When visiting a new place, it's often where the locals go, those hidden suburban precincts, thoroughfares and industrial spaces that will pleasantly surprise you, tempt the taste buds, enthral the senses and ease those shopping urges.
Some of the best discoveries are made off the beaten track. These precincts and urban locations have a unique flavour and interesting experiences to find.
Little Malop Street and surrounds
The best place to eat with global flavours crossing continents and ranging from casual eat-with-your-hands grub to sophisticated five-star eateries.
Find out more here – Hidden treasures to eat and drink down laneways and alleyways
The locals call it Pako and it stretches from the Barwon River in Newtown to the border of North Geelong. The strip includes dozens of cafes and restaurants, bakeries, fresh food and provedores, plus retail from boutique activewear and fashion to gifts and homewares. At the Geelong West end of Pako be in the comfort of friends and local fare in an old shipping container at Box Office Café. King of the Castle is a highlight with great coffee and an innovative menu. In Newtown indulge in old-fashioned pub hospitality at the Cremorne Hotel. Around the corner at the south end, Rutland Street is a creative space making crafty use of former woollen mills and you’ll find retail boutique Jade and May. If you’re in the mood for a fiesta (or just have a hankering for tacos) try Bobby Dre’s Mexican or satisfy a sweet tooth at Hahndorf’s Fine Chocolates.
Paper Mills Precinct
The Old Paper Mills are perched above the Barwon River near Buckley Falls. Pretty to look at from the south side, it’s best enjoyed up close via Fyansford. Provenance Wines cellar door and winery is the main space in the restored paper mills building with bluestone walls and cathedral ceilings, and the tasting experience of guided wine and food matches for six or eight courses recommended. Beside Provenance is The Door Gallery Café and Wine Bar situated in the old ‘Engine House’ of the historic Fyansford Papermill – an eclectic mix of retail, food, drinks and music. The whole Paper Mills precinct is an arts and cultural hub with galleries, art and design studios and outlets to explore.
Federal Mills Precinct
There are brilliant things cooking below the big chimney in North Geelong. The Anther Gin Distillery is passionately bottling their curiosity and the new awe-inspiring 1915 restaurant and bar in an old boiler house next door highlights locally grown and crafted tastes in a vast and enticing venue. There’s also vintage shopping at Geelong Vintage Market, specialty retail and a café.