Queenscliff has a surprising number of grand historical buildings for its size – many now converted into hotels and bed & breakfasts. Most are centred round Hesse St (the high street) and the parallel Gellibrand St overlooking the bay. Few are open to the general public other than guests, but they make up a pleasant part of any walk round the town, highlighting the genteel nature of Queenscliff.
'Splitting' the bay beach in two is the historic Queenscliff Pier, opened in 1879 and used for a variety of purposes, including the unloading of cargo (smaller ships), housing the local lifeboat and passenger ships/ferries. It was closed in 1936 and is now primarily used for fishing, although the beautiful old wooden passenger waiting room is occasionally converted into a 'fine-dining experience' as part of the local Seafood Festival.
Can't say that you would travel to Queenscliff specifically for the beach, the back bay beach – while hardly the most picturesque (and which attracts, as you can see from the image, seaweed) – is a safe strip of sand away from the potentially dangerous rips of the open sea beaches.
Starting at the Queenscliff steam rail station, a delightful, relaxing walk winds its way round Swan Bay (the first sheltered bay from Queenscliff) all the way to Geelong some 33 kilometres away. You can select as much or as little as you want to do - less than an hour (return) is the delightful paved walk to the Queenscliff Yacht Club, overlooking the calm waters laid out before you.
Close to the ferry for Sorrento and the eastern shorelines of Port Phillip Bay is the Queenscliff marina. There's a great deal of recent investment, with new berths for the yachts and pleasure crafts but also a small commercial development consisting of a few shops, cafes and the 360 Degree restaurant with viewing tower.
Tower is free (lifts or stairs) and gives good views.
Head over to Point Lonsdale, 5 kilometres away for a stunning sea beach. This is the coastline that a few kms further west forms the Great Ocean Road.
It's a fairly laid back spot - thankfully not overdeveloped in spite of being the closest sea beach to Melbourne - a few shops and cafes, set back away from the sheltered bay beach. A 5-10 minute walk from these shops is the wooden pier and beyond that the sea beach/lighthouse.
Access from Queenscliff to Lonsdale is flat so could hire a bike rather than drive.
One of Victoria's biggest attractions - although sadly limited as its capacity is 200, runs once a week (Saturdays) from August to May and generally sells out months in advance.
It's a very straightforward concept. A four-carriage steam train plies the tracks of the tourist Bellarine Railway, starting at and returning to Queenscliff. Each carriage holds 50 people and the band/musician. Every 30 minutes, the train stops and carriage A patrons pile out into carriage B, B patrons into C and so on. Drinks can be purchased at each stop (bottles only but very reasonably priced considering a captive audience - $A30 for a decent local wine, $A6 for bottled beer).
The evening also includes dinner, which is eaten on board but before the train departs Queenscliff (to be honest this is the worst aspect of the whole evening – no fine dining here. Mass catering for 200 meant its something of a school canteen experience).
You don't actually travel very far – steam is slow but also narrow gauge tracks and live entertainment is the purpose, not where you're going! In summer months, it's also about the stunning views as the train travels along the shores of Port Phillip Bay (winter = dark and no views but more atmosphere).
It's a fun night out - many top class bands and musicians are booked, people are out to enjoy themselves, it's friendly, it's alcohol-fuelled, with lots of parties booked on the train. If you're into blues music, this is definitely something different - 7.30pm-11.30pm makes it a full evening.
Tickets $83.50 per person (discounts for groups of 20 or more)
You can take a car/passenger ferry to Sorrento from Queenscliff. Every 1 hr the ferry departs to the other location...i mean from both the sides (Soreento & Queenscliff). This is nice way to get to the other side quickly and makes more pleasurable. It took nearly 40 minutes to cross...they said we can watch dolphins (sometimes!!!)...but we didn’t!!
Queenscliff has some amazing old building. It's a lovely little village to walk around.
A good way to get the history is to do a heritage Walk. These are run at 2.00pm Saturdays. They take about 1 1/4 hours to do.
Bookings are essential
If you can't do a tour there is a self guided booklet that you can buy. This takes about 45 minutes and you follow the brass discs and markers.
If you are lucky enough to find some summer when down this way a swim in the beach is a fun thing to do.
There are BBQ's along the foreshore.
If you are looking for a surf beach , head out of Queenscliff and take the Point Lonsdale Road. Follow the road around the foreshore and then into Ocean St......there are tracks that will take you down to the beach.
There are some great shops to spend your well earnt money.
You have fashion, house goods, giftware, jewellery and many more.
Galleries and yummy foods.
Most of these shops are along the main Street.
You can either sight see or swim with the Dolphins. This is done in the Port Phillip Bay area.
The boat tour is 4 hours.
You have qualified instructors.
Wetsuits,masks and snorkel are provided
All tours depart from Queenscliffe Boat Harbour.
Season October to April
The Bellarine Peninsula Railway runs a fun Steam Train trip on Sundays,Tuesdays and Thursdays in School Holiday times.
You can organise package day tours,wedding receptions or a birthday party.
The return trip from Queenscliff to Drysdale and return takes 3 1/4 hours.
Bookings are not required.
They also have a Blues Train. Visit www.bluestrain.com.au for dates and prices.
On Good Friday, Queenscliff held a Seafood Festival on the foreshore.
It was in aid of The Children's Hospital Appeal, so a lot of people turned up for the outdoor event.
They had great music all day, from classic rock, blues, pop... oldies..
A very enjoyable day..
OK, I know... not the most ladylike position...
Never did learn to ride side saddle... ha,ha...
Actually, this was an interesting place to visit, lots of history about Ft. Queenscliff. There is also a museum here, which tells about the past of this region.