The best places to eat, play, drink and stay on a coastal getaway to Barwon Heads 
05.05.2022

The best places to eat, play, drink and stay on a coastal getaway to Barwon Heads 

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Words by Mackenzie Pennycook

Barwon Heads is the perfect place for a coastal getaway during any season. Rain, hail or shine this list is set to keep everyone occupied during your trip down the coast. 

If you’re looking at heading coastal this winter but have no idea where to start, this one is for you. We’ve compiled a list of the best places to stay, to eat and things to do sure to keep everyone warm, full and entertained on your trip away. We’ve done the hard work for you; all you have to do now is choose your dates and head on down for the day trip or weekend getaway of your dreams. 

Where To Stay

Barwon heads is not short of places to stay for your weekend getaway, if it’s camping you fancy or something a bit more comfortable Barwon Heads has plenty of places for you to choose from. 

Barwon Heads Hotel

Barwon Heads Hotel isn’t just the place to grab a pot and Parmi, it’s also the perfect place for you to stay on your coastal getaway. There are heaps of rooms to choose from, all super affordable, spacious and comfortable. There are beachside views and shared balconies overlooking the water as well, what more could you possibly want?? 

Barwon Heads Hotel has something for everyone, it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway with your boo or a family holiday with the kids in tow. They even have single rooms that would suit someone whose ideal beach retreat involves you flying solo. 

13th Beach Golf Lodges

Luxurious and spacious, the 13th Beach Golf Lodges is the perfect stay for a weekend in Barwon Heads. Located a 12-minute walk from the beach, the Lodges features a restaurant, bar, garden and free wifi, while rooms include your own private patio area overlooking the stunning Beach Golf Course and Lake Murtnaghurt.

Now also offering family rooms, with two spacious bedrooms, two bathrooms, a lounge, a kitchen and a large patio, this is the ideal place for a family vacation, allowing guests to enjoy the many attractions on offer within the Bellarine area. But of course, it’s secluded and romantic if you’re on a special weekend away too.

Barwon Heads Caravan Park

If camping is more your style the Barwon Heads Caravan Park is your place. You can bring your caravan, camper van or tent, or even rent a cabin if comfortability is key to your camping adventure. It’s only a couple of minutes’ walk to the beachfront or up the bluff from anywhere in the caravan park. You can choose powered or unpowered sites depending on just how into nature you and your buddies want to experience. 

It’s the perfect place to catch the sunrise and be soothed to sleep by the sound of the waves. The caravan park is the ideal place if you really want to make the most out of your coastal retreat, it’s also great if you’re travelling in a group or with a bunch of kids in tow. 

Barwon Heads Resort at 13th Beach

Barwon Heads Resort is located on the southern shores of the Bellarine Peninsula and is just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne, providing the ultimate stay within this picturesque seaside village. Barwon Heads Resort at 13th Beach is a five-minute drive from the township and a fifteen-minute drive to the historic township of Queenscliff. The resort offers King Bedroom apartments, superior two-bedroom apartments, and deluxe two-bedroom apartments, all boasting the spectacular views of the 13th Beach Golf Links.

Offering a home away from home, each apartment includes a full kitchen with refrigerator, oven, microwave, separate lounge, iron, tea and coffee making facilities, dining table, desk, full HD LED TV’s, DVD player and a private balcony or terrace with outdoor setting. You’ll find a restaurant open every weekend on Fridays and Saturday night for dinner and Saturday and Sunday for breakfast.

It’s the perfect getaway for couples, families or business travellers.

Ceres Coastal

For a sophisticated and stylish home away from home, Ceres Coastal is a must.

Set in the heart of beautiful Barwon Heads amidst the main shopping village that comprises boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants on Hitchcock Avenue, Ceres Coastal is a spacious, modern yet classical two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a double garage. A stone’s throw to the iconic Barwon River and spectacular coastline of The Bluff, this position has you hooked. If it’s food, fishing, surfing, paddleboarding, golfing, shopping, trekking, bike riding or just a mid-week work from home option, Ceres Coastal is the perfect getaway.

From the moment you step into the apartment, the tranquil blue hues wrap themselves around you, transporting you immediately into holiday mode. Interior designer Jill O’Grady from That Special Look has used fabrics and wallpapers from Mokum, Catherine Martin, Romo to name just a few. The design brief was for a sophisticated apartment that ignores traditional beach styling.

The resulting finished result feels luxurious, so guests can feel like they are on a beautiful holiday as soon as they step through the door.

What To Do

Barwon Heads combines the best of both worlds when it comes to things to do, whether it’s a solo relaxing weekend away or a holiday spent with family, Barwon Heads is sure to have something for everyone. 

