Mountain to Mouth: Plan to stay a few days or Get your Friends and Relatives West-Side

Fact: There are almost as many locations and accommodation types in Geelong and the Bellarine as there are Walking Circle Songline stations. 

Fact: Geelong and the Bellarine is the leading destination when it comes to weekend escapes. 

Need another fact?: Geelong is the first (and only) UNESCO City of Design in Australia. 

Connecting Memories app update

The Connecting Memory app has just been updated to dramatically improve user experience, with easier layouts, smaller download size and seamless integration with online maps.

The app taps into a rich collection of digital stories about the iconic places and fascinating people of Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. Local voices tell local stories through film, spoken word, song, images and text. 

Stories are clustered around the footprint of the Mountain to Mouth Contemporary Songline, a path which extends from the You Yangs Regional Park mountain range to the beautiful Barwon Heads river. The app is a useful and experience enhancing companion for participants of Mountain to Mouth 2016 as it alerts you to nearby stories.

Travellers on the route can unearth content by traversing the land and walking circles based on ancient labyrinth designs to unlock stories as they pass through grasslands, industrial nightscapes, the city centre, rural landscapes and beaches across the diverse municipality. 

Highlights include Serendip wildlife sanctuary, Bob McGovern Path, Hovells Creek, Limeburners Lagoon, North Geelong and North Shore, Corio Bay, Western Bay walk, Geelong Waterfront, Steampacket Gardens, Bellarine Rail Trail, Swan Bay, Point Lonsdale, Ocean Grove Beach and Barwon Heads. 

Mountain to Mouth is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register now.

Mountain to Mouth unveils 8 Week Walking Program to prepare for 2016 event

Mountain to Mouth 2016, Geelong's multi-award winning 80km extreme arts walk is set to kick off in just 8 weeks. In order to help participants prepare, we have put together an 8 week walking program, in conjunction with the City of Greater Geelong’s Swim Sport and Leisure network. 

Image: G. Van Der Meer

Designed in a flexible manner, the easy-to-follow program works as a guide that can be used by anyone regardless of age and fitness level. The program is designed to cater for a range of different goals, with a guide on how to walk a 5km distance, a 10km distance and more. 

This reflects the very nature of the Mountain to Mouth walk, in that participants can choose the distance and the challenge that suits them. Walk stages vary in distance from 3-14 kilometres each and participants can choose to walk any one or more of these stages, or the whole distance whilst experiencing edgy artworks that celebrate the land.  

The 8 week walking program is ideal for organisations or teams that are considering registering for Mountain to Mouth 2016 as a group. The program gives groups an opportunity to be involved in an enjoyable team-building exercise, improving the health of participants as well as strengthening their relationships. Organisations could schedule “walking meetings” as a way of participating in program in preparation for the event.

Special group (team) prices are available. 2 day “Pilgrim” passes are $450 for a group of 10, whilst 1 day “Standard” passes are $250 for a group of 10. Tickets can be purchased here. 

You choo-choose the distance, you choose the challenge.

Geelong’s multi-award winning extreme arts walk – Mountain to Mouth (M~M2016) and the iconic Bellarine Railway are teaming up to give M~M2016 participants a choice of walking or riding a train (in one section) hauled by a historic locomotive during M~M2016.

M~M2016 is an 80km extreme arts journey of discovery over two days (6 - 7 May 2016) and 11 stages, with participants walking from the You Yangs mountain range through Central Geelong, along the Barwon River, via the Bellarine Peninsula and out to the mouth of the Barwon River at Barwon Heads.  The route is punctuated with edgy artworks commissioned especially for M~M, bringing people together through shared experiences of extreme arts that celebrate the region.

The walk gives a rare opportunity for Geelong residents and visitors to walk across the land, with the 11 stages of the walk offering varying distances.

Now, M~M participants on day two of the event will have the opportunity to be on the historic train between Drysdale and Queenscliffe - participating in activities at the Drysdale Station and the Swan Bay Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre.

City of Greater Geelong Bellarine Councillors John Irvine and Lindsay Ellis are encouraging people to either walk or ride the train during the extreme arts walk, which will take in stunning sights across the Bellarine Peninsula.

“During the journey you will pass through remnant bush land of the Bellarine Peninsula, before skirting the picturesque Swan Bay to arrive at Swan Bay Railway Station. The railway corridor features a variety of vistas to enjoy from the train, including an olive grove, vineyard and views of Queenscliff and Swan Bay,” said Cr Irvine.

