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Heading to Geelong city and looking for an awesome day of fun? Wondering what to do in Geelong and where the best Geelong tourist attractions are? Or perhaps you need the best kids activities Geelong has to offer.
Then Eastern Beach Geelong is the place for you!
Eastern Beach is one of the top Geelong attractions with its stunning waterfront location and excellent facilities.
When it was built, Eastern Beach was often referred to as ‘the people’s playground’ these days it’s just as popular and is considered to be the main Geelong beach.
Located at the eastern end of the Geelong Waterfront people gravitate here when the sun comes out, and at weekends and public holidays. It’s the city’s favourite spot to play and one of the best Geelong attractions for families.
If you are looking for fun things to do in Geelong, particularly for families, then Eastern Beach Victoria is the perfect place. From splashing in the Eastern Beach swimming enclosure to riding the Geelong Wheel, to playing in the Geelong fun park you’ll never run out of things to do.
Below is everything you need to know for a great day out at Eastern Beach Geelong. We’ve included all the main attractions, events, and activities, as well as where to eat, stay, park your car, and how to get there.
Towards the end of the article, we answer a list of frequently asked questions. You’ll also find our choices for the best places to stay.
So let’s start!
Eastern Beach Geelong History
Part of the divine waterfront precinct, Eastern Beach is one of the most stunning places to visit in Geelong. But it hasn’t always been the beautiful foreshore we see today.
It was once considered to be an eye-sore as the area was made up of ugly steep cliffs that connected the town’s northern boundary with Corio Bay. This was the site of the first sea baths in the region. These fenced public bathing enclosures were built in 1844 and were segregated by gender.
In September 1927 the contractors J.C. Taylor And Sons were hired to redevelop the whole area. The redevelopment was completed in stages and involved flattening the cliffs, land reclamation, and the building of a mile long sea wall.
The project cost 40,000 pounds, a tonne of money in those days, but it was seen as an investment in the city. How right they were! Eastern Beach became a popular recreation area for locals and their families.
In the 1960s the foreshore became less popular as more people owned cars and preferred to visit the coastal beaches in Geelong. Over time the area fell into disrepair and after decades of neglect by 1984 the promenade was so decayed it was considered dangerous.
In 1993, the city council announced that it was to completely restore Eastern Beach. (Yay!) The swimming enclosure, children’s pool, and dive tower were brought back to life. While the refurbishment of the kiosk saw its second floor open as a restaurant.
These were the first of many developments of Geelong’s Waterfront that are still continuing today.
Eastern Beach Reserve
The grassy slopes of Eastern Beach Reserve have been a favourite Geelong attraction since opening in the 1930s. The scenic reserve boasts a vast array of amenities including sheltered picnic tables, barbecues, change rooms, and large expanses of lush lawn just perfect for relaxing and a game of cricket.
The hills are home to some of Geelong’s most magnificent palms, peppercorn, and cypress trees, and Geelong’s iconic Spanish Staircase. These beautiful white stairs connect the surrounding terraces, beach, and facilities to Eastern Beach Road Geelong above.
Climb the stairs and at the top you’ll find the grand Corio Villa (1856), this picture-perfect house and its neighbouring properties are some of Geelong’s most prestigious and sought after addresses. (Sigh…)
Halfway up the staircase is a centrepiece fountain surrounded by statues of tortoises and cranes. The sculptures are replicas only, as the originals are kept safe, tucked away in the Botanic Gardens.
The views of Corio Bay, the promenade and You Yangs from the steps and terraces are mesmerising. And it’s a popular spot for wedding photographers.
Fun Fact: Geelong kids have been sliding down the hills on boogie boards, cardboard, and even Macca’s trays for generations – yes, bones have been broken.
Geelong Waterfront Promenade
Opening in 1939 as the final stage of the original Eastern Beach development, the Geelong promenade is one of the city’s most recognisable attractions.
The semi-circular wooden double platform is built in the Art Deco style and encloses 8 1/2 acres of salty seawater. It includes a shark-proof barrier that was added after a woman tragically lost both arms in a shark attack.
