Geelong is a vibrant regional city featuring a stunning waterfront and a colourful history which we discovered via many of the local attractions, museums and galleries. We followed the trail of colourful Bollards that tell the history of Geelong. There are more than 100 of the two-metre high, brightly painted icons guiding visitors along the foreshore walking/cycling track from Rippleside Park, through Waterfront Geelong to Limeburners Point and the Botanic Gardens.
The bollards represent a fascinating and fun chronicle of the city’s rollicking past, focusing on some of the unique characters who played a part. It is an anecdotal history, tracing Geelong’s development from the original aboriginal inhabitants to more contemporary characters. You’ll find young ladies in neck-to-knee bathing costumes, lifesavers, families, a footballer, sailors, a town band, fishermen and dozens more. The rabbits painted on some of them aren’t there just for a 3D game of Where’s Wally. Thomas Austin arrived in Corio Bay in 1859 with the first pairs of rabbits for his hunting pleasure, and they bred like, well, rabbits.
If its adventure you seek, there is plenty of that too. You can explore the waterfront by helicopter, cruise, seaplane, jet boat or even motorcycle – the choice is yours. We decided to take a walking tour which starts at the wool museum and lasted about 2 hours.
The Armitage-Herschell portable steam driven, hand-carved wooden carousel was constructed circa 1892 and is one of only 200 in operation around the world. Featuring 36 Dare horses and 2 chariots, it was purchased by the Steampacket Place Development Board in 1996 and painstakingly restored.
A replica 1898 Gavioli Band organ in the pavilion.
We had breakfast at the Sailors’ Rest which has enjoyed a long and rich history dating back nearly 100 years. Completed in 1913, Sailors’ Rest provided company and entertainment for sailors whom had spent weeks, and often months at sea in the confines of sailing ships. In fact Sailors’ Rest served as a home away from home for seafarers until 1986.
Bacon and Eggs (fried, poached or scrambled) on toast with sailors’ hash brown.
Spanish inspired breakfast – two fresh eggs baked with chorizo, spanish onion and roast capsicum in a rich tomato passata served with crusty bread.
State Government Offices, often referred to as the upside-down building.
The Geelong Regional History mosaic mural in the State Government Offices was produced 1978-1980 by the State Artist, Harold Freedman. It took two-and-a-half years to complete.
With magnificent views across Corio Bay, Four Points by Sheraton Geelong is situated in the heart of Waterfront Geelong. As part of our walking tour, we stopped here for afternoon tea and cakes.
The National Wool Museum is housed in a beautifully restored 1872 bluestone wool store and is set amongst the contemporary striking design of Waterfront Geelong. The Museum is Australia’s only comprehensive museum of wool, showcasing the Australian wool story – from the sheep’s back to the clothes rack, and from the birth of the industry in the 1840’s to its place in the world today.
The “The Wool Harvest” gallery looks at sheep farming and wool production. Exploring the pastoral aspect of wool in Australia, visitors can follow the path of the fleece through shearing, classing, wool pressing and dispatch. A recreated shearing shed and a film about shearing demonstrate what life in the shearing industry was like.
The “From Fleece to Fabric” gallery looks at the processing of wool into fabric and offers an insight into the people and processes involved in the textile industry. A sequential display of the machinery actually used in the process demonstrates the transformation of fleece to fabric. The 1910 Axminster Jacquard carpet loom is still operated by skilled carpet weavers and produces the Museum’s own Manor House Rug.
We had dinner at the Wharf Shed Café which offers casual waterfront dining. This relaxed and casual waterfront cafe and bar is a popular meeting spot in Geelong. With a good-quality, modern Australian menu on offer, there’s something for everyone.
Beer battered fish, served with a garden salad, chips and home made tartare sauce.
Chicken parmigiana topped with Virginia ham, Napoli and mozzarella cheese.
The Giant sky wheel is the largest travelling ferris wheel in the Southern Hemisphere. This is not a permanant structure and moves between Geelong and Melbourne city.
This post is one of an 11 part entry of our trip to Victoria, Australia.
See all the places we visited on this trip below:
- Dandenongs – Sherbrooke, Puffing Billy, Sassafras
- Geelong – Wool, Waterfronts, Bollards
- Great Ocean Road – Gibson Steps to Bay of Islands
- Great Ocean Road – Lorne, Apollo Bay, Cape Otway Lightstation
- Melbourne – Gardens, Aquarium, Gaol
- Melbourne – MCG, Yarra River, Southbank, St Kilda
- Melbourne – QVM, City Sights and Streets
- Mornington Peninsula – Dolphins, Mazes, Vinyards
- Phillip Island – Chocs, Koalas, Penguins, Nobbies
- Phillip Island – Churchill Island
- Yarra Valley – Healesville Sanctuary, Wine, Cheese