The Barwon River

The perfect place for a swim or a stroll, the Barwon river is quintessentially Barwon Heads. Whether it’s a river walk you fancy, a quick dip or a sunbake in the sun the river is the perfect place. If you’re a hunter-gatherer at heart the bridge is always full of locals and tourists alike trying their luck at fishing, and if you’re accompanied by kids there’s a riverfront playground sure to keep the little ones entertained all arvo. The calm waters make it an ideal spot for paddleboarding, surfing (for beginners) and rowing too. What’s more, it’s also the ideal place for a picturesque picnic meaning you can turn your afternoon trip down the river into a full day affair accompanied by all things snacks and sandwiches. Run, walk, boat, kayak, play or sunbathe, Barwon Heads river has something for every traveller. 

The Bluff

There’s nothing more scenic than a walk from the river up the bluff. The walk to the peak of the Bluff is a fairly easy walk-in terms of nature walks, but the views are nothing short of incredible. Take the winding track from the base of the Bluff and make your way all the way to the top and across to 13th beach. With views spanning from the Barwon River, Ocean Grove main beach and of course the ever-iconic 13th Beach, the Bluff walk is any ocean lover’s dream. Take it all in, from the ocean views to the various local critters you might be lucky enough to snap a picture of along the way. Going at sunset or sunrise is an added element that is guaranteed to impress whoever is lucky enough to accompany you. 

Skydiving 

If you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to add some thrill to your Barwon Heads getaway, Skydive Great Ocean Road is here to provide your thrill-seeking fix. With two different sky dives available, a 12,000 ft or a 15,000ft option if you’re after something even more thrilling (if that’s even possible). Whether to you’re a newcomer to Barwon Heads or a local looking to spend some time getting to know your own backyard, you’ll be able to see everything Barwon Heads, Geelong and the bass strait has to offer from thousands of feet in the air. Rustle up your bravery and be sure to take part in an experience that you will remember for a lifetime. 

Skydive Great Ocean Road is located at 1421 Barwon Heads Road, Connewarre.

Adventure Flight Co 

Adventure Flight Co. is a Great Ocean Road and Melbourne based flight company offering a range of individual, couples and group flight experiences.

There’s a range of experiences on offer, including the opportunity to be a fighter pilot for a day in a pretty cool ex-military Warbird fighter plane. For an unforgettable 10 minutes, you’ll be flown in all directions, the experience full of advanced manoeuvres and weightlessness that you can’t experience on an A380.

Alternatively, there is the scenic Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road views from the biplane open cockpit Grumman Agcat. This one seats two passengers who dress up like the aces of yesteryear, complete with goggles, scarf and flying jacket. Flying at sunset is truly romantic so this one’s great for a date night; or opt for the comfort of a scenic flight to the 12 Apostles. Depart from Barwon Head’s airport and fly the whole Grear Ocean Road in 90 minutes return. The new aircraft seats eight passengers with oversized windows and air conditioning. Seeing this natural beauty from the air is magnificent.

13th Beach Golf Links 

Set on the stunning Bellarine Peninsula, 13th Beach Golf Links is famously known for its two award-winning courses, with first-class conditioning all year round. With a modern Clubhouse and great facilities, whether you’re a golfer, or simply want to admire the views, visiting 13th Beach is a must during your Barwon Heads getaway.

First, there’s the Beach Course. The first of the two courses, The Beach Course was opened in December 2001 and designed by Tony Cashmore. The challenging and natural links-style course has received many high accolades. In 2021, it was ranked by Golf Australia as No. 7 of Public Access Courses in Australia & No. 3 for the mainland.

Then there’s the Creek Course, designed by Cashmore in conjunction with 6-time major championship winner Sir Nick Faldo. The Creek Course was ranked #26 of Public Access Courses in Australia, #22 for mainland Australia and is regularly compared to some of Melbourne’s best Sandbelt courses.

On top of these courses, there’s also the newly opened Short Course which is available for visitor play. Designed by Tony Cashmore, this 9 hole, par 3 course is a great way to fit in a quick round or to fine-tune your short game skills. Family-friendly and accessible for all levels of golfer.

It’s impossible to deny, this place is your complete golfing destination on the Bellarine Peninsula – plus it’s really, really pretty! Bookings are available online.

 

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Shop along Hitchcock Avenue

If you are keen to take it down a notch, make a beeline for the shops on Hitchcock Avenue, where you’ll find boutiques, food stores, eateries, homewares, fashion and beach gear, plus a bunch of places to stock up on staples.

