Published on 6th September 2016
by Linsey Rendell

Seeking a sunny coast and salty breezes? Here's our guide to Queenscliff.

On first look you might think the stunning seaside villages of the Bellarine Peninsula are just sleepy, beautiful places to do a whole lot of nothing. A handful of charming old lighthouses dot the shores of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale, and grand heritage buildings sit next to 1960s bungalows. While the area is imbued with a relaxed sense thanks to its calming coastal setting, it is anything but quiet on a things-to-do front.

For a relatively small patch of the state, this cool-climate pocket is rich with wine-passionate people. Throughout the peninsula there are boutique wineries, avid brewers of cider and beer, dairy farmers, cheesemakers and bakers.

There’s a strong sense of support-thy-neighbour; many cafes and restaurants source from local growers and producers (and sometimes the literal next-door-neighbour’s backyard fruit tree) to shape their menus. The Bellarine is home to a tight-knit community of friendly, passionate folk, many of whom came for a holiday and stayed to start something of their own.

Food aside, there are art galleries, vintage stores and bookshops to explore in Queenscliff. Or if you’re more nature-minded, set aside a couple of hours for a stroll along the shoreline from Queenscliff to Point Lonsdale and on to Barwon Heads, or swim with the seals and dolphins in the bay.

Welcome to Queenscliff

EAT

You could stay a week and still not visit all the cafes and restaurants this peaceful coastal pocket has to offer.

Athelstane House

Restaurant

Casual dining in a historic guesthouse.

4 Hobson Street Queenscliff 3225
Thursday
8:00am - 10:00am
6:00pm - 8:00pm

Belsize and Co

Cafe

Smooth espresso and healthy breakfasts on the main street.

67 Hesse Street Queenscliff 3225
Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

House of Jack Rabbit

Cafe

Wine tastings with sweeping ocean views.

85 McAdams Lane Bellarine 3221
Thursday
10:30am - 5:00pm

Piknik

Cafe

Allpress coffee, seasonal eats and a wall of jams.

1195 Queenscliff Road Swan Bay 3225
Thursday
7:30am - 3:30pm

DRINK

From a country bar with a bulging beer list, to a moody cocktail lounge, and wine and cider in-between, Queenscliff definitely has drinks covered.

Flying Brick Cider House

Restaurant

Take your tasting paddle out on the lawn.

1251-1269 Bellarine Highway Wallington 3221
Thursday
10:00am - 5:00pm

Vue Street Bar

Bar

A tiny bar with a bulging beer list.

46 Hesse Street Queenscliff 3225
Thursday
12:00pm - 8:00pm

DO

Bookend a life-drawing class with a farm visit and some snorkelling.

Lonsdale Tomato Farm

Established in 1997, Lonsdale Tomato Farm is a farmgate and a providore specialising in locally grown fresh produce and artisan fare. Farmers James and Angela Moran grow 6000 tomato plants in their sizeable hydroponic greenhouse. Truss, round, roma and cherry varietals join lettuce and herbs in the hot house, which are sold freshly picked and in chutney and sauce form. The farm gate is a must-stop for collecting fruit and vegetables from other growers in the region, too, as well as Victorian cheeses, preserves and cured meats for a seaside picnic.

49 Yarram Creek Lane Point Lonsdale

Sea All Dolphin Swims

This family-run eco-tourism business lets visitors explore a side of the Bellarine not visible from the shoreline. Blending a sense of adventure with a dash of sea-life education, a tour commences in the shallow protected waters of Pope’s Eye in Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park. Here you’ll view vibrant reef fish, starfish and sea sponges while becoming accustomed to your snorkelling gear. Then it’s out to Chinaman’s Hat – a wooden fort that acts as a sun deck for around 40 seals – before swimming with the dolphins that inhabit the bay. Tours leave Queenscliff twice daily in warmer months.

Queenscliff Harbour Queenscliff

STAY

Sleep in the highest turret of a grand old hotel, or retreat to a secluded loft at the back of an art gallery.

Itinerary

A relaxing day by the seaside

There’s a lot to do around this seaside town but you can just as easily keep the pace decidedly chill. Punctuate comforting meals and wine tastings with strolls along the shoreline and through the town’s galleries.