There's plenty to entertain kids and the family in Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale. Rain, hail or shine, something on this list will keep your crew out of trouble for an arvo.
The best family time is when everyone’s having fun.
Geelong and the Bellarine region is well known for having dozens of events and attractions to enjoy all year round. No matter your age, our beautiful region has something fun and fascinating for you and your family – even the one’s under 18.
Whether your family has lived in Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale your whole life, or you’re here on holiday, we’ve scoped out some of the best activities around this side of the Bellarine to keep your kids occupied and engaged, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
For a day trip the kids will always remember, consider jumping on Searoad Ferries, which operates two all-weather car and passenger ferries between Sorrento and Queenscliff. Not only is it the most scenic way to get from the Bellarine to the Mornington Peninsula for a day of exploring, but the 40-minute sail between Sorrento and Queenscliff is pretty cruisey compared to the over three-hour drive around, saving time, offering more sightseeing and a Bay cruise.
Along the way, kids can spot dolphins, and pass golden sandy beaches, rugged coastline and clifftop mansions while the well-deserving parents can sit back and relax with a coffee, wine or beer. There is plenty of fresh sea air, viewing decks inside and out, and large windows to indulge in all the views, and once you arrive at your destination, day-trippers can travel as a foot passenger to enjoy the charming seaside villages just a short walk from the terminal, or travel over with a car to explore further to the Peninsula Hot Springs, Arthurs Seat Eagle, St Andrew Beach Brewery and Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula
As a bonus, because of the large stretch of coastline around Queenscliff, travellers have a better chance of sighting a whale than they might have in other coastal towns which would be an exciting experience for any traveller – young or old. Each year from May until early October, our region’s spectacular coastline is renowned as being prime spotting territory for humpback whales, southern right whales, blue whales and orcas as they make their annual pilgrimage from the feeding grounds of Antarctica to give birth and raise their calves in Australia’s warmer waters, so keep an eye out if you’re travelling during this time.
For a super affordable activity with the kids, take a trip down to Queenscliff Harbour. Established in a true Victorian working harbour, there is always something to see and do at this iconic destination. The 250 berth marina is home to the historic couta boats, yachts, and powerboats and is a popular destination for local and interstate visiting vessels.
A simple walk along the boardwalk and you will find a dynamic retail precinct that includes charter/dive operators, eco-tours, men’s and ladies’ fashion, nautical gifts, gift ware, hairdressers and a day spa, or indulge in a number of foodie options that can be enjoyed alongside the amazing water views – from fine dining to fish and chips to seafood to ice-cream, there’s something to please every taste.
Whether you’re watching the Pilot boats returning from their trips into the infamous Rip, or taking a boat trip to spot the seals and dolphins, make sure you take time to climb or catch the lift to the top of the 42-metre observation tower which offers stunning 360-degree views of Queenscliff, Port Philip, The Rip, Bellarine Peninsula, Swan Bay, Mornington Peninsula, or pilot boats entering the bay.
Fresh fish is also available to purchase off the boat on weekends and the kids will love looking into the water to spot the stingrays that frequent the area. It really is a little piece of paradise.
Queenscliff Dune Walk
With the kids in tow, there’s no better time to explore the region’s diverse coastline of sand, rugged cliffs, dense bush and lush rainforest by foot with an excellent coastal walking track.
The Queenscliff Dune Walk is an easy family walk along a winding track through the dunes and back along the beach. Kick it all off at the carpark next to the Cottage by the Sea, and take to the bush track that heads towards Point Lonsdale. Follow the winding track to an old fort/defence structure which is super fun for the kids to play on and in (if restrictions allow of course).
Continue your way through the tall trees – it’s almost like a tree tunnel and is truly beautiful – and continue on to the Point Lonsdale rock wall to access the beach. Once you hit the beach, that’s when you’ll be able to indulge in the beauty of the ocean, right up until you reach the stairs that lead you back to the carpark. This walk has the best of both worlds!
Spanning around 3.46km, it should take around an hour, depending on your pace.
Scandinavian Ice Cream Co
A coastal gem when it comes to ice cream your family will love, this business is rated highly amongst locals and to no surprise – they have been operating since 1984.
They offer a mouth-watering array of award-winning ice cream, sorbets and gelato, plus drinks and shakes. With 48 flavours of scoops to choose from, our top picks are the Strawberry Cheesecake and Pistachio… but with that many flavours, you just have to try them all!
They regularly drop new flavours too so it’s worth keeping an eye on their socials if you consider yourself a bit of an ice cream junkie. This week flavours were Red Velvet with Cookie Dough and Birthday Cake, so that’s the kind of creativity you can expect all summer long.
The hardest part about entering these venues will be leaving with just one cone. Grab a scoop and take a walk along down the Queenscliff strip.
Queenscliff Fishing Charters and Scenic Tours
Kids don’t mind a spot of fishing? Queenscliff Fishing Charters and Scenic Tours offer Bay Fishing Charters from Queenscliff, as well as Fishing Clinics from Queenscliff, and a range of educational and Scenic Tours, providing something for every type of family.
While offshore fishing is adults-only, bay fishing is available to everyone from six years and older. On board the Kyena (perfect for the first time Angler), the five hour charter cruises the bay and the sheltered waters in and around Swan Bay to fish for species such as Snapper, Leatherjacket and Perch, as well as Whiting, Pinkies/Snapper and Calamari.
