Embrace your new year resolution to get fit with some active sightseeing in Queenscliff. One of the top weekend getaway destinations for Melbournians, Queenscliff has a walking track that shows off some of the area's highlights. The 'quality of life' trail is a walking, jogging and cycling track connecting Queenscliff to Point Lonsdale, developed by the local council to encourage locals and tourists alike to experience the area while improving their physical fitness.
The largely flat 5.5 kilometre distance between the two towns makes the trail a pleasant return journey of 11kms. Partly making use of existing footpaths and partly a gravel track, the trail is suitable for walkers, runners and cyclists alike. Distance markers are spaced out every 500 meters along the trail.
If you are starting from Queenscliff, the trail begins near the foreshore, close to the railway station. It winds around Swan Bay, giving good views over the Bay and surrounding farmlands.
The distinctive Department of Primary Industries Marine Discovery Centre building, on Bellarine Hwy, is one of the highlights along the trail. The organic form of the building with its sloping grass-covered roof won a Royal Australian Institute of Architects Award in 2005.
The trail follows the Bellarine Hwy until near the roundabout then turning off towards Point Lonsdale down the Point Lonsdale Road. Through quiet residential streets, the trail then winds its way down to the picturesque Point Lonsdale beach with views across Port Phillip Bay to Portsea. Following the shoreline, the trail finishes near the Point Lonsdale lighthouse. Built in 1902, the lighthouse is one of the last manned lighthouses in Australia.
If you need a break by this stage, there are plenty of chances to rest and recuperate. The Point Lonsdale shopping strip is nearby, offering several cafes, fish and chips and other delights. And if the kids still have some energy to burn, there's a large playground near the beach.
For those doing the walk in reverse, finishing in Queenscliff offers even more opportunity to relax and recharge. The recent development at Queenscliff Harbour is well worth exploring, with a good selection of cafes and restaurants, an ice cream shop, and other retail. An observation tower gives you 360 degree views of the area, so you can check out an aerial view of the walk you've just completed.
The harbour also hosts a Farmers Market on the third Sunday of every month, and is also the departure point for Queenscliff's diving, dolphin and fishing tours for those keen on more physical pursuits.