52 Great Weekends

No 50: Surf Coast Walk

Coast along this 44km world-class walking and biking trail from Torquay to Fairhaven.

The Surf Coast Walk offers a stunning 44km journey of natural beauty, charming coastal villages, abundant wildlife and inspiring landscapes. Set out from the Torquay, the start of the Great Ocean Road through the living landscapes of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet to the wild shores of Fairhaven.

Stroll the iconic Bells Beach and soaring cliffs of Anglesea making sure to enjoy a few refreshing pit stops along the way.  Marvel at the marine and national parks, beach comb the uncrowded beaches and let the lighthouse be your guide to Aireys Inlet. Relish the awe-inspiring lookouts, you might even spot whales in winter!

The great thing about the Surf Coast Walk is that it doesn’t have to be done in one go.  It can be split into 12 unique trails, each with a distinct start and end, usually located at a carpark. Let this interactive map help you plan your version of the Surf Coast Walk.

Torquay

Located 1.2h from Melbourne, Torquay is the official start of the Great Ocean Road and the Home of Australian Surfing. It is the largest of the seaside towns along the walk with great shopping, great food and great culture.

The Surf Coast Walk starts at Point Impossible, five kilometres northeast of Torquay and takes you through windswept dunes to the Torquay Promenade with plenty of tempting rest stops along the way.

TRAIL 1: POINT IMPOSSIBLE TO YELLOW BLUFF (Grade 2, 5.7km)

Start the Surf Coast Walk exploring traditional Wadawurrung Aboriginal country at Point Impossible located on the northern fringe of the Torquay. Walk where the Wadawurrung people camped each season for thousands of years alongside the windswept sand dunes and coastal vegetation. This popular long-boarding break is an idyllic long stretch of beach to start your walk while enjoying views of Bass Strait. The adjacent Karaaf Wetlands offer plenty of opportunities for bird watching too. Just note, there is a one-kilometer optional dress zone between Point Impossible and Whites Beach, it was named Victoria’s first nude beach.

Track Notes: Mostly flat, no steps, well-formed path. Suitable for cycling.

TRAIL 2: TORQUAY PROMEDADE YELLOW BLUFF TO POINT DANGER (Grade 1, 1.6km)

Cruise the Torquay Promenade on this flat, kid-friendly, easy shared path. Contrast the creature comforts of Torquay Esplanade, the gentle waves of Cosy Corner with the wildness of treacherous offshore reefs and the ships’ graveyard off Point Danger. The Point Danger Marine Sanctuary is also a fantastic snorkeling spot during low swells. This section of the Surf Coast Walk allows you to step back in time and connect with the history of this vibrant holiday town as you wander part of the Torquay Historical Walk.

Track Notes: Easy shared concrete path, no steps, kid and wheel friendly.

EAT & DRINK: BLACKMAN’S BREWERY

Reward yourself after two trails done with a refreshing pit stop at Blackman’s Brewery. Only 200m from the Surf Coast Walk, Blackman’s Brewery offers locally crafted beer and cider brewed on-site and an all-day food menu – paired perfectly with the beers. There’s a great beer garden out back and daily brewery tours run from 4pm. Cheers to that!

TRAIL 3: POINT DANGER TO BIRD ROCK (Grade 2, 3.3km)

Walk the natural amphitheatre of the grassy slopes of Torquay Front Beach, overlooking the blue of Bass Strait with views of the Point Danger cliffs. See for yourself why this region is where Australian surf culture began. Walk or cycle past Torquay and Jan Juc surf beaches; the ‘classroom’ for the next generation of surfers. Peer out from Rocky Point over the many surf breaks, sheltered bays and wild headlands that gave the Surf Coast its name.

Track Notes: Mostly flat, some steps, well-formed track, some sand. Suitable for cycling.

TRAIL 4: THE BELLS TRACK – BIRD ROCK TO BELLS BEACH (Grade 2, 3.2km)

Continue along the track long ago carved by pioneer surfers, through coastal scrub to reach the world-famous waves of Bells Beach. Breathe in the fresh air as you walk or cycle high along clifftops where peregrine falcons glide. Watch in awe from every lookout as experienced surfers weave their magic on the reef break at its best during autumn and winter. The rich ochre cliffs of the Bells Beach provide a perfect natural grandstand with panoramic views of the “golden mile” of surfing.

Track Notes: Gentle hills, no steps, well-formed track. Suitable for cycling.

