Ocean Grove. Seaside boom town.
The largest town on the Bellarine – more than 12,000 residents and growing – quiet, unaffected ‘OG’ is the peninsula’s designated activity and growth centre, with new estates and industrial parks complimenting the agri/viticultural heritage industry.
It maintains its unpretentious, ‘middle-Australia’ vibe thanks to large tracts of affordable family homes and two shopping centres. Families and retirees are the lifeblood here, and are very well catered for. There’s community centres, libraries, community parks and gardens, an indoor pool complex, several daycare and preschool options, and an international competition standard bowling club, amongst many practical strings to its bow!
There’s are several distinct living areas within Ocean Grove itself – the original grid of ‘Old Grove’, Lakeside, New Ocean Grove (once Collendina) and the corridor of Oakdene housing estate opposite the winery of the same name. The heated value of coastal real estate has left its mark on Ocean Grove’s waterfront locations. Properties along The Parade, The Terrace, Dare and Orton Streets are commanding prices in the millions thanks to brilliant ocean views and for some, beach access. These areas are peppered with subdivisions and townhouse rebuilds. Beyond that you can still grab a family 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a backyard for around half a million. The northern rural border offers the bushland acreages of Woodlands and Yellowgums.
Ocean Grove Primary is zoned to old OG addresses, Surfside Primary and Star of the Sea cater to the east-end, and more recent estates. The junior Bellarine Secondary College campus is here too. All are within a 15 minute walk from each other. Bus services ferry local teens to their schools in Geelong or nearby Drysdale without fuss.
Encircled by surf beach (kid friendly, not Bondi!), the Barwon River estuary and rambling farmland, the environment delivers many active lifestyle pursuits. Ties are built through organised sport including Surf lifesaving, local footy and netball, golf and tennis. Then there’s recreational road cycling, fishing and, of course, surfing. Long beach walks and a yoga or pilates session followed by coffee is part of many a daily routine.
It’s a half hour commute from Geelong down the Bellarine Highway, Portarlington Rd or via Barwon Heads. The latter route is best for train journey connections to Melbourne from Marshall. It’s a long Melbourne commute at 1.45 minutes plus, one way. But many find it a worthwhile investment to call this place home.
The Piping Hot Chicken Shop, a puberty blues-ish chips and gravy joint by day moonlighting as a music club venue by night is a local institution. Hosting local and touring artists throughout the year on weekends, it offers the ultimate hangover menu to recovering hedonists. If that’s wasn’t enough already, the Jasper coffee adds kudos.
As a classic beach-town, an influx of Summer and Easter tourists will busy up the roads, denying you access to the Coles carpark once or twice a year. Those unforeseen perfect winter or summer days when you have run of the place for the remaining 95% of the year is more than compensation.
With a median price well under the Melbourne average, you can expect change from your city relocation, or upgrade to the digs of your dreams. If you’re particularly lucky, that dream abode may come with Ocean Grove’s killer view over the Bluff at Barwon Heads.