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Geelong, Victoria

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Geelong is Victoria's second largest city — during clear weather Melbourne's skyline is visible across Port Phillip Bay. The port city, on Corio Bay and the Barwon River, has a population of around 200,000. It is surrounded by developed farmland and wineries.

It would be fair to say that Australian Rules Football does indeed almost rule Geelong, particularly as their team, The Cats, won the 2007 premiership. It was their first such win in 44 years, and the town went into meltdown.

The Cats' home ground is Skilled Stadium and a home game attracts around 25,000. It houses the club's social centre with a restaurant and gaming venues and is open to the public.

Waterfront Geelong is a tourist and recreation area facing the shores of Corio Bay. The former industrial and port district was redeveloped in the 1990s.

The colourfully painted Baywalk Bollards reflect local history and identities. There are more than 100 of the two-metre high timber sculptures. Old timbers and piles from the city's Yarra Street pier were salvaged and turned into the remarkable works.

Lord of the Isles Tavern, near Skilled Stadium, is the unofficial Geelong Cats home pub. For 27 years, publican Peter Bernette has been hosting Mad Monday at the tavern. It was recently voted Australia's best bistro in the Diner's Club International Australia Hotel Association Awards for Excellence.

Mad Monday is held on the Monday following the Cats' last match of the season. Players arrive at the tavern at 10am for breakfast. Last year Peter shut down the tavern to the public and the players had free rein of the bar all day.

The establishment is steeped in local history and tradition. It was established in 1878 and was named by its original owners in recognition of Scotland gaining independence from England in the 11th century.

Pakington Street is a village area of cafes, shops and boutiques and is regarded as Geelong's answer to Melbourne's popular Lygon Street.

Wharf Shed Cafe offers casual waterfront dining, indoor or on sheltered outdoor terraces. Enjoy gourmet pizza, pasta, seafood and risotto at reasonable prices. You can just enjoy a coffee and cake or a quick snack and they serve wine by the glass.

Le Parisien upstairs from Wharf Shed offers more formal dining. It has been operating for over 30 years and is open every day for lunch and dinner.

Michael's at Cafe Volare is famous around town for its wonderful coffee. Michael has an obsession with Sophia Loren and Italian music which plays all day long. The tiny cafe is just 2m x 2m and is nestled in the turret of a heritage building. It's just Michael, the Sophia Loren coffee machine, grinder and refrigerator.

Geelong is not lacking in nightlife. Home House Nightclub is owned by celebrity photographer, Darryn Lyons. It was created with the set of the movie Moulin Rouge in mind and its two levels are decorated with red velvet and chandeliers.


75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne

For further information
Geelong Football Club

Skilled Stadium — Kardinia Park
La Trobe Terrace
Geelong 3220

Lord of the Isles Tavern
3 West Fyans Street
Newtown 3220
Ph: (03) 5224 2522

Wharf Shed Cafe
15 Eastern Beach Road
Geelong 3220
Ph: (03) 5229 3110

Michael's at Cafe Volare on Pako
111 Pakington Street
Geelong West 3218

Home House Nightclub
40-42 Moorabool Street
Geelong 3220
Ph: (03) 5222 7333
Fax: (03) 5222 7201

Geelong Otway Tourism
Visitors Centre
Moorabool and Brougham Streets
Geelong 3220
Toll Free: 1800 620 888 (Aust only)
Ph: (03) 5222 2900

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