Geelong is Victoria’s second-largest city and it’s so easy to get to from Melbourne, being only about 1 hour by freeway or Vline train. The city has lots to offer families and it makes for a fantastic half-day, full-day or short break destination for families.
Here are my tips for the best places to go and things to do with kids in Geelong. Come and explore all of the kid’s activities Geelong has to offer!
For accommodation options in Geelong, I recommend checking out what’s available on Airbnb.
Things to do Geelong with kids
The waterfront in Geelong is where a lot of the Geelong kids activities and must-do action is located. On a sunny day, the glistening waters of Corio Bay make it a really appealing spot to while away a day.
The area hosts many community festivals, including the annual Festival of Sails.
Eastern Beach is the jewel of the waterfront and the setting reminds me of the Italian Riviera!
It’s full of things to see in Geelong that are not to be missed; there is an amazing fenced outdoor public pool, a large playground, a ferris wheel for views of the bay, picnic and barbecue areas and of course a beach (which actually is probably the least interesting part of Eastern Beach, being rather small). Eastern Beach review.
A little further along you will find Steampacket Gardens, a large open green space for kids to burn some energy, or sit for a quiet picnic to take in the views.
The adjacent footpaths are nice and flat for scooters and bikes, and the kids will be fascinated by the giant buoys at the far end. There are also monthly markets held.
Eastern Beach, 95 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong
Related: Best Beaches in Melbourne for Kids
The Giant Sky Wheel in Geelong is a prominent landmark and a popular tourist attraction. Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, it stands as a symbol of Geelong’s vibrant culture and tourism appeal.
Families can enjoy a unique and memorable experience aboard this colossal observation wheel, capturing stunning vistas of the city and the beautiful coastline.
Giant Sky Wheel, 31 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong
We always stop off at this playground when we visit the Geelong waterfront area – that rainbow slide is so fun! There is an interactive Poppy Kettle water feature too which unfortunately isn’t often turned on when we visit.
Poppy Kettle Playground, The Esplanade, Geelong
Museum of Play and Art is Geelong’s first Children’s Museum and a space for families to learn and play. It’s one of the great things to do in Geelong for families, particularly when the weather’s cold, wet or too hot, but the bright light-filled space and indoor/outdoor areas means it’s good for any time of year!
It’s based on the popular children’s museums found all over the USA and is an amazing, inspiring space! Museum of Play and Art Review.
MoPA: Museum of Play and Art, 51 McKillop St, Geelong 1800 00 66 72
Geelong Playspace, Eastern Park Circuit, Geelong
According to Lady AB, any time we’re enjoying activities in Geelong, we must include a trip around the heritage carousel, a Geelong landmark.
The glass floor-to-ceiling pavilion in which it’s housed is architecturally spectacular in itself and you can visit just the pavilion for free.
Geelong Carousel, 1 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong Waterfront
It’s a nice way to see attractions in Geelong if you’re not inclined to walk, or if you have kids who like trains!
If you’re on the waterfront you can’t miss Geelong’s Baywalk Bollards. From Rippleside Park, through Waterfront Geelong to the Botanic Gardens, you’ll find 104 huge painted icons of Geelong’s past. It’s one of the free things to do in Geelong where you’ll see a number of attractions throughout the city!
There’s a self-guided Geelong Bollard Trail Walk if you want to see them all (and visit multiple Geelong attractions) but I recommend focusing on six of the bollard sites as they have been activated via augmented reality! Just download the free Active Geelong app in the App Store or Google Play on your smartphone then visit the activated bollards situated between Eastern Beach and Cunningham Pier. Geelong Bollards Augmented Reality review
Geelong Gallery is one of Australia’s oldest regional galleries and entry is free. They have permanent and temporary exhibitions on a regular basis.
For little ones aged 18 months – 4 years you can join in their regular Gallery Tots sessions. Full of play-based activities and interactive storytelling, these sessions are designed to inspire little ones’ creativity and imagination.
Geelong Gallery, Little Malop Street, Geelong, (03) 5229 3645
The Geelong Library and Heritage Centre – or The Dome – is magnificent from the outside. Inside there’s a whole floor dedicated to kids, with children’s books, puppets, toys and dress-ups – kids’ stuff Geelong locals and visitors can enjoy. Geelong Library review
Behind the library you will find Johnston Park – a beautiful area of landscaped gardens and grass area for the kids to run around in, or set up a picnic.
Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong
Related: Best Libraries in Melbourne
If you’re looking for things to do with kids Geelong Arts Centre regularly hosts children’s programming and school holiday activities, including shows that would normally be touring Arts Centre Melbourne (at a cheaper price!).
