Bellarine Peninsula has long been a popular weekend getaway for Melburnians and now the rest of Australia is discovering its charm. With more beaches, wineries and local produce than you can shake a stick at, the region is a prime spot for a relaxing holiday.
Start in Queenscliff, a small town filled with art galleries, gourmet restaurants and independent retail stores. Treat yourself to some heavenly gelato at Fritz Gelato or indulge in a spa treatment using indigenous Australian plants at the Mud Day Spa.
You might already be familiar with Barwon Heads, the setting for the long-running TV series Sea Change. If you’re looking to catch a few waves, this is the best place for a surf. Otherwise, enjoy a round at the Barwon Heads Golf Club, overlooking the waves, or take a picnic to the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary.
The small, beachside town of Ocean Grove is the place to be on the third Saturday of each month for the Bellarine Community Farmers’ Market. Pick up local honey or freshly baked sourdough, then snack on dumplings.
In Queenscliff, you can visit Fort Queenscliff, built in the 1880s and one of the best preserved forts in Australia. It’s still the defence archive centre, so make sure you bring ID to enter. Nearby is Buckley’s Cave, where escaped convict William Buckley hid for years, living with the local Aboriginals.
Queenscliff is also home to the Maritime Museum, with displays on the pilot boat process, shipwrecks and lighthouses. Don’t miss the last lifeboat to serve the Rip, the two-kilometre stretch of water that all ships must pass through to reach Port Phillip.
To round off your maritime tour, the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse is not to be missed. More than 100 years old, it’s still operational. You can climb the lighthouse and watch ships negotiate the Rip.
Check out the Bellarine Taste Trail, which features more than 40 local food and wine producers on the peninsula. There’s everything epicurean you could possibly want, including fresh seafood, award-winning restaurants and locally-made wine and cider.
There’s such an abundance of options, you’d be hard pressed to visit every winery on the peninsula. For breathtaking views, Jack Rabbit Vineyard and Basils Farm are great options. If you want to try as many local wines as possible, head to the Barwon Heads Winestore, which is stocked with the best selection of wines on the peninsula. Or take a wine tour with For the Love of Grape, which will organise all the details for you.
RACQ Travel can help you plan your next domestic holiday. Contact one of our friendly travel consultants on 1300 096 166.