Cycling Australia: Exploring Geelong and the Surf Coast

Geelong and the Surf Coast, a short drive from Melbourne, have gained fame through cycling events like the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Hosting the UCI Road World Championships in 2010 and Cadel Evans’ victory at the Tour de France in 2011 further put the region on the map. Yet, beyond cycling events, it offers iconic attractions such as the Great Ocean Road and renowned beaches like Bells Beach, venue for the Rip Curl Pro. Just an hour away from Melbourne, it also serves as a gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and the Otway Ranges.

Geelong sits by Corio Bay, with a pleasant waterfront. To the west are rural hills, while the east leads to the Bellarine Peninsula, and 20 kilometers south is the Surf Coast. The Bellarine Peninsula offers flat cycling loops along the coast, sometimes right by the water. 

West and southwest of Geelong, you can find hilly terrain, perfect for rides on rural roads with rolling hills. Finally, you can also explore the Great Ocean Road, considered one of Australia’s most scenic routes.

When to Go

Geelong and the Surf Coast experience a temperate climate that is generally favorable for cycling throughout the year. Here’s a general overview:

Summer: Temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C, making it the perfect cycling season. However, it can occasionally get hot, so early morning or evening rides may be more comfortable.

Autumn: Mild temperatures (from 12°C to 23°C) and stable weather conditions make autumn another excellent time for cycling. The foliage may also provide picturesque scenery along cycling routes.

Winter: Winter temperatures range from 7°C to 14°C. Winters in Geelong and the Surf Coast are relatively mild compared to many other parts of the world. While it can be cooler, with occasional rain, cycling is still possible with appropriate clothing.

Spring: Spring temperatures range from 10°C to 20°C. Spring brings milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, making it an enjoyable time for cycling. However, occasional rain and wind may occur, so it’s essential to check the weather forecast before heading out.

Best Cycling Routes in Geelong

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road

Distance: 124.7 km with 1222 m elevation gain

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road offers a challenging and scenic route that showcases some of Victoria’s most stunning coastal landscapes. Starting from Geelong, you’ll journey along a varied terrain that includes flat stretches, rolling hills, and iconic climbs. One of the highlights of the route is the famed Challambra climb, a punchy 830-meter ascent that challenges riders just like the elite cyclists in the UCI WorldTour Classics.

Bike Route Buddy Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Route

Great Ocean and Otway

Distance: 142.4 km with 1490 m elevation gain

The Great Ocean & Otway Ride is one of the best cycling routes in Australia, attracting riders from across the country and around the world. Covering a distance of 142 kilometers, the route includes more than 90 kilometers of closed roads, passing through the scenic farmlands of the Otway Ranges to Lorne and then back along the renowned Great Ocean Road to Torquay. It’s a challenging yet rewarding ride that showcases some of Australia’s most stunning landscapes.

David Irvine Great Ocean Otway Classic Ride

Bellarine Peninsula

Distance: 118.1 km with 648 m elevation gain

This route offers a mix of coastal views and historic towns. Start at the Geelong Waterfront and head towards Leopold via Portarlington Road. Join the rail trail at Curlewis and then descend to the bay via Jetty Road.

Continue along Portarlington Road to Portarlington, then hug the coastline to St Leonards. Visit Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff, known for its steam railway and colonial-era architecture. Return to Point Lonsdale for views of the lighthouse.

Head to Ocean Grove, cross the Barwon River at Barwon Heads, and ride through the sand dunes along 13th Beach. Finish by taking Horseshoe Bend Road back to Geelong.

Geelong Loop

Distance: 30 km with 266 m elevation gain

This route around Geelong showcases the city’s highlights, including the waterfront trail, botanic gardens, and Fyansford. It features offshoots for scenic views and some convenient shortcuts. Also, there are plenty of coffee and food spots conveniently located along the path. Most of the route is on trails and marked bike lanes, taking around 2 hours to complete.

Around the Bay

Distance: 142.5 km with 631 m elevation gain

Since you are not far from Melbourne, embark on an exciting journey to explore the finest landscapes of the city’s east and west.

Commence your ride at Cunningham Pier, Geelong Waterfront, tracing the picturesque coastline of Port Phillip Bay. Pass through the charming regions of the Bellarine Peninsula, Queenscliff, Sorrento, and the Mornington Peninsula. Conclude your adventure with the final stretch along Melbourne’s iconic Beach Road, leading you to the finish line at Albert Park.

Places to Stay

Geelong has plenty of accommodation options (including those with bike storages). Find the most popular ones below:

Novotel Geelong: 10-14 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong VIC 3220 link instagram

R Hotel Geelong: 10 Bellerine St, Geelong VIC 3220 link instagram

Rydges Geelong: Myers St &, Gheringhap St, Geelong VIC 3220 link instagram

Vue Apartments: 6 Bellerine Street, Geelong VIC 3220 link instagram

Bayside Geelong: 13-15 The Esplanade South, Geelong VIC 3220 link instagram

Bike Rentals

Rent my bike Geelong: Bicycle Centre Belmont 119 High St., Belmont, Victoria 3216 link instagram

Hendry Cycles Geelong: 18 / 147 Marshalltown Road, Grovedale link instagram

Livelo: delivery link instagram

Trailhead Bike Co.: 67 Great Ocean Road Anglesea, Victoria 3230 link

Cafe stops

Below is the list of cafe stops to rest and recharge along the routes.

Swingbridge Cafe: 40 Great Ocean Rd, Lorne VIC 3232 link instagram

The Larder: 35 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232 link instagram

Cafe 3225: 88 Point Blvd, Point Lonsdale VIC 3225 instagram

Piknik: 1195 Queenscliff Rd, Swan Bay VIC 3225 link instagram

The Dunes Ocean Grove: Surf Beach Rd, Ocean Grove VIC 3226 link instagram

Kilgour St Grocer: 164 Kilgour St, Geelong VIC 3220 link instagram

Wharf Street Pantry: 6/4 Wharf Street, Queenscliff link instagram

Laneway Espresso: 167 Point Nepean Rd, Dromana VIC 3936 link instagram

If you spot any inaccuracies or have more routes, events, viewpoints, or places to add to our guide, don’t hesitate to reach out on WhatsApp! Your feedback is valuable, and we’re excited to make any necessary adjustments to make our guide even better. Let’s collaborate to enhance your cycling experience!

Read more about adventuring in Australia:

7 Best Sydney Bike Rides with Josh Kwan & Anthony Nguyen

Cycling Tasmania: The Insider’s Guide to Cycling the Island

Discover Australia’s Most Breathtaking Cycling Routes

Cycling Sydney: Six Unmissable Routes to Explore the Region

Your Complete Guide to Cycling in Melbourne

Australia’s Top Hiking Trails You Must Experience

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