JAN 2024

Visit Barwon Heads and the Bellarine

There’s a reason why Cadel chose Barwon Heads as his Australian home base – the relaxed, slower pace of the town at the mouth of Barwon River is a sanctuary for locals and visitors alike.

The town famously painted itself yellow when Cadel was riding – and winning – the 2011 Tour de France!

Here, you can soak up the coastal scenery all year round and find a beach for every occasion – from surf breaks to river beaches and snorkelling grounds. Walk, ride, swim, paddle, pick berries, shop, eat, drink, listen, watch, discover – the agenda exploring The Bellarine is as full as you make it.  Not to mention it’s home to Victoria’s biggest theme park, Adventure Park.

While the perfect way to discover the Bellarine Peninsula is by riding the 35km Bellarine Rail Trail, which takes you from South Geelong to Queenscliff.

Places to ride

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Looping between Geelong and Barwon Heads, the region has all the ingredients for a memorable ride – beautiful beaches, waterfront roads and postcard-perfect wineries.

The 64km loop takes you past Thirteenth Beach before turning right up Horseshoe Bend Road. Head into the Geelong waterfront and then journey along Portarlington Road.

Turn right on Grubb Road and travel through Ocean Grove before winding back into Barwon Heads. See Great Ocean Rides for maps and details.

Things to do

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Studded with superbly sculpted, five-star golf courses, Barwon Heads is home to three of Australia’s Top 30 public access courses (Ausgolf magazine).

Tee off at either the Creek Course, designed by six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo, or the Beach Course, designed by Tony Cashmore, at 13th Beach Golf Links.

Swim in the wide and picturesque Barwon River estuary, along the sandy foreshore at the river mouth or at the neighbouring Ocean Grove Main Beach. Cast a line for a spot of fishing or, for more heart-racing adventure, head to the Bluff at Thirteenth Beach for lively surfing action.

Dive under the surface with Sea All Dolphin Swims and snorkel with wild dolphins, seals and colourful reef fish in Port Phillip.

The Bellarine is dotted with friendly cafes, wineries with views across the bay, micro-breweries, whiskey and gin distillers, and even a cider house.

The Bellarine Taste Trail brings together makers and growers who have lovingly planted, picked and perfected the best things to eat and drink into an easy-to-follow farm-gate trail, all within 20-minutes’ drive of each other.

For more things to see and do, head to the Visit Geelong and The Bellarine website.

Where to stay

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Accommodation @ Curlewis – Have a hit of golf before hitting the pillow in your private eco-suite.

Campbell Point House – A luxury French Chateau mansion hotel on Lake Connewarre.

Lon Retreat and Spa – After opening in late 2018, Lon was named in Conde Nast Traveller’s Top 100 places to stay around the world.

The Nest – Three sustainably built private pods with 180-degree views of Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove and Point Lonsdale.

Portarlington Grand Hotel – Experience modern luxury in one of 18 newly furbished, boutique rooms, all enclosed in stunning historical architecture.

Oakdene Vineyards Guesthouse – on 230 acres of lush coastal farmland, the original 1920s homestead has been beautifully restored.

The Woods Ocean Grove – Set amongst 100-year-old gum trees, escape for a bush retreat without scrimping on style, comfort or easy access to amenities.

For simple transport tips, check out our Getting There page.


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