Recently undergoing a $140m redevelopment, the Geelong Arts Centre building facade sits as the jewel in the crown of the Little Malop Street arts district, across from the Geelong Gallery and the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.
Get more info on Geelong Art Centre’s children and family programming.
It’s got a reputation for being a somewhat daggy establishment but in fact, the revamp of the old workers’ cottages means that kids have the opportunity to interact with the artefacts and pretend play. They also have rotating exhibitions in the upstairs gallery.
Check out what’s on at the National Wool Museum’s Events section for fun things to do in Geelong for kids, especially during school holidays.
National Wool Museum 26 Moorabool Street, Geelong, 03 5272 4701
Looking for things to do in Geelong this weekend? Visit the most intact 19th Century prison in Victoria, which closed in 1991 in the conditions seen at The Geelong Gaol Museum today.
Open weekends, school holidays and public holidays, you’ll see displays telling the history of the prison and its prisoners, exhibitions on Colonial Prisons, the Hulks, Rogues and Vagabonds and Saga Behind the Armour.
Geelong Gaol Museum, 202 Myers St, Geelong, 1300 865 800
Only a five minute drive from the CBD, the expansive Barwon Valley Fun Park on the banks of the Barwon river is a kids’ paradise.
With areas for the smaller kids with little slides and bouncy fish, as well as the larger play equipment for the older kids – everyone will have a ball.
There is a zipline, pirate ship, ladybug car and lots of other equipment to keep them busy.
There is a large block of toilets on the hill, as well as picnic and barbeque facilities with undercover areas for shade.
Take the bridge across the river to Newtown and you will come to Balyang Sanctuary. The kids will love the amount of birdlife here – from ducks, to waterbirds and screeching cockatoos. Explore the little islands and walk the boardwalk, or take the river tracks for a bike or scooter ride.
Barwon Valley Fun Park, 132 Barrabool Rd, Belmont VIC 3216
Balyang Sanctuary, 50 Marnock Rd, Newtown VIC 3220
We Rock the Spectrum is an indoor play centre and sensory gym that’s geared towards kids with special needs – though it welcomes everyone!
It provides Bellarine kids with a fun and motivational environment to help them with strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behaviour modification, social interactions, and self-care skills.
We Rock the Spectrum, 170 Marshalltown Road, Geelong 1300 268 045
16. The Rock Adventure Centre, Newtown
Boasting state-of-the-art facilities The ROCK Adventure Centre in Geelong caters from young children through to adults of all abilities.
There is 1000 square metres of Climbing Terrain with walls up to 12 metres high, and a huge variety of routes for beginners to experts. There is also a massive bouldering area & cave, stretching area and training walls, as well as the cafe serving drinks and snacks when you’ve worked up an appetite!
The Rock Adventure Centre Geelong, Rear 403 Pakington Street, Newtown VIC 3220, (03) 5221 3101
17. Rollerway, Newtown
For a retro-fun time, get your skates on and head to Rollerway Newtown!
With skating open to the public on weekends and school holidays, you can walk in and have the friendly staff get you fitted out with either inline skates or traditional roller skates and have a blast.
They offer casual bookings, Learn to Skate lessons as well as a kiosk with hot and cold food and drink options.
Rollerway Newtown, 6-8 Lampard Ave, Newtown VIC 3220, 0411 335 544
18. Buckley Falls, Highton
Are you looking for an offroad adventure to enjoy with the kids? Then you’ll love Buckley Falls – a pristine and tranquil riverside reserve that will put you on a picturesque journey along the river banks through Fyansford and South Geelong to see stunning waterfall views.
Once there, you’ll get the option to park at Queens Park, where you’ll then make your way up the trail to the lookout on foot or on wheels. As you go on your journey, keep an eye out for commonly spotted animals such as the tawny frogmouths, gang-gang cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets. If you’re lucky enough, you may even see a swamp wallaby along the water’s edge; Or at the small car park alongside the falls, which provides easy access for a quick pit stop to appreciate the view.
After you’ve taken in the scenic views and it’s time to go, you can choose to follow the River Red Gum Walk downstream to reach the Barwon Aqueduct River Trail, where you can grab a quick bite to eat at either the Fyansford Hotel or Provenance Wines which is just a little way up ahead.
Buckley Falls, 150 Queens Park Road, Highton
19. Barrabool Maze Estate, Ceres
Set on a 1.6 hectare property with gardens, a maze and a cafe near Ceres, west of Geelong, new owners took over this estate in 2015 and have lovingly and painstakingly brought the hedge maze back to life after it had been all but abandoned for a few years.
The area is one of the driest parts of Victoria as it sits in a rainshadow of the Otway Ranges so it has a unique garden full of succulents, cacti, robust Australian natives and hardy exotics. The plants are thoughtfully arranged to make the most of foliage, flowers and form. There are also beautiful roses and seasonal perennials to add interest.
