Geelong City Guide · with Oh! Hello Geelong

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Tuesday 14th August 2012

Oh! Hello Geelong City Map by Laura Blythman for

Amazing Geelong illustrated map – by Laura Blythman of Oh! Hello Geelong!

SO today we have a bit of a special treat to share… a brilliant little shopping / city guide for Melbourne’s oft underestimated seaside neighbour – Geelong!

WHY!? You ask. Well, I’ll tell you why.  Mainly, because we discovered this super ace little blog called Oh! Hello Geelong, and we just dreamed up a reason to collaborate with them! Random, yes.  That’s the way we roll.  There are no rules here, people.

Oh! Hello Geelong is the creation of Penny Phipps and Laura Blythman – both relative newbies to Geelong (as their sweet blog byline says – ‘two girls who are not from here!’).

There is SO MUCH to love about Penny and Laura’s sweet blog, which they launched in January this year.  The endearing design and layout, care of  designer / illustrator Laura is SO seriously fab.  Laura really is stupendously talented, and we are thrilled she has created a custom Geelong map especially for our city-guide today! (Love your work Laura!).

But it’s not just the cute-factor that originally got us more than a little intrigued about Oh! Hello Geelong.  Penny and Laura’s sweet and slightly sassy writing style, and their earnest, outsider’s view of Geelong is what really won us over!  There is a resolute sense of ‘let’s make the best of this!’ in their determination to uncover and document Geelong’s many hidden gems.  Here’s what the girls have to say about their first impressions of Geelong, and how starting a blog was just the kickstart they needed to get out and explore their new surrounds! –

‘Let’s be upfront – it wasn’t love at first sight when we first met Geelong. You know those people at a party who don’t know anyone and insist on standing there, back against the wall, unsure if they want to get to know anyone? That was us. But then we cautiously started to mingle and little by little, Geelong is warming to us and we are warming to Geelong. 

Our blog is our space to share the gems we’re discovering, the places we love, the things that make us smile.  If, like us, you’re not from here, we hope our blog helps to make you feel a little more at home.  If you are from Geelong we hope you enjoy viewing your hometown through a newcomer’s eyes’. 

We know, we know… Geelong often gets a bad rap, but Penny and Laura are here to prove otherwise today!   The edit below includes 11 favourite shops, cafes and landmarks well worth a day-trip.  As is always the way, please treat this little guide as edited rather than exhaustive – Penny and Laura have certainly introduced us to some new gems, whilst confirming a few old favourites.

Massive thanks to Penny and Laura for their truly epic work on today’s city guide!  The shortlist and words below are by Penny and Laura / Oh! Hello Geelong, edited by Lisa Marie Corso.  Big thanks also to Lisa Marie for expert co-ordination of this guide, and to Sean Fennessy, who makes every town he ever photographs look so beautiful.

Laura Blythman (left) and Penny Phipps (right) of Oh! Hello Geelong! 


1. frank & dolly’s

Rachel Cooper of Frank & Dolly’s – photos by Sean Fennessy

Details at Frank & Dolly’s – photos by Sean Fennessy

Frank & Dolly’s is a little slice of handmade heaven right in the heart of Geelong’s town centre. This teeny tiny store is bursting at the seams with handmade pieces that have each been designed and crafted with thoughtfulness, care and lots of love! Owned and operated by Rachel and Joel Cooper (who are probably Geelong’s highest achieving couple on the arts scene!), this shop shows the world that there are no limits to what can be created by one person’s hands.

Frank & Dolly’s
165b Moorabool Street

2. Ballyhoo Art

Ballyhoo Art – photo by Sean Fennessy

Dedicated to presenting unique local artwork and design, Ballyhoo Art is the place to go if you’re looking for that special something to give as a gift, or even better, a special gift for yourself!  Ballyhoo Art’s owner Sandra Morden sources a plethora of affordable designer goods, meaning her store is always stocked to the brim with quirky, fun and sometimes unexpected art, designer pieces, jewellery, home decor and fun nick-knacks. It’s difficult to leave Ballyhoo Art without succumbing to a minor splurge!

Ballyhoo Art
90 Ryrie Street

3. A Spot for Joe

A Spot For Joe – photo by Sean Fennessy

A Spot For Joe – photo by Sean Fennessy

No trip to Geelong is complete without a visit to locals’ fave coffee haven known as A Spot For Joe. Tucked away down a teeny-tiny alleyway in Geelong’s CBD, this discreet café is well worth the effort to find. With its industrial elements and New York-style interiors, a massive 1970’s Palm Springs photographic mural and most importantly, the owners Talya and Jared Coopers’ commitment to good food and great coffee, it’s easy to see why this has quickly become one of Geelong’s favourite spots!