TRAIL 5: IRONBASIN – BELLS BEACH TO PT ADDIS (Grade 3, 8.2km)

Tucked away between Bells Beach and Point Addis is the Ironbark Basin in the Great Otway National Park. A sheltered inland forest and beautiful bushland basin that runs down to the beach. The cliffs around Bells Beach Southside are popular with paragliders and if you’re lucky you might just spot them drifting above you. Continue the Surf Coast Walk surrounded by the leafy green of the eucalypt forest, wander past grass trees and search for hidden treasures like rare orchids, echidnas and reptiles. Discover more about traditional Aboriginal lifestyle and behold spectacular views from one of three Point Addis lookouts.

Track Notes: Beach walking and formed track, short steep hills, rugged steps.

Anglesea

Located just 10 minutes drive past Torquay – the start of the Great Ocean Road, Anglesea is the mid-point of the Surf Coast Walk. Surrounded by the Great Otway National Park, Anglesea heath and the high coastal cliffs boasts the best of both beach and bush with epic views of the Surf Coast coastline and constantly rolling swell. Anglesea offers all the creature comforts – Caravan Parks, B&B’s and cafes line the Anglesea River that winds its way through the heart of this charming coastal town.

TRAIL 6: ANGLESEA HEATH – PT ADDIS TO ANGLESEA (Grade 3, 7.3km)

You can see how far you have come from the boardwalk and lookouts of Point Addis Marine Sanctuary. The views back to Bells Beach Surfside are incredible. On this rugged stretch you will rollercoaster from the tops of vibrant ochre sandstone cliffs to the shores of sparkling blue oceans shores, walk the rims of clear rockpools and then through the dappled green heathland. If that wasn’t enough, spotting kangaroos, native wildlife and even whales at the right time of year will definitely keep the walk interesting.

Track Notes: Beach walking and formed track, short steep hills, rugged steps.

TRAIL 7: ANGLESEA RIVERBANKS TO ANGLESEA VISITOR CENTER (Grade 1, 1.6km)

This easy and accessible stroll allows you to follow the Anglesea River as it snakes through the center of this vibrant seaside town with many cafés and dining options. Anglesea, at the mid-point of the Surf Coast Walk, is an ideal overnight stay. Follow the boardwalk to the Anglesea Visitor Information Centre while exploring the many unique landscapes of the area. For a slight detour wander the shared paths of the shallow estuary of Anglesea River and explore Coogoorah Reserve, a 2.5km circuit bustling with birdlife, flora and fauna. You can even hire a paddleboat or canoe to explore it from the water.

Track Notes: Flat, easy paths, no steps. Suitable for cycling and wheelchairs.

STAY: GREAT OCEAN ROAD RESORT, ANGLESEA

Base yourself in the heart of Anglesea and reward a walk well done with the luxuries of the Great Ocean Resort – including indoor pool, tennis courts, fitness centre, trampoline park, day spa and dining options. Spacious, flexible and comfortable, rest and rejuvenation is assured with spacious one and two-bedroom apartments, spa suites and modern studio rooms. This riverside resort is just a short walk from beaches, restaurants, cafes and parks right across the road – also your starting point for Trail 8.

TRAIL 8: POINT ROADKNIGHT – ANGLESEA VISITOR CENTER TO POINT ROADKNIGHT (Grade 2, 3.1km)

Leave all the luxuries of The Great Ocean Road Resort behind as you rise up to the bluff of Soapy Rocks and back down to idyllic Point Roadknight Beach. Panoramic views back across the Anglesea township, river and ocean make every step worthwhile. Point Roadknight is one of the safest beaches in Anglesea. Stop for a swim in the gentle rolling waves or at low tide, take a moment to explore the rockpools of the point.

Track Notes: Well-formed track, no steps. Suitable for cycling.

TRAIL 9: BEACH COMBING – POINT ROADKNIGHT TO URQUHART BLUFF (Grade 3, 5km).

Relax, slip off your shoes and get some sand between your toes on this long, uncrowded beach walk, best done at low tide. Keep an eye out for beach-nesting birds and curiosities washed up on the sand by relentless waves. Trek the coastline of limestone cliffs and rugged reefs past Guvvo’s surf break and O’Donohue, Hutt Gully and Gulch Gap beaches. End the trail beach combing at golden sands and rockpools of Urquhart Bluff, the first of five stunning beaches that can be reached at low tide.

Track Notes: Beach walking, best at low tide.

