Bellarine Peninsula: The Absolute Best Place To Visit In Victoria
Living on its doorstep we’ve long known of the delights it has to offer. And we’ve spent countless hours exploring all the Bellarine Peninsula things to do.
The rest of the world is starting to catch on too, and we weren’t surprised to see this beautiful peninsula listed as one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Value Destinations of 2017.
It’s a truly breathtaking destination with stunning sea views, beautiful farmlands, and gorgeous Australian countryside.
It has a lazy laid back vibe but it’s not just a beautiful sleepy place. And you’ll find heaps of things to do around Bellarine Peninsula. From sporting events to farmers’ markets, festivals, and wineries, this is one of the great places to visit in Victoria.
Below we list some of the things you’ll discover when you visit the Bellarine Victoria.
Why The Bellarine Peninsula Is The Best Place To Visit In Victoria
Peninsula Villages: Amazing Places In Victoria
Within easy reach of each other, the towns of the Bellarine have their own individual character. Each has its own attractions and heritage, and most importantly, there isn’t a high-rise in sight.
Here are some of the more popular places to see in the Bellarine Peninsula.
The historic town of Queenscliff is a lot like a British seaside resort. And with its grand Victorian heritage, it’s considered one of the most beautiful towns to visit in Victoria.
Once an old fishing village, it has an abundance of 19th-century cottages, grand hotels, adorable guesthouses, and beautiful wide boulevards.
You’re never left wondering what to do in Queenscliff. And visitors to the town are treated to galleries, museums, chic cafes, wineries, and the popular Queenscliff market.
One of the most popular Queenscliff attractions is the Queenscliff marina. Here you’ll find shops, top Queenscliff places to eat, and fancy yachts to drool over. It’s also where you’ll find the Queenscliff car ferry to Sorrento.
One of our favourite things to do in Queenscliff is to check out the views from the 40-metre Observation Tower. Located at the marina it has stunning views across the bay all the way to the Mornington Peninsula.
Queenscliff accommodation is some of the best in the area, click here for information about the best places to stay.
Point Lonsdale, the sister town of Queenscliff, is a coastal hideaway popular with day-trippers and families. It overlooks the ‘Rip’, one of the most dangerous strips of water in the world.
Things to see here include a beautiful old pier and the famous Point Lonsdale lighthouse – a popular spot for wedding photographers. Perched high on the cliff the lighthouse has spectacular views and panoramic photo opportunities.
There’s a lovely cliff path above Point Lonsdale beach that leads to the lighthouse and back beach. A favourite with surfers, at low tide the Point Lonsdale back beach is a fun spot for hunting crabs in the rock pools.
A visit to Point Lonsdale Queenscliff wouldn’t be the same without a stroll along the pier. Here you can chat with local fishermen and enjoy sublime views of the lighthouse and surrounding coastline.
With the roar of the surf, coastal town vibe, and ocean breezes, Ocean Grove Victoria has been a favourite with families for generations.
And it’s not hard to understand why as there are plenty of things to do in Ocean Grove. Situated on the southern coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, the town is surrounded by wineries, pristine beaches, golf courses, and nature.
There’s a wide selection of shopping facilities to choose from including major supermarkets and specialty shops. The town has a vibrant shopping strip where you can buy surf gear, gifts, local art, and gourmet produce.
Visitors won’t go hungry either as there are plenty of fab places to eat in Ocean Grove. We recommend checking out the Beach Terrace Cafe Ocean Grove while you’re here – it’s one of the best cafes in Ocean Grove.
Water lovers grab your surfboard and hit the Ocean Grove beach. Or alternatively, sign up for lessons at one of the many surf schools – they’ll have you catching waves in no time!
There are several walking tracks offering good views of the beach. And a flourishing nature reserve where visitors can explore the plants and animals of the wetland area.
Bellarine Peninsula Wineries and Breweries
You won’t go thirsty on the Bellarine where you’ll be spoiled for choice with locally made beers, ciders, and specialty wines.
And trying out the local wines and ciders is one of the top Bellarine Peninsula things to do. The best way to experience the region is on a Bellarine Peninsula wine tour.
Flying Brick Cider House
Named for the yellow-tailed black cockatoo – a local bird with the nickname “Flying Brick” – the Flying Brick Cider House’s retro-inspired venue is popular with locals.
All Flying Brick ciders are produced naturally using traditional methods. Pressing and fermenting local Victorian apples and Packham pears. The range comprises three core ciders – Original, Draught, and Pear.
Sit outside on the lawn and share a tasting plate with friends while enjoying live music and a refreshing cider.
Scattered along the peninsula are boutique wineries producing award-winning cool-climate wines.
The area has emerged as one of the largest grape-growing regions in Victoria. And each vineyard has its own distinct growing environment that’s often compared to France’s Burgandy or Bordeaux.
Here are a couple of our favourite places to try some Bellarine Peninsula wines.
Enjoy informative wine tasting at the unique and colourful Oakdene Geelong, where the cellar door looks like a house that’s been blown over in the wind.
Hello Dorothy, welcome to Oz!
The quirky décor is a huge drawcard, but the vineyard offers good value wines, specialising in varieties best suited to the region – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Sauvignon, Blanc and Pinot Gris.
The cellar door is manned by a team of friendly locals who’ll help you make your selection and show you around the unique property.