A Spot For Joe
33 Little Ryrie Street

4. The Flower Dispensary

Sweet shop girl Alice at The Flower Dispensary – photo by Sean Fennessy

The Flower Dispensary – photo by Sean Fennessy

Head down to the ‘river end’ of Geelong’s famous Pakington Street and there you will find The Flower Dispensary. This store is one of Geelong’s most beautiful retail destinations thanks to owner Lyndal Gubbles’ clever interior design and creative touches. From the flooring, to the stunning displays, to the fab furniture, light fittings and display cabinets, delightful range of gifts and of course the magnificent flower display, every inch of the store is in perfect harmony!  This is the place to go for a little sensory indulgence.

The Flower Dispensary
333 Pakington St

5. BOOM Gallery

Boom Gallery‘s Kate Jacoby – photo by Sean Fennessy

Boom Gallery – photo by Sean Fennessy

Boom Gallery is a brilliant contemporary art and design space run by the very clever and creative duo Ren Inei and Kate Jacoby. The space showcases works from emerging and established artists, and is topped off with a seriously cool gallery shop and café corner, complete with delish treats and local coffee from our buddies at Cartel Coffee Roasters. So many of our loves under one roof!

(*note – check TDF on Thursday for a post dedicated to Boom! – it was so incredible we were inspired to show you more from Ren and Kate later in the week. – Lucy)

Boom Gallery
11 Rutland St

6. Kiitos

Kiitos in Barwon Heads

Kiitos in Barwon Heads – photo by Sean Fennessy

Take a little drive down the Bellarine Highway to Barwon Heads and you will find Kiitos – a super colourful feast for the eyeballs! Owner and founder Maria Malakellis has created a store housing a stunning hand-picked selection of super stylish and innovative homewares, apparel, textiles, ceramics, gifts and accessories from Scandinavian designers (Marimekko is an obvious favourite) and other international and local designers who produce the highest quality products.

5 Bridge Road
Barwon Heads

7. Goose

Goose – photo by Sean Fennessy

Kristen Paul, proprietor of Goose – photo by Sean Fennessy

At the ripe old age of 16, Goose has definitely become a Geelong icon. Owner Kristen Paul has created a store that is just like flicking through your favourite homewares / interiors magazine. Goose is a store that is bursting with beautiful and fun products, including gifts and homewares, children’s and women’s fashion, and toys and accessories by local and international brands. Think: Bonnie and Neil, Elk, Nancybird, Emily Green, Curio & Curio and LOADS more…!

We love these half-half re-purposed ceramic plates at Goose!  Photo by Sean Fennessy

91 Garden Street
East Geelong

8. Seaside villages

You’ll also find there are plenty of seaside villages well worth a visit just a short distance from Geelong, including Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff. Each of these  small seaside villages have extraordinary cafes and boutiques with all the details of their contemporaries in ‘the big smoke’, but with the charm that only small towns know how to deliver. The best part about visiting these towns is stopping off for a spot of wine tasting at one (or all!) of the wineries along the way, and of course, the obligatory stroll (or swim, if the weather is nice) along the sandy beaches.

9. Sassica & Salter

Sassica & Salter  – Photo by Sean Fennessy

Sassica & Salter  turns two next month, but we can confirm this relative newbie to Geelong has some serious old school credentials. Owner Sass comes from a background in magazine advertising, having worked for the likes of Home Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens, delicious and the incredible Donna Hay. Not surprisingly, Sassica & Salter stocks a carefully edited selection of the best local and international homewares (including those of Sass’ old boss Donna Hay, and those revered Laguiole coloured crockery sets!), bath and body products, tableware, and outdoor and gardening sundries.

Sassica & Salter
224 Pakington Street
Geelong West

10. The Mill Markets

The Mill Markets exterior – Photo by Sean Fennessy

The Mill Markets details – Photo by Sean Fennessy

Since its birth in 1985, The Mill Markets has grown from one lone site in Geelong West to multiple franchises located in Newcomb, the Geelong Waterfront, North Geelong (our favourite), Ballarat, Warnambool and Daylesford. Without doubt The Mill Markets have become somewhat of a Geelong Institution, with each site housing a seriously impressive and extensive range of unique collectables, antiques, industrial furniture, machinery and vintage clothing.

The Mill Markets
3 Mackey Street
North Geelong

11. Eastern Beach and The Waterfront

Eastern Beach waterfront – Photo by Sean Fennessy

One of Geelong’s prettiest spots is Eastern Beach, complete with open views of Corio Bay, a grand staircase leading down to public swimming areas, stunning palms, and a pretty fantastic fountain complete with storks and other strange creatures!

This part of Geelong is as pretty as a picture – a gorgeous oasis where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. And when you feel like stretching out the legs there’s nothing nicer on a sunny day than a stroll down by the waterfront where you’ll find Cunningham Pier, an old world carousel and those whimsical bollards Geelong is famous for!

