-minute drive from the historic Queenscliff, Kispie cottage makes the perfect adventure hub for a perfect getaway balanced with adventure and relaxation.

Book here.

Illalangi Tiny House

If you’re looking for a stay that’s a little more low-key, the Illalangi Tiny House is perfect for when you just need to unwind and just ‘get away from it’ all in something a little bit more exciting than a hotel room.

The Illalangi tiny house is perched on a hill in Mannerim overlooking the picturesque Swan Bay. This unique getaway is located on a 76-acre farm property and has all that you need for a cosy night away. It is the perfect location for access to local wineries (Basil’s Farm and Banks Road winery) and a short drive to Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff.

This unique Tiny House was produced by local company ‘Formflow,’ exhibiting a unique material, and is completely off-grid using tank water and with all power coming from a solar power setup. The main room contains a queen-sized bed, TV, heater, fan and fully appointed kitchenette, including stovetop, microwave and pantry. The ensuite facilities have all you need with a view across the farm property.

Located on 76 acres of farmland take a walk around the property with ocean views or down the secluded Knights road.

Book here

So go on, breathe in the sea air, listen to the waves, and while away days on the foreshore at this little hamlet on the tip of the peninsula. 

This article was made in partnership with Visit Geelong & The Bellarine