One of the ways the city council funded its 1990s restoration, was by asking local businesses and families to ‘buy’ a wooden plank. In return, the purchaser was recognised by having a brass plaque bearing their name placed on the plank. These plaques are still visible today.
Measuring 200 metres, a stroll around the legendary promenade is one of the top things to do around Geelong.
Geelong Eastern Beach Swimming Enclosure
An invigorating swim in the Eastern Beach swimming enclosure (or sea bath) is one of the most fun things to do in Geelong.
The sea baths are historically important as they illustrate the evolution of sea bathing in Geelong, which became popular in the 1840s. The design is an adaptation of the 19th century fenced bathing enclosure that was here and represents the transition from segregated sea bathing to mixed public bathing and the enjoyment of sport and recreation from the early 20th century.
This Geelong beach pool is the only original sea bath structure still standing from the many that were once found on the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay. The swimming enclosure can hold thousands of swimmers and it has tonnes of fun water activities to enjoy.
Here you’ll find a huge diving tower, as well as smaller diving boards and platforms, floating islands with play opportunities, slides, and swimming pontoons.
Let the kids go wild with the best kids activities Geelong has!
Geelong Beach & Kids Pool
At the bottom of the Spanish steps and sitting adjacent to the sea baths is a delightful children’s swimming pool. On a summer’s day, a dip here is one of the best things to do with kids in Geelong.
Surrounded by clear fencing the concrete pool ranges from 60 centimetres to 1.2 metres deep, with a sparkling fountain in the middle for some fun water play.
A white sandy beach connects the pool with the bay and foreshore path, which leads to the Geelong Ferris Wheel – the largest travelling Ferris Wheel in the southern hemisphere – and yummy icecream vans.
The enclosed pool area has bench seating for parents to supervise their kids and shade sails overlook the pool perimeter.
Open all year round, in the winter months, the icy pool is mostly used by local footy players for their recovery sessions. Brr!
One of the most famous things to see in Geelong are the Geelong Waterfront Bollards.
There are more than 100 of these incredible works of art scattered along the foreshore from Rippleside Park to Limeburners Point and the Botanic Gardens.
They are the creation of local artist Jan Mitchell who was commissioned by the city to transform old timbers and piles from a demolished city pier into these colourful, quirky characters. They are a fun representation of the city’s past that highlights the unique personalities that played a part.
The Baywalk Bollard Trail is one of the free things to do in Geelong that’s fun for the whole family. But if the two-hour walk (one way) is too long for you, then you’ll find some cheeky bollards dotted around the Eastern Beach foreshore.
Don’t forget your camera for that iconic Geelong pic.
Fun tip: See if you can spot any hidden rabbits lurking around the bollard’s feet.
Kids Activities Geelong Foreshore
Next to the swimming enclosure is a terrific Geelong playground for kids. There’s a variety of slides and climbing areas, a miniature steam train, and a small flying fox. The playground is only partly shaded so hats and sunscreen are needed.
Kids always get a kick out of riding the hop on hop off train, which looks just like Thomas. Waterfront Geelong Train Tours run return trips from the Carousel to the Eastern Beach Pools. The 20-minute rides leave every half hour – more often during peak times.
The Giant Sky Wheel brings a touch of carnival magic to the Waterfront. And for bigger kids a ride on the humongous Ferris Wheel is one of the must-do activities in Geelong. At night the Giant Wheel lights up the night sky with a kaleidoscope of light patterns.
What’s On At Eastern Beach Geelong?
The sloping hills and unique design of Eastern Beach makes a popular spot for hosting festivals and events. One of the first events was the ‘Miss Geelong’ beauty pageant. Held in 1940, the quest attracted more than 20,000 people.
Important events that have taken place at this location include the 2000 Olympic Games Torch Relay and the 2006 Commonwealth Games Baton Run.
Modern-day Eastern Beach Geelong events consist of the Dennis Walter Carols By The Bay, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the Festival Of Sails, and other sporting tournaments.
Motoring festivals and speed trials including the popular Geelong Revival have been held regularly at Ritchie Boulevard for many years.
