St Helens Beach is a popular swimming and fishing spot in Geelong. The beach is the furthest from the city heading back in the direction of Melbourne. The beach is at the base of steep, grassy banks that rise up to the houses above. There is a large park area that extends across the banks giving plenty of spaces for sprawling out with a picnic or sitting under the shady trees.
St Helens Beach has been popular with swimmers for decades. It is close proximity to Corio, North Geelong, Drumcondra and Norlane. There is a sandy beach for paddling or starting your swim at the shallow end or you can walk out the pier and pick what depth you want to start your swim. If you are into fishing you can throw a line out from the rocks that sweep along the bank away from the beach or launch your boat from the ramp.
Occasional concerts are held in the park with the most popular being on Australia Day. It is a very enjoyable place to sit and enjoy the festivities but don’t each to much as the walk back up the hill is very steep. Better still park in the carpark at the bottom and you can roll down afterwards. The beach has public toilets and a playground but no kiosk so take a drink and something to eat with you.
Rippleside was originally established for its closeness to the Melbourne Road that runs parallel to the beach. The beach has been a popular swimming area for decades with plenty of parking, a very large park, and a small jetty to swim from or dangle a line. It is also a great starting point for a walk along Western Beach.
Rippleside is very easy to find if you are coming in from Melbourne with good signage just before entering the city. In fact I always take this route as it takes you along the edge of the bay with its scenic views into the city centre. Rippleside is only several minutes driving from the city and very close to Drumcondra, North Geelong and Corio.
Rippleside Park which adjoins the beach is a very large, grassy park with plenty of room for picnics, kicking the football or exercising your dogs. There is a children’s playground, barbeque facilities and public toilets. The area to the left of the beach is being developed into classy apartments now the commercial facilities have closed down.
There is no kiosk located at the beach so make sure you take a picnic with you. For those with a good dining budget you may want to try the restaurant that overlooks Corio Bay. Aptly named Ripples on the Bay it offers contemporary dining with medium price range.
Located directly below Geelong’s CBD is the Geelong Waterfront. This is the prime location of the city with great dining, entertainment and accommodation overlooking Corio Bay. Geelong Waterfront stretches between Cunningham Pier and Eastern Beach and has been designed brilliantly to give you a very good time.
Whether coming from the city or along Western beach you are greeted by an array of metal sculptures representing sailing boats out on Corio Bay (not shark fins as someone suggested to me recently). There is a spacious lawn between the road and the water as well as a timber and metal walkway that protrudes out into the water. If you are adventurous you can take a seaplane or helicopter ride out over the bay with views of the city.
A feature of the Geelong Waterfront is the Carousel. Inside a purpose built glass structure is a e Armitage-Herschell steam driven, hand-carved wooden carousel from 1892. It has 36 Dare horses and 2 chariots and is available to be ridden on throughout the day. Inside the building is the Visitor Information Booth and toilets for those in need.
The other reason for visiting the Geelong Waterfront is the dining. There are restaurants on the water, over the water and across from the water. It includes Thai, French, Australian Contemporary, and pancakes. You can also park on Cunningham Pier and dine in one of the restaurants at the end of the pier. I nearly always visit the Waterfront when in Geelong and recommend you try it as well.