With some of the best little boutiques around, one of our favourites is Kiitos Living by Design. Owned by a true local, this little gem houses some of the world’s most appealing and desired contemporary homeware from the most loved design houses. Derived from the Finnish word for thankyou, Kiitos houses such labels as marimekko and ittala along with other local and international brands as Fink & Co, Muuto, Alessi, and Design House Stockholm, amongst others. Another favourite is Rasta Surf Co. Owned by locals passionate about the beach lifestyle and surfing, here you’ll find non-mainstream surfing apparel, lifestyle and coastal accoutrements, handcrafted surfboards, plus the daily surf report with a 5-day surf forecast seven days a week for the avid surfer.

There are a whole lot of cute little spots along the main strip which are great to browse as you walk from the cafe to the beach, allowing you to take a little slice of Barwon Heads home with you when you go.

Browse the shop at 5-7 Bridge Rd, Barwon Heads

Jirrahlinga Wildlife Sanctuary 

Jirrahlinga wildlife and koala sanctuary is the perfect place to take anyone who wants to eat back to nature while on their weekend trip. They’re open Friday through Sunday and offer a range of up-close experiences with heaps of Australian wildlife. Situated on 5 acres of land on the northern edge of Barwon heads it’s just a stone’s throw away from the centre of the sleepy town. There are koala encounters daily at 11am, 1pm and 3pm so ensure no one misses out, and there is also a reptile encounter that occurs at 11am and 1pm if koalas don’t take your fancy. There are heaps of photo ops and Jirrahlinga is sure to keep the whole family entertained. 

You can find Jirrahlinga at 170-200 Taits Road, Barwon Heads. 

 

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Where To Eat & Drink

Barwon Heads is never short of things to fill your belly, breakfast, lunch or dinner there’s something for even the fussiest of eaters. 

Barwon Heads Grocer 

The Barwon Heads Greengrocer is the perfect place if you’re looking for a morning or arvo snack. With juices and smoothies galore, it’s the perfect place to smash your daily fruit and veg early in the morning. There’s a whole heap of toasties to choose from, there are street tacos, burrito bowls and even soup to warm those tummies in the winter months. The Greengrocer also doubles as well, a greengrocer, so you can stock up on the freshest fruit and veg in the area to keep yourself satisfied for your trip. 

You can find the Greengrocer at 44B Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads. 

Starfish Bakery

A staple Barwon Heads breaky spot loved by locals and tourists alike. There are bagels, pastries, sweet treats and the sandwiches of your dreams. If you’re after a bagel chock full of egg, bacon and all that good stuff, Starfish is for you. There is vegan and gluten-free options that is sure to keep everyone satisfied and there are sweets and pastries for days. The muffins are beyond delicious, they’re huge and the rotating flavours mean no matter how many times you’re hitting it up for your morning coffee you’re always set to have something different.

For all your coffee, bagel, and sweet treat dreams head to Starfish at 78 Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads.

Hanoi Kitchen 

Hanoi Kitchen is Barwon Head’s very own taste of Vietnam. If you’re after something different and delicious in the seaside village, then Hanoi Kitchen is for you. There are all your faves on the Hanoi Kitchen menu: Think Pho, pork belly bao, fresh rice paper rolls, crispy fried chicken wings, wok tossed duck breast and even vego options like yellow vegetable curry. There are cocktails galore and the food is prepared fresh from the very best local ingredients. If you’re after a dinner experience like no other right on the doorstep of Barwon Heads, Hanoi Kitchen is definitely not one to be missed. 

You can find Hanoi Kitchen at 37 Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads. 

 

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Mangroves Bar and Grill

Mangroves Bar and Grill is the absolute staple place in Barwon Heads: It’s fish and chips but better. The menu is extensive, there are packs for singles, couples and families. If your quintessential meal for a trip down the coast is a minimum chip, a couple of dimmies and a piece of grilled flake then Mangroves is THE place. There are souvas, burgers and all the fish and chip faves, the service is quick, and the fish is fresh. Mangroves Bar and Grill is the perfect place if you’re looking for something that is perfect for the whole family. They’re open for lunch and dinner seven days a week so you’re never going to miss out on your fish and chippy fix. 

Mangroves Bar and Grill is waiting for you at 44 Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads. 

Che Vuoi Pizzeria Osteria 

The newest addition to Barwon Heads’ dining scene, Che Vuoi is quickly becoming a favourite with locals, making all their carby dreams come true. Staying true to their roots, the guys at Che Vuoi are using authentic techniques and recipes from their Nonna, hoping to share the love they feel for food. Their modus operandi? Come as a guest, leave as a friend. So Italian! You’ll find wood-fired pizzas, a mouth-watering selection of pastas and gnocchi, and antipasti, making this the one-stop shop for Italian lovers in Barwon Heads. There is a regular rotating special so you can go every night of the week and never get bored, alongside homemade cannoli and tiramisu for dessert. If you’re trying to impress your guests Che Vuoi is 100% the place. The food looks good and tastes even better and the same can be said about their cocktail options and wine list, featuring some top-quality bottles from both Italy and Victoria.

