The Surf Coast
Surf Coast Overview

The Surf Coast stretches from Point Impossible (east of Torquay) along the coast to the west of Lorne and inland to include the small towns of Winchelsea, Deans Marsh and Moriac. The Great Ocean Road officially begins at Torquay and although the road doesn’t meet the coast until Anglesea, it is a mistake to miss the section of coast between Torquay and Anglesea, because it has some of the best surf and coastal scenery in the world. The best way to enjoy the coastal views is to take advantage of sections of the Surf Coast Walk, which follows the coast from Point Impossible to Fairhaven.  

 The Surf Coast can be divided into two sub-zones, with imposing red limestone cliffs from Torquay to Fairhaven, and hard grey sedimentary rocks from Eastern View on. The softer red stone has been undercut to create spectacular cliffs at places like Bells Beach, Point Addis and Split Point (Airey’s Inlet). Inland, the Otway Plains are dominated by dry eucalypt forests, grasslands and sandy heathlands. West of Eastern View as far as Apollo Bay, the harder grey sandstone has protected the foundations of the Otway Ranges, and near vertical cliffs plunge into the blue-green Southern Ocean. The higher rainfall in this area gives rise to wet eucalypt forests and temperate rainforests, with waterfalls plunging into fern-filled gullies as the creeks and rivers rush to the ocean.

Torquay is a thriving town and home to Surf City Plaza – where you find the largest and most impressive complex of surfing retailers anywhere in the world - and also the home of the Surf World Museum, dedicated to surfing and beach culture and housing the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame. It is forever linked to the surf industry because of its proximity to some outstanding surf breaks - none more famous than Bells Beach, home to the world’s oldest professional surfing contest. The big waves at Bells are not an everyday event, but there are many more surf beaches, often with more consistent breaks, along the coast. Pt Addis is arguably the most beautiful beach on the Surf Coast and there are some great walks in Ironbark Basin behind the cliffs.

Anglesea is where the Great Ocean Road meets the sea at the western end of some of the most magnificent coastal cliffs in Australia. This town has built a reputation as a centre for outdoor activity including mountain biking, surfing at one of the many local beaches, walking in the heathlands, fishing or canoeing on the Anglesea River or playing a round of golf amongst the kangaroos at the local course.

After Anglesea and Point Roadknight, the road meets the coast and you get your first, literally breathtaking view down the coast past the Split Point lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. Known as the “White Queen”, the lighthouse overlooks Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and can be seen wherever you are from Point Addis to Lorne. There are at least seven beaches within a 15-minute drive of Aireys Inlet and the six km stretch of beach from Aireys Inlet through Fairhaven, and Moggs Creek to Spout Creek at Eastern View is one of the finest in the world.

Lorne is one of the few places in Australia where you can have a sea-view and a northerly aspect at the same time, and it is one of the few coastal towns in Australia that is protected from the prevailing coastal winds. It’s a sheltered and beautiful spot with trees literally overhanging the beach. Tourism started early in Lorne, with the first guest house built in 1868, and is still meeting the needs of city people looking to shed their stress. The town hosts some of the most expensive real estate in Victoria and caters to the tourist with a big choice of cafes, restaurants and shops and a couple of art galleries. The thickly forested hills behind the town are home to many spectacular waterfalls and walks ranging from a leisurely stroll to a more strenuous walk through rock-strewn fern-filled gullies.

Cumberland River, a few km west of Lorne has a very secluded and special caravan park, in a beautiful river valley overlooked by Castle Rock. Jebbs Pool and Cumberland Falls are a short walk up the narrow river gorge.

The next towns to the west are Wye River and Kennett River. Both these small seaside hamlets began as timber towns which swell in summer as holidaymakers fill the holiday houses in the hills and camping grounds on the coast. Kennett River is most famous for the koalas that can nearly always be seen in the manna gums around town and up the Grey River Road.

