Traditionally, the Bellarine Peninsula, with its pristine beaches and laid back coastal lifestyle has been associated with summer holidays and Easter weekend getaways, but this fascinating region also offers an array of events, activities and adventures throughout winter. Here are our tips for enjoying the cooler months at the southern end of Port Phillip Bay, and some of the best places to buy to allow you to enjoy the Bellarine all year round.
As the region’s main city, it’s no surprise that Geelong offers an eclectic calendar of events throughout the year, and this winter is no exception. Leading the programme are a number of food and wine events - only natural for an area so rich in gourmet produce and exceptional wineries. Spanning over three weeks, the Tastes of Central Geelong festival offers hundreds of opportunities to sample the local fare, learn from the experts, enjoy food-related activities. You can even turn your hand to creating mouth-watering delights. Celebrating the bold hearty Shiraz wines of the Bellarine, the Winter Shiraz Weekend kicks off on Friday 6 July at the regions wineries and runs until Sunday 8 July. A festival of food, wine and entertainment. Keeping in the foodie theme, two showcase events will warm up winter. Eat The Street is a guided Thursday evening tour through eight handpicked venues hidden in the laneways of Geelong. With the first tour already sold-out, the remaining two, on 19th and 26th July are likely to be just as popular. The second major event is a High Tea with Shannon Bennett at the Geelong Pier on 21 July. Guests will enjoy sweet treats, sparkling wine and a chance to discover more about one of Victoria’s most influential chefs. Finally, the renowned Archibald Prize Exhibition comes to the Geelong Gallery – the only place it will be shown in Victoria. Often controversial, always remarkable, the Archibald exhibition, from 22 September to 18 November is a must-see for anyone who loves art, politics, popular culture and a hint of scandal.
Out on the peninsula
The city of Geelong is not the only community that welcomes event-goers and visitors throughout the winter months. The beautiful seaside towns of Portarlington, Queenscliff, Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads are also active with functions, exhibitions, cultural events and activities. The inaugural Low Light Festival in Queenscliff, will be held across four weekends to mid-July, and is designed to warm visitors with immersive culture, comforts and arts, throughout the town’s public spaces, galleries, cafes, bars and restaurants. If you enjoy whisky, or you are still not quite sure, then the Whisky Appreciation Experience at Timboon Distillery, is one Low Light event you must put on your list for 13th July, with spirited experts and chefs combine to create a whisky matched dinner and truly unique experience. The winter cold delivers a yuletide ambience to Queenscliff, High Tea meets the High Seas aboard the Searoad ferry to Sorrento on 29 July. This traditional afternoon tea features tiered platters of local food and sparkling from both peninsulas. The ferry is also the venue for Blokes High Tea on 2 September, with petit fours and canapés replaced by meat, ale and delicious sweets which, by no coincidence, just happens to fall Fathers Day. When you have had your fill of food and drink, and it is time for some higher culture, the Bellarine continues to impress. On July 7th, Mount Duneed Estate hosts one of the worlds great soul and blues singers, Renee Geyer in the intimate setting of their Barrel Hall, with gourmet food and exceptional wine complementing the incredible vocals of one of Australia’s great music icons. Amongst the many theatre performances, the Melbourne City Ballet come to the Potato Shed in Drysdale with its production of Madame Butterfly on 17th August. Most notable as an opera, and the inspiration behind the musical Miss Saigon, it is the story of love, honour and tragedy and features some of Puccini’s most memorable and emotive music.
All year round enjoyment
Of course, winter is not the only festive time for the beautiful Bellarine, so to experience everything this region has to offer, a holiday home or weekender may well be a fine investment. In a recent article in realestate.com.au Peter Farago noted the surge in popularity of the region. “The boom in construction in the region, coupled with strong population growth and relatively affordable house prices means Geelong is one of the strongest property markets in Victoria at the moment.” The coastal towns of Queenscliff, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads kicked off the sea-change phenomenon in the early 2000s, boosted by the much-loved series, ‘SeaChange’ which was filmed in the area. The fast, regular trains and plans for further infrastructure upgrades in the near fture, the peninsula makes an attractive option not only for retirees but also for those looking to combine the relaxed coastal lifestyle with the option of an easy commute into the city. RT Edgar has three offices on the Bellarine Peninsula, at Ocean Grove, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads. Staffed by a team of local specialists in sales, property management and holiday lettings, they are the experts in listing holiday homes, residential properties and even farms and landholdings. So if you are visiting the region this winter to take in its events and experiences, call past the RT Edgar offices for the latest listings, and what may start out as a weekend visit, may become the change of a lifetime. You will find our offices at: Ocean Grove 4/68 The Terrace Ph:03 5255 4099Barwon Heads 1/50 Hitchcock Avenue Ph:03 5254 1688Point Lonsdale 1/83 Point Lonsdale Road Ph:03 5258 1811 For more information about the various events listed above, simply visit the following links: Tastes of Central GeelongWinter Shiraz WeekendEat The StreetHigh Tea with Shannon BennettArchibald Prize exhibitionLow Light FestivalWhisky Appreciation ExperienceHigh Tea meets the High SeaBlokes High TeaRenee Geyer - Barrel Hall SessionsMadame Butterfly https://www.realestate.com.au/news/will-2018-be-the-year-for-geelong-as-city-investments-grow/