Walk east along the pavement at the back of the club and then along Ritchie Boulevard to Eastern Beach and the sea baths. The first baths here were built in 1844, and then a reconstruction of the foreshore was done between 1924 - 1940. The shark-proof fence was developed after a woman lost her both arms in a shark attack and now it is safe. The terraced lawns, beautiful palms and pools are well-known from bathers in summer.
Geelong Botanical Gardens
In one of the oldest botanical gardens in the state of Victoria one will find a number of venerable trees dating back to the establishment of these magnificent gardens, including what is arguably the largest Maidenhair in the country. The gunstock tree and Chilean plum fir are the only examples in the state, and other rare kinds in the Eastern Park (once part of the Botanic Gardens) include the Soledad, digger and nut pines. Gardens of special interest include the Rose and Cycad gardens, Fern Glade, the Rhododendron, Camellia and the Viburnum Walk.
In September ‘02 the city Botanic Gardens started its 21st Century Garden extension, displaying local flora from Brisbane’s Ranges, Anglesea, drought tolerant natives from entire country, a diversity of succulents, Queensland Bottle Trees and the Gardens maybe most famous highlight - Dragon’s Blood Tree. There is a beautiful theme of gardens’ design with water restrictions and this part exhibits a great array of sculptural plants suited to water-thrifty gardens in a new and impressive way. The Gardens are picturesque located with magnificent view of Corio Bay; they are open every day from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, and also free guided tours every Wednesday at 10.30 am and Sundays at 2.30 pm.
Situated between the Drumcondra and Rippleside suburbs of Geelong, this Park is one of the most-visited open spaces in the Geelong region. It offers an amazing outlook beside Corio Bay with views back to the town as well as down the bay towards the Bellarine Peninsula, and the local tug fleet, berthed at a nearby pier.
The Rippleside park is a combination of grassed open space - perfect for various sports and games, treed areas and a beautiful sandy beach. There is also a small pier, which is well-known among the anglers. Additionally, perfect barbecue, picnic facilities, a number of pavilions providing shelter and a Japanese restaurant complete the beautiful natural environment.
Original Customs House
Lying in the Geelong’s Botanic Gardens is the first customs house in the town. The small construction is characterized by a steeply pitched shingle roof that was thatched until 1854 and is designed to look like an old Gothic pavilion. It was built in 1838 and is the oldest building in the state of Victoria.
Barwon River - A river of fun
Other magnificent water playground of Geelong city is the Barwon River. The river run its way from upper, lush Otway Ranges, through forests and farmland to town of Geelong and then onto the coast at Barwon Heads. The river and its surroundings are excellent places for various water sports, strolls, cycling and biking, fishing or just relaxing in the tranquil area around. There are numerous barbecue and picnic facilities and the area teems with native birdlife.
We recommend you a visit to Buckley Falls on the Barwon River in the town’s suburb of Highton, which offers amazing river and valley views.
The Geelong Art Gallery
The Geelong Art Gallery is famous as one of the Victoria’s finest provincial galleries. The collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century paintings by British artists and members of the Royal Academy reflects the prevailing time. One will find works by Rupert Bunny, E. Phillips Fox, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin’s “Bush Burial”, Tom Roberts, Louis Buvelot and the contemporary artists like Fred Williams.
There are also works on paper, modern Australian sculpture, Asian decorative arts, various ceramics, a continuous program of different temporary displays and an interesting collection of colonial silver.
The Geelong gallery, which by the way offers and guided tours by appointment is situated near Johnstone Park on Little Malop street; it is open Monday - Friday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm; on weekends and holidays from 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm.
Some Civic Buildings
Along Little Malop str., at the corner with Gheringhap str., one will find the oldest extant town hall Australia. It is a grand two-storey Classical edifice with its impressive Ionic portico, erected in 1855.
Near the post office is the former telegraph office - a single-storey freestone building also constructed in the distant in 1853.
Barwon Grange was constructed of brick in a Gothic style on the banks of the Barwon River between 1855 and 1856. There are some beautiful attic dormer windows, verandahs backed by bay windows, fretted timberwork and slate-tiled gables. The drawing room overlooks the Barwon River, where one will find a rosewood piano from 1851, as well as rare porcelain chandelier and chinoiserie. The residence is open September - April on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 4.30pm and from May to August only by appointment. It is situated at the end of Fernleigh str. in Newtown, not far from the city downtown.
Barwon Valley Park and Other Riverside Attractions
Behind Barwon Grange is a footbridge leading across to Barwon Valley Park on the southern riverbank - it extends from the Moorabool str. bridge to the Shannon Ave bridges.
On the northern bank of the river, extending north from the Shannon Ave bridge, is Balyang Sanctuary - a beautiful flora and fauna reserve with walking paths, wetland lakes and full of elegant swans, ducks and pelicans. The reserve includes the Yollinko Wetlands, which features a ecosystem full of many different species, especially birds and also beautiful boardwalks.
A bit further north-west, on the south bank of Barwon is Queens Park. The Barwon Paper Mill is also near and one can go further on to the aqueduct.
There is a booklet entitled “Industrial Heritage Track” that features most of the water races, breakwaters& aqueducts, weirs, bridges and other historic industrial features along the Barwon River in the Geelong region.