Until the mid-1990’s Geelong’s now thriving waterfront used to be a boring place. Once a part of the Port of Geelong, it used to be closely associated with maritime and general industry. In 1995, Victorian State Government and the City of Geelong joined hands to make it a local attraction and a tourist destination.
Today, the waterfront attracts people for its many little and big attractions, from Baywalk Bollards to the Eastern beach. The 107 Baywalk Bollards were created by local artist Jan Mitchell and these timber painted sculptures installed between Rippleside and Limeburners Point reflects local history and identities. With the arrival of Selfie Mania, these became an important part of Instagram posts.
Deakin University’s Waterfront Campus and Costa Hall are located on the western side of the waterfront precinct.
Yarra Street Pier was one of the busiest ports in the 1800’s 1900’s, transporting wool and other commodities to European markets. After modern ports came into existence in the northern shores of Corio Bay, Yarra Street Pier became disused and was mysteriously burned down in 1988. Today it features a number of restaurants and is the departure point for helicopter joy rides. The City of Greater Geelong has big plans for rebuilding Yarra Street Pier.
If you walk along the waterfront, no eyes can miss the Cunningham Pier. Established in 1855 and originally known as Railway Jetty, then Railway Pier and later Cunningham Pier this marvel in white remains as the most iconic structure at the waterfront. It was renamed as Cunningham Pier in 1929. After the 1970’s it fell into disuse like the Yarra Street Pier. The Pier changed many hands over the years and the entrepreneurs who owned it found many uses for the pier other than the intended. In the 1980’s it was used as party pier playing host to Geelong’s “New Year on the Pier”. Then came the Smorgy’s. Today Known as Pier Geelong, under the EMC Group, it remains as Geelong’s Favourite Asian Waterfront Dining venue.
The children’s playground near Cunningham Pier along the baywalk depicts the “Voyage Poppy Kettler” by Geelong Author Robert Ingpen. Published in 1980, this children’s book is about a group of “hairy Peruvians” setting out from Peru to discover Australia.
Waterfront is also home to a skatepark, mostly frequented by Deakin University students.
Located at the visual termination of Moorabool Street, Steampacket Quay provides greater opportunities for interaction between pedestrians and water. A three-year Trial Ferry service began from here to Melbourne Docklands on 2nd December 2019. For details about the fares and timings of Ferry please visit the website https://www.portphillipferries.com.au. Public artwork ‘North’ by Mark Stoner is situated at the Quay. This installation of 7 randomly placed case cement objects represents sails of Yachts on the bay.
Steampacket gardens are a lovely green space with open lawn and beautiful trees around its perimeter. Six former channel buoys at various states of repair on Steampacket Gardens have been turned into a very striking piece of artwork.
Nearby is Royal Geelong Yacht Club. The Festival of Sails, the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere with over 300 yacht entries and 3,000 competitors annually is organised by the Yacht Club. First held in 1844, the Festival of Sails Regatta is one of the nation’s oldest sporting events, and has evolved over many years culminating in its current format as Australia’s foremost keelboat regatta.
The Glass house at the waterfront houses, 1892 Armitage-Herschell steam-driven carousel, part-original and part-replica of a Gavioli 48-key band organ and steam engine manufactured by New York’s Hershell-Spillman Company in 1890.
At the end of the waterfront is the biggest crowd puller, the eastern beach. To know more about the eastern beach, read our article on it by clicking the link. https://tomelbourne.com.au/eastern-beach-reserve-geelong/
Location: Eastern Beach Road, Geelong VIC 3222