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. Barwon Heads is also home to three of Australia’s Top 50 public access courses, according to Ausgolf magazine.

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 Horse Show 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 50 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.

Swim in the wide and picturesque river estuary or along the sandy foreshore at the river mouth. 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.

The town is dotted with friendly cafes and close to the best of the Bellarine wineries, micro-breweries, whiskey and gin distillers, including a cider house. The Bellarine Taste Trail brings together the most delicious produce, food and drinks in an easy to follow farm-gate trail, all within 20-minutes’ drive of each other.

Where to stay

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Some of our top picks:

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.

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

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

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

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

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