“Upon arrival into Swan Bay, passengers are encouraged to include a visit to the Discovery Centre to gain an understanding of the marine and birdlife Swan Bay supports.  The Centre has aquariums with local marine and freshwater life and a touch tank where visitors can get closer to animals like seastars and crabs,” said Cr Ellis.

Mayor of the Borough of Queenscliffe Hélène Cameron is encouraging people of all ages and abilities to hop onboard the M~M Railway and enjoy the experience from a unique perspective.

“The railway is an integral part of Queenscliff’s local history and the combination of arts, culture and community provides for a wonderful day trip for both walkers and passengers alike.”

Tickets for the M~M walk train special are $20 (adults), $15 (child, senior) and $40 (family ticket, 2 adults , up to 3 children) and can be purchased directly from the Bellarine Railway:  Tickets for the walk can be purchased by visiting the M~M2016 website:

M~M Extreme Arts Walk calling for Flag Ambassador Nominations

Photo: Anne Buckley

M~M2016 (Mountain to Mouth) is now calling for nominations for community ambassadors to carry a municipal ward flag, during Geelong’s Extreme Arts Walk on 6 – 7 May 2016.

Flag Ambassadors will be part of an 80km extreme arts journey of discovery.

Arts & Culture Portfolio holder Councillor Andy Richards said M~M2016 Flag Ambassadors would be part of the award-winning event, that showcases our region like no other.

“Walking 80km through Greater Geelong is unlike anywhere else – its diversity is spectacular - taking in rural and mountainous regions, industrial and commercial precincts, urban and residential areas and inland and coastal waters,” said Cr Richards.

Over 2 days and 11 stages, M~M2016 Flag Ambassadors will lead the walk from the You Yangs mountain range – crossing Geelong’s industrial heartland at nightfall and arriving in the city centre to collide with Geelong After Dark, a night of extreme and unexpected arts. At dawn the next day, walkers will follow the Barwon River through rolling Bellarine farmland, along ocean beach to reach river mouth at Barwon Heads by sunset.

Flag Ambassadors will carry the 12 emblematic flags of the 12 Municipal Wards of the Geelong and Queenscliff region. Route stages vary in distance (from 3-14kms), and Flag Ambassadors walk one stage only. In longer stages, the flag-bearing role may be shared among several Ambassadors.

Corio Ward Councillor Kylie Fisher shared her thoughts on the walk, which takes in Geelong’s northern suburbs and shows off parts of Geelong rarely explored by residents.

“Coming from the north into the city there is so much rich history and contrast.  Residential and industrial areas meet tucked-away sandy bay beaches with spectacular views right across Corio Bay,” said Cr Fisher.

“The M~M2016 walk will enable Geelong residents and visitors an opportunity to discover hidden aspects of the region.”

Cr Richards encouraged the community to get involved by nominating someone who has made a special contribution to their local community. 

Community Flag Ambassadors are to be nominated for their significant contribution to their municipality or neighbourhood. Community Ambassadors can be nominated from all wards of the Geelong region, and from all walks of life.

Do you know of someone who has made a special community contribution to your ward who you would like to nominate? Nominate them to become an official M~M Flag Ambassador today! 

Wanted: Extreme Arts Walk M~M seeks Lead Artist For Major Australian Ephemeral Sculpture Commission. Apply within.

Canoe 2014

Extreme Arts Walk – M~M is now calling on artists based in Australia or overseas to submit an Expression of Interest for a major $20,000 Australian Ephemeral Sculpture Commission – called Canoe.

The Canoe Commission has been made possible by funding from the Australia Council for the Arts. As one of most unique ephemeral sculpture commissions now offered in Australia, the Canoe sculpture will be the lead processional image of M~M2016 (Mountain to Mouth) – Geelong’s multi-award winning 80km extreme arts walk.

As a biennial “journey of discovery” over two days (6-7 May 2016), M~M begins at the You Yangs mountain range, crosses Geelong’s industrial heartland at nightfall and arrives in the city centre to collide with Geelong After Dark, a night of extreme and unexpected arts.

At dawn the next day, the extreme arts walk continues through the city centre to join the Barwon River, through rolling Bellarine farmland, along ocean beach to reach river mouth at Barwon Heads by sunset.

Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons said he was looking forward to seeing the Canoe, in action during M~M2016. “M~M is about land and people and it’s about art bringing these two together which is fantastic,” said Mayor Lyons.

“I encourage local, national and international artists to be part of this major cultural event.”

