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Looking For An Awesome Day Of Fun And Want To Know All About Eastern Beach Geelong?
Then you’re in the right place to learn everything you need to know about visiting Eastern Beach at Geelong Waterfront.
We live in Geelong and visit Eastern Beach on an almost daily basis. This means we have lots of local knowledge which we’re going to share with you here.
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 it’s 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 fun park you’ll never run out of things to do.
Ready to find out about Geelong’s Eastern Beach? Let’s start!
Eastern Beach Geelong Guide
Below is everything you need to know for a great day out at Eastern Beach Geelong.
We’ve included some of its history, 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 and you’ll also find our choices for the best places to stay.
Eastern Beach Geelong History
Part of the 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.
Eastern Beach 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 heap 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 around 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 continuing today.
Eastern Beach Reserve & Spanish Stairs
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, kicking the footy, or throwing a frisbee around.
The hills are home to some of Geelong’s most magnificent palms, peppercorn, and cypress trees, and Geelong’s iconic Spanish Stairs.
These beautiful white stairs connect the surrounding terraces, beach, and facilities to Eastern Beach Road 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. These sculptures are only replicas, 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 fantastic, 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 her 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 a must when visiting Geelong.
Geelong Eastern Beach Swimming Enclosure
An invigorating swim in the Eastern Beach swimming enclosure (or sea bath) is one of the most iconic things to do in Geelong.
As the sole remaining sea bath structure on the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay, this Geelong beach pool is unique.
The design is a modified version of the 19th-century fenced sea baths that once existed at this location.
The enormous swimming enclosure can hold thousands of swimmers who enjoy a range of fun water activities.
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.
The sea baths also have historical significance, reflecting the development of sea bathing practices in the area since their rise in popularity in the 1840s.
It symbolizes the shift from gender-segregated to mixed public sea bathing, as well as the growing interest in sports and recreational activities since the early 20th century.
Eastern Beach Kids Pool
At the bottom of the grand staircase and sitting adjacent to the sea baths is a delightful children’s swimming pool. On a summer’s day, a dip here is a great alternative to other beaches in the area.
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 ice cream 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 is 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 in its development.
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, you’ll find some cheeky bollards dotted around the Eastern Beach foreshore.
Fun tip: See if you can spot any hidden rabbits lurking around the bollard’s feet.
Kids’ Activities At Geelong Foreshore
Next to the swimming enclosure is a terrific playground for kids, with slides and climbing areas, swings, 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 runs return trips from the Carousel to the Eastern Beach Pools.
The 20-minute rides leave every half hour – more often during peak times.
Sitting at the western end of the foreshore path, the Giant Sky Wheel brings a touch of carnival magic to the Waterfront.
Offering a bird’s eye view of Eastern Beach and the Waterfront a ride on this humongous Ferris wheel is enjoyable for the whole family.
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 make it a popular spot for hosting festivals and events.
One of the first events that took place here was the ‘Miss Geelong’ beauty pageant. Held in 1940, the quest attracted more than 20,000 people.
Other important events that have taken place at this location more recently 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.
The Best Eastern Beach Geelong Accommodation
The stylish Novotel Geelong Hotel has a prime position right on the Waterfront close to Eastern Beach and other popular attractions. While, restaurants, cafes, and bars are just steps away.
The rooms are a good size with comfy beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, and balconies. Select rooms have scenic views of the water.
The Novotel has a range of facilities for guests to enjoy including a 24-hour heated indoor pool, a well-equipped fitness centre, and a relaxing steam room.
This is an excellent full-service hotel and our top pick on Geelong’s Waterfront and Eastern Beach.
Located conveniently close to Eastern Beach the R Hotel is perfectly positioned for those looking to explore the area.
Offering both traditional hotel rooms and self-contained 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, it’s an ideal choice if you’re wanting to do some self-catering. Dog-friendly rooms are also available.
Most of the rooms have balconies with views of the city, Austin Park, or the bay.
There’s an onsite cafe where you can grab your morning coffee, or for those looking to explore further, a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars are just a short stroll away.
Having been completed at the end of 2020 the R Hotel has quickly become one of the best places to stay in Geelong.
Situated on Bellarine Street, the stylish Vue Apartments feature balconies with views of Eastern Beach, Austin Park, and the city.
The complex has a range of self-contained apartments to choose from including studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options.
Each apartment comes with comfy King Koil beds for a cosy night’s sleep, a well-equipped European style kitchen, and a Nespresso machine for your morning caffeine hit. Private parking is also available.
The Vue Apartments has a great location, great views, comfy beds, and stylish rooms. What more could you ask for?
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 along this road until you reach 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. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Geelong Station to Eastern Beach.
A fun way to visit Geelong and Eastern Beach is to cross the bay by ferry. Port Phillip Ferries offers daily services between the Melbourne Docklands and Geelong Waterfront.
Launched on the 2nd December 2019, the state-of-the-art vessel offers a licensed cafe, barista-made coffee, free Wi-fi, bike racks, and charging stations.
Where Can I Park At Eastern Beach?
Free parking at Eastern Beach is available but 2 and 3-hour time limits apply.
Ritchie Boulevard has all-day parking for $7.00 and there’s paid parking further along the foreshore at $3.45 per hour.
Hearne Parade (above Eastern Beach), 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. 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! Always check your nearest sign and ticket machine 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’s home to the Pavilion cafe that’s run by Only Hospitality who operate more than 30 cafes and restaurants around Melbourne.
Serving coffee from 6.30 a.m. daily, the range of breakfast and lunch options include French Toast, Smashed Avocado, burgers, and a Prawn and Green Mango Salad.
There’s also a handy kiosk where you can grab a quick take away and upstairs is Caledonia Shores restaurant and bar serving Asian Freestyle dishes and cocktails.
Pavilion: Open 6.30 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. daily
Caledonia Shores: Open 5 p.m till late every day except public holidays
Does Eastern Beach Have Changing Rooms And Barbecue Facilities?
Yes, Eastern Beach has changing rooms and barbecue facilities.
The beautifully manicured lawns of Eastern Beach Reserve have free barbecues, sheltered picnic tables, and rotundas.
Visitors will also appreciate the art deco pavilion that has toilets, changing 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 at any time but they must be on a leash. Please clean up their doggy messes. There is a bag dispenser at the end of the foreshore path near the yacht club.
Can You Drink Alcohol At Eastern Beach?
Yes, you can drink alcohol at Eastern Beach during daylight hours. Unsealed alcohol containers are not allowed in parks and reserves between sunset and sunrise.
This means you can bring your own beer or wine to have with your picnic or barbecue. Alternatively, you can sit and enjoy a cocktail at the licensed Pavilion cafe.
I hope you’ve found this guide to Eastern Beach Geelong useful and that you enjoy visiting it as much as we do.
Eastern Beach is a top destination for those visiting Geelong, especially for families looking for enjoyable activities.
Its reputation as ‘the people’s playground’ remains well-deserved, attracting both locals and tourists alike with its inviting waterfront setting and array of facilities.
Whether its a leisurely swim in the swimming enclosure, a scenic ride on the Geelong Sky Wheel, or playful moments in the fun park, Eastern Beach offers a range of attractions that cater to all ages.
By Audrey Chalmers
Audrey grew up in Victoria and travelled the world but she always called Victoria home. She loves nothing more than exploring her home state and sharing it here.