The seaside resort of Queenscliff is located just inside the entrance to Port Phillip on the Bellarine Peninsula near Point Lonsdale.
Queenscliff was settled in the 1850s and soon became a strategic defence post given its proximity to the entrance of Port Phillip which provides shipping access to the cities of Geelong and Melbourne. Legacies to Queenscliff's defence and maritime history can be found at Fort Queenscliff where tours are available, and further insights into Queenscliff's past can be discovered at the Queenscliffe Historical Museum in Hesse Street and the Maritime Museum on Weeroona Parade.
The commercial centre of Queenscliff, characterised by historic shop fronts and buildings, is situated on Hesse Street, dominated by the ornate Vue Grand Hotel which was constructed in 1881. Grand hotels and guest houses can also be found along Gellibrand Street which is separated from the cliffs along the coast in this area by extensive parkland.
Queenscliff is surrounded on three sides by water, giving the town large stretches of coastline, consisting of a combination of sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, cliffs and historic piers. At Shortlands Bluff is the Queenscliff Lighthouse which was built in 1862 and includes a lookout near the base. Further north along the coast is the Black Lighthouse, unique in Australia, having been constructed from bluestone.
Queenscliff Harbour is located near the eastern end of Wharf Street and consists of several wharves which are home to a number of fishing fleets. A retail strip including a selection of cafes and restaurants overlook the harbour. A circular 30 metre tall navigation tower is located at the harbour, and there is an observation deck at the top which is open to the public and provides panoramic views over Queenscliff and the bay. At the eastern end of the harbour is a car and passenger ferry service which operates between Queenscliff and Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, providing an alternative to the road route via Melbourne.
The Bellarine Peninsula Railway operates a collection of heritage trains from around Australia on 16 kilometres of restored track between Queenscliff and Drysdale.