Geelong is only 1 hour away from Melbourne by car or train and this regional city is really putting out all the stops this festive season!
We are invited to experience some of the highlights during the daytime. There’s a LOT more to do than what we had time for (especially at night) so make sure you check out what else is on at Central Geelong Christmas Trail.
The largest floating outdoor tree in Australia shimmers and glimmers on Corio Bay until 7 January. It’s pretty spectacular by day but at night there’s a special daily light show that happens every 15 minutes from 8.30pm until midnight.
In between the 15 minute intervals you can try out the interactive features on the walls and windows of the Carousel.
Floating Christmas Tree, Steampacket Quay, 1 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong
When you’re on the waterfront make sure you take a turn on the heritage Carousel ($5 a ride, every 15 minutes).
While you’re waiting for your turn why not write a letter to Santa? Each child receives a personalised response – just make sure you get your letters into the special post box by Friday 15 December.
If you want to come pre-prepared you could download the letter template. As Baby 2.0 can’t write we got him to cut out a picture of what he wanted from Santa and to stick it onto the letter.
Personalised Santa Letters, The Carousel OR Geelong Library (Level 2)
3. 3D Wall Art
On the outer wall of the Carousel you’ll see one of the many 3D Wall Art murals dotted around the CBD. I think this snow globe one at the Carousel is particularly spectacular!
Stand against the backdrop, grab your phone or camera and take the ultimate Christmas card photo that makes you look like you’re inside a snow globe!
Baby 2.0 reckons the best part of the Central Geelong Christmas Trail are the augmented reality experiences. He races us all through the CBD looking for the special ‘Christmas in Central Geelong’ footpath stickers.
Download the free ‘Christmas in Central Geelong’ App from the App store or Google Play then use the free Wi-Fi network to see Santa and his reindeers out and about in Central Geelong! There are 15 sites to visit.
5. Myer Windows
The Geelong Myer Christmas Windows are a retrospective of the 2015 Myer Melbourne windows based on the classic children’s book, Little Dog and the Christmas Wish by Corinne Fenton and illustrated by Robin Cowcher.
This year’s display includes a number of smaller windows featuring a range of unique Geelong landmarks engineered by students by Deakin University.
Myer Windows Outside Myer Geelong, Malop St
A fun display of Christmas trees decorated by schoolchildren in Geelong. Every tree is unique and has a different theme.
Incidentally, there’s an augmented reality footpath sticker nearby.
School Christmas trees, Little Malop Central (nr intersection of Moorabool St)
We didn’t get the chance to see these nighttime projections but they are one of the highlights of the Central Geelong Christmas Trail
Local artist Matt Bonner has developed a Christmas projection display for City Hall that follows the journey of the Christmas star. The star weaves behind and in front of City Hall’s columns, then disappears and remerges from the building’s windows. Stars twinkle, snow falls and the building’s columns magically transform into candy canes.
The City Hall projections run nightly from 9.00pm – midnight staring 10 November and finishing on 7 January.
City Hall Projections, City Hall, Gheringhap Street
8. Where to eat and play
If you’re feeling peckish try Edge Geelong, a roomy pub bistro on the waterfront with a dedicated children’s corner of toys set up on weekdays, a kids menu and high chairs.
There’s an AR experience right outside and at night the Cargo Boxes light up.
Also on the waterfront is Poppy Kettle playground, the famous Geelong bollards and Eastern Beach with the iconic ferris wheel. Click here for more ideas on where to go with kids in Geelong.
Baby 2.0 and I had a fantastic day out in Central Geelong exploring all of their Christmas activations. Geelong is an easy day trip with the kids or a relaxing family mini-break if you want to stay the night to see the projections and tree light up. Best of all, the festive fun is all free!
This post was produced in partnership with Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine.