Hiking the Surf Coast Walk: A Journey Along Victoria’s Stunning Coastal Landscape
I embarked on the incredible Surf Coast Walk. This mesmerizing walking track allowed me to explore the breathtaking natural beauty of Australia’s Victoria coastline on foot. My journey began at Torquay, the official starting point of the iconic Great Ocean Road. It led me along the winding paths of cliffs and beaches to Fairhaven.
The Surf Coast Walk spans 44 kilometers and falls within the category of moderately challenging routes. It allowed me to either conquer the entire trail or select from its 12 distinct sections, each with well-defined starting and ending points conveniently situated near car parks. For those aiming to tackle the journey, consider setting aside two days, as it typically takes 10.5 hours to complete.
Throughout my adventure, I encountered rugged cliffs, hidden beaches, and picturesque towns such as Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, perfect pitstops for enjoying coffee and snacks at charming coastal cafes. Staying overnight at one of the local caravan parks or motels allowed me to absorb the region’s offerings fully.
In this guide, I’ll provide all the essential information to make the most of your unforgettable experience on the Surf Coast Walk. We’ll detail the route, highlight points of interest and activities along the way, and offer valuable advice on preparing for this remarkable journey.
Surf Coast Walk: Map & Logistics
Where Is The Surf Coast? The Surf Coast is in southwestern Victoria, Australia, just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne. It serves as the official starting point of the world-renowned Great Ocean Road, passing through captivating towns like Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, and Lorne, among others.
How Long Is The Surf Coast Walk? The Surf Coast Walk stretches 44 kilometers from start to finish, though you can take on its segments at your own pace. The trail is divided into 12 sections, each offering designated start and end points conveniently close to car parks for easy accessibility.
Where Does The Surf Coast Walk Start? The eastern embarkation point of the Surf Coast Walk is Point Impossible, a charming beach located 5 kilometers east of Torquay. You’ll find the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club on the western end, just beyond Aireys Inlet. The choice is entirely yours whether you prefer to commence from the east or the west.
What Should I Bring On The Surf Coast Walk? Coastal weather can be unpredictable, so dressing in layers is advisable. While you don’t necessarily require specialized hiking boots, wearing supportive and comfortable footwear is essential. Also, remember sun and rain protection, pack some snacks, and carry ample water.
Are Dogs Allowed On The Surf Coast Walk? Bringing your furry friend along on most of the walk is welcomed, as long as you keep them on a leash. Although you’ll find some dog waste bag dispensers along the trail, having your own bags on hand is a good idea.
The Walk Itself
Day 1: Point Impossible To Anglesea My Surf Coast Walk adventure commenced at Point Impossible, seamlessly merging into Fisherman’s Beach. I discovered a cozy café and witnessed numerous boats entering and departing from the boat ramp and sailing club.
After immersing myself in the beauty of the beach, I found myself just a stone’s throw away from the attractions within Torquay’s town. Here, I indulged in delectable food, explored Australia’s first surf museum, and snagged some bargains at the many discount surf shops.
Alternatively, I could relax on the expansive grass area at the Torquay Foreshore, located on Torquay Front Beach. This serene beach is renowned for its calm and safe waters, thanks to the protective embrace of Point Danger against the powerful Southern Ocean swells. Nestled between Point Danger and Rocky Point, Torquay Surf Beach boasts fantastic waves from the southwest side, just beyond the headland.
For those interested in surfing, the Torquay Surf Academy offered board rentals, conveniently located on the other side of the caravan park behind the beach.
To proceed, I crossed a small creek to reach the far end of the beach. In cases where the stream was too deep to step across, a convenient boardwalk nearby provided an easy crossing. Once I made it through, I ventured onward to Rocky Point Lookout. From this elevated vantage point, I enjoyed unparalleled views of Torquay Surf Beach to the east and Jan Juc Surf Beach to the west.
After savoring the scenery, I continued along the trail, descending the stairs onto the beach. Passing Rocky Point and journeying from Torquay to Jan Juc, I eventually arrived at the starting point of the world-famous Great Ocean Road.
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Near Rocky Point, at the far end of Jan Juc Surf Beach, a fantastic wooden deck and viewing area in the dunes behind the beach provided an ideal spot to watch local surfers in action, especially when there was a swell.
