Don't Miss

The Carousel Pavilion: The pavilion houses a c.1892 Armitage-Herschell steam-driven carousel with its c.1888 steam engine and a part-original, part replica 1898 Gavioli Band organ in a modern glass and steel building. Entry to the Pavilion is free, but there is a fee for rides.

(1 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong; +61 352 241 547; open, April to September, Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday to Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., October to March, Monday to Friday 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday to Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

The Geelong Waterfront: This promenade stretches for around four kilometres and is a busy maritime area that works well for yachties, strollers, tourists and those simply looking for a coffee with a side-serve of water views.

Geelong Museum of Motoring: This museum makes perfect sense for a city so closely linked to car manufacturing for many decades. Starting with the collection from the now closed Ford Discovery Centre, the Geelong Museum of Motoring and Industry has amassed an impressive collection of vehicles and artifacts for a display that is regularly updated and changed. Motoring enthusiasts will love this. Admission: $10 adults, $8 children, $25 family ticket. (Federal Mills, 13-35 Mackey St, North Geelong; +61 352 734 777; open Thursday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

National Wool Museum: Allow 90 minutes for a self-guided tour that includes the history of the wool industry in Australia, carpet weaving and shearing. Volunteers are available to answer questions. The shop sells high quality woollen articles, linens and local arts and crafts, as well as general souvenirs such as miniature bollards. $8.25 adult, $6.50 concession, $4.50 child. (26 Moorabool St, Geelong; +61 352 724 701; open Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Adventure Park Geelong; This is Victoria's biggest water theme park and it is very much a family venue. The water rides are popular and your ticket is for all rides without any conditions, so you can go on your favourite rides as many times as you like. There are 16 rides, six of which include water. Height decides your entry fee: general admission is $39.50 for anyone over 1.2 metres; junior admission, for those under 1.2 metres, is $29.50. Seniors (over 60) are $25. Note: The park closes during winter and reopens in October. (1249 Bellarine Hwy (B110), Wallington, Geelong; +61 352 507 200; opening times vary depending on the season but operating dates are usually 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the height of summer. Check adventurepark.com.au for more details)

You Yangs Regional Park: There are four main walks that traverse this park, which is located 22 km north of Geelong and has access from Lara. The walk to Flinders Peak (348 m) is 3.2 km and takes 90 minutes and offers good views, while the longest track is the three-hour Branding Yard Track. (+61 13 19 63; open year-round 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on weekends and public holidays. Opening times during Daylight Savings are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Geelong Botanical Gardens: Established more than 150 years ago, these gardens have a recognised heritage value. The 80-hectare site, with bay frontage and little vegetation, was set aside by the government in 1851 and has been transformed during that time into a lovely, relaxing place to visit. Admission is free. There is also a teahouse in the gardens (+61 412 778 652). (Corner Podbury and Eastern Park Drive (within Eastern Park), +61 352 724 379. Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Oakdene Vineyards: Perhaps the zaniest cellar door, you'll ever see. The 'Upside-Down House' offers a unique tasting room experience. Designed by owner Elizabeth Hooley, it looks as if an A-frame timber house has been blown over in the wind. Once inside the wines will hold your interest, too. Taste them here or with a meal at Oakdene Restaurant, located a short walk away. (255 Grubb Road, Wallington, Geelong; +61 352 563 886; Cellar door is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre: Totally authentic, this place will expand your understanding of Australian indigenous people. In a stunning building with soaring roofline, there is a cultural education centre, cafe, shop and art gallery showcasing internationally acclaimed and emerging indigenous artists from across Australia. Cafe is open: Tuesday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (410 Torquay Rd, Grovedale, Geelong; +61 352 415 700; open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Geelong Cats Game: See a game of Aussie Rules at Simonds Stadium. This is the home of the Geelong Cats, the local Australian Football League team. They are somewhat of a local institution. About half a dozen home games are played here each year from April to August. Geelong's other games are played in Melbourne. Expect to pay about $20 for an adult, $12 concession and $5 for a child. (370 Moorabool Street, South Geelong, +61 352 249 111.)

Bellarine Rail Trail: This ride starts from near South Geelong Station and is a 35km cycling track to Queenscliff making it a great day or weekend destination close to Geelong. The scenery ranges from suburban to rolling farmland and includes picturesque Swan Bay. From Drysdale to Queenscliff the trail runs beside the Bellarine Peninsula Tourist Railway. If you don't want to ride in one (or both!) directions of this section, the tourist railway is happy for passengers to take bicycles on their trains.

Beaches

Eastern Beach: This is one of those do-anything beaches: you can barbecue, picnic, relax on the sand, go for a swim or simply promenade past the painted bollards. Anything is possible, and then of course there is a cafe and ice creams ... you will never want to go home.