The old ‘T&G’ building, Geelong. Photo by Sean Fennessy


by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Tuesday 14th August 2012


  • Anna G 4 years ago

    Great to see the underrated G-town getting some props! Great blog too.

  • Katie 4 years ago

    I think Alice of the Flower Dispensary is my new style icon!

  • courtney 4 years ago

    fabulous! much love for geelong x

  • Thea 4 years ago

    Thank you so much Design Files and Oh! Hello Geelong for featuring Geelong and giving all these wonderful local businesses their due credit. Theres lots of goodness in this town xx

  • Joanne 4 years ago

    Thank you so much for opening our eyes to Geelong! It’s only a hop step and jump down there too, so why not! Can’t wait to visit again.

  • Emma 4 years ago

    oh wow my sister lives in Geelong! she has been begging me for months to come visit! might just have to give it a go :)

  • Carolyn 4 years ago

    Oh no, the secret is out!

  • Lyndal 4 years ago

    Thanks to the Oh Hello Geelong girls and The Design Files for spreading the word on some of the great things happening in Geelong.Geelong has come way since my move here 14 years ago.

  • Kane 4 years ago

    Nice to see Gtown getting a mention, especially Goose!

  • Jo 4 years ago

    Something like this makes me even more proud to be a Geelong gal, so many hidden little gems and they are at last being showed off!

  • Jennifer 4 years ago

    Fantastic. Geelong is such a wonderful place and it is great to see it presented as such a creative thriving community. Love the photo of Kate Jacoby at Boom – beautiful.

  • Gill 4 years ago

    Great to see such a good blog about Geelong. My folks moved there 8 years ago (to get out of over crowded, over stressed Melbourne) and haven’t looked back! Over the years, like the girls, Geelong has grown on us (the kids) and we LOVE visiting as much as we can. Wish you hadn’t told everyone about Goose and A Spot For Joe though – now the secret’s out!!

  • Georgie 4 years ago

    Can’t wait to have Geelong at my doorstep when I eventually retire to Point Lonsdale – Geelong is a growing gem – & I love the look of Sassica & Salter !

  • Robyn 4 years ago

    First Newcastle, now Geelong… What is next, surely not Whyalla? Love both towns you might have just done the locals a real estate price increase service!

  • kristen 4 years ago

    a BIG thanks lucy TDF + the Oh! Hello Geelong girls penny + laura for your tour of our city and showcasing my store GOOSE.

  • Joy 4 years ago full of talent and endless possibilities! Great to see Goose my favorite shopping destination .
    I can colour my world!

  • Jenna 4 years ago

    Fun fact about T+G Corner! The T+G Mutual Life Assurance Society used to use the clock tower and building form on the corner as their ‘logo’ of sorts – there are very very similiar T+G Corners scattered around Australian cities – Hobart included!

    LOVE the interior of Boom Gallery!

  • Kirsty // OTIS & OTTO 4 years ago

    Geelong City on the TDF! Woooooo! Thanks Lucy & Oh! Hello Geelong for spreading the word! Great to see our hood looking so good!

  • sarah 4 years ago

    wow! will be planning a tiny road stop very soon. thank you guys! X

  • Jemma 4 years ago

    Yes indeed the secret is out, but it’s about time! Not only can you get great coffee, fresh produce and amazing product but you can get from A to B in no time at all. It’s no Melbourne and thats a fantastic thing!

  • Lovely to see a great visual guide, lots of photos – makes me want to drive a little further next time we hit Melbourne. I feel like Goose might be just my kind of store!

  • Kylie Bartlett 4 years ago

    WOW what a great blog post. I’m a born and bred Geelong girl (6 generations) and I didn’t even know we had half of these funky businesses in town. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  • miss_d 4 years ago

    Wonderful blog post. This makes me really, really, reeeeeeeally miss Australia right now!! Have never been to Geelong but want to so much now because of this blog! And I miss Australian coffee like you wouln’t believe!

  • Maureen finemore 4 years ago

    Now I am officially excited as we are moving from sydney to near Geelong at the end of September . Thank you for the pearls of information and I hope the local pregnant gals will enjoy my yogabirth classes very soon.

  • Lyndal 4 years ago

    Whoops fat fingers today! Was meant to say:Thanks to the Oh Hello Geelong girls and The Design Files for spreading the word on some of the great things happening in Geelong.Geelong has come a long way since my move here 14 years ago.What a great community we have here in Geelong.

  • georgina 4 years ago

    Secret is out!! So many treasures to be found in G! Another one to add to the list is The Red Pigeon just off Pako!

