By Rachel Wagner
November 25, 2020 | 5 minute read
Queenscliff to Point Lonsdale
When you say ‘the peninsula’ to Victorians, they’ll inevitably think of the Mornington Peninsula. But the oft forgotten Bellarine is every bit as exciting to explore, especially on two wheels.
About an hour and a half from Melbourne, this pint sized strip of land juts out from Geelong and encompasses the seaside towns of Queenscliff, Portarlington, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads. It’s home to farm land, diverse wetlands, nature reserves and drop-dead gorgeous beaches. Being so small, it’s a dream to cycle around.
There are a bevvy of trails on the Bellarine to choose from, many of them flat and sealed and all of them a delight for nature lovers. Whether you want a dedicated bike trail that traverses the peninsula, a cruisy pedal around the coastline or a two-wheeled tour of the Bellarine’s best food and wine, there’s a route here for you.
Bellarine Rail Trail - 32.5km
The historic Bellarine Rail Trail is the most iconic ride in these parts. It follows the railway from Geelong all the way down the peninsula to Queenscliff and is a brilliant way to explore the stunning Bellarine. The trail is made of asphalt and compacted rock surfaces that are a breeze to ride on.
It begins near the South Geelong Railway Station and on this first leg you’ll get some stellar views of the bay spanning from Geelong to the You Yangs and all the way to Melbourne. You’ll experience some inclines on this portion of the journey but don’t worry - the downhill is coming.
The halfway mark is Drysdale, where you can jump off your bike for a little stretch. Pick up a drink from the coffee van by the lake, you’ve earned it! If the caffeine isn’t enough to get you pedalling again, you can always hitch a ride on the tourist railway that runs all the way to Queenscliff. They’ll let you bring your bike onboard for free and you can still enjoy the views out the window as this is the most gorgeous section of the trail. If you only plan on doing half the trail, Drysdale is the best spot to start.
The stretch between Drysdale and Queenscliff is predominantly downhill and winds past lush green farmlands, native vegetation and vineyards. You’ll get glimpses of the coastline and Swan Bay along the way and you’ll also get to perve on some incredible real estate.
The Bellarine Rail Trail
Portarlington to St Leonards Foreshore Trail - 15km
If it’s straight up breathtaking scenery you’re after, this trail has it in spades. Beginning at the Portarlington boat ramp, it hugs the coastline all the way around Port Phillip Bay to St Leonards.
The trail passes holiday homes, caravan parks and beaches and is a very easy ride. The views change dramatically as you turn the corner on the tip of the peninsula, so your excitement won’t wear off quickly. Pack your bathers and a picnic, there are countless scenic spots along the way to stop for a snack or cool off with a swim.
Queenscliff to Point Lonsdale - 13km
This route switches from a bike trail to beach promenade as it zooms between these two adorable towns. Keep your eye on the looming Point Lonsdale lighthouse as you go, that’s your finishing line. Stop in Point Lonsdale for a cafe lunch or just take in the pretty views. This is an easy and flat ride that you can tack on to many of the other rides if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous.
Ride to the wineries
The peninsula is home to more than 40 places to eat and drink including wineries, distilleries, breweries and farms that will invite you in to try the local produce.
There are a number of dedicated tours that will provide you with bikes (or e-bikes if that’s your thing!) and a self-guided itinerary to take you around several popular Bellarine wineries. These tours usually include lunch and wine tastings.
If you’d prefer to go your own way, you can create your perfect itinerary and cruise along at your own pace.
Some of our favourite must hit spots include Basil’s Farm to enjoy the bird life of Swan Bay, Jack Rabbit for divine water views, Oakdene to see the quirkiest cellar door, The Whiskery for gin lovers, Bellarine Smokehouse to try some award-winning smoked fish and The Little Mussel Cafe for mussels caught fresh in Portarlington.
Note that pedalling to the wineries will involve some on-road cycling, although these country roads are relatively quiet. If you’re expecting to get a bit shaky in the legs after all that wine, it might be best to stick to just one area, book a room for the evening or arrange to be picked up after your final winery stop.
A bonus trail
Are you craving even more places to explore on two wheels? Peninsula-hop from Queenscliff over to Sorrento on the ferry. You can take your bike across to the Mornington Peninsula for no extra cost and explore the lovely Point Nepean Nature Reserve.
We think you should know
The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers.
We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with,
any of the entities listed in or referred to in this article.