There are cafes, restaurants, wineries and farm gate experiences along the coast and in and around the hinterland towns of Deans Marsh, Birregurra, Moriac and Winchelsea. There is a range of accommodation options including bush camping, caravan parks, farm stays, backpackers, B&Bs, self-catering cabins and hotels, motels and luxury resorts. Deans Marsh is probably best known for berry farms where you can pick and eat delicious berries. Birregurra is on the main Melbourne-Warrnambool train line and became a thriving town when the Birregurra to Forrest railway opened in 1891. There are several striking examples of 19th century architecture, including the carefully restored facades of Main Street, which now house a gourmet food store and a number of galleries, bookshops and cafes. Winchelsea, to the north of the Otways, was first settled in the 1830s when squatters took up grazing land on the fertile volcanic plains. There are a number of historic buildings in town and several substantial bluestone (basalt) homesteads in the region.

Along the Surf Coast there are great opportunities to experience a natural environment with abundant native birdlife and rare native animals. In the heathlands and eucalypt forests around Anglesea and Airey’s Inlet wildflowers, including rare orchids, put on a brilliant display during winter and spring and attract nectar feeding birds. Native fauna includes many small marsupials, like echidnas, bandicoots, and potoroos; and native placental mammals such as swamp rat and New Holland mouse. Wallabies and kangaroos are common throughout the region and koalas can be found in the dry sclerophyll forests around Kennett River. More than 80 species of birds inhabit the heathlands including the rare ground parrot and rufous bristlebird. In the forest areas the larger birds such as rosellas, currawongs and kookaburras are common as are some of the smaller forest birds such as robins and fan-tails. Majestic wedge-tailed eagles can be seen soaring on thermals. Shore-birds and seals can be observed along the coast and whales are regularly spotted between May and October.

Surf Coast Overview

Great Ocean Road & Otways Waterfalls

Touring the Great Ocean Road between Torquay and Lavers Hill you will experience breathtaking coastal views, visit idyllic beaches and venture into the Otway Ranges where scenic waterfalls tumble into fern-filled gullies in some of the remnants of the ancient Gondwanaland rainforest. While you’re taking in the sights and sounds you’ll learn about the Indigenous and early European histories of the region and observe native wildlife.


Days:2
Luxury:**** Four Star
Type of Tour:Small Group Guided Tour
Experience: Car Touring / Nature
Challenge: Easy
Cost: From $747
more
Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles

On this small group tour of the Great Ocean Road between Torquay and the Twelve Apostles you will experience breathtaking coastal views, visit idyllic beaches, shipwrecks, towering ocean cliffs and unique sandstone formations as well as venture into Gondwanaland rainforest gullies with eucalypts towering overhead in the Otway Ranges. While you’re taking in the sights and sounds you’ll learn about the Indigenous and early European history of the region and observe native wildlife.


Days:2
Luxury:**** Four Star
Type of Tour:Small Group Guided Tour
Experience: Car Touring / Nature
Challenge: Easy
Cost: From $747
more
Surf Coast Tour

Touring the Great Ocean Road between Torquay and Kennett River you will experience breathtaking coastal views, visit idyllic beaches and venture into the surrounding forests where scenic waterfalls tumble into fern-filled gullies. While you’re taking in the sights and sounds, you’ll learn about the Indigenous and early European histories of the region and observe native wildlife.


Days:1
Luxury:**** Four Star
Type of Tour:Small Group Guided Tour
Experience: Car Touring / Nature
Challenge: Easy
Cost: From $250
more

Journey Finder

All ATS itineraries can be run for private groups or adapted to meet your interests.

JOURNEY MAP

Planning a Holiday?

Congratulations on finding Around The Sun! We’d love to talk to you about your next holiday adventure.

Around The Sun trips are based on the expertise and knowledge of Richard Everist and Lucrezia Migliore – and the expertise and services of a select group of friends who operate the best tour companies in the world.

Around The Sun showcases a careful selection of small group trips (with guides and expert leaders), and we design customised private journeys (both guided and self-guided).

All our suggested itineraries can be run privately, or customised, so the departure dates and itineraries completely suit you. Many of our itineraries can be adapted for those who wish to to travel completely independently. See Create Your Own Journey.

CONTACT US NOW!