  • Kai 4 years ago

    Sounds wonderful! I’ll keep these places in mind when I visit my good friend who has just recently made the move to G-Town.
    Speaking of which, I LOVE that map – is there anywhere I can purchase this from? It would make an amazing housewarming present :-)

  • Laura + Penny 4 years ago

    SO lovely to read all of these comments! We’ve already said it a million times today, but MASSIVE thank you to you lovelies at TDF for making this happen, you guys are awesome xx
    Ps. Laura may have to start selling prints of the map! It has been a popular request today! Yay!

  • Maria Malakellis 4 years ago

    Kiitos, kiitos ,kiitos ( thank you,thank you, thank you, in Finnish) for including kiitos in this lovely blog. Cheers, Maria

  • Miyo 4 years ago

    Love seeing a little G-town love for some lovelies closer to home.

  • SKLH 4 years ago

    Great to see some positive insites into Geelong. Positive breeds positive and there’s a lot to be positive about.

  • Ash 4 years ago

    how wonderful! loved seeing the beautiful frank & dolly’s featured. What a delightful store it is, full of Geelong made & designed treasures! Love it! xo

  • Alex O'Halloran 4 years ago

    Originally a Melbourne girl, I moved to Barwon Heads 11 years ago and felt the same about Geelong, but your spread has really shown what gems are in Geelong! A creative town and coast in it’s own right.Thanks for putting us out there!
    MOSS GROTTO Barwon Heads

  • Molly 4 years ago

    Geelong feels like you’re listening to jazz records on a rainy day, whilst cooking blueberry muffins and licking the icing off your spoon!

    We also have fantastic props here in Geelong.
    Check out The Newtown Prop Shop for all your hiring needs.

  • Eileen 4 years ago

    As a girl who’s ‘not from here’ I must say what a thrill it is to see Geelong showcased so beautifully, after following Oh! Hello Geelong, I’m so happy to say Geelong is not a ‘ make do’ kind of move for me now, it’s a really valid, happy choice that I hope makes all my friends envious- at least envious enough to visit!

  • Uberana 4 years ago

    Like you, Geelong didn’t exactly give us the ‘warm and fuzzies’ when we came here 7 years ago, but it is growing beautifully and we are becoming fond of this quirky country town! It is so exciting to see that others are also appreciating what Geelong has to offer and that you have discovered the very same gems that we have enjoyed unearthing too. Thanks for promoting this diamond in the rough – love your blog.
    PS. Because I am a detail person, I couldn’t help but notice that you had used the wrong (sic) ‘stalks’ on the waterfront!!!! Think it should read storks.

  • Barbara Hermon 4 years ago

    Wow, my old home town has certainly changed and looking great. When I opened my first shop there 45 years ago I was the only shop selling Marimekko, Swedish glassware and lots of stunning 60’s goodies.
    Bravo Geelong!!

  • Miss Polly 4 years ago

    GO G town! Love it. Love the Mills some of the sellers also sell amazing wares on ebay.

  • katychops 4 years ago

    Im relocating to Geelong from Melbourne next week and youve just given me the best housewarming gift – a cheat sheet of ace stuff to assist with settling in. thanks!!

  • Pauline 4 years ago

    well you can sure make Geelong look good you may have just restored my faith in the villlage.

  • Andrew 4 years ago

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Geelong… ever since I made a trip down there to collect uni books one summer day. I was taken by the beauty of Eastern beach so decided to stay the night at a local hostel. Good food, live music, summer breezes, walks in the botanic gardens… had the best impromptu weekend away ever. That was years ago, must get back down there soon, looks like it’s going off.

  • Carmen 4 years ago


  • Geelong 4 years ago

    Geelong is a beautiful place to experience different things and colors of life. People mostly go there to spend weekends or one day trip with family or friends.

  • Stephanie 4 years ago

    Go G-town! There are so many inspiring people who are doing things they love while running awesome businesses for us all to enjoy! Well worth a visit for those who haven’t!

  • FX 4 years ago

    Whenever poeple ask me where Im from I say, Geelong, – centre of the universe:-). its a great place, loads of talent, world class beaches, friendly people, creativity, great food. I know , I grew up there.


    Fx living in Switzerland

  • Troy Mendham 3 years ago

    Took a trip down to Geelong yesterday. Thanks for all the cool spots to check out. On the way from Boom in Newtown we had one of the best lunches ever (not kidding) at Winters. The visual presentation of the food was amazing… flouro birds on plates inside and third drawer down teatowels as art in the toilets make it worth a look.

  • Jennifer 3 years ago

    I am so so so happy I stumbled across your blog when looking for a place to buy greeting cards in Geelong. I am a visiting bird researcher from the States stationed in Lara, where there seems to be a severe lack of design and character. What a thrill to learn that there are so many cute shops just a 15 minute train ride away. Let the Christmas shopping begin! Thank you for your blog-it is beautifully done and ever so charming!

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