The maze has two lookouts so you can get a bird’s eye view of the maze, gardens and surroundings.
20. Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Grovedale
A wonderful place for children to explore and learn about Aboriginal history and culture, Narana is a great stop for a friendly and relaxed visit.
The centre is free to enter, and you can purchase cups of feed for $3 to feed the roaming wildlife including kangaroos and emus, while you follow the signs as you wander around. There are guided tours available, and boomerang throwing sessions.
There is also a cafe and playground on site, as well as a gift shop.
Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre, 410 Surfcoast Hwy, Grovedale
21. BounceINC Geelong, Grovedale
With already tonnes of fun activities including the free-jump arena, x-run and the big bag – BounceINC Geelong also has a climbing wall with a challenge for every climber!
There is also a soft play playground areas for smaller bodies, as well as a cafe with drinks and snacks.
BounceINC Geelong, 3/174 Torquay Road, Grovedale VIC 3216, (03) 9131 5099
22. Artsy Crafty Lounge, Norlane
Kids and adults alike can get their creativity flowing with a visit to Artsy Crafty Lounge.
With activities including painting, plaster work, jewellery-making workshops, resin moulds and more – the only limit is your imagination!
Open weekends and school holidays.
Artsy Crafty Lounge, Shop 3, Labuan Square, Forster Street, Norlane VIC 3214, 0423 040 757, email@example.com
23. Serendip Sanctuary, Lara
Serendip Sanctuary is one of the things to do around Geelong if you want to get out in nature. It’s a Parks Victoria-run nature reserve where you can go bird-watching and spot native wildlife, all for free. It’s a quiet spot for a picnic and barbecue too.
Serendip Sanctuary, 100 Windermere Rd, Lara
24. Lara Pool, Lara
When the temperature is HOT and you’re looking for things to do in Geelong region, then head to the awesome Lara Pool.
It’s more than your average public pool – enjoy the pirate-themed water slide playground, shaded toddler pool and fully fenced kids area with shady spots to sit. Lara Pool review
Lara Pool, 2 Bank St, Lara, 03 5282 1563
25. Fairy Park, Anakie
A bit further out from Geelong is Fairy Park in Anakie, the oldest theme park in Victoria.
One of the delightful places to visit near Geelong that inspires plenty of imaginative play; Fairy Park is an old-fashioned fairytale theme park with retro puppet tableaus, model trains and a fun fairytale playground. Fairy Park review
Fairy Park, 2388 Geelong-Ballan Rd, Anakie, 03 5284 1262
26. Anakie Gorge, Anakie
Anakie Gorge is a great place to head if you’re keen on an easy family bushwalk. Part of the Brisbane Ranges, it is a great walk for little ones who haven’t done a lot of bushwalking. You can wander along Stony Creek and spot wallabies and koalas through a unique dry gorge on this family-friendly walk. Keep an eye out for the iconic duck orchid and other native wildflowers or watch an abundance of birdlife amongst the eucalypts.
Anakie Gorge Walk, Staughton Vale, VIC 3340
Things to do Bellarine Peninsula with kids
27. Adventure Park Geelong, Wallington
Just 15 minutes outside Geelong is Victoria’s biggest theme Park; Adventure Park Geelong. It’s a popular Geelong attraction for families: home to water slides and dry rides, and there are splash pads and water playgrounds. You can book a (shaded) sunbed or cabana for the day at an additional cost. Read my full review.
Adventure Park Geelong, 1249 Bellarine Highway, Wallington, 03 5250 7200
28. Tuckerberry Hill, Drysdale
Venture along the Bellarine Peninsula and you will find Tuckerberry Hill. They have seasonal fruit picking available for blueberries, strawberries, and stone fruit, and a cafe open all year round.
The kids (big and small!) will love tasting the fresh produce, and there is even a nano-brewery onsite brewing blueberry beer!
Tuckerberry Hill, 35 Becks Road, Drysdale VIC 3222, firstname.lastname@example.org
29. Kingston Park Playground, Ocean Grove
Not far out of Geelong, you’ll find the lovely little town of Ocean Grove. If you have time it’s well worth a visit along with the gorgeous neighbouring town of Barwon Heads. There’s a great playground in Ocean Grove called Kingston Park Playground, behind ‘The Mex’ restaurant, near the industrial area that’s lots of fun.
The playground is based around a ‘landscape as playground’ theme, has a six-metre high central tower and two slides and features both passive and active play areas, as well as inclusive spaces for use by children of all abilities.