Visitors can also enjoy gourmet food at the Oakdene Vineyards restaurant, or casual fare at Mr. Grubb Cafe. And if you’re looking for the top winery accommodation Victoria has, then Oakdene is a great choice.
Jack Rabbit Vineyard
Perched high on coastal cliffs Jack Rabbit Winery is easily one of the best wineries Bellarine Peninsula has to offer. If you can only visit one winery, then make it this one.
The vineyard produces a wide range of sophisticated cool climate wines that please the fussiest of wine buffs. And with its spectacular views across the bay, Jack Rabbit Bellarine remains firmly etched in visitor’s memories.
The property has two stellar dining options to choose from. Boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and a stunning menu Jack Rabbit Restaurant is considered one of the best Bellarine Peninsula restaurants.
For a more casual option, the House Of Jack Rabbit cafe has a lush lawn where you can kick off your shoes and enjoy the best Jack Rabbit wines
Melbourne’s café culture has trickled down to the peninsula, and no matter where you are, you’re never far from sublime coffee and mouth-watering treats.
Calling a cute converted cottage home you’ll find Cafe Zoo on Drysdale’s main street.
This much-loved cafe has multiple dining spaces inside and out with lots of little nooks and crannies. The quirky decor features funky art and photography in a cosy and relaxed setting.
Cafe Zoo has a fresh modern menu and is open for breakfast and lunch every day from 7.30 am.
Make your way to Barwon Heads and start your day with a hearty breakfast at Annie’s Provedore.
The shelves of this popular café positively groan under the weight of local produce, gourmet treats, and specialty wines.
Soak up the rustic atmosphere of Annie’s Barwon Heads while enjoying a touch of Europe with a barista-made coffee.
Part of the Oakdene Estate, Mr. Grubb is possibly our favourite café on the Bellarine. We love sitting outside in the fresh country air relaxing amongst the silver birch trees with a coffee or hot chocolate.
The food and service are always superb, and for lunch on Sundays, there’s live music to add to the ambiance.
Don’t forget to take a stroll in the garden and check out the quirky artefacts and sculptures scattered around the grounds.
The more you look the more you’ll find!
Bellarine Peninsula Activities
From sporting events to festivals and Bellarine markets there are enough things to do on the Bellarine Peninsula to keep you busy for weeks.
Bellarine Peninsula Golf Courses
Bring your clubs and play a round of golf on some of the best golf courses in Victoria.
13th Beach Golf Links hosts the Victorian Open Golf Championship and is rated one of the best public access courses in Australia. The challenging natural links-style 36-hole course is positioned on true links land and offers a rare genuine links golf experience.
There are Bellarine golf courses all along the peninsula including Curlewis, Clifton Springs, Portarlington, and St Leonards.
With its ocean beaches, bays, and rivers the Bellarine is a slice of heaven for lovers of water sports.
Grab your board and hit the beach. Check out Ocean Grove, 13th Beach, and Point Lonsdale for the best surf.
As the area is fairly unpopulated you can surf world-class waves without much competition. In winter you might even have the waves all to yourself.
You’ll be surprised to learn there’s more going on under the waters of the Bellarine Peninsula beaches than you might expect.
Join an organised tour with a dive operator in Queenscliff, and discover old shipwrecks and reefs teeming with marine life – including delightful seahorses.
For a truly amazing experience, you can also swim with dolphins and seals in unique marine national parks.
Of course with all this water about, there are ample piers, jetties, rocks, and shorelines where you can cast a line in to catch your dinner.
Museums, Markets, and Festivals
Discover another side of the area and learn about its history while visiting historical buildings and museums.
A good place to start is Fort Queenscliff. Built to defend the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, it’s reminiscent of a medieval fortress with muzzle-loading cannons, walls, a dry moat, and a keep. A part of Australian history, this is one of the more interesting Queenscliff attractions.
Also popular with visitors, and wedding photographers is Point Lonsdale Lighthouse.
Keeping vigil over the Rip the lighthouse is staffed 24 hours a day making it unique in Australia as most lighthouses are now unmanned. During heavy fog, the foghorn still gives a warning blast to ships passing through.
Enjoy some of the best festivals in Australia. Held throughout the year they usually involve either food or music – and of course lots of fun.
Take your pick from the National Celtic Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Portarlington Mussel Festival, or the Wallington Strawberry Fair, just to name a few.
There are some great Bellarine Peninsula markets to explore.
The area is flush with vintage markets, farmer’s markets, and local community fundraisers, where you can find hidden local treasures or try a piping hot jam doughnut!
The Bellarine Taste Trail highlights the best wine, beer, cider, and fresh local produce you’ll find in this amazing part of Victoria.
Boasting nearly fifty food and wine destinations, exploring the ‘taste trail’ is one of the top things to do on the peninsula.
Gather the kids together for days of endless fun and adventure, swim, paddle, and boogie board at bay and ocean beaches.
Need a break from the beach?
Have some family fun at A Maze ‘N Games, get lost in the giant maze, or play a round of miniature golf. If you really want to wear them out then head to Adventure Park, Victoria’s biggest theme park, and home to the coolest water slides.
Or get up close to some wildlife at Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary a haven for sick and rescued koalas, kangaroos, dingoes, and other unique Australian animals.
It’s a great place to bring the kids to learn about Australian wildlife and the chance to touch or hold a koala or baby joey.