Why the Bellarine is actually better in winter

Rug up … we’re in for a wild and wonderful winter on the Bellarine. Whether visiting for a weekend or a week, winter is the perfect time to soak up all the Bellarine Peninsula has to offer.

Sure, it’s hard to beat the Bellarine in summer, when our beautiful beaches become a sea of colourful umbrellas and children squeal with delight, building sandcastles and playing in gently lapping water.

But, we think winter is actually even better on the Bellarine. Here’s why:

Incredible scenery, indulgent food, world-class wine, abundant nature, film-worthy villages, lush golf courses, quaint boutiques and galleries, fantastic fishing spots and … fewer people!

Where to stay

Bellarine Bayside Holiday Park at Portarlington is open all year-round and offers comfortable and affordable cabin accommodation as well as campsites. Ideally located close to everything the Bellarine has to offer, it’s the perfect base for your winter escape.

Getting here

That’s easy! Portarlington is an easy 90-minute drive from Melbourne, or a relaxed 70 minute ride via ferry from Docklands.  Once you’ve arrived and settled in, you can either bunker down with a good book or, get out and explore.

Where to eat and drink

Within walking distance or just a short drive from the holiday park you’ll find Pier StFine Aromas CafeThe Little Mussel CafeEdina Waterfront CafeSaints & Sailors, along with bakeries, take away and a family favourite, Daniel’s Donuts.

Or get out and explore the region’s wineries offering tastings and/or meals. Try Jack Rabbit VineyardBellarine Estate WineryScotchmans HillBennetts on BellarineLethbridge @ Hat Rock or Terindah Estate.

The Whiskery is also a great experience for gin and whiskey lovers. Set in a farm shed in Drysdale, this rustic and inviting distillery serves simple food including pizzas as well as cheese and produce platters.

Something for later 

Don’t forget to pick up some local produce in your travels, to enjoy now or take home for later. Grab some locally-grown mussels fresh off the boat at Portarlington Pier, pick up fresh seafood at White’s Fisheries, or stock up on locally-produced olive oil from Lighthouse Olive Oil or Manzanillo Olive Grove, both located in Drysdale. For a great range of locally made products and pantry staples, visit Wildings Pantry in St Leonards, the Pantry at Wallington’s WRG, or for fresh produce there’s Farmers Harvest in Marcus Hill.

Rather go fishing or golfing? 

There’s fish to be caught, if you know where to look. Try your luck off the pier at Portarlington, or head out off Point Richards for whiting and squid. You could even join in the fun of a fishing charter. Bellarine Fishing Charters runs 1/2 and full day trips all year-round, weather dependent.

If golf is more your thing, you’re spoilt for choice. Tee off amid the trees at Portarlington Golf Club and enjoy a drink or meal in the bistro afterwards. Or you could curate a golf tour of the Bellarine, incorporating courses at nearby Curlewis, Clifton springs, Pt Lonsdale, Queenscliff, Ocean Grove, 13th Beach and Barwon Heads. The driving range at Curlewis is also great fun for serious and not-so-serious golfers, as well as families.

More reasons to vist this winter 

Events are finally gearing up in the region too. This winter sees the return of the National Celtic Festival to Portarlington across the Queens Birthday long weekend.  And a new winter festival is set to enthral families visiting the Bellarine in the school holidays: Winter Glow at Bellarine at Adventure Park in Wallington featuring snow, lights, fire and ice. Keep an eye on https://www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au/whats-on/ for more events and updates.

So whatever you’re looking for in a winter escape, you’ll find it close to home on the Bellarine Peninsula.

*Bellarine Bayside also operates seasonal parks at St Leonards and Indented Head. See https://www.bellarinebayside.com.au/accommodation/camping/ for information.