Beaches

The famous Bells Beach

With an international reputation as one of Australia’s best surf beaches, Bells Beach is an amazing spot – either in the water or out. There isn’t much ‘beach’ at Bells, it’s mostly a glorious cliff-face, and views from the cliff-top car park are spectacular – a great spot to watch local surfers out in the water.

What is Bells Beach famous for?

This beach is on the bucket list of every surfer and every traveller on their Great Ocean Road voyage. But in a country renowned for its jaw-dropping beaches, why is this tiny stretch of sand so famous? To put it simply, it’s the surf capital of Australia and the surfing folklore runs deep at Bells. Every Easter, Bells Beach hosts the International professional surfing community for the Rip Curl Pro event. Elite surfers from around the world flock to the Surf Coast to compete in the iconic surf competition. The Pro is part of the World Tour and is the oldest surfing competition of its kind worldwide. Some of the biggest stars have rung the winners bell, including Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore.

What is so good about Bells Beach?

This wild beach with gnarly surf and towering cliffs is a mecca of surfing. But you don’t have to know your way around a board to appreciate the natural beauty of Bells. It’s well worth a visit, if only to see the beach and surf from the bluffs. These views are incredible, wherever you stand. The beach is a natural amphitheatre, and the waves are the stage. Watch the best of the best surfers paddling out and expertly carving the waves. Despite the flow of visitors, the local wildlife is abundant. Look out for echidnas, birds and other creatures among the coastal scrub.

Is Bells Beach along the Great Ocean Road?

Bells Beach is one of the most well known spots along the Great Ocean Road. Located 10km outside Torquay, Bells Beach is how the town earned its reputation as the home of Australian surfing. The beach was first made accessible to the public in the ‘60s and surfers were drawn to its epic waves and beautiful surroundings. A surf culture rapidly emerged and by the ‘70s, iconic Aussie brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver were born. Today, Torquay is a bustling beach town with a slew of restaurants, breweries and surf outlets to explore on your visit. The gateway to the Great Ocean Road and easily accessible just an hour and a half drive from Melbourne, Torquay is the perfect start to your coastal adventure.

To get to Bells Beach, travel along the Great Ocean Road past Jan Juc. Turn left into Bells Boulevard and follow the signs to the carpark. From here, you can follow the stairs down to the beach, or stay up top and watch the show from the viewing platform. There are plenty of vantage points on the cliff tops to spot the surfers in action.

How big does Bells Beach get?

Every visitor to Bells Beach wants to know, is the 50 year swell real? Harnessing the swells of the Southern Ocean, the surf at Bells is legendary. And yes – those perfect conditions really do come around every so often, giving surfers the ride of their life! There are several quality surfing spots in the precinct from Southside to Steps Reef. Bells is a world class sight when above 1.5m. When smaller, the waves break close to the headland and produce a right called Rincon. Further around the head are two more reef breaks which work below 2m, called Centre Side (a right) and Southside (a left).

Can beginners surf at Bells Beach?

With tough conditions and powerful waves, Bells Beach is definitely an advanced surfing spot that should only be tackled only by experienced surfers. If you’re a beginner, leave Bells to the pros and just pop down to watch the action (some serious surf inspo is guaranteed!) If you want to get out there on your board, stick to the town beaches in nearby Torquay and Anglesea. Cosy Corner in the heart of Torquay is a great alternative with a safe, sheltered sandy beach and surf patrol on hand. The waves are small and gentle, perfect for newbie surfers to practice their stance.

Find the best beaches to learn to surf on the Great Ocean Road

Can you swim at Bells Beach?

While Bells is a stunning beach to bask on, it’s best to stay on the sand. The beach is unpatrolled and is not considered a swimming spot. There are plenty of safe and equally gorgeous swimming beaches around Torquay, Jan Juc and Anglesea, so Bells should be a spectating spot only.

This bucket list beach on the Great Ocean Road is not to be missed. You don’t have to be a surfer to appreciate the charm of the famous Bells Beach but we guarantee you’ll leave as a surfing fan.

Is Bells Beach on Point Break?

Bells Beach became a household name after its appearance in the 1991 action flick, Point Break. Patrick Swayze’s character Bodhi waits his whole life to surf the fabled ‘50 year swell’ at Bells Beach, a perfect wave that hits just twice a century. But did you know, while the final scenes of the movie were set in Bells Beach, none of the filming actually took place in Australia?

Detail

Bells is a world class sight when above 1.5m. When smaller, the waves break close in to the headland and produce a right called Rincon. Further around the head are two more reef breaks which work below 2m, called Centre Side (a right) and Southside (a left).

Carpark:
Sealed, formal parking area with 200 spaces.

We provide this information as a guide only. Surf conditions are variable and therefore this information should not be relied upon as a substitute for observation of local conditions and an understanding of your abilities in the surf. We remind you to always swim between the red and yellow flags and never swim at un-patrolled beaches.

All Accommodation

All Things To Do

Places To Eat & Drink

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.