The sun shone across my bike, the silver gears sparkling. Cookie shed even, heavy breaths as her paws padded next to the wheels. Gravel crunched underneath the rubber as I stared at the signs marking distances along The Bellarine Rail Trail. Shadows stretched long and heavily across the path, moulded into trees.
The sign said detour. The text read upgrade. I saw uh-oh.
The highway was bursting with headlights and horns. Cars swerved around us, within inches of Cookie’s fur. Panic and fear spread around us, as I regretted the ‘shortcut’ we took to replace the work in progress stretch.
Top Tip- Take your dog with you! But make sure you research if there’s any work happening along the trail. If you want a shorter ride, travel along the beach from Point Lonsdale to the Queenscliff Marina. Or, a longer ride would take you from Geelong to Queenscliff. If you don’t fancy cycling then run or walk. It’s a great family activity.
Refuge and relief was found in a small, swerving driveway. It led to an open space filled with blooming flowers, from lemon to periwinkle to peach. A rustic barnyard sat next to a glassy lake that circled an island of trees. I skidded around a bend and pulled up at the massive door.
Cupcakes swirled with pink sat on a silver tray, opposite a coffee of bronze and dark brown streaks. Sugar coated my taste buds and I scoured the open grounds. Flowers covered over half of the property. Their sweet scent filled the air.
Top Tip- Take your own picnic. You’re welcome to eat on the sprawling grounds. You can also pick your own flowers from their enormous fields. They’d make a perfect gift. You don’t even need a reason, it’s just nice!
After a while we reached Swan Bay, where the glittering waters welcomed us warmly. Bridges arched over a small river separating the road from large balconies and revealing windows. The Marina came into view, with the lighthouse dominating, the tip in the midst of clouds.
A grass covered building nestled on the edge of the bay. I strolled in, leaving my bike outside. The Marine Discovery Centre held pools of creatures and plants. Sea stars stuck to the bottom and I brushed my hand against there soft bodies.
Top Tip- Spend at least half an hour there. You discover lots of interesting facts! There’s also a holiday program that’s super fun.
When we reached the Marina, my eyes spied all the shops alongside the docks. Boats were moored in the shadowed water. Sting rays and fish glided along as engines interfered with the smooth surface.
360Q had delicious food, and great views. I chomped on a chip and settled into my chair, searching as the boats came in, hauling nets over the sides of their boats. Fisherman on the pier reeled in their lines, luck on their side.
Top Tip- Climb up to the 360Q tower. You can observe Queenscliff from 360 degrees!
Inside Lix was a menu of deliciousness. I scanned my eyes over the surface and decided upon an ice-cream. The cold vanilla and boysenberry tickled my throat.
Finally, we grabbed some fresh fish at Mi Shell’s Seafood. A boat bobbed in the water, loaded with friendly people and delish seafood.
Top Tip- Grab some fresh fish for dinner. Or go SCUBA- diving to collect your own scallops! Up to 100 per diver, enquire at the Dive Centre.
Bright colours swirled around the sky. A blood orange tinge melted into the sun, slowly, gradually growing darker. I sat on the rocks where the waves crashed onto the beach. The colours reflected off the water, crumpling like tissue paper when more froth bubbled across the surface.
Top Tip- Take the train home. You can take your bikes on for free, and it’s wonderful to overlook the distance you’ve ridden, but in a tenth of the time! If you take your dog with you, another option is your mum or dad drive the car up to Queenscliff, while you start riding, and then they ride back to you before continuing.
So, a summary of your day plan…
- The rail trail will be your connecting route for all of these places. We began at Drysdale station. (The train will bring you back here too!)
- Stop by at Mannerim Stables for a picnic brunch.
- Keep riding to Queenscliff.
- Make sure you stop at the Marine Discovery Centre!
- Keep going to the Marina.
- Have a late lunch/afternoon tea/ early dinner at 360Q.
- Climb to the top of the tower.
- Explore all the shops.
- Get an ice-cream from Lix.
- Buy some fish at Mi Shell’s Seafood.
- Watch the sunset.
- Ride the train home.