Tasked with a theme of “AIR” , the successful applicant will be responsible for the design, build and transport of Canoe and will have experience in the field of processional image making, installation art, and/or three dimensional construction. Collaborations will also be considered for this commission.

City of Greater Geelong Councillor Andy Richards Portfolio Holder for Arts & Culture thanked the Australia Council for the Arts for providing a significant cash contribution to the project.

“M~M is an inspiring and unique event and I am delighted that M~M has received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts. I’d also like to thank our core partners, Deakin University, Corangamite CMA, Borough of Queenscliffe, Karingal, Diversitat and Wadawurrung for their ongoing commitment to the event.”

M~M Artistic Director, Meme McDonald said that M~M is a bold artistic gesture in timid times.

“This extreme arts walk anchors us to the land. Canoe will be carried along the 80km route by Geelong ambassadors – an iconic image of journey, of migration, of carrying memory, and carrying the story of this land.”

Expressions of Interest close on 8 February 2016. Further information about the commission can be obtained by contacting the M~M Production Team on +61 3 5272 4703 or Artists are to submit (up to 10) images of previous work, a Curriculum Vitae and a Statement of Interest. 

Click for full details about this commission.

Register for the walk now.

Registrations now open for Geelong’s Extreme Arts Walk – M~M.

M~M2014 walkers at the finish line. 
Image: G Mourney.

Registrations are now open for M~M2016 (Mountain to Mouth): Geelong’s multi-award winning extreme arts walk.

M~M2016 is an 80km extreme arts journey of discovery over two days (6 - 7 May 2016) and 11 stages, with participants walking from the You Yangs mountain range through Central Geelong, along the Barwon River, via the Bellarine Peninsula and out to the mouth of the Barwon River at Barwon Heads.

The route is punctuated with edgy artworks commissioned especially for M~M, bringing people together through shared experiences of extreme arts that celebrate the region.

The walk gives a rare opportunity for Geelong residents and visitors to walk across the land, with the 11 stages of the walk offering varying distances. Walkers are encouraged to set their own walk challenge, with walk stages ranging from 3km to 14km.  Buses will then shuttle walkers, where required, along the route.

50% of all tickets sold will fund a planting program of trees and shrubs along the walk route, in partnership with Karingal Foundation.  

City of Greater Geelong Councillor Andy Richards portfolio holder for Arts and Culture said he hopes thousands sign up for the walk, which takes in Geelong’s most stunning sights.

“M~M2016 will take participants on a breathtaking journey through the Geelong region, with amazing pop up arts experiences along the way,” said Cr Richards.

“As an extreme arts walk, M~M2016 will bring together art lovers, athletes and those who just want to get out and explore the outdoors. The event is unique, fun and you get to choose your own challenge. I can’t wait for next year’s walk.”  

Early bird prices are now on sale, with reduced rates for adult, concession, family and groups until 31 December 2015. 2 day “Pilgrim” passes are currently $45 (adults) and $36 (concession), whilst standard 1 day passes are $27 (adults) and $19.80 (concession) + booking fee.

Register for M~M2016 now.

5 Minutes With M~M Artistic Director, Meme McDonald

Meme McDonald

Meme McDonald

Growing up in sheep and cattle country in western Queensland, Meme McDonald has always had an affinity with the land, and in 2016, she continues in the role of Artistic Director for Geelong’s Extreme Arts Walk - M~M. She speaks here to the crew at M~M HQ  about her passion for land, walking journeys and the Geelong region.

M~M HQ Crew: Meme, describe what M~M means for you?
M~M is a golden opportunity to walk the land. An opportunity to take part in a rare moment that only happens every two years, when it is possible to walk a pathway from the eagle’s view at You Yangs Big Rock to the watery mouth of the Barwon River. And to be inspired along the way with stunning vistas of industry, nature and extreme art in some rather unusual places.

M~M HQ Crew: How did M~M come about?
Extreme times call for extreme art. In 2007, I was engaged as Artistic Director of Connecting Identities by the Arts & Culture Department of the City of Greater Geelong.

My brief was to take the issue of the rapid change that municipality of Geelong was facing, with its sizeable impact on local identity, and create an arts programme that could have a positive effect on people’s perception of themselves and their place.

The first question I asked myself was, ‘what connects us?’ One answer is, 'the land'. I have a long-term interest and respect for the Aboriginal cultures whose footsteps we follow. The traditional songlines that criss-cross this entire continent are rich food for the imagination. Early discussions with elders in Geelong endorsed the concept of creating a contemporary songline – M~M.

