Melbourne’s massive sprawl has turned country towns into suburbs and made tedious and tiring commutes the new normal. Look beyond the 'burbs, though, and you'll find a new daily flow. If you want a slice of the city life but need a quicker commute and some ocean breeze, then the Barwon South West region might just be the right spot for you.
Victoria’s second city
The economic epicentre of Barwon South West is Geelong. Home to one of the country’s busiest ports, this seaside city has a proud history in manufacturing. Nowadays, Geelong is more renowned for its decorated football team, the Cats, and for being the gateway to some of the most superb beaches in Australia. Many factories and plants may have shut up shop to move abroad, but the people of Geelong have proven their resilience and turned the city into a creative hub excited about the future. Offering a relaxing lifestyle with bigger and better housing for a lot less than most Melbourne suburbs, scores of young couples are hauling their tables and trinkets out west to start a new life.
You can get most of Melbourne’s metro lurks and perks in Geelong too; with brilliant 1850s architecture retained from the gold rush era; dozens of great modern cafes offering coffee and brunch; and a fledgling bar scene keeping wine and cocktail lovers sated. Fitness fanatics also have a plethora of parks and bike trails to help them reach their step and sweat quotas. On a ride, taking in the natural beauty, you’ll discover why it’s no surprise that the prestigious UCI Road World Championships made Geelong its first ever Australian host city back in 2010.
Sea and tree changers
If you’re not a city slicker at all, maybe you’ll find a place that feels like home elsewhere in Barwon South West. Corrections Victoria has several offices and facilities across the region, including two major prisons in Lara; and a Community Correctional Services (CCS) presence in Hamilton and Colac as well as the beach towns of Portland and Warrnambool.
While each location offers something unique, all of your options in Barwon South West have some elements in common. For one, you’ll find people who care about their community and consider it a major part of their identity. Local sporting leagues still have strong followings too, sparking enjoyable rivalries with neighbouring towns. Confidence is also running high. The farming industry here provides a quarter of Australia’s dairy needs, while investment in clean energy has created thousands of new job opportunities for locals.
Finally, in Barwon South West you’re never far away from seeing something absolutely breathtaking. The go-to place for getting that feeling skirts the bottom of the state – the Great Ocean Road. Whether you’re chasing the highs of a holiday or a silent moment of reflection, you will find somewhere sublime to fulfil both needs on this spectacular stretch.
So what do you want? City living? Solitude? Adventure? Relaxation? It’s possible to have it all in Barwon South West.