For our full list of popular Geelong events click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Geelong Eastern Beach?
Eastern Beach is a part of the Geelong Waterfront on the north-facing shores of Corio Bay. It’s situated at the eastern end of the precinct near the corner of Hearne Parade and Eastern Beach Road. The city of Geelong is located 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne.
Eastern Beach directions: How to get there.
Just an hour’s drive southwest of Melbourne getting to Geelong by car is easy, thanks to well-maintained and signposted roads and highways.
From Melbourne’s CBD cross the West Gate Bridge and travel along the freeway until it merges onto the Princes Highway. Follow the highway for about 60 kilometres before exiting left onto Melbourne Road (The ring road on your right will take you to the Great Ocean Road).
Follow the road bearing left at Rippleside and onto the scenic Waterfront, continue on all the way to Eastern beach. Enjoy the views!
Public transport is also an easy and affordable option for getting to Geelong. Regular train services depart Southern Cross Station on the V/Line service to Geelong. Geelong Station is within walking distance of Eastern Beach.
A fun way to visit Geelong and Eastern Beach is to cross the bay by ferry. Port Phillip Ferries now offers daily services between the Docklands and Geelong Waterfront.
Launched on the 2nd December 2019, the brand-spanking-new vessel offers a licensed cafe, barista-made coffee, free Wifi, bike racks, and charging stations.
You can find out more about Port Phillip Ferries here.
Where is the best Eastern Beach Geelong parking?
Free parking at Eastern Beach is available but 2 and 3 hour time limits apply. Ritchie Boulevard has all-day parking for $5.80 and there’s paid parking further along the foreshore at $2.90 per hour.
Hearne Parade, Garden Street, and Eastern Park have free all-day parking and are a good choice if you don’t mind a bit of a walk.
On a hot summer’s day and during school holidays finding a place to park can be tricky. And if you really get stuck Westfield Shopping Plaza is an option, the maximum daily rate is $35.00.
Parking on weekends and public holidays in central Geelong is free, however time limits still apply.
Please note Melbourne Cup is not a recognised public holiday in Geelong. Instead, free parking is available on the Geelong Cup Day holiday.
Parking restrictions in Geelong can be confusing and parking inspectors abound! So be sure to check the signage before leaving your car.
Are there any Eastern Beach restaurants?
Eastern Beach has a beautiful red brick Art Deco cafe and restaurant building that also features a kiosk. It was home to The Beach House restaurant and cafe until it closed its doors without notice in 2016.
Since then visitors to the area have been serviced by food trucks and vans, a less than ideal situation.
Fortunately, The Mulberry Group, the team behind Higher Ground, Kettle Black, and Top Paddock have taken up a 10-year lease on the heritage-listed building.
Works are currently underway to restore the building to tip-top shape, with plans to open this summer. We’ll keep you posted!
Does Eastern Beach have change rooms and barbecue facilities?
Yes, it does.
The beautifully manicured lawns of Eastern Beach Reserve have free barbecues, sheltered picnic tables, and rotundas.
Visitors will also appreciate the pavilion that has toilets, change rooms, and showers.
Does Eastern Beach have lifeguards?
Yes, lifeguards patrol the children’s pool, swimming enclosure, and diving tower during the summer months.
Are dogs allowed at Eastern Beach?
Yes, dogs are permitted but they must be leashed. Please clean up their doggy do. There is a bag dispenser at the end of the foreshore path near the yacht club.
Eastern Beach Geelong Accommodation
Conveniently located in Bellarine Street the Vue Apartments have stunning views over Eastern Beach and Austin Park.
Guests can choose from studio, and one and two bedroom modern apartments. The open plan design features quality fixtures and fittings, European style kitchens, and award-winning King Koil beds.
The Novotel has one of the best locations in Geelong, right on the Waterfront and just a short stroll to Eastern Beach.
With newly refurbished guest rooms, the hotel features a heated indoor pool, fitness centre and relaxing steam room. All rooms have a balcony and complimentary Wifi. The best rooms have sensational water views.