Geelong's botanic gardens (established in 1851) are the fourth oldest in Australia and make for a peaceful stroll or picnic. Aim to get here for a volunteer-run tour (weather permitting), held Wednesday at 11am or Sunday at 2pm. At other times pick up a self-guided map from the cafe, which does Devonshire tea ($9), as well as sandwiches and the like.
Garden highlights include its selection of indigenous plant species, Western Australian bottle trees, Chilean wine palms, cork trees, Californian palms and sequoia, among other beautifully landscaped sections. The tiny Old Customs House is Victoria’s oldest timber building, built in Sydney in 1838 and transported to the gardens in sections. Eastern Park surrounds the gardens and is Geelong’s largest foreshore reserve, with many trees planted as early as 1859. It houses the great and ultra-kid-friendly Geelong Play Space.