TRAIL 10: SUNNYMEAD – URQUHART BLUFF & SUNNYMEAD (Grade 4, 3km).

Take a walk on the wild side through rugged coastal bushland in Great Otway National Park as it winds close to the Great Ocean Road. Start the trail surrounded by bushland then rediscover remnants of the original Great Ocean Road before finding yourself in a secluded cove at Sunnymead. Take the time to explore the unique rock formations of Sunnymead Beach, a lunar-like landscape that makes you feel like you’re on another planet. Make your way to the hidden tunnel that you can even swim through on low tide.

Track Notes: Rough track, rugged steps, beach sand surfaces.

Aireys Inlet

The Split Point Lighthouse guides visitors to the western end of the Walk past the hidden hamlet of Aireys Inlet. Located on the Great Ocean Road, approximately 120km south-west of Melbourne, pretty much right in the middle of Torquay and Lorne. It is a boutique coastal hamlet where the Great Ocean Road meets the Great Otway National Park. And one of the Great Ocean Road’s best kept secrets. The tranquil river valley, rockpools and beautiful beaches make it perfect for families. And the nautical history of Split Point Lighthouse, the 70m spectacular sandstone cliffs and the renowned music, arts, food and literary scene entertains all ages.

TRAIL 11: AIREYS CLIFFTOPS – SUNNYMEAD TO AIREYS LIGHTHOUSE (Grade 2, 2.8km).

Let the famous Split Point Lighthouse be your guide on this local favourite walk to the hidden hamlet of Aireys Inlet. Walk the Aireys clifftops on the stunning edge of the Great Ocean Road as you transition between beach, bush and the Aireys Inlet township. Listen for the song of Rufous Bristlebirds and look for tiny marsupials as they scurry in the low coastal scrubland.

Track Notes: Well-formed, narrow track, gentle hills, no steps.

EAT & DRINK: LIGHTHOUSE TEA ROOMS

Spoil yourself with a Devonshire morning tea at the iconic Lighthouse Tea Rooms. The café is one of the original lighthouse precinct buildings dating back to the early 1900’s and the outdoor garden offered the perfect pitstop to devour those famous scones.

TRAIL 12: LIGHTHOUSE DISCOVERY – AIREYS LIGHTHOUSE TO FAIRHAVEN (Grade 2, 2.1km)

The Split Point Lighthouse guides visitors to the western end of the Walk past Aireys Inlet. The iconic Split Point Lighthouse is famous for starring in the children’s TV show ‘Round the twist’. Still in automated operation today you can see the inner workings for yourself on a self-guided lighthouse tour (open daily, weather permitting).

Start the final section of the Surf Coast Walk with an easy stroll along the Split Point Discovery Trail stopping at the various lookouts, past whale sighting spots, and through traditional Wathaurong country. Perched high on the stunning 7m tall sandstone cliffs you’ll gain insight into the history of the area, take in the epic views of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and spot the sandy coves, caves and rockpools below. It offers great views of the local terrain and the western end of the Surf Coast Walk.

Cross an ancient tribal boundary to the western reach of the Surf Coast Walk and learn as you go with the insights of the Lighthouse Discovery Trail and several well-signed viewing platforms. Pass the stunning inlet of Painkalac Reserve, tucked behind the rolling coastal dunes that shape the longest beach on the Great Ocean Road, Fairhaven – the final destination of the Surf Coast Walk. Make sure not to miss the famous Pole House towering above.

Track Notes: Well-formed track, gentle hills, few steps.

Whether you’re a nature lover or fun lover you sure to have a great weekend exploring the Surf Coast Walk.

Watch the episode

Top 5 things that made the weekend great

  • Watching world-famous waves from the natural amphitheatre of Bells Beach

  • The epic coastal panoramas of the Pt Addis lookouts

  • A rewarding swim at Anglesea’s safest beach, Point Roadknight

  • Walking the lunar landscape of Sunnymead Beach

  • The stunning views from the Split Point Lookouts

Let this interactive map help you plan your own great weekend on the Surf Coast Walk. 


 

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All Accommodation

Mysa Anglesea

Anglesea

Great Ocean Retreats

Aireys Inlet

The View on Grossmans

Torquay

Eagle Point

Aireys Inlet

All Things To Do

Places To Eat & Drink

Salt Brewing Co.

Aireys Inlet

Oaks Bakery Cafe

Anglesea

Diggers Vegie Kitchen

Anglesea

Mr T And Me

Aireys Inlet

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.