While the Mornington Peninsula and Sorrento might be more common locations for a weekend beach getaway, plenty of Melburnians have been escaping to the quiet town of Queenscliff for some quality time away from the city. So, we decided to take a trip to see what it’s all about.
As you approach Queenscliff, it becomes clear that the town’s historical lineage runs deep. Walking down the main drag, the beautiful old Victorian buildings lull you into nostalgic dreams of a past life.
Located on Victoria’s notoriously treacherous coastline, Queenscliff’s waters are the home of many sea-wrecked vessels and stories surrounding the history of these shipwrecks are prevalent. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even venture down to William Buckley’s Cave, where the man himself sought solace after escaping a prison near Sorrento in the early 1800s.
If you’re not a history buff, Queenscliff has an abundance of local produce scattered throughout its coffee shops, restaurants and local weekend markets. And, on a sunny day, nothing beats the views from the Point Lonsdale and the cliff tops of Queenscliff.
Owned by husband and wife team Simon and Alison Donohue, Piknik offers an insight into the produce at the Bellarine peninsula. Many of the ingredients used on the all-day breakfast and lunch menu are handpicked from their onsite orchard. And all other produce is sourced from local Bellarine producers. Pop in for a breakfast treat, a home-churned ice cream or take home one of the many house-made preserves. We highly recommend the muesli.
1195 Queenscliff Road, Swan Bay
Dine with a view at 360Q. Head up the 360Q Tower for a spectacular view of the Rip and both peninsulas. While relaxed, 360Q offers a higher scale and more modern feel than the food outlets you’ll find in Queenscliff central. The seasonal menu, featuring local produce, offers the perfect lunchtime meal to refuel you for the rest of your journey. On your way out, pick up a bottle of wine for later at 360Q’s wine store.
2 Wharf Street, Queenscliff
Elk Horn Roadhouse
Made from an old tin shed in the middle of a horse paddock, Elk Horn Roadhouse is as comforting as your grandmother’s house. Again, most of the produce is sourced locally and all baked goods are made daily on-site. For breakfast, we recommend the tasting plate. Sample a bit of everything Bellarine has to offer.
402 Wallington Road, Wallington
Salt Contemporary Art
Salt Contemporary Art showcases a variety of contemporary artwork by both Australian and international artists, but with a heavy Australian tilt. With a second storey wine bar and lounge in the works, Salt Contemporary Art will become a centre for artistic appreciation and discussion in Queenscliff.
33-35 Hesse Street, Queenscliff
Bellarine Lighthouse Films
The Bookshop at Queenscliff along with Salt Contemporary Art, Number 35 Bed & Breakfast and the Borough of Queenscliff have come together to fill the dearth of artistic cinema in Queenscliff with Bellarine Lighthouse Films. After starting in May, BLF has shown over 15 films, featuring works such as Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructions. For their final weekend, BLF will be hosting a three-day movie marathon featuring some of the best shorts from Australia and overseas. This Saturday, August 18 check out the St Kilda Festival On Tour.
The Bookshop at Queenscliff
30-32 Hesse Street, Queenscliff
This quiet little town has a rowdy side. The Blues Train has been offering the people of Queenscliff a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll for almost two decades. Pop on the Blues Train at Queenscliff Station with a buffet-style meal. As the train stops on its way to Drysdale, passengers swap carriages to find a new blues band banging away their tunes.
20 Symonds Street, Queenscliff
South Bay Eco Adventures
Get in touch with your historical and natural side with the Discovery Tour. Learn the stories behind the shipwrecks, feel the power of the Rip and maybe catch a glimpse of a pod of dolphins or Australian fur seals.
Vue Grand Hotel
Right in the heart of Queenscliff, Vue Grand is an icon. Built in the late 1880s, the building’s exterior remains almost identical to the original. And with high ceilings and antique furnishings, you feel as if you’ve stepped into the past. Head downstairs for ‘Beer & Bits’ (a craft beer tasting) or book an entertaining dinner with the Faulty Towers.
46 Hesse Street, Queenscliff