Top 5 destinations for exploring nature in the Geelong Region

1. Barwon River Parklands

The Barwon River in Geelong is easily accessible and ideal for Geelong residents not wanting to travel too far from home and also for visiting tourists. The Barwon River is not only the major source for Geelong’s water supplies, but also has a vital role in supporting Geelong’s natural environment. Natural wetlands, parks, a golf course, the Yollinko aboriginal garden and the Balyang bird sanctuary are just some of the attractions you may see along the banks of the Barwon River whilst cycling, running or strolling. Whether it is picnicking along the river banks, row boating or fishing there is an activity that is sure to suit every member of the family.

2. You Yangs Regional Park

Rising from the volcanic plains between Geelong and Melbourne is the You Yangs Regional Park. The 3.2km walk to the highest peak in the You Yangs (Flinders peak) on a clear day will reward the adventurous with a breath taking view of Mount Macedon, Geelong, Corio Bay, Brisbane ranges and Melbourne city. The park is a popular location for mountain biking providing two bike areas with over 50 km of bike tracks that cater for all age groups and riding abilities. For those not into bike riding or hiking the You Yangs is also a fantastic place for picnics, bird watching and leasurely bush walks. Opening hours are from 8am – 4.30pm and 6pm during day light savings.

3. Serendip Sanctuary

The perfect park for all bird lovers is Serendip Sanctuary. Located north of Geelong in the open grassy woodlands and wetlands of the volcanic western plains it is the perfect place to learn about bird life and the wetlands. With over 150 different species of birds the sanctuary provides visitors with opportunity to see birds preening, feeding, incubating eggs and raising young within a close range. Park opening hours are from 10am – 4pm daily except Christmas Day and Good Friday.

4. Great Otway National Park

You will never fall short of activities to do at the Great Otway National park. Located south west of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road scenic route will take you to a breath taking destination. You will be enchanted by tall forests, fern filled gullies, waterfalls and beautiful coast lines. The Great Otway National park includes the oldest mainland light house in Australia, ship wreck remnants from the 1800s and is the home to some ancient fossils of small herbivores that date back 105 million years ago! The Great Otway National park also supports a diversity of marine and terrestrial mammals, over 170 different species of birds and the threatened spotted quail. Some popular activities include walking, horseback riding, mountain biking, family picnics, and for the adventurous camping for a few nights.

5. Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary

Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary is a special place. It is a place where the Barwon River enters the cool waters of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. It is a place where tides and waves have shaped the rocks over time and created a wide diversity of places for animals and plants to live.

To find an elephant snail hidden beneath a rock, to watch the kelp sway back and forth with the waves, or to explore the magic gardens in the rockpools is to glimpse the beauty, complexity and the utter uniqueness of the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary.

Over 90% of the creatures found at the Bluff are only found in Southern Australia and nowhere else in the world. The Bluff has an enormous diversity of seaweeds from tiny encrusting pink coralline algae to mighty forests of giant and bull kelps. There are many different species of fish, snails, seastars, and other invertebrates that all make the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary their home. The diversity of marine life at Barwon Bluff is a reflection of the complex geology, containing sandstone, basalt and calcarenite.

Looking for something closer to home?

Search for parks and reserves in your local area on the City of Greater Geelong website or Parks Victoria website.

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