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Festival of Sails 2016

Home > Melbourne > Festivals | Family | Day Trips | Boating | Australia Day
by Ian Gill (subscribe)
I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Event: -
Geelong Sail Spectacular
For sheer spectacle it's hard to beat a fleet of multi-coloured sails on blue water under a blazing Australian summer sun and that's exactly what's on offer to visitors to the Geelong waterfront over the forthcoming Australia Day long-weekend.
Victoria Geelong Port Phillip Corio Sail Sails Sailing Family Friendly Entertainment Festival Festivals
It will be a case of 'all hands on deck' in the waters off Geelong over the coming Australia Day Long Weekend. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto


The premier keelboat regatta in Australia the Festival of Sails was first held in 1844, known then as the Australia Day Regatta. In 1997 the Royal Geelong Yacht Club Geelong Sail Australia Day Regatta combined with the Geelong Waterfront Festival to present the inaugural Festival of Sails.

Today, run over the Australia Day long-weekend the Festival of Sails attracts 300 boats and 3000 competitors, bringing to life the entire Geelong waterfront with a magnificent spectacle of hundreds of colourful yachts on the water and family-friendly events, craft & novelty stalls, good food & wine and great entertainment on shore.

Victoria Geelong Port Phillip Corio Sail Sails Sailing Family Friendly Entertainment Festival Festivals
The 2016 Festival of Sails will bring hundreds of boats and thousands of competitors to Geelong. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto



The 2016 Festival of Sails will run from Friday 22nd January to Tuesday 26th January.

Highlights of this seaside spectacular will include competition between Sports Boats and the Sydney 38-footers on Friday, the Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race on Saturday, Series Races throughout Sunday and Monday and the event wrapping up on the Tuesday.

Prime locations throughout the event will include the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Steampacket Gardens, Transvaal Square, Fairnie Park and Eastern Beach.

Victoria Geelong Port Phillip Corio Sail Sails Sailing Family Friendly Entertainment Festival Festivals


Victoria Geelong Port Phillip Corio Sail Sails Sailing Family Friendly Entertainment Festival Festivals
Geelong's world famous Waterfront Precinct will come to life for the annual Festival of Sails. Photos: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto


One of the major sponsors of the 2016 event will be Queensland's historic Bundaberg Distilling Company bringing with it the Bundaberg Rum Distillatorium, a unique mobile educational distillery complete with a bar and tasting den.

The Distillatorium is a great idea and a fabulous insight into the company's 126-year history as well as some of the secrets behind distilling great rums.

Victoria Geelong Port Phillip Corio Sail Sails Sailing Family Friendly Entertainment Festival Festivals
Geelong is one of the key centres for yachting in Australia with youngsters training from an early age. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto


Getting There

Geelong is just an hour's drive from Melbourne via the Westgate and Princes Freeways.

VLine operate regular train services between Melbourne (Southern Cross) and Geelong, the trip taking just 1 hour.

If you're travelling from the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay the Peninsula SeaRoad Ferry could be a viable option for you. With hourly departures from Sorrento to Queenscliff the 40-minute trip is a great opportunity to sit back, relax and avoid any traffic hassles.

Victoria Geelong Port Phillip Corio Sail Sails Sailing Family Friendly Entertainment Festival Festivals
All roads lead to Geelong over the Australia Day Long weekend for the 2016 Festival of Sails. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloosephoto

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Why? Enjoy the spectacle of an armada of sail boats on the water and all the fun of the fair plus a host of great family-friendly activities & entertainment on shore.
When: The Australia Day Long Weekend Friday 22nd to Tuesday 26th january
Phone: (03) 5229 3705
Where: Geelong Waterfront Precinct, Port Phillip and Corio Bays
Cost: Free
Your Comment
What an awesome sight it will be.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6147) 882 days ago
Thank you! We are going to Geelong for a few nights and this sounds fabulous
by katie (score: 1|41) 881 days ago
There are free trains from the 23rd-31st of January, so why not take the train there for free? You forgot to mention this in your article that travel from Melbourne to Geelong is free from 23rd
by newintstudents (score: 2|470) 884 days ago
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