Discover Waterfront Geelong: A Local’s Guide (2024)

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By Audrey Chalmers

View of people relaxing on the sloping lawns at Waterfront Geelong. Geelong Beach, the city skyline, and the Giant Sky Wheel can be seen in the distance.

Discover Waterfront Geelong With This Ultimate Guide Written By A Local.

The Geelong Waterfront is one of the most popular places to visit in Geelong.

It’s the number one Geelong tourist attraction, and all visitors to the city end up visiting the Geelong foreshore at some point during their trip.

Many Geelong attractions are located here as well as excellent restaurants and some of the best places to stay in Geelong.

As lifelong Geelong locals, we have a special connection to the Geelong Waterfront visiting it on a daily basis.

In this guide, we share our knowledge and insider tips to help you get the most from your trip, so you’ll love it as much as we do.

We start by sharing all the fun things to do in Geelong Waterfront, as well as where to eat, and some amazing accommodation, before detailing the waterfront’s history.

At the end, we provide information about how to get there and a handy map so you can see exactly where everything is.

Ready to discover Waterfront Geelong? Let’s get to it!

Waterfront Geelong Guide

With the information in this guide, we’re sure you’ll have a ball when you visit Geelong Waterfront!

Geelong Baywalk

The Geelong Waterfront Baywalk on a clear day with palm trees on one side and the bay on the other. There are people walking along the path in the distance.
The Geelong Baywalk connects the east with the west.

The Geelong Baywalk allows ease of movement between the different bayside areas.

Considered critical to the success of the Waterfront, the path allows people to move safely and without interruption along the foreshore from Limeburners Point to Rippleside Park and beyond.

The walk is quite magical in the early mornings and evenings and there are plenty of seats, cafes, and stopping points along the way.

One of the many highlights you’ll see are the bollards that make up the Geelong Baywalk Bollard Trail.

Geelong Baywalk Bollards

Geelong Bollard of a glamorous woman wearing a pink dress with a large hat and cane standing beside a path.
There are 103 bollards along the Baywalk Trail. How many will you spot?

Made using repurposed timber pylons from the dismantled Yarra Street Pier, the Geelong Bollards offer a visual narrative of the city’s past.

Created by local artist Jan Mitchell, over 100 of these colourful characters line the 3-kilometre path beside Corio Bay.

Each bollard serves as a historical marker, illustrating individual stories and celebrating figures significant to Geelong’s growth and evolution.

Eastern Beach Geelong

View of Eastern Beach the most popular Water Geelong attraction. The promenade, childrens' pool, beach, and Giant Sky Wheel can be seen and the sloping lawns and picnic tables are in the foreground.
A favourite with us locals, Eastern Beach is the jewel in the Waterfront’s crown.

One of the best and most loved Geelong places to visit is Eastern Beach.

Located at the eastern end of the Waterfront, it’s the city’s favourite spot to play, and it’s one of the great places in Geelong for families with kids.

Here you’ll find the iconic promenade, a kiddies’ pool, and a shark-proof swimming enclosure.

Kids love the playground, water activities, and the Giant Skywheel, and adults enjoy the lush lawns, barbecues, and nearby cafe.

Geelong Ferris Wheel

The yellow and purple Gian Sky wheel against a bright blue sky with palm trees at its base. The Giant Sky Wheel is a fun Water Geelong attraction.
The Giant Sky Wheel is a fun Waterfront Geelong attraction.

A trip to the Geelong Waterfront isn’t complete without a ride on the Giant Sky Wheel.

Offering spectacular views of the Geelong beachfront and Corio Bay, the Ferris Wheel is the largest in the southern hemisphere.

At night it lights up in a kaleidoscope of colour with over 24 dazzling light patterns – a Geelong must-see.

The Sky Wheel is open year-round but may close due to weather or maintenance. You’ll find it perched at the end of Geelong Beach – you can’t miss it!

Rides last between 7-10 minutes.

