Things to do in Geelong during that weird, lazy week between Christmas and New Years
25.12.2021

Things to do in Geelong during that weird, lazy week between Christmas and New Years

Make the most of this weird time.

Alright, Christmas is over, New Year’s Eve is approaching and we have no idea what day it is or who we are or what we’re doing… and we’ve got a lot of time to fill in between. These strange, lazy few days can be awkward, but we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do between December 25-31 in and around Geelong.

Kick some serious putt at Pixar Putt on the Geelong Waterfront

Taking to Transvaal Square on the Eastern Beach waterfront from 23 December 2021 through to 30 January 2022, Pixar Putt is a pop-up mini golf experience inspired by some of Disney Pixar’s most famous films.

This exciting open-air mini golf experience boasts 18 different interactive holes drawing on classics like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc, Wall-E, and new hits like Soul, Onward, Inside Out and more.

Designed for both the young and the young at heart, mini-golfers of all ages can take on 9 or 18 holes at the Geelong Waterfront. There will even be evening, adults-only ‘After Dark’ sessions running on select evenings from 7pm – 10pm, where patrons can also enjoy all the local food offerings throughout the iconic Geelong waterfront as well as prosecco from a pop-up van.

Tickets are on sale now via www.pixarputt.com.au

 

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Hit the slides at Adventure Park

Slip-on your bathers, pack your hats and soak up the sun at Geelong’s Adventure Park. Just cheeky 17-minute drive from Geelong, this water wonderland has 24 epic rides and attractions waiting to be explored. Whether you’re keen to relax and go with the flow on the Lazy River ride, fly through the Gold Rush Rapids or endure 205 metres of sliding greatness through 360-degree twists and turns and zero gravity on the Tornado, there will be a ride for everyone.

It’s even home to Victoria’s first world-first triple funnel waterslide the Tsunami, which will have you on the edge of your seat as you plummet 7.5 storeys down three thrilling drops, catapulting up funnel walls and swirling through rips.

The park is open every day except Christmas Day. You can book tickets here.

Indulge in hits from the 90s & 2000s at Torquay Hotel

Located in the heart of the seaside town, Torquay Hotel is the place to be this summer. Just a short walk from the beach, it’s the ideal place for a drink, a delicious meal, and even a place to catch some great live bands!

If you’re feeling like hitting the dancefloor in this weird period, the Torquay Hotel will also be the place to be on Tuesday with their event, ‘Say My Name’ 90s and early 2000’s Party.

Going down on December 28th from 8pm, the pub’s DJ’s will be playing all the best tunes/bangas/shaka’s/singalongs (and some deep cuts) from 1990 to 2010, perfect for those keen to let loose after Christmas.
Expect good times, great tunes, and guaranteed dance floor action all night long.

Tickets here.

 

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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 if you’re keen to get moving during this period.

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.

Archie 100: A Century of The Archibald Prize

Australia’s biggest art competition always makes news for its unique painters,  interesting subjects and garnering some notable celebrity artists, but it’s making news this year for a different reason.

It’s been 100 years since the first Archibald Prize competition was held, and it’s being celebrated with an exhibition that’s touring Australia.

It’ll feature all of the newsworthy art pieces, the most quirky, and of course some of the best portraits from the century of the award.

It’ll be held at the Geelong Gallery until February, and tickets are only $16 for adults, and $7 for kids, which you can grab here.

 

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Explore the beauty of Hepburn Springs

If you’re all about chilling out and embracing life in the slow lane in this time, we recommend checking out 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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Hit up the Circus at Wonderland Spiegeltent

Delivering world-class entertainment within an enchanting vintage structure, Wonderland Spiegeltent will once again be taking up residency on the foreshore of Barwon Heads with their spectacular program of live entertainment from December 26 2021 right through to January 30 2022.

Packed with glittering, thrilling, mesmerising and heartwarming entertainment and inviting audiences to step back in time and recapture the magic from the Golden Age of circus and travelling entertainment, the glitz and glam flow on to the outside with Spiegeltent surrounded by carnival-style rides, a food van and a garden bar, so you can keep the party going.

