Welcome to Geelong – Victoria’s second-largest city where the Wathaurong people are the traditional Indigenous owners of the land.

The city of Geelong – home to 280,000 people – is where the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race starts and finishes.

Geelong and the Bellarine combine charming coastal villages with a lively and evolving waterfront precinct. The must-see region transforms into a cycling mecca from 30 January to 2 February.

Here you can dine at award-winning restaurants, explore hip laneways, head out to nearby vineyards and breweries and enjoy the best family water play experiences in the state.

Watch the races

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Line the start and finishing straight along Eastern Beach Road or watch the action from the Steampacket Gardens live site where big screens, food and drink stalls and all the festivities will be in full swing. Further inland, when the men’s and women’s UCI WorldTour classics re-enter

Geelong, the teams tackle the punchy Challambra Climb – first made famous in the 2010 UCI Road Worlds. Join the local street parties along Challambra Crescent or take up a position at the Challambra King and Queen of the Mountain live site.

The fastest point in the race comes with the Scenic Road decent where riders touch 85km/h before coming into Queens Park. Then, watch for the bunch sprint finish along the waterfront that will test the teams right to the end.

Things to do

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One of the biggest names in Geelong is chef Aaron Turner. Aaron’s Ryan Place restaurant IGNI is two-time winner of Gourmet Traveller’s best regional restaurant in Australia and was awarded two hats in the 2019 Good Food Guide. Award-winning chef Matt Dempsey’s


Bistrot Plume brings popular French cuisine to Belmont, experience a modern Parisian bistrot from when you step through the door. Geelong’s industrial spaces have been converted into hip cafes, bars, restaurants, accommodation and galleries. Don’t miss ‘it’ address Little Malop Street. The nearby Moorabool Valley is famous for its the cluster of

cool-climate vineyards and breweries. While, water play is prevalent with Sea All Dolphin Swims taking you snorkelling with wild dolphins, seals and colourful reef fish. Plus, Victoria’s biggest theme park, Adventure Park is only 15 minutes out of town.

Places to ride

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The 35km Bellarine Rail Trail takes you from South Geelong to Queenscliff. The moderate grade ride is the perfect way to discover the Bellarine Peninsula.

Cycling along the Barwon River in Geelong makes for an easy hit out with family and friends. And, for intermediate road riders, the waterfront precinct is a great place to start and finish circuits to

North Geelong and back. Or loop down to Bells Beach and back via Moriac and Barrabool. See Great Ocean Rides for maps and details.

Where to stay

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Some of our top picks:

Vue Apartments – Serviced apartments with views overlooking Eastern Beach.

Anchor Geelong – The old nurses quarters converted into boutique apartments in the heart of Geelong.

Novotel Geelong – The newly refurbished hotel is on Geelong’s bustling esplanade with views of the bay.

Warehouse Apartments Geelong – Boutique apartments in the heart of town on Little Ryrie Street. Book via Airbnb or

R Hotel Geelong – Offers deluxe self-contained apartment hotel experience.

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

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