Continuing from Jan Juc, I encountered a stunning stretch of cliffs extending to Bells Beach. I followed the trail running between the cliffs and the road. Along the way, I came upon Bird Rock Lookout, situated next to the quaint Jan Juc village.
Keep walking for another 3 kilometers until you reach the world-renowned Bells Beach. Be sure to set aside extra time to appreciate Bells Beach and its neighbor, Southside Beach, fully. Here, I witnessed world-class surfers conquering massive waves as Bells Beach served as the venue for the annual Rip Curl Pro World Surfing Championship over Easter.
As the Surf Coast Walk deviates slightly inland from Bells Beach to Point Addis, I chose the most direct route or the Iron Basin Trail, which added a few hundred extra meters. To save time, I opted for the direct route.
Regardless of the path chosen, I was surrounded by a dry eucalyptus forest teeming with a diverse range of Australian plants, including bracken ferns, grass plants, and grass trees. Along the way, I watched for wallabies and koalas. I enjoyed occasional ocean glimpses before returning to the coastline and reaching the cliffs above Point Addis.
A spacious timber boardwalk awaited on the precipice of the Point Addis headland. I took a well-deserved break, hoping to catch a glimpse of dolphins or whales while relishing the scenery.
Heading to the west side of the boardwalk, I descended to the beach, continuing along the trail for another 7 kilometers until I reached the charming town of Anglesea. Along this stretch, I walked past several beaches before the path ascended again to the top of the dunes and cliffs, set back approximately 50 meters from the coast.
After a while, I spotted the distinctive red cliffs signaling my approach to Anglesea. This gorgeous coastal town offered ample opportunities to refuel with food and drinks or rent a paddle boat. Anglesea proved to be an ideal place to spend the night, with a variety of excellent accommodations available. My top choice was the Great Ocean Road Resort, boasting an indoor swimming pool and luxurious spa treatments, providing the perfect relaxation after a day of exploration. It was also conveniently located right on the Great Ocean Road, minimizing any need for additional walking.
Day 2: Anglesea To Fairhaven Beach The second day of my Surf Coast Walk adventure led me across the heart of Anglesea, following the river and venturing onto the beach. I encountered iconic spots like Soapy Rocks, Point Roadknight, and Point Addis along the way.
Beyond Point Addis, I arrived at Guvvos Beach. This vast beach extended for kilometers, leading to another surf beach at Urquhart Bluff. While most of the beach allowed for surfing and swimming, I remained cautious of strong rips, which could make it potentially unsafe for inexperienced surfers and swimmers.
Between Urquhart Bluff Beach and the charming township of Aireys Inlet, the trail meandered over headlands and past several beaches bordered by majestic cliffs. After Urquhart Bluff, I ventured to Sunnymeade Beach and explored the intriguing stone formations at the beach’s eastern end.
Continuing my journey, I reached Sandy Gully Beach, where I could visit several other beaches like Step Beach, situated below Split Point Lighthouse. If conditions permitted, I could even venture to the base of Castle Rock.
The Split Point Lighthouse, not only a famous landmark and the iconic setting of the 90s children’s show “Round The Twist,” also served as a milestone on my Surf Coast Walk. From the lighthouse, I marveled at the views of Castle Rock and, when turning westward, caught a glimpse of Fairhaven Beach.
Descending the hill and passing through the town, I stopped for a meal when hunger struck. Then, I navigated around Painkalac Creek. If the tide was low, I could even cross the creek mouth and stroll along the beach.
Finally, as I reached Fairhaven Beach, where more surfers awaited the waves, I celebrated the successful completion of my memorable Surf Coast Walk adventure!
Q1: How long does it take to complete the Surf Coast Walk? A1: The trail typically takes 2-4 days to complete, depending on your pace and whether you plan to camp.
Q2: Are there camping facilities available along the trail? A2: Yes, there are designated camping sites along the route. Be sure to book in advance during peak season.
Q3: When is the best time to hike the Surf Coast Walk? A3: The best time is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild and wildflowers bloom.
Q4: Is the trail suitable for families with children? A4: Yes, the trail is family-friendly. Just ensure children are supervised near cliff edges.
Hiking the Surf Coast Walk is an adventure you’ll treasure forever. From the stunning vistas to reconnecting with nature, this trail offers a unique experience for all hikers. Plan your journey wisely, pack essentials, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Australian coastline. So, when are you embarking on this unforgettable hike? Don’t wait; start planning your Surf Coast Walk adventure today!