A Journey Through Geelong
LOCATED JUST A SHORT DRIVE SOUTH-WEST OF MELBOURNE, THE GEELONG REGION IS WAITING TO BE EXPLORED. VICTORIA’S SECOND-LARGEST CITY IS FULL OF CULTURE, DELICIOUS PRODUCE AND SOME OF THE BEST WINES THE STATE HAS TO OFFER. GEELONG IS ESTABLISHING ITSELF AS THE PERFECT GETAWAY IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO ESCAPE THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE CITY.
LEIGH MARIE DODD SPEAKS WITH LIAM TROMP, CELLAR DOOR MANAGER AT TERINDAH ESTATE, ABOUT HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR JOURNEY TO THIS PROMISING LOCALE.
Images courtesy of Terindah Estate
Referred to by locals as the ‘city by the bay’, Geelong boasts sprawling vineyards and picturesque views of the surrounding Corio Bay. With a plethora of scenic beaches to explore and the Great Ocean Road just around the corner, there’s plenty to do in this little corner of the state. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur after a peaceful retreat and a delicious drop of wine, or you’re after a spot of adventure and wine that packs a punch, Wineries of Victoria gives you a taste of what this region has to offer.
In addition to its sprawling hillside and beachside locale, Geelong has a rich history of producing some of the state’s most flavoursome wines. “In the mid-1800’s, Geelong was the largest and most decorated wine region in Victoria,” Tromp says. “[The region] consisted mainly of pinot noir, syrah, pinot meunier, pinot blanc/gris and riesling.”
Today, Geelong is home to some of the state’s most highly rated wineries; Terindah Estate recently won Best Pinot Noir at the 2019 Victorian Wine Show. “Geelong’s wine industry is steadily regaining its early reputation as a premium wine region,” Tromp says. Tromp explains that the diversity in the soil between separate sub-regions within Geelong such as Bellarine, Moorabool Valley and the Surf Coast, as well as the region itself, gives Geelong the ability to craft some of Victoria’s most sought after wines; “Geelong tends to be able to produce slightly fuller-bodied reds than some of its neighbours, particularly pinot noir,” Tromp says. “For those that appreciate a broader-chested red, but won’t give up any flair or finesse, Geelong certainly delivers.” The weather also provides the perfect conditions for local produce and delectable wines to flourish. The region receives far less rainfall than the Yarra Valley or the Mornington Peninsula, and its locale allows for more hours of sunlight, catering to those looking for an action-packed day out, or a relaxing weekend away. “Not only does [the weather] help in ripening our fruit, it also means that there’s more beautiful days to enjoy,” Tromp says.
Geelong’s unique climate conditions means that the area remains active year-round. “If you’d like plenty of time to discuss wine and all the local secrets at the cellar door, head down in the cooler months and settle into a warm conversation with one of the local pros,” Tromp suggests. If you’re looking to visit in the warmer months, Tromp recommends visiting in March as it is the best time to explore Geelong with perfect temperatures, minimal wind and plenty of sun for locals and tourists alike.
TO SUIT ALL TASTES
Geelong and its surrounds have plenty to offer, whether you’re looking to get the sand between your toes or disappear into one of the bustling neighbouring towns. If you’re after a gastronomical tour, you’ve come to the right place. Full of industrial spaces, hip laneways, cafés and bars, there are plenty of dining experiences to cater for all. Pair a light-bodied chardonnay with local fish, or try a nuanced pinot noir variety with a hearty stew in the colder months. The soil conditions in Geelong and its surrounding regions allows restaurants to use some of the best produce in the state. “The exceptional wine paired with food prepared from locally sourced producers is divine,” Tromp says. Be sure to sample some famous Bellarine mussels – you can even see the mussel beds from Terindah Estate!
CRUISING THE COAST
If you’re looking to explore off the beaten track, consider visiting the region’s diverse festivals. The National Celtic Festival, held in Portarlington, showcases a diverse range of art that considers the interpretation of Celtic culture in an Australian setting. With something for all ages, this could be the perfect day out for families and couples alike.
For a day trip, Tromp recommends starting the day onboard the Port Phillip Ferry when travelling from the bustling Docklands into Portarlington; “[afterwards], you’ll be whisked away to Terindah Estate for a guided wine tasting before lunch at The Shed.” Rated one of the top five regional restaurants in the state by Tourism Victoria, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide breathtaking sea views, accompanied by seasonal produce from the winery and its herb garden, paired with your favourite drop of wine. Alternatively, consider taking a scenic drive from Melbourne along the winding coastline before stopping by Scotchmans Hill in the heart of the Bellarine Peninsula for an immersive wine tasting experience.
After sampling the cuisine and delicious wine, visitors hoping to relax and unwind from the hectic city lifestyle can visit 13th Beach Golf Links for a spot of golf and a leisurely stroll along one of the many beaches in the Geelong area. For nature enthusiasts, enjoy a scenic hike or cycle around some of the nature trails that adorn the rolling hills of the region’s national parks.
“The view back across the bay to Melbourne, You Yangs and Mornington is breathtaking,” Tromp says.
Geelong’s close proximity to the city makes it the perfect location to unwind and unplug. The region is easily accessible with plentiful beaches and superb wine on offer. So, what are you waiting for?