New Residents Guide to the Bellarine Peninsula

New Residents Guide to the Bellarine Peninsula

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To help you make the most of your move to the Bellarine Peninsula we’ve gathered some useful info to help immerse you in the local community.

Situated to the southwest of Melbourne, the Bellarine Peninsula is home to around 55,000 residents and is known for its scenic beaches and rural landscape.

While the region has long been a favoured retirement destination, more and more young families are now making the move, attracted by the relaxed lifestyle and proximity to Melbourne. 


About the Bellarine Peninsula

The Bellarine Peninsula was originally occupied by the Indigenous people of the Wathaurong (Wadawurrung) nation, before the arrival of Europeans in the early 19th century. The area is now made up of the townships of Leopold, Drysdale, Clifton Springs, Portarlington, St Leonards, Indented Head, Queenscliff, Point Lonsdale, Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads and Wallington.

Located south-west of Melbourne, the Bellarine Peninsula is one part of the crescent-moon-shaped-land that separates Port Phillip Bay from the Bass Strait. Most of the area’s townships are located along the coastline, with rural farmland filling out the middle.

As well as a stunning coastline, the Bellarine Peninsula is popular with both locals and tourists for its boutique wineries and farm-to-gate producers – making it a beloved destination for food lovers.

The population is growing steadily with plenty of new housing, along with two major shopping centres (Gateway Plaza in Leopold and Kingston Village in Ocean Grove). Schools, local amenities and services are plentiful and make it easy for residents to get most of what they need within the Bellarine.

The Bellarine is served by the Greater Geelong City Council and has its own representatives. The Council website is the place to head for information on local rates, rubbish collection and recycling, and registering your pets.

Living on the Bellarine Peninsula

As a holiday destination, the Bellarine Peninsula runs at two speeds. Summer can be very busy with an influx of holidaymakers boosting the population substantially, crowding the car parks and causing queues outside the local ice cream stores.

During the cooler months, the ‘local’ feel returns and life returns to a more sedate pace. Enjoy the empty beaches, quiet walking paths and laidback feel of the restaurants and cafes.

Local walks around the Bellarine Peninsula

The region is known for its beautiful walking paths. The coastal landscape is relatively flat, making it ideal for biking, walking and jogging. Families with young kids can also enjoy the many local playgrounds as well as the calm, protected beaches.

Here are just a few of the walks locals love:

  • Point Lonsdale Lighthouse to Ocean Grove – a 2.5 hour beach walk. Keep an eye out for Buckley’s cave beneath the lighthouse.
  • Edwards Point walk, St. Leonards  – an easy 3.7km walk amongst rare coastal woodlands.
  • Bellarine Rail Trail – walk (or ride) a section of the 32km trail that runs from Geelong to the Bellarine Peninsula.


Things to do on the Bellarine Peninsula

As a local, you can enjoy many of the Bellarine Peninsula’s attractions year-round. Play a round of golf at one of the many 18-hole golf courses overlooking the bay. Spend a day riding the water slides at Adventure Park. Enjoy lunch at a local winery, or take a bike for your own velo-vino tour.


If you’re into catching your own lunch, the Bellarine Peninsula also has plenty of great fishing spots – whether you have a boat to take out on the water (or a good friend that’ll let you come on theirs) or you just want to throw a rod into the water off one of the local jetties.


Events locals love

  • Portarlington Mussel Fest – a one-day festival held annually in January that celebrates these delicious little morsels. (Locals speak: ‘Port’ Mussel Fest)
  • Annual Scarecrow Competition – a relatively new event to the region. Be prepared to stuff your own scarecrow to go on display along the Bellarine Highway.
  • Toast to the Coast – a two-day festival celebrating the best of food and wine of the region.
  • Sunset Run – challenge yourself to a 21.8km or 10.8km run then mark your success with a cool cider from the Flying Brick Cider Co.
  • Queenscliff music festival – held in November with an assortment of local, Aussie and international musos.
  • Celtic Festival – celebrating Irish music, dance and culture every June.
  • Wreck2Reef – a 2.5km swim held in the protected waters of Half Moon Bay at Indented Head.


Commuting to Geelong or Melbourne from the Bellarine Peninsula

If you do need to get away for work (or play), Geelong is just 30 minutes away via the Bellarine and Portarlington highways, while Melbourne is 90 minutes away by road. You can also catch the train from Geelong and bus services run regularly across the peninsula.

But for a truly enjoyable (and unique) commute, nothing beats hopping on the ferry from Portarlington to Docklands. The 80-minute one-way journey allows you enough time to drink a coffee, check your emails, finalise that report and get prepared for the day ahead. And on the journey home, you can enjoy the odd wine while watching the sunset.

Thinking of moving to the Bellarine Peninsula?

If you’re preparing to move to the Bellarine Peninsula, make it as easy as possible with a trusted mover that knows the local area. Whether you’re making a seachange from Melbourne or just moving ‘round the corner, we can help.

Get in contact to chat about helping you move to life on the Peninsula.


Point Lonsdale Lighthouse

Point Lonsdale Barwon Heads Beach Bellarine Peninsula
Steps to the surf beach at Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia
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