A country town atmosphere with modern infrastructure and easy access to Geelong and Melbourne – welcome to Lara.
Only 18km north-east of the Geelong CBD (20 minute drive) and 60km (50 minutes) from the Melbourne CBD, Lara is home to more than 16,000 people and growing.
Situated on Hovells Creek, the town enjoys great views of the granite peaks of the nearby You Yangs Regional Park, which is just 4km north of the township. The park is a well-known spot for mountain biking, bush walks, rock climbing, picnics and taking in the spectacular views from the granite peaks. Meanwhile, Lara is only a few kilometres to Corio Bay and less than half an hour via the Geelong Ring Road to the Surf Coast and the start of the Great Ocean Road.
Lara still retains its rural feel with a strong sense of community and lifestyle. The town’s access to the highway and train route, combined with affordable housing and amenities at your fingertips, makes it an ideal base for commuters.
An influx of residents into Lara in recent years has resulted in an increase in infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing community.
Shopping facilities include the Lara Village Centre, also known as the Centreway Shopping Precinct. The shopping village is just 500m from the train station and features the latest concept full-line Coles supermarket, McDonald’s and more than 15 other stores.
The shopping precinct also stretches across the road with a variety of stores and cafes including the redeveloped Woolworths store.
Lara is also home to a variety of different dining options which are now attracting people from Geelong and afar. This includes Millars Café, a family-friendly café located in Bisinella’s Grand Lakes Estate.
Few towns have better transport links than Lara.
Located on the Melbourne-Geelong railway line, train services run regularly during the week from Lara to Melbourne. The town also provides easy access to the Princes Freeway for drivers commuting to Melbourne or Geelong. Buses also operate various routes between Lara and Geelong.
Meanwhile, Avalon Airport is only 10 minutes away. From December 5, AirAsia will start operating twice-daily return services between Avalon and Kuala Lumpur from the airport's new international terminal.
Lara also has three primary schools (Lara Lake Primary School, Lara Primary School and St Anthony’s Primary School) as well as Lara Secondary College. The town also includes a number of kindergartens and childcare centres.
Lara is well equipped when it comes to access to sport. Clubs include the Lara Sporting Club (cricket, football, baseball and netball), Lara Golf Club, Lara Bowling Club, Lara United Football Club (soccer), Lara Giants (basketball) and Lara Tennis Club.
The explorers Hume and Hovell arrived at Lara on 16 December, 1824.
The township started to take shape after the opening of the Melbourne-Geelong railway in 1857, but the population was still only a few hundred at the end of the 19th century. Town water was not installed until after the Second World War. More rapid growth dated from the 1970s.
Lara has a significant number of heritage and historic buildings, including the magnificent Pirra Mansion and homestead on Windermere Road.
Few towns have better transport links than Lara.
Located on the Melbourne-Geelong railway line and the three-lane Princes Freeway, Lara provides convenient access to jobs in Geelong, the western suburbs and the Melbourne CBD.
There are 26 weekday V/Line train services from Lara to Melbourne or Geelong, running approximately every 20 minutes during peak periods, and at least hourly services at weekends. The railway station is near the town centre and has plenty of parking.
By freeway, it’s a half hour drive to the Westgate Bridge (outside peak periods). The heart of Geelong is about 15 minutes by car.
Buses operate various routes between Lara and Geelong.
Avalon Airport, Victoria’s second domestic passenger terminal, is just 10 minutes away.
lakes, parks and trails
The special character of Lara derives from its attractive rural outlook and abundant natural features.
The town has an extensive network of lakes and parks laced by walking and cycling trails.
Four kilometres to the north is the You Yangs Regional Park and a similar distance to the east is the Western Wetlands conservation area and Limeburners Bay, a small inlet of Corio Bay.
Serendip Sanctuary, on the northern edge of the town, is home to free range wildlife and captive breeding of endangered species.
The Lara Sporting Club caters for six sports: Australian football, cricket, soccer, netball, baseball and golf. These sections field some 80 teams (senior and junior) with approximately 1300 participants.
The club is based at the Lara Recreation Reserve, which includes three football and cricket ovals, soccer pitches and tennis courts.
Golf is played at Elcho Park, an 18 hole public course.
The Lara Swimming Pool offers an outdoor 50 metre pool and associated facilities for children and families.
The Lara Bowling Club has a busy lawn bowls calendar and active social program.
Two private fitness centres also operate in Lara.
Nearby are the Avalon Speedway and the Geelong harness racing, greyhound and go-cart tracks at Beckley Park.
Lara has the well regarded Lara Secondary College (year 7-12), three excellent primary schools (Lara, Lara Lake and St Anthony’s), three community kindergartens and a private children’s centre.
The Lara Town Centre has been extensively redeveloped with new full-line Coles and Woolworths supermarkets and a range of new and established specialty shops.
The Bisinella Community Centre is situated in the Grand Lakes Estate and operated by the Lara Community Centre Inc.
By having a second venue, the Lara Community Centre has been able to expand existing programs and introduce new programs for the benefit of all Lara residents.
The Bisinella Community Centre is a modern, energy efficient building designed to take advantage of its elevated location and attractive outlook, with views across the estate's lakes and landscaped parkland. The facilities include a hall, three offices, a kitchen, landscaped surrounds and 16 car spaces.