Popular blogger @DanFlyingSolo grabbed a Britz campervan and kicked off an adventure filled long weekend out of Melbourne. He headed down to the popular Bellarine Peninsula, which is an hour or two out of Melbourne city and onto the Great Ocean Road. Read his story below.
Melbourne to Melbourne
Best Time of the Year
All year round
- Twelve Apostles
- Bellarine Taste Trail
- Point Lonsdale Pier
- The Bollard Walk
Melbourne to Geelong
Distance 74.9km - Driving Time 1hr 6min
The drive from Melbourne to the Bellarine Peninsula is short and easy, which means you can get into the laid-back lifestyle without delays. Geelong, the main city of the area, is an ideal first stop and, with campsites near the city, it’s a great place to take advantage of the many craft beer breweries that the area is known for.
Whilst in Geelong be sure to check out:
- The Geelong Library and Heritage Centre for great views of the bay and to learn some culture.
- The Bollard Trail, with more than 100 themed bollards, is a great walk, which takes you past the pier and eastern beaches with swimming areas.
- Little Malop Street is fast becoming the food and entertainment hub with some really cool bars and restaurants.
- Little Creatures Brewery is a great place to sample some craft beer, grab a bite and learn more about the beer process.
If there is one thing the Bellarine does extremely well it is food and drink, so much so that it has its own map and trail to hunt down some of the best on the peninsula. You are spoilt for choice with olive oils, vineyards and small food producers and you can stock up on food for the camper from local suppliers.
We really loved:
- The wine tasting at Jack Rabbit Vineyard for only $5 – you can also walk through the vines with views across to Melbourne.
- The Drysdale Goat Cheese farm is not only a great food supplier but the adorable goats are a treat for any kids.
- Flying Brick Cider Co offers tours of its cider factory with plenty of tasty sips to try. The restaurant also serves up delicious food and hosts a cider festival in June.
Bellarine to Queenscliffe, Point Lonsdale, Barwon Heads
Distance 25.9km - Driving Time 27min
The small historic towns of the peninsula all have their own unique feel and you are spoilt with great beaches and coastline throughout. From modern marinas in Queenscliffe to the quaint shops of Barwon Heads you can either spend the day on the ocean, cycling or soaking up more food and drink.
Some cool activities include:
- Taking a dolphin tour by boat.
- Kayaking and rock pooling along the coast.
- The rail and cycle track provides a beautiful ride and is fast becoming an attraction in its own right.
Barwon Heads to Melbourne
Distance 109km - Driving Time 1hr 45min
With the Bellarine being so close to the Great Ocean Road, it makes sense to swing by one of its most famous attractions, the Twelve Apostles, if you aren't planning to continue your trip onwards in that direction. You can even take the highway most of the way to cut down travel time if you prefer. These limestone rocks are famous for a reason and are a beauty, especially at sunrise.
Stops en route:
- Stop in lively Lorne for lunch on the way.
- Take in the relaxed vibe of Apollo Bay.
- Marvel at the impressive redwoods in the Great Otway National Park.
- Enjoy sunset at the Twelve Apostles or, for the adventurous, take a helicopter tour above.
Back to Melbourne
Depending on whether you want to continue on to the Great Ocean Road or your long weekend break is done, you are ideally located to head off in either direction. With the Britz depot located in north Melbourne it was super quick and easy to return our now beloved camper.
Road trip highlights
Where was the best view?
The Twelve Apostles are of course breathtaking, but Point Lonsdale with its rugged cliffs, white pier and lighthouse was one of the highlights on the Bellarine Peninsula. The water is so clear along this stretch we spent hours just walking along the beach and looking in the many rock pools that the tide had created.
Where was your favourite place/town visited and why?
Point Lonsdale although tiny was beautiful but Geelong really surprised me for just how much was on offer in terms of activities and food and drink and I could have happily spent a few more days there making the most of everything on offer.
What was your favourite experience/activity and why?
Doing the Bellarine Taste Trail was a fantastic experience because not only did you get to try so much fantastic produce but most of the locations had stunning scenery too. From walking through vineyards to looking across the bay, the whole day was great fun and provided plenty of photo opportunities.
Best café for coffee?
Cafe Amore in Point Lonsdale served up a great coffee but it is also a fantastic breakfast spot. The Eggs Bellarine with salmon and avocado was a winner and their super moist chocolate and berry muffin was the best I’ve ever eaten!
Flying Brick Cider Co was a stand out restaurant for me, not only because you could learn how cider was made too but also due to the delicious food and interesting design of the brick building with its own vineyard on site. The Queenscliff Brewhouse was also a great pub to try some tasty local brews and enjoy some hearty pub food next to a fireplace.
Did you have a favourite holiday park you stayed in and why?
The Big4 Bellarine near Wellington was amazing for both kids and big kids! It’s really new and has a heated indoor pool, cinema rooms, a gym and heaps of kids' playing activities, which meant you could make the most of any downtime at the camp. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better kitted out park.
What would be your top tips for other campervan travellers?
I’m really glad we took the Voyager camper because having the extra space in the back made it really feel like a home and you had everything you could possibly want.
Can you share a recipe from something you cooked in the campervan?
With so much amazing food around the Bellarine, stock up on some tomatoes and goat's cheese for a fresh salad and some of the mussels which Portarlington is famous for – really easy to cook in the camper with a white wine sauce and so delicious!
What is your greatest memory of the whole campervan holiday?
We had a beautiful sunset when we were in Queenscliffe and it was so nice to be able to park so close to it. I think one of the best things about doing a trip in a camper is you can make the most of anywhere because if you find a spot you like you just need to head to the nearest campsite!