Kingston Park Playground, 8-52 Adco Grove, Ocean Grove
30. See All Dolphin Swims, Queenscliff
You don’t have to actually swim to see the wildlife! See All Dolphin Swims offer sightseeing tours and they are a year-round, family favourite! You can see the wonderful wildlife of Port Phillip Bay from the warmth and comfort of the boat! The 1.5 hour tours leave from Queenscliff Harbour which is only about 30 minutes out of Geelong.
See All Dolphin Swims, Shop 3, Building 6, Queenscliff Boat Harbour, Queenscliff +61 3 5258 3889, email@example.com
Things to do Surf Coast with kids
31. Bunjil’s Nest Playground, Mount Duneed
After being guided by the large bird sculpture at the entrance to the Armstrong estate you will find Bunjil’s Nest Playground.
It’s one of the places to visit in Geelong with all the right facilities for a day out; especially as there is so much room for kids of all ages.
The kids will love all the opportunities to climb (including a huge tree), the flying fox, in-ground trampolines and swings. Younger kids will enjoy the sandpit area and the smaller equipment surrounding the sandpit.
Facilities include water taps, public toilets, barbecues and picnic table shelters and an expansive cafe.
Bunjil’s Nest Playground, Sovereign Drive, Mount Duneed
32. The Messy Patch, Mount Duneed
If you really want to win the kids over, head to The Messy Patch where they can get their hands dirty in play-based learning with painting, construction, a splash zone, sandpit play and mud cooking!
Sessions run every day Monday to Saturday, with some Sundays in the school holidays. A safe and fun activity with indoor and outdoor spaces to suit all types of weather.
The Messy Patch is suitable for children from newborns through to primary age.
The Messy Patch, 1135 Surf Coast Highway, Mount Duneed VIC 3217, 0448996377, firstname.lastname@example.org
33. Surf Coast Strawberry Fields, Mount Duneed
From October/November through to late April each year is strawberry season, and the best way to get them is to pick your own!
Let the kids roam around picking and eating as much strawberry goodness as they like. There are plenty of other fresh farm-made goodies for purchase too such as strawberry ice cream and jams, and pre-picked punnets available at the farm gate.
Make sure you check their Facebook page for regular updates, as some opening times may vary due to weather conditions.
Surf Coast Strawberry Fields, 2 McCanns Road, Mount Duneed VIC 3217
Best Places to Eat in Geelong with Kids
34. Pavilion Geelong
Developed in 1927, The Pavilion is located on Eastern Beach waterfront precinct across from the famous swimming pool, playground and walking track so it makes a great meeting place for families and friends.
It has been refreshed and revitalised over recent years and serves coffees from 6:30am daily for those who are up early and enjoying the walking track along the water.
There is a large range of breakfast and lunch options available on the all-day menu including tasty kids options.
The Pavilion, Eastern Beach, Geelong, +61 3 4214 2000
Cute decor, Instagram-worthy food and specialty coffee in North Geelong. Full review.
The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St Geelong 0447 531 844
Edge is a big brassy pub and bistro on the waterfront with the added bonus of a children’s area with toys and books. There is also a large grassed area out the side for the kids to burn some energy.
The food is pretty good too, try their bouillabaisse. We visited as part of the Geelong Christmas Trail.
Edge, 6-8 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong, 03 5222 2666
37. Little Creatures
Little Creatures is originally a Western Australian beer company and their set up in Geelong enables them to serve the east coast of Australia with the freshest beer.
The huge site in Geelong is a ‘brewery village experience’, with a bustling Canteen, White Rabbit Barrel Hall and the colourful Mystery Lane. The food is fantastic, with lots of sharing plates and of course beers on tap and you can choose to sit inside or outside. For kid’s entertainment, you can ask to borrow some board games behind the bar.
During the year they’re famous for hosting events such as the Furphy Cinemas and Hops n Beats in the laneway during Summer, a Winter Wonderland festival in July, as well as beer launches and markets throughout the year.
Little Creatures, 221 Swanston St, Geelong, 03 5202 4009
38. Wah Wah Gee
The views don’t get any better than at Wah Wah Gee, located at the end of Cunningham Pier by the Geelong waterfront.
The restaurant doesn’t rest on its laurels though – it’s not a tourist trap. The on-trend Asian food and fancy drinks list means that it’s a hotspot for locals looking for a good time and a good feed.
Eat early before the crowds turn it into a fun and loud party venue!
Wah Wah Gee, Cunningham Pier, 10 Western Beach Foreshore Road, Geelong, 03 5222 6377
This expansive dining hall has booths for families, high chairs, loads of pram room, a kids menu and a small area out the back. It offers coffee, bakery treats, gourmet burgers and an innovative menu.
King of the Castle, 24 Pakington St, Geelong West, 0418 227 366
For accommodation options in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, I recommend checking out what’s available on Airbnb.
I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!