While you can bring your own food and drink, all gear (rods, reels, tackle, bait) is included as well as boat assistance is included in your fare. If you’ve caught some beauties, the fish is cleaned, filleted and bagged onboard ready to take home.
Great Ocean Road & Bellarine Surf Tours
Do you have kids that you can’t keep out of the water? Why not get them on a board with Great Ocean Road & Bellarine Surf Tours for an experience that they’ll never forget.
Based in Queescliff, this local business is renowned as of of Australia’s best surf schools – and they’ve got the awards to prove it. With surf coaches that are fully qualified and equipped with genuine love and very keen interest in surfing, your kids (and yourself if you like) will feel comfortable and confidence hitting the surf on your next holiday.
Their introductory ‘Two-Hour Learn to Surf’ lessons is the best way to get a taster into the world of surfing. With everything included to get you started this option includes beach and ocean awareness and surf safety as well as an easy to follow, detailed surf lesson and hands-on personalised coaching.
The team also offers SurfGroms, a program with the opportunity for all groms aged 5-12 to learn, experience and enjoy the timeless exhilaration of surfing! The program will provide groms with awareness, understanding and respect for the ocean, learning surf safety that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. This one does run over multiple sessions so great if you’re not too far away or happy to travel.
Point Lonsdale Lighthouse
There’s something incredibly intoxicating about Point Lonsdale, or ‘Lonny’ as the locals affectionately call it.
Located at the tip of the Bellarine Peninsula just 90 minutes from Melbourne and marking the dreamy entrance to Port Phillip Bay, the headland is dominated by the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, which overlooks The Rip – a treacherous stretch of water where ships navigate the narrow gap between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean.
Insta-famous for its striking skyline and the lofty views from the top, the iconic lighthouse is always a treat for kids and tourists alike. Appreciate the views of the beach, the shipping action in the Rip, and The Heads from the free platforms, and explore the lighthouse surrounds. Just north of the lighthouse is the Point Lonsdale Pier which is a popular spot for fishing and a good vantage point for taking in views of the lighthouse and surrounding coastline so make sure to go for a wander.
Yes, we’re suggesting a winery for a day out with the kids… hear us out.
Located on the Bellarine Peninsula just a short drive from Queenscliff, Basils Farm is a where to go to be seduced by the natural beauty of the location, the panoramic views across Swan Bay, the native birdlife, indigenous plants, and trees.
Whilst wine is at the heart of their business (a team very passionate about biodynamics and specialise in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Shiraz), this is where you can go to enjoy a walk through the extensive gardens, indulge in a wholesome, house-made dish in Basils Cafe or relax on the lawns overlooking the vineyard with a glass of wine surrounded by nature. Even the kids can have fun in the large sandpit, playing outdoor games, or feeding the Llama Basil.
They also have outdoor dining areas under umbrellas that are perfect for those dining with dogs all year round, as well as some spots on the verandah. Dog-friendly and kid-friendly, that’s a win win.
Sea All Dolphin Swims
For those with kiddies that love sea life, you’d be stoked to know you don’t need to travel far to fulfil their dream (or yours) of swimming with the dolphins and seals! Located in Queenscliff, the award-winning Sea All Dolphin Swims is a family-owned business that offers a truly unique marine experience on Port Phillip Bay.
An adventure for absolutely anyone (you can be as young as 2 and as old as 86), you’ll get to swim with wild dolphins and seals and snorkel at the world-renown diving and snorkelling site Pope’s Eye marine park. The experience also includes some boom-net riding, boat-roof jumping, duck spa-ing and hot chocolates.
The friendly, qualified and knowledgeable team make it simply incredible, and if the kids are big fans of getting wet, there’s also wildlife sightseeing tours that offer a one in a lifetime experience in getting up close and personal with the dolphins and seals – without getting wet. Or, they even run surf lessons for little groms too.
It really is an amazing experience and we’re so lucky to have it right on our doorstep.
One for all the mini-train conductors in the family. The Bellarine Railway is a volunteer-operated organisation offering heritage train rides and experiences between Queenscliff and Drysdale, featuring a unique collection of steam and diesel trains originating from around Australia.
Providing a scenic and memorable experience, The Heritage Train Service departs from Queenscliff most Sundays throughout the year and on public holidays, as well as extra days during the Victorian school holidays. Private carriage hire is available as part of the heritage service and perfect for children’s parties or groups – but bookings are essential.
Throughout the year, the Bellarine Railway hosts a number of experiences and special events include Steam and Diesel Train Driver Experiences, magic shows, Day Out With Thomas weekends, special occasion charters and group trips. Other family activities and specials held during the year include visits from the Easter Bunny, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween Specials and Santa Trains so keep your eye out when planning future trips.
To find out more head here.
Queenscliff Music Festival
While only once a year, the music jewel of the Bellarine the Queenscliff Music Festival is definitely one to take the entire family to if you ever get the chance.
This festival has long been a significant fixture of the festival calendar – one that has filled a beautiful part of Victoria with joy and creativity for over two decades. Usually running in November each year (the last couple of years don’t count!), the festival is usually packed with local and international stars alike, as well as a bunch of family-friendly entertainment. Think free carnival rides, kid-friendly musical acts, roving performers, live displays, workshops, arts and crafts activities, face painting and so much more. That’s the kids sorted for three brilliant summer days.
Best of all, tickets for children aged 13 are only $20 while kids under 12 months are completely free! Bring friends, family, and frolic in the festivities.
The festival is due to go ahead on November 25-27, 2022 so keep up with the latest here.