In its pilot stage in 2009, M~M went up stream from the mouth of the river to the You Yangs. When we changed to go with the natural flow of water downhill in 2014, the whole timing of M~M fell beautifully into place. M~M2016 will consolidate this flow.

M~M HQ Crew: For those who experienced M~M2014, what is different about this iteration?
We are following in the footsteps of indigenous ancestors who walked songlines – walking journeys that stretched across the country – from southern Victoria to Cape York. At 80 kilometres, our M~M contemporary songline is a baby, barely born. It will take tens and maybe hundreds of years until it becomes a songline of significance. M~M2016 will see a consolidation of this songline and a strengthening of the extreme arts that walkers will experience along the way.

M~M HQ Crew: Why should people be putting M~M in their 2016 calendars?
M~M is an extreme arts walk - that is unique to Geelong, to Australia and perhaps unique even further afield. M~M is not intended to be easy. It takes courage to walk this land and to commit to such a physical challenge. But for those who take a chance, the opportunity to discover the region by taking an extreme arts walk, is a uniquely local experience that is not to be missed...

M~M returns 6-7 May 2016. Registrations will open soon.

M~M now calling for Songline Station Sponsors

Image: Frank Kennedy

Geelong’s multi-award winning extreme arts walk, M~M is now calling for Sponsors to support and develop this dynamic and inclusive concept into the future.

As an ‘epic, life changing journey’, M~M is set to expand across its next iterations in 2016 and 2018 and is seeking passionate supporters of the Geelong community to participate as ‘Songline Station Sponsors’ – who see the realities and potential of the Geelong region as a vibrant and culturally rich place to be.

Throughout the 80km journey, 12 Stations will come alive with interactive arts experiences that express stories and/or ideas about the local area. As a unique sponsorship opportunity, a Songline Station Sponsor will exclusively support one of these stations. Professional artists work with District Co-ordinators and local community members to create these installations (called ‘Walking Circles’), and these stations also act as registration, rest and refreshment points for walkers.

Songline Station Sponsors will contribute to the payment of talented local Australian artists and to the creative development process at each Station. Sponsors will also be able to engage firsthand with local community members and District Coordinators in artwork creation, and will be invited to attend special M~M gatherings.

In 2016 and 2018, M~M will incorporate Geelong After Dark – Central Geelong’s night arts event. In 2017, Geelong After Dark will exist as a standalone event and Songline Station Sponsors may also have an opportunity to be creatively engaged in this event.

Image: Sam Neumann

With over 12,000 people participating in M~M2014, M~M2016 will grow from this existing momentum - specifically engaging and encouraging those with a passion for walking, those who seek extreme physical challenges, those curious to explore the region on foot, and those who perhaps require some ‘artistic inspiration’ to get moving. M~M is an all-abilities event, offering the opportunity for all to discover something new about the Geelong and Queenscliff regions, and to connect with each other, throughout the experience of the region’s artistic culture and the region’s ever-changing physical landscape.

For more information and for expressions of interest, please contact Kaz Paton on 03 5272 4878 or at

M~M and Geelong After Dark Win Award For Innovation

Image: Brien Cohn

Image: Brien Cohn

The multi-award winning projects – M~M and Geelong After Dark have just won a prestigious award at the Australian Regional Development Conference (ARCD) Innovation Awards.

Acknowledged as offering a “great legacy” to the region, the two arts events were jointly awarded a Community Development Award at the recent conference, described by ARDC judges as having an “outstanding approach to engaging an enormous range of city groups and diverse parts of the population” with “exceptional planning and processes”.

This underscores comments of previous judging panels, who speak of M~M’s “breath-taking conception, scope and execution…” and “profound meaning and significance to the Geelong community...”  The Australian Event Awards also recently applauded the inclusive nature of the M~M project, and the manner in which it pools the collective knowledge and commitment of many groups to “…create a whole greater than the sum of the parts.”

City of Greater Geelong Councillor Andy Richards Portfolio Holder for Arts and Culture said M~M2014 and Geelong After Dark were unique events bringing the community together on a large scale.

“ M~M takes people from all walks of life on a journey to discover the region’s culture and traditions. The 80km walk incorporates a programme of music, visual arts, storytelling, environmental and sporting elements and the City and event partners are currently planning for M~M2016,” said Cr Richards.

“Geelong After Dark is one night of pop up arts events, performances and musical acts that transform Central Geelong. It is continuing to grow, the 2014 event had over 6,000 participants and the 2015 event had more than 10,000.”

