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.
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
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!
90 Ryrie Street
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
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
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)
11 Rutland St
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
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...!
91 Garden Street
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.
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
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
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!