Giant Sky Wheel Geelong

Where: 31 Eastern Beach Road, Ritchie Boulevard Geelong 3220

When: Mon – Thu: 12 p.m – 8.30 p.m, Fri: 12 p.m – 10.30 p.m, Sat: 10 a.m – 10.30 p.m, Sun: 10 a.m – 8.30 p.m

Tickets: Single Ticket: $10.00, Group Ticket (4 pax): $35.00

Phone: 0439 043 975

Royal Geelong Yacht Club

Boats moored at the Geelong Yacht Club on a bright blue day.
The Royal Geelong Yacht Club is home to the Festival of Sails

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club is one of Australia’s leading yacht clubs with an impressive history that goes back more than 160 years.

Playing host to many major yachting events the club plays an important role in attracting visitors from around the country and across the globe.

Two of the most popular events are the biennial Wooden Boat Festival Of Geelong, and the Festival Of Sails the largest keelboat regatta in the southern hemisphere.

Tucked in behind the club is the Yot Cafe & Bistro offering lovely views of the moored yachts.

The food here is simple and the service can be slow, but if you’re not in a hurry it’s a lovely spot for a relaxed coffee and sweet treat.

Royal Geelong Yacht Club

Where: 25 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong 3220

When: Mon – Fri: 8.30 a.m – 5 p.m, Sat: 9 a.m – 1 p.m, Closed Sunday

Phone: (03) 5229 3705

The Yot Cafe

When: Daily 9 a.m – 3 p.m, 6 p.m – 9 p.m Wednesday & every 2nd Friday

Phone: (03) 4243 3875

Steampacket Gardens

Woman catching a football at Steampacket Gardens Geelong Waterfront.
Steampacket Gardens is a great space for activities on the Waterfront.

Located right beside the water Steampacket Gardens Geelong is a big rectangle of lush lawn that’s perfect for a relaxing picnic or a game of frisbee.

A path on the northern edge connecting the gardens to the bay has seats where you can enjoy the sea breeze and watch the nearby helicopter toing and froing.

On the eastern side you’ll find the Wharfshed Cafe serving yummy meals and to the west sits the delightful historic carousel.

Some interesting art sculptures are dotted around the park.

Check out the Volunteer Rifle Band bollards and The Buoys sculpture, a group of former channel buoys that have been turned into a powerful piece of artwork.

On the first Sunday of each month, the Geelong Waterfront Makers and Growers Market (Steampacket Market) is held here.

This popular market offers local produce, beautiful art and handicrafts, and lots of tasty treats.

Geelong Helicopter Rides

Geelong Helicopters specialises in scenic flights, private charter, aerial photography, and tours.

This is a wonderful way to see Corio Bay, the Geelong CBD, Barwon River, the town of Torquay, and the famous Bells Beach.

Operating daily from the Yarra Street Pier, flights start at $95.00 pp for 5 minutes. There is a minimum cost of 2 adult passengers.

Geelong Helicopters

Where: 1A Yarra Street, Geelong Waterfront 3220 (Yarra Street Pier)

When: 10 a.m – 5 p.m most days (Weather dependant)

Tickets: Adults: $95.00, Children: $85.00

Phone: 0422 515151

Wangim Walk Wave Attenuator

People strolling along the Wangim Walk at the Geelong foreshore on a clear blue day.
Wangim Walk is a popular attraction on the Geelong foreshore.

Named after the Wadawarrung language for boomerang, Wangim Walk is a major milestone in the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct Project.

It was originally built to provide a safe harbour to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, but it has also become a popular Geelong tourist attraction.

The 440 metre long wave attenuator stretches out over Corio Bay and offers superb views back to the city skyline and yacht club.

Fishing is permitted and there’s a safety gate that closes off the walk when the weather turns nasty.

Opening hours: 6 am – 10 pm weather permitting.

Geelong Carousel

Young boy riding the carousel at the Geelong Waterfront. He is sitting on a white horse next to a black horse with a green and blue saddle.
Kids can enjoy old-style fun at the Geelong Carousel.

The Carousel Geelong is a rare 1892 Armitage-Herschell hand-carved wooden carousel.

One of only a few in the world this beautifully restored carousel is considered by many to be the best that’s still in use today.

Housed in a modern steel and glass enclosure the pavilion has an old-world carnival atmosphere that’s enhanced by a pipe organ playing Dixieland melodies.

