The Bellarine Peninsula forms the western side of the mouth of Port Phillip Bay in Victoria, Australia. It lies immediately to the east of the city of Geelong. It contains a number of seaside towns and is a popular destination for its beaches, boating, wineries, orchards and historic attractions.
The visitor information centers in Geelong serve the Peninsula also.
- Geelong and Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Office, ☎ +61 3 5283 1735, toll-free: 1800 620 888, fax: 5223 2069. Princess Hwy, Little River. Every day 9AM-5PM.
- Geelong - National Wool Museum Visitor Information Centre, 26 Moorabool St (cnr Brougham St), ☎ +61 3 5222 2900, toll-free: 1800 620 888, fax: 5223 2069. Geelong. Every day 9AM-5PM.
- Queenscliffe Visitor Information Centre, 55 Hesse St, ☎ +61 3 5258 4843, toll-free: 1300 884 843, fax: 5258 3726. Queenscliff. Every day 9AM-5PM.
To e or not to e
Should Queenscliff end with an e? Both spellings are used in different contexts. The town is Queenscliff but the borough is Queenscliffe
Avalon Airport is closed to the region.
Car/passenger ferries cross the mouth of Port Phillip Bay between Queenscliff and Sorrento on Mornington Peninsula. They depart each terminal on the hour every hour 7AM-6PM every day. From 26 Dec. until end of daylight saving there are also 7PM sailings. Foot passengers adult $10, 5-15 years $8, under 5 years $1, foot passenger’s bicycle $2, tandem $3; passengers with vehicle adult $7.50, 5-15 years $5.50, under 5 years $1; vehicle rates vary with season – car up to 5.5m between $48 and $54.
The Bellarine railtrail runs from South Geelong Station to Queenscliff. Bike hire is available in Geelong from Geelong.
- Fort Queenscliff. was built in the 1880s as a defense against Russian invasion. The Black Lighthouse is in its grounds. There are guided tours at weekends and public holidays, adults $8??. The fort is still a military establishment so you are required to sign in and show identification.
- Queenscliff Maritime Museum, 1 Weeroona Parade.
- Bellarine Peninsula Railway. Steam trains run to Drysdale and return.
- A number of impressive 19th century buildings remain, particularly along Gellibrand St.
- Home of the ABC television 'Seachange' program with a children-friendly safe estuary beach and rugged ocean beaches such as 13th Beach for the more intrepid. Barwon Heads has long been a summer holiday destination for Victorian families.
Barwon Heads sits on the lower Barwon River Estuary where it enters Bass Strait. This estuary and the extensive Lake Connewarre wetlands to the north form a wetland of international significance and is part of the Port Phillip (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site because of its importance to both migratory and resident wetland and shorebird species. Where the river meets the sea is one of the coasts most dominant features, the calcarenite Barwon Bluff, also known as Mt. Colite, an important place for local Indigenous Victorians for thousands of years, and a beacon for the nearby entrance to Port Phillip Bay for navigators. The Bluff has been actively restored and revegetated from a degraded site, including a gravel car park, into a haven for nature by many volunteers, local managers, and school students. Beneath the Bluff lies the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, a 17 hectare reserve which aims to protect the rich intertidal reefs and the diversity of life they support, both above and below the water. Rich kelp forests cover the much of the sub-tidal reefs that have been carved and weathered by the surging southern swells. Large schools of reef fish are often found amongst the kelp while a rich diversity of invertebrates can be found on the reef. The site is a popular destination for students investigating local marine life and the local Marine Discovery Centre in Queenscliff (52583344) also conduct holiday activity programs here. The Marine Sanctuary is one of 11 Marine Sanctuaries and 13 Marine National Parks in Victoria set aside to provide protection of representative and significant areas of the sates rich and diverse temperate marine environments. These areas are managed by Parks Victoria / and like National Parks are fully protected from all forms of extractive or harmful activities. Fishing is not permitted in the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary or any other Marine National Parks or Marine Sanctuaries and penalties apply to offenders.
- The headland is right at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The channel through the heads is known as the Rip for its strong tidal currents. There are short walks linking the Rip View Lookout, the pier and lighthouse.
- Portarlington Beach Motel, 153-155 Newcombe Street, Portarlington, VIC 3223, ☎ +61 3 5259-3801, fax: +61 3 5259 3993. a pleasant family owned accommodation that has recently been renovated. 14 luxury units well suited to families and couples on looking for that special holiday.
- Hawthorn Suites, 1732 Barwon Heads Road, ☎ +61 3 5254-1777, fax: +61 3 5254 1666.
Take the ferry to Sorrento or head to Geelong.
Alternatively drive or bus along the Great Ocean Road. You don’t need to drive through Geelong – from Barwon Heads take the Barwon Heads Rd which becomes Lower Duneed Rd then turn left onto the Surf Coast Highway.