Welcome to my place . . . Geelong, Australia

A doctor Down Under shares his tips on where to bring visitors and his favourite restaurant

Geelong in Victoria, Australia, where Dr Diarmuid McCoy lives with his family. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Geelong in Victoria, Australia, where Dr Diarmuid McCoy lives with his family. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

Dr Diarmuid McCoy is originally from Bantry, Co Cork. He is a specialist pain medicine physician. He moved to Geelong, Victoria in 2004. He went to University College Cork and works at the University Hospital Geelong where he is a consultant and senior lecturer at Deakin Medical School. Diarmuid is married to Jane from Midleton, Co Cork, and has three children. In his spare time he sails and cycles.

Where is the first place you bring visitors? 
The city is built between the sea and the Barwon river. The waterfront is where much of the city life is. Sporting and cultural life is accommodated here near restaurants, bars and hotels. Even though it is near the city centre the waterfront is a terrific snapshot of the area.

The top three things to do here that don’t cost money are...
A walk along the waterfront is punctuated by the Bollards. These remnants of the old wharfs have been painted to depict characters, organisations and groups important in the history and growth of Geelong. Each has a pair of rabbits at its base, signalling that all rabbits in Australia originate from 24 pairs released near Geelong in the 1850 for sporting purposes.

Co Cork native Dr Diarmuid McCoy with his family. The family have lived in Geelong since 2004
Co Cork native Dr Diarmuid McCoy with his family. The family have lived in Geelong since 2004

The Geelong art gallery houses important European and Australian paintings. These include A Bush Burial 1890 and View of Geelong 1856 along with sculpture and printmaking.

The Botanic Gardens overlook the seafront and make for a quiet oasis. Important plants and a rose garden are enjoyed in an easy-to-navigate area.

Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives the flavour of Geelong? 
On the Bellerine peninsula, Oakdene winery and accommodation has cellar door sales and a choice of dining options from bistro to fine dining. Housed in a 1920 farmhouse, the gardens are decorated with an eclectic mix of old garden tools and surreal artwork. It offers a portrait of local ingredients and produce from the land and sea nearby. Look out for the quirky cellar door house perched on its side.

In Geelong city centre, the little Malop Street and James Street area is the new trendy quarter with restaurants, music bars and nightlife spots.

Where is the best place to get a sense of Geelong’s place in history? 
A walking tour of the centre will give an idea of the history of the city with the gaol now a function venue. The national wool museum near the seafront and historic buildings reflect the importance Geelong had in the early days of the colony, as an export point for wool, sheep, butter, and whale products. Tour Deakin University and the newly opened and architecturally acclaimed library. Outside the city take the Great Ocean Road up the coast from Torquay and follow the coast to Lorne and Apollo Bay. Many surf beaches can be found on this trip including the world famous Bells Beach.

Keep room in your suitcase for...Geelong and the Bellerine peninsula is emerging as a culinary centre of excellence. If you have a really big suitcase and can wait a few months, Baum Cycles will build you a bespoke titanium machine which will be a joy to ride. Wathaurong produce high-quality glass. Famous recipients of these products include Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. A pair of RM William boots are not specifically from Geelong but an Australian icon.

If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live overseas, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We would love to hear from you.

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