A ride on this enchanting carousel is a magical experience for children of all ages and abilities, with a mobility lift that assists wheelchairs onto the attraction.

Entry into the pavilion is free. Tickets to ride the Carousel are $5.00.

Geelong Carousel

Where: 1 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong Waterfront 3220

When: Mon – Fri: 10.30 a.m – 5 p.m, Sat – Sun: 10.30 a.m – 6 p.m

Tickets: Single Ride: $5.00, Multi Rides: $45.00

Phone: (03) 5224 1547

Geelong Bungy Trampolines

View of the Bungy Trampolines at Geelong Waterfront surrounded by a large expanse of grass and trees.

If you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in Geelong, then the Waterfront is the perfect place for you.

Aero Bounce transforms the conventional trampoline with its special harness and elastic system, elevating the jumping experience to new heights.

With this enhanced set up users can achieve movements eight times greater than a standard trampoline.

Jumpers can soar up to 10 metres performing gravity-defying stunts like somersaults and backflips. And experience the thrill of weightlessness in complete safety.

The Bungy Trampoline is located near the Carousel, there’s a 5-minute jump guarantee (longer when there’s no queue).

Aero Bounce

Where: 1 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong Waterfront 3220

When: 9 a.m till late

Tickets: $15.00 for 5 minutes, $27.00 for 10 minutes

Phone: 0402 365 516

Geelong Waterfront Train

Along with the kids’ activities we’ve already listed here, kids get a kick out of the train that runs along the Waterfront.

Geelong Waterfront Train Tours journey from the Carousel to Eastern Beach and back travelling along the scenic Baywalk path.

Kids love these rides and the train adds to the Waterfronts carnival atmosphere.

The 20-minute rides depart every half hour or quarter hour in peak season. Sooner if it fills up. It operates weekends, school, and public holidays all year round.

Geelong Waterfront Train Tours

Where: 95 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong Waterfront 3220

When: Half-hourly weekends and public holidays, daily in school holidays

Tickets: $8.00 per ride

Phone: 0419 488 298

Cunningham Pier Geelong

View of the restaurants at Cunningham Pier. The buildings are bright white against a blue sky and bay. Palm trees can be seen being blown by the wind.
Cunningham Pier is a striking feature at Waterfront Geelong

Cunningham Pier is one of the most recognisable structures on the Geelong Waterfront.

Originally known as Railway Pier, it opened in the mid-1850s and was an important part of the Geelong Port. You can still see the train lines that were used to transport cargo to the end of the pier.

The pier stretches 250 metres out over Corio Bay and its bright white building is a standout feature of the foreshore.

The two-storey weatherboard building houses the Wah Bar and Asian food restaurant (bao buns!), Wah Wah Gee. The Pier Geelong function centre is also located here.

A large part of this Geelong pier is dedicated to car parking and a convenient covered walkway provides shelter as you walk along the train tracks.

Fishing has always been popular on Cunningham Pier, and in keeping with tradition local anglers continue to use it.

The Poppy Kettle Playground

Image of small sculptures sitting on rocks at the Poppy Kettle Playground in Geelong. The sculptures are of miniature people from Peru and a kettle taken from a fairy tale.
The Poppy Kettle Playground is straight out of a fairy tale.

This Geelong playground was inspired by the children’s book The Voyage Of The Poppykettle by local author Robert Ingpen.

The story focuses on a group of miniature people from Peru, who set sail in an old tea kettle to find the land ‘beyond the horizon’ and eventually come to rest in Geelong.

Bronze statutes of the tiny Poppy Kettle people are scattered around the park giving it a fairy tale quality.

Other features include an interactive water fountain, a sea dragon, an awesome slide and climbing tower, and a terrific pyramid climbing net.

There’s plenty of lush grass to picnic on, public toilets, and there’s usually an ice cream and hot jam donut van parked nearby.

Geelong Skatepark

Geelong waterfront skate park with Cunningham Pier and palm trees in the background.

There’s no better location for a skate park than right beside the bay at Waterfront Geelong.

The Youth Activities Area to the west of Cunningham Pier is an outdoor plaza-style park. It has a variety of street obstacles including ledges, stairs, rails, and bank ramps.