Kicking off on December 27, Circus Wonderland is returning with a heart-warming hour of spectacle, fun, and fantasy. A mesmerising cast of world-class circus acrobats, who always manage to deliver hilarious and thrilling circus fun for all ages, will keep everyone on the edge of their seats as they present a hilarious and thrilling magical Circus Wonderland Adventure for the whole family.

Tickets here.

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 before the new year! 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. The park will be open every day during this period.

 

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Weekend is here… who’s ready to fly?

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Sing along at Piano Bar’s pop-up in Portarlington

It’s time to swap your bowl of mussels for a cocktail, a Piano Bar pop-up is heading to Portarlington for the summer break, giving locals the perfect way to spend a balmy evening in the Bellarine.

Launching on Boxing Day and continuing until throughout January, you can expect to see all the things we love about our nights at Piano Bar – the dance floor, the drinks, the food, drags, magicians, vocalists, piano performances, and a number of special guest artists.

Alongside their Boxing Day and NYE events, Piano Bar Shipped will be running afternoons of family-friendly live entertainment in this weird time period. Piano Bar Performers will be performing family-friendly songs all afternoon and the dance floor is open for all.

Check out what’s on here.

 

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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 – and calories don’t count in this time. 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.

 

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Some days are simply better than other days. @visitballarat @benro_australia @maxxum.pty.ltd

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Give the Surf Coast Walk a go

Grab your best walking shoes 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 Berry Picking

Nothing says summer on the coast quite like freshly picked berries warm from the sun, and fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to pick-our-own right on our doorstep.

Whether you like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches or apples, there’s a bunch of different orchards and farms around the place growing everything and anything.

We’ve compiled a list of all the different farms you can check out in and around Geelong. Just make sure to check the website or social pages for opening hours ahead of making the trip.

 

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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!

Treat yourself to a night away from home

We’ve spent the most part of this past year dreaming of a weekend away from home and away from this desk, so why not make the most of the holidays and book a cheeky night away.

If you were ever looking for a chance to discover something new – even in your own backyard – now’s the time.

Visit Geelong and Bellarine have listed a range of local accommodation options to suit every lifestyle and budget which you can check out here. Alternatively, check out sites like Booking.com, Airbnb, Stayz, Last Minute and Riparide to discover something new.

 

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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 Redwoods 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 reopened and is the perfect day trip for anyone that wants to get up close and personal with wildlife.

The park specialising in native Australian animals and a wide variety of exotic reptiles. Here you’ll find Ballarat’s friendliest Meerkats, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, giant Tortoises, Rattlesnakes, giant Anacondas, little penguins, Sumatran tigers, Pythons, crocodiles, alpacas, 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.

It’s a great day out for couples, families, friends or it’s great even if you want to head out solo – these animals don’t judge. You can even have personal encounters with some of the animals to make it truly memorable, like hand-feeding the 100 free-roaming kangaroos, pat the little joeys, carry a wombat, wrap a snake around your shoulders, or get your picture taken with Hugo, their Giant Tortoise who is over eighty years old.

So, what are you waiting for? Round up your animals loving friends and make the trip to Ballarat, you won’t regret it.

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.

 

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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.

 

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Indulge in a local feast

We’re quite blessed in Geelong. Whether you’re after a quick bite, a group celebration or a fancy date night, there’s a huge range of places to eat, both in the city and in the surrounding suburbs, precincts and regions. Formal restaurants awarded hats by The Age Good Food Guide, quick and cheerful cafes with better-than-average coffee and loads of venues that take advantage of our position on the coast to offer views, alfresco and an amazing range of local produce.

A simple stroll down Little Malop Street or Pakington Street and you’ll come across some great cafes and restaurants for any time of the day. With restrictions the way they are, it’s probably best to book prior if you’re really craving but otherwise there’s no harm in trying your luck. We’re loving the OpenTable app, which gives you a rundown of participating venues and what time slots they have left. Very handy for the indecisive among us.

 

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