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Neighbourhood Guide: Geelong
By Concrete Playground
May 26, 2021
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By Concrete Playground
May 26, 2021
  shares

Having made the transition from industrial powerhouse to thriving metropolis, Geelong is a city with one eye on the future.

Far from a sleepy seaside town, Victoria’s second city — and one of Australia’s premier regional hubs — isn’t exactly a place to get away from it all. Geelong and its surrounds have plenty to offer visitors and home owners alike, from world-class beaches to top-notch wineries, as well as a wealth of heritage sites. Add to the mix a buzzing dining and nightlife scene, a booming creative landscape and a beachside lifestyle, and it’s pretty easy to see why Geelong is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia.

Having made the transition from industrial powerhouse to thriving metropolis, Geelong is a city with one eye on the future.

DID YOU KNOW

In 2017, UNESCO designated Geelong as Australia’s first — and to date, only — City of Design. With a significant Indigenous design heritage and a modern industrial history, Geelong is now a recognised global centre for smart technology, cutting-edge urban design and diverse, ever-growing creative industries.

GETTING AROUND

From Melbourne, a 75-minute drive on the M1 from the city will transport you to the heart of Geelong. There are also regular V Line services from Southern Cross station, with the ride taking less than an hour. Within Geelong, there is an extensive and easy-to-navigate network of buses and trains that are worthy of Victoria’s second city. 

PROPERTY PRICES

Geelong has an in-demand property market — its compound growth rate over the past five years sits at 9.5 percent for houses and 7.7 percent for units. That said, it’s not too late to buy in, with house prices over the past year averaging $911,500 and unit prices averaging $680,000. Check out NAB’s Property Report to learn more, then use its handy Home Loan Calculator to find out how much you can borrow. Or, book an appointment here.

LOCALS LOVE

The Cats, of course. Geelong is home to the second-oldest club in the AFL, and the town takes its footy pretty seriously. After its drought-breaking premiership in 2007 — the club’s first in nearly 44 years — the cup returned to the city to a crowd of around 35,000 at Kardinia Park. The day after, captain Tom Harley was given a key to the city and cult figure Cameron Ling was handed the mayoral robe and title of mayor for the day.

Living in Geelong

Discover the spots that could become your new local favourites.

Cafes

Geelong's cafes rival some of the best in the heart of Melbourne — here's where to start.

1. The Pickers Union

An ever-changing menu showcasing local produce, in a breezy, Palm Springs-inspired setting.

2. A Spot for Joe

No office? No problem. This relaxed spot includes a tidy brunch menu and an on-site co-working space.

3. Little Green Corner

Sustainability and community are at the heart of this brunch spot, which also hosts regular food workshops.

4. King Of The Castle

Classic brunch items with a clever twist is the go at this Pakington Street dining hall.

5. Analogue Academy

A film developing lab and gallery that also serves a darn fine coffee.

Restaurants

From classic French to innovative South American, Geelong's culinary offering is truly international.

1. Restaurant Igni

This Geelong fine diner is one of Victoria's best restaurants.

2. Frankie

A perfect pastel diner serving up great pan-Asian food in Geelong.

3. The Arborist

A thoroughly modern Australian restaurant (with a nod to the Middle East), featuring an excellent drinks selection.

4. Bistrot St Jean

A classic French bistro in the heart of Geelong that's full of charm.

5. Alma Restaurant

Contemporary South American-inspired shared plates and excellent cocktails.

Bars

Geelong's bar scene has been one to watch in recent years, and these top local haunts are proof why.

1. The 18th Amendment Bar

A sophisticated cocktail bar that recalls Prohibition-era Chicago and New York speakeasies.

2. There There

Set inside a grand old bank building, but feels like a 70s house party.

3. Geelong Cellar Door

An intimate bar with a working fireplace, plenty of seating and an impressive catalogue of wine showcasing the region's talent.

4. Piano Bar

Catch a drag show or make the stage your own at this rollicking live music venue.

5. Ms Bartronica

Fancy a game or two of Street Fighter, Mario Kart or even Time Crisis with your cocktails?

Leisure

Whether inland or closer to the water, there's plenty to see and do in Geelong and its surrounds.

1. The You Yangs

These distinctive granite peaks are perfect for bushwalking, picnics and even mountain biking.

2. Geelong Botanic Gardens

These heritage-listed gardens, which opened in 1851, showcase plants from all around the world.

3. The Old Paper Mills

This arts and culture precinct is set in an historic 19th-century paper mill.

4. The Barwon Heads Golf Club

Spend the night in the 1920s clubhouse and wake up for a round overlooking the Bass Strait.

5. Eastern Beach Reserve

This beautiful 1930s beachside reserve features an enclosed seawater pool, diving towers and a spectacular boardwalk.

Shops

Overhaul your closet with local designer wares and one of Victoria's best vintage markets.

1. Geelong Vintage Market

Head to this vintage market for everything from pre-loved Scandi furniture to rare books.

2. Frankie Say Relax

A beautiful lifestyle store, with a modern coastal aesthetic, stocking brands from around the world.

3. The Wildwood Collective

A storefront and studio space showcasing local designer wares, for you and the home.

4. Goose

A modern edit of homewares, womenswear and accessories — and a local favourite since 1996.

5. Geelong Waterfront Makers and Growers Market

These monthly markets showcase local produce and beautiful crafts from regional makers.

Art and Culture

Make no mistake — Geelong's art scene is one of the most interesting you'll find around Australia.

1. Geelong Library and Heritage Centre

A standout of Geelong's cultural precinct, with an extensive, year-round events program.

2. Powerhouse Geelong

Australia's largest street art and graffiti gallery (where you can also paint if you want to).

3. Boom Gallery

A contemporary art and design space with an on-site cafe.

4. Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre

A non-profit, education- and tourism-focused space celebrating the world's oldest living culture.

5. Geelong Art Space

An eclectic art space in a heritage building, promoting emerging contemporary artists and craft makers.

Living in Geelong

Discover the spots that could become your new local favourites.

CP's Picks

These are our favourite things to do in the area.

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