M~M Artistic Director, Meme McDonald was also delighted to hear this news.

“The award applauds M~M as innovative as well as contributing significantly to community development in Geelong. We couldn’t be prouder receiving this award.” 

M~M: Geelong’s Extreme Arts Walk and Geelong After Dark are both set to return to the Geelong region on 6-7 May 2016.

M~M @ Geelong After Dark 2015

The second year of Geelong After Dark, M~M’s little sister event, was a hit!  More than 10,000 people came out on Friday May 8th to see 247 artists and 95 new artworks pop up in surprising places around the Geelong city centre.

M~M featured six stunning events at Geelong After Dark 2015. These events were created by artists commissioned to work with specific communities along the M~M contemporary songline as concept development for M~M2016.

The Pines


The Lara Soldiers Avenue is the oldest arborial community planting in Geelong and a solemn memorial to service and sacrifice. At Geelong After Dark a dawn ceremony among the trees is projected into the darkness of Geelong’s lanes, the flickering of a pre-digital technology reminding us that the past is present in the future and rituals are what bring us together. The Pines is conceived as a continuous flow of images rather than as conventional narrative, a poetic rendering of a time and place, a film about the act of rememberance.

The Pines film has been made with members of Lara RSL who participated as hosts of M~M 2014 Lara walking circle. The Pines film is the starting point to engaging with the RSL creatively with a view to them collaborating with an artist for M~M2016 as active participants and creators as well as hospitable hosts for the walking circle. As custodians of the Lara Soldier’s Avenue this seems an appropriate starting point to explore the significance and symbolism of the pine trees to the RSL members and as a distinctive part of the Lara landscape.

Soft Oyster


Soft Oyster, created by the youth of the North of Geelong alongside professional puppet makers, is encased in beautiful patterned circular forms dreamed up by the Norlane Yarn Bombers. These patterns echoe the light and hyperbolic crochet of the M~M2014 Moorpanyal Park walking circle. The oyster pearl glows softly as it completes its sisyphean circuit. It reflects the relentless nature of the sea and the tenacity of organisms like the Corio Bay Oyster that have returned to our waters after years of depletion.

Grass Shrine


Native grasslands are as diverse as they are unique. They have played a crucial role in biodiversity, Aboriginal culture and European colonisation with the introduction of grazing animals. An iconic plant within the original grasslands is the Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra, found in every State and Territory in Australia. Native grasslands are now estimated to be as low as 1% of their original cover in Victoria and are amongst the most endangered habitats.

Noise Scavengers


Noise Scavengers are a constantly morphing group of young people from Geelong’s northern suburbs who have been collaborating with James Hullick and the Click Clack Project for a number of years. Industrial, experimental and unpredictable, Noise Scavengers’ latest incarnation could be terrifying or very zen. 

A Noise Scavengers quartet performed at Sonic Flock in the Melbourne Festival alongside professional musicians and artists including Ros Bandt. This incarnation of Noise Scavengers is a first step in the development of the next stage of Noise Scavengers which seeks to engage marginalised young people in contemporary arts practice and performance with a view to participation in M~M2016 at Steampacket Gardens.

Shadow Puppets After Dark


The river themed story of “Boora the Pelican” is closely aligned to the environmental features and birdlife of the Barwon River Estuary. In creating a shadow puppet show inspired by this story, students have extended their creative skills and also learned about storytelling within indigenous cultures. 

The school community of Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School was involved in M~M2014 creating the walking circle on the beach at Ocean Grove. At GAD2015, they perform alongside the Barwon Heads Primary School “Marine Puppets After Dark”. This will lead to further opportunities for collaboration between the two school communities for M~M2016.

Marine Puppets After Dark


The communities of Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove are separated physically by the environmentally significant Barwon River Estuary. Although only three kilometres separate Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, the two towns have developed into two distinct communities evidenced by their historic rivalries in sporting events. 

“Marine Puppets After Dark” working alongside “Shadow Puppets After Dark” created by Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School from Ocean Grove, brings the two communities together to celebrate our shared links to our coastal environment. “Marine Puppets After Dark” parade audiences through the streets at Geelong After Dark 2015 to the Dimmy’s shop window to watch the “Shadow Puppets After Dark” performance.

Barwon Heads Primary School created star lanterns for M~M2014. Progressing their skills in puppetry will lead to further opportunities for creative involvement in next year's M~M2016. 

Photographs courtesy of the Geelong Camera Club and other photographers including:

  • Brien Cohn
  • D Grant
  • Ketut Sewitra