The park also features a basketball ring, bench seating, open-air performance areas, and stereo music.

Events designed for young people are held here throughout the year, and many of them are free.

Western Beach

Runner on the boardwalk at Western Beach Geelong. The city skyline can be seen in the background.

People have been swimming, boating, fishing, and playing at Western Beach Geelong since the 1840s.

In those days there was an unwritten rule designating Western Beach for men’s bathing and Eastern Beach for women. However, some ‘dastardly gentlemen’ would disregard the agreement scaring respectable women away.

Today the area is rarely used for swimming, but it’s still a popular stretch of foreshore connecting Rippleside to the rest of the Waterfront.

Here you’ll find the Boat House restaurant (Geelong’s best spot for fish and chips), the Poppykettle Playground, a designated fishing area, and the marvelous Western Beach Boardwalk.

Curving out over the water the boardwalk has well-placed seats where you can sit back and watch the sea birds duck diving for fish. In the early morning, it’s perfect for watching the sun come up over the bay.

Rippleside Park

People enjoying themselves at Rippleside Beach on the western edge of Geelong Waterfront. A breakwater can be seen and there is a boat out in the bay. There is a small patch of lush grass in front of the beach.
Rippleside is a hidden gem on the western edge of Geelong Waterfront.

Located on the western edge of the Waterfront, Rippleside Park Geelong is a pretty grass-covered foreshore reserve.

Popular with locals, Rippleside is less well-known to tourists who drive past en route to more popular areas.

The park has magnificent bay views and is particularly appealing to families with young children who love the adventure playground.

The huge wooden structure has ramps, walkways, steps, and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

When the kids tire of the playground the reserve has wide-open spaces to run around in. Don’t forget to bring your footy!

Tucked in next to the reserve is tiny Rippleside Beach where you can bask in the sunshine or splash around in the water.

Overlooking the whole area is the bright and spacious No. 42 Cafe. This stunning waterfront cafe serves excellent coffee and has huge windows with to-die-for water views.

Other amenities include picnic and barbecue facilities, toilets, and plenty of car parking spaces.

No 42 Cafe

Where: 42 Bell Parade, Rippleside 3215

When: Tues – Sun: 9 a.m – 3 p.m

Phone: (03) 5277 9266

Geelong Art

Geelong public artwork sculpture "North" with Corio Bay in the background.
Sails or shark fins? You decide.

The Geelong Waterfront is chock full of public art.

From huge impossible-to-miss sculptures, to light installations, statues, and hidden whimsical pieces, visitors can enjoy an impressive mix of artistic interpretations.

Here are just a few of the unique artworks you’ll see as you walk around the foreshore. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

North: Located at the bottom of Moorabool Street, this distinctive sculpture is made up of 7 earth coloured structures. Designed to look like it’s floating on water when viewed from higher up the street, no two pieces are placed on the same axis.

The Buoys: This striking piece of artwork features a group of channel buoys. Found at Steampacket Gardens this huge sculpture is a favourite with tourists who love to have their photo taken with The Buoys!

Grassy Knoll: Found at Transvaal Square this unusual (weird?) sculpture is often likened to the holocaust memorial in Berlin. It’s an interactive piece that visitors can walk amongst and play with to gain different perspectives.

The Cargo Boxes: These metal and glass boxes hold examples of the cargo that arrived at the Geelong Port. You’ll find them dotted around the Customs House lawn.

The Barcode Fountain: Also on the Customs House lawn beside Sailors’ Rest is this unusual water feature. The shallow fountain has stainless steel panels that are etched with the Noddy’s Softdrink barcode. Noddy’s was a Geelong icon for generations.

Paving Splats: Easy to overlook, the Paving Splats are ‘splattered’ around the central Waterfront precinct. They’re made from stainless steel and have inlays that show imported and local objects. The Splats are found in the pavement, so keep your eyes cast downwards.

Geelong Christmas Tree

The Geelong Floating Christmas Tree at night with green lights and a pink star. The lights of Cunningham Pier can be seen in the background.

