The wheat farms which once earned Bellarine Peninsula the title of ‘granary of the colony’ have long gone, but its fertile soils still produce many of Melbourne and Geelong’s fruit and vegetables.
The historic connection between Victoria’s two largest cities on opposite sides of Port Phillip Bay is also maintained by some fine old buildings in Geelong.
In fact more than 200 of the city’s structures, dating back to the 1850s, have been listed by the National Trust. The heritage stock includes such significant homes as Merchiston Hall, an eight bedroom, stone home planned and built in 1856 by Backhouse and Renolds for prominent businessman and politician James Cowie, the bluestone mansion known as Osborne House and stunning Corio Villa, a prefabricated iron home designed by the Edinburgh firm of Bell and Miller and cast in Scotland before being transported by sea to Geelong.
The historic public buildings include the Custom House (1856) and the Old Geelong Gaol whose forbidding doors are open to visitors on weekends and public and school holidays.