If you’re after an Italian inspired feast, head to Che Vuoi at 47 Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads. 

 

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Annie’s Provedore and Produce Store

Located in the heart of Barwon Heads, Annie’s Provedore & Produce Store is a foodie haven in the coastal town. The cafe specialises in rustic, home-cooked meals by day and Napoli-inspired pizzas by night. Annie’s is the place to get a barista-made coffee and it’s also a specialty grocer stocking local and internationally sourced produce, farmhouse cheeses, freshly baked breads, homemade cookies, jams and chutneys and cured meat.

Quaint and eclectic, Annie’s is a favourite amongst the locals and a foodie destination for those wanting a complete dining experience.

Tuck in at 2/50 Hitchcock Avenue, Barwon Heads

Barwon Ebb and Flow

If you’re after a brunch location, Barwon Ebb and Flow is the place for you. They do all-day brekky and lunch, so you can sleep in, and rest assured your eggs benny will be waiting. There are brunch staples like smashed avo and big breakfasts weaved alongside more unique breakfast options like the salmon potato rosti with poached eggs. There’s a whole heap of pastries, cakes and other sweet treats, as well as burgers and bruschetta gracing the lunch menu. Ebb and Flow has something to satisfy everyone’s brunch cravings. Whether you’re eating in or grabbing a quick takeaway coffee, Ebb and Flow is the place to go if you’re after brekky with a view. 

You can make your brunch dreams come true at 1 Flinders Pde, Barwon Heads. 

Barwon Heads Hotel

This spot is so good it gets a second mention. A quintessential location within Barwon Heads, there are beachfront views and all the classic pub meals we’ve come to know and love. If it’s a Parmi you’re after, Barwon Heads Hotel is the place for you. on top of their extensive menu, there are also huge screens to watch the footy on from their beer garden, three bars to have a drink at all within the one venue. If you’re after more of a nightclub vibe, DJs take over the front bar of the Barwon Heads Hotel every Saturday night so you can fill your belly and then dance the night away with all your best mates. Barwon Heads Hotel is everything you can want in a pub and more, bonus points if you book a room there so you can stumble upstairs to your room post partying your night away. 

You can find Barwon Heads Hotel at 1 Bridge Road, Barwon Heads. 

At The Heads 

Located at the river mouth in Barwon Heads, At The Heads is arguably one of the Bellarine’s most unique dining experiences with its magnificent views, friendly and efficient staff, and of course a great menu. Boasting modern Australian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood, you’ll find oysters, Portarlington Mussels, fried squid, Kingfish, porterhouse steak, gnocchi, miso-glazed eggplant and beer-battered flathead, among other delicious options.

Glass doors and windows on three sides ensure you will have expansive water views wherever you’re seated. Look out to sea and over the beach just outside, as well as the historic 400-metre-long bridge.

While elevated dining isn’t for everyone, whether you’re out enjoying the sun or taking the doggo for a scenic walk, the crew also have your caffeine needs sorted with their takeaway kiosk – Jetty Road. Serving Ocean Grind, the calibre of coffee – regardless of if you’re after something milky or a filter – will keep you appeased for the day ahead.

Find it at 1A Jetty Road, Barwon Heads

 

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Coffetti Artisan Gelato

Coffetti Gelato is the little heartbeat of Hitchcock Ave. Serving Industry Beans coffee, along with beautiful pastries, and fresh baguettes full of the freshest produce. Here they love watching people gather to enjoy their morning coffee, catch-up with friends and bring the kids back in the afternoon for ice cream. Located in the heart of Barwon Heads, this gorgeous little shop has one of the best ranges of Italian Gelato in the region.

They make all their own Gelato in store, so it’s fresh and creamy, and we love experimenting with new flavours. They have all the favourites for their loyal customers, it’s hard to go past Salted Caramel, Pistachio, Lemon meringue and Chai Latte. They also have a selection of Vegan Dairy Free options. Charcoal and passionfruit seem to be the favourites.

Find them at 49A Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads.

Barwon Heads Winestore

Looking for some booze to take back to the accommodation? The Barwon Heads Wine Store is an independent wine merchant, offering a vast selection of products and bringing the finest wines, spirits and beer to the Bellarine Peninsula. There’s a heavy focus on unique, small-batch producers, along with a dedicated “local wines” wall so there’s a lot to love about that.

Here they’re super friendly and will often go out of their way to help you find what you’re looking for, and sometimes they’ll let you try before you buy, depending on what they have on tasting. Plus, if you don’t feel like driving they even deliver.

Located at Shop 2, 86 Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads

To find out more about Barwon Heads, head here