The Geelong Waterfront Christmas Tree is Australia’s tallest and only floating Christmas tree. At 25 metres high it’s an incredible sight that attracts visitors from far and wide.

The tree is covered with 11,000 reflective discs that sparkle and shimmer in the sunlight. While at night a music and light show wows visitors with a stunning symphony of colour and sound.

You’ll find the Geelong Christmas Tree at Steampacket Quay from late November to early January.

Waterfront Geelong Events

People gathered on the grass slopes of the Geelong Waterfront at the Geelong Revival motor car event.
The Geelong Revival is a popular event at Waterfront Geelong.

From world-class sporting events and holiday celebrations to community festivals and markets, the Geelong Waterfront plays host to loads of festivities all year round.

One of the best things about these events is that most of them are free to attend.

Why not time your visit to coincide with a festival for a jam-packed weekend of fun?

Festival Of Sails: Enjoy exhilarating yacht races and action-packed water activities at the largest keelboat regatta in the southern hemisphere.

Cadel Evans Road Race: Paying tribute to Australia’s only Tour de France winner this race attracts the world’s top cyclists. Cyclists ride from the Waterfront to Barwon Heads and Torquay and back again.

Geelong Revival Motoring Festival: Watch classic and exotic cars and motorbikes sprint down Ritchie Boulevard at this action-packed motoring festival.

Other great Waterfront events include the Wooden Boat Festival, Steampacket Gardens open-air cinema, the Triathlon Half-Ironman, Carols By The Bay, and the New Year’s Eve Fireworks.

Where To Stay: Geelong Waterfront Accommodation

There is an excellent range of accommodation at Waterfront Geelong from a full-service hotel to luxury self-contained apartments.

Novotel Geelong

Guest room at Novotel Geelong Hotel with glass sliding doors that open to a balcony with views over Corio Bay. A beautiful Geelong Waterfront Hotel.

The modern Novotel Hotel is situated right on the Waterfront close to all the attractions, including Eastern Beach and Steampacket Gardens. Restaurants and nightlife are just steps away.

The spacious rooms come with comfy beds, free Wi-Fi, and balconies the best rooms have water views.

Check the latest prices.

On-site facilities include a heated indoor pool, a fitness centre, and a relaxing steam room. All are open 24 hours a day.

This is a great full-service hotel and our top pick on the Waterfront.

👉Check Rates and Availability Here!

R Hotel Geelong

View of the R Hotel in Geelong. The original building is on the ground floor with the new addition on the upper levels. There are some trees around the hotel adding greenery.

Situated just around the corner from Eastern Beach, the R Hotel Geelong is ideally located for any trip to Geelong Waterfront.

This apartment hotel offers both traditional hotel rooms and self-contained 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.

Most options have balconies with fabulous water views.

Check the latest prices.

There is an onsite cafe but restaurants, cafes, and bars are within easy walking distance. As are all the Geelong Waterfront attractions.

Construction of the R Hotel was completed at the end of 2020 and it has quickly become a top choice for accommodation in Geelong.

👉 Check Rates and Availability Here!

Vue Apartments Geelong

Guest room at the Vue Apartments at Geelong Waterfront with an enclosed balcony. There is a tan leather couch and oblong coffee table in the living area.

The Vue Apartments offer stylish and comfortable self-contained accommodation that’s just steps away from the Waterfront.

Check the latest prices.

You can choose from studio, and one and two bedroom apartments. All rooms are kitted out with fully equipped European-style kitchens and for coffee lovers Nespresso machines.

Secure private parking and free Wi-Fi are available.

👉 Check Rates and Availability Here!

Geelong Waterfront Restaurants

Wondering where to eat in Geelong Waterfront?

There’s no shortage of options to choose from and the Waterfront has some of the best places to eat in Geelong.

From seafood to Asian food and the humble fish and chips you’re bound to find a Waterfront Geelong restaurant to suit you.

Here are just a few for you to choose from.

Sailors’ Rest: This stunning restaurant and bar, has the only rooftop bar on the Waterfront overlooking the bay.

The Edge: Offering sea views and a contemporary menu Edge is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike.

Wah Wah Gee: With its stellar location on Cunningham Pier there’s no better place to enjoy Asian food. Try the bao buns.

