With miles of sandcastle real estate, lagoons for snorkelling and rock pools teeming with wildlife, the beaches of the Great Ocean Road are a natural playground for little ones.
These family-friendly beaches have everything you need to take the stress out of your day at the beach and are ideally located, so you won’t have to stray far to find snacks, supplies or a loo.
Remember to keep a close watch on your kids and if you’re at a patrolled beach to always swim between the flags. Respect your surroundings and leave any rock pool critters where you find them. Now pull on those rashies and let’s hit the beach!
Right on The Esplanade in the heart of town, Cosy Corner is as family friendly as the name suggests.
Tucked away by Point Danger at the south end of Torquay’s sweeping Front Beach, Cosy is patrolled so kids can swim safely between the flags. When you’ve had enough sun and sand, retreat to the grassy hills behind the beach to seek shade under the Norfolk Island pine trees. Here you’ll find plenty of public toilets, playgrounds, barbecues and picnic tables. The Esplanade is lined with beach-front cafes. Grab something to enjoy on the beach or dine-in for lunch.
Follow the Anglesea River as it winds its way out to the ocean and you’ll discover a wide beach surrounded by sand dunes, golden limestone cliffs and wild heathlands. Anglesea’s main swimming beach boasts shallow waves, making it a fantastic spot for youngsters. The beach is patrolled in peak periods but stay between the flags, the river mouth and rocky outcrops can attract dangerous rips. There’s ample parking, public toilets and barbecues, and town is just moments away. Tear into some of the coast’s best fish and chips from Fish by Moonlite then explore the bushwalking trails through Anglesea Heath.
This 400m long secluded beach has all the makings of a holiday mainstay. While you’ll only find surf patrol over the busy Christmas period, the beach is sheltered by the headland and is one of the area’s safest swimming spots. The gentle waves are the perfect setting for your grommets learning to surf or just paddling in the shallows. At low tide, the rockpools and their hidden creatures will delight little ones. The beach has public toilets and picnic areas, and for sustenance, the hole-in-the-wall Point Roadknight Kiosk is right behind the beach.
Beach days are oh so easy in Lorne, with a sandy beach spanning the length of the main street. The bushy hinterlands of the Otways behind Lorne provide the perfect backdrop to this stunning spot. The beach is sheltered from the wind and the area in front of the surf life saving club is patrolled for safe swimming. Spend your day flitting between the sand, water and cafes of Mountjoy Parade. This busy shopping strip has everything you could need from sunscreen to bodyboard hire. There’s plenty to do along the grassy foreshore too, with a skate park, playground and swimming pool, plus public toilets near the carpark.
If you thought Apollo Bay Harbour was just for fishing, think again. There’s tonnes to explore around these waters. Follow the Harbour Walk for some of the best views in town, and check out the yachts and fishing boats bobbing in the water. Right by the harbour, Apollo Bay Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand. Patrolled in summer and protected by Point Bunbury and the harbour wall, it’s a calm and safe spot to swim. Pick up locally caught fish and chips from the Fishermen’s Co-op. Grab a table on the deck and enjoy the harbour views while you eat. Public toilets are available near the car park.
With 5km of white sand and crystalline waters, this idyllic beach will enchant the entire family. The patrolled strip of beach rarely sees rips and is perfect for kids to splash about in. Pack a snorkel and spot rainbow-bright fish among the kelp. A stroll to the southern end of the beach will reward you with views of the lighthouse, bird sanctuary Griffiths Island and the mouth of the Moyne River. When the kids are ready to come in from the water, refuel with a piping hot parcel from East Beach Fish and Chips, just minutes away.
The quaintly named Pea Soup is made up of two small beaches that seem perfectly crafted with children in mind. The reef that encircles the beach creates a safe, protected zone for swimming and snorkelling in shallow lagoons, especially at low tide. The kids will happily spend hours fossicking in the basalt rock pools, searching for cuttlefish, crabs and starfish. There aren’t any shops nearby, so be sure to grab supplies in town before you settle in at the beach. The nearest public toilets are in Russell Clark Reserve, a short walk away.
Although its name may sound frightening, Stingray Bay is perfectly safe. This pretty, sheltered cove at the mouth of the Merri River is protected by rocks and reefs. The sandy beach is unpatrolled but with clear, wave-free waters, it’s a popular family swimming spot at low tide. Back on the shore, kids will love exploring the life-filled rock pools. From the sandy beach you can see two small islands off the coast, look out for the colony of Little Penguins on Middle Island. Head towards the river for public toilets and when hunger strikes, hit the nearby Pavilion Cafe & Bar for a tasty ocean-to-plate lunch.
Spark wonder in your little ones by taking them to an extinct volcano. The curved coastline of Cape Bridgewater was once the rim of a volcanic island. Today, it’s a long, windswept beach with white sand and towering cliffs. The patrolled beach is safe to swim and is equipped with public toilets and picnic spots. Be sure to visit the Bridgewater Bay Cafe, an old-school beach kiosk for nourishing beach eats and coffee. From here, follow the Seal Walk. This cliff top trail leads to a viewing platform where you can watch Australia’s largest seal colony splashing about below.
Remember to stay safe around the ocean, swim between the flags and most importantly — enjoy your day on the beautiful beaches of the Great Ocean Road!
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.