The Wharf Shed: Located just a few steps from the water this newly refurbished restaurant and bar has something for all taste buds.

Fishermen’s Pier: A seafood restaurant that markets itself as fine dining. Not a cheap option.

The Mussel Boat: Offers paella, calamari, and mussels cooked and served straight from the boat. This is take away only.

People lined up to order their food at the Geelong Mussel Boat on the Geelong Waterfront.
Enjoy delicious fresh mussels straight from the boat.

Waterfront Geelong History

The Geelong Waterfront has been an integral part of the city’s economic and social community for over 150 years.

Without it, Geelong would not be the magnificent city it is today.

In the early years, Geelong was an official port for the exportation of gold. Its location was ideal for miners as they could avoid travelling through Melbourne and it was closer to the Ballarat Goldfields.

In 1868 the first wool mills opened in Geelong and massive wool sheds sprung up along the foreshore.

Most of the Waterfront was dedicated to the wool trade and for a time the city was known as ‘The Wool Centre of the World’.

Geelong Waterfront path at dusk with a view of the bay.
Geelong Waterfront at dusk.

By the turn of the 20th century, Geelong was a major agricultural trading port. And by the 1940s wool was the second largest export commodity out of the port.

Stage 1 of the city foreshore beautification plan began in the mid-1980s and involved landscaping the Corio Bay Crescent between Rippleside and Limeburners Point.

In 1995 a partnership was formed between the Victorian State Government and the City Of Greater Geelong to redevelop and beautify the area.

A major goal was to transform the waterfront into a tourist destination capable of drawing traffic from the highway en route to The Bellarine and Great Ocean Road – Victoria’s busiest tourist route.

They’ve well and truly achieved that goal and the Geelong Waterfront is now a major Victoria tourist attraction with hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

How To Get To Geelong Waterfront

Geelong is located 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. It’s relatively easy to get to with a few main options for tourists to reach the Waterfront.

By car: Driving from Melbourne to Geelong is quite simple as it’s a freeway all the way. There are no tolls and plenty of signs to show you the way.

By Train: All Geelong bound trains leave from Southern Cross Station in Spencer Street. The journey takes around an hour then it’s just a few minutes walk from Geelong Station to the foreshore.

By Ferry: The best and most fun way to arrive at Waterfront Geelong is on board the Port Phillip Ferry. Operating daily services the ferry leaves from the Docklands. For more information click here.

By Air: Geelong is served by both Avalon and Melbourne Airports which provide domestic travel within Australia. Avalon Airport is located just 20 minutes from Geelong. To find out how to get to Geelong from Melbourne Airport (and Avalon) read our guide here.

Waterfront Geelong Map

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim at Geelong Waterfront?

Yes you can swim at Geelong Waterfront. The historic Eastern Beach Swimming Enclosure with its slides and diving platforms, offers safe swimming in the sheltered waters of Corio Bay. Lifeguards are on duty during peak season. Nearby, Geelong Beach also offers safe swimming at the Geelong Waterfront.

Is Geelong Waterfront dog friendly?

Yes Geelong Waterfront is dog friendly. Dogs are permitted on a lead at all times. Poop bags are available if you’re caught short and there are water fountains with dog bowls dotted along the foreshore path. Most of the waterfront cafes allow dogs in their outdoor eating areas as well.

What is the name of the pier in Geelong?

The name of the pier in Geelong is Cunningham Pier. Built in the 1850s it was originally known as Railway Pier as a train line went out to the end of the pier and it was used for loading and unloading cargo.

Can you drink alcohol at Geelong Waterfront?

Yes, you can drink alcohol at Geelong Waterfront during daylight hours. Unsealed alcohol containers are not permitted in parks and reserves between sunset and sunrise. There are many licensed premises in the area where you can have a drink after dark or during the day.

Final Word

I hope this guide has given you some inspiration for your next getaway.

Whether you’re drawn by the historical significance, the variety of activities, the tasty dining options, or the comfortable accommodations, this guide ensures you have all the information you need for an unforgettable time at Geelong Waterfront!

Discover more things to do in Victoria here.


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.