The Surf Coast in southern Victoria is one of the best regions to visit in the state.
Located just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne and stretching from Torquay to Lorne, this area boasts stunning beaches, ocean views, and mighty rainforests.
The world-famous Great Ocean Road officially begins here in Torquay and it’s where you’ll find the home of Australian surfing, Bells Beach.
I’m lucky enough to be a Surf Coast local and below you’ll find my guide to the best things to do on the Surf Coast.
1) Stop By The Torquay Surf Museum
The Australian National Surfing Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Torquay. It offers a unique insight into the history and culture of surfing in this part of the world. Visitors can explore exhibits featuring iconic Australian surfboard makers, and classic photographs from some of Australia’s most renowned photographers, and learn about the history of surfboard design through interactive displays. The museum also hosts regular events and exhibitions, giving visitors the chance to hear first-hand how surfing has impacted the region over time and gain an appreciation for its cultural significance.
2) Take A Dip At Torquay Front Beach
Conveniently located near the town and main shopping strip the Torquay Front Beach is perfect for taking a dip. The beach is protected from strong winds so you can enjoy calm waters with gentle swells. Along with its long stretch of golden sand, this beach also offers a spacious grass area with amenities and you’ll find shops and cafes across the road. It has everything you need so you can hang out here all day if you want to. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.
3) Pick Up A Bargain At The Factory Outlets
Torquay is known as the surf retail hub of Victoria and many people visit the outlets in search of great deals. Most out-of-towners are unaware that the legendary surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver were founded in Torquay in 1969. They still base themselves in the town along with Ghanda Clothing and many other surf shops. If you’re looking for a bargain on surf gear then head to Bains Court where you’ll find the factory outlets. You can often get amazing deals on wetsuits.
4) Watch World Class Surfers At Bells Beach
Bells Beach is one of the most well-known spots on the Surf Coast. The surprisingly small windswept beach with its wild surf and craggy cliffs is a magnet for surfers. Every Easter elite surfers from around the world descend on the Surf Coast to compete in the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition. Part of the World Tour, The Pro, is considered to be the oldest surfing competition in the world. Even if you’re not a surfer it’s worth stopping by Bells to see the incredible views from the bluff and watch the top surfers in action as they carve up the waves.
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5) Hike The Surf Coast Walk
A great way to see this part of Victoria’s coastline is on foot, and the scenic Surf Coast Walk makes it easy to do. The 44 kilometer trail starts at Point Impossible and winds it way along stunning cliffs and beaches until you reach Fairhaven. As you explore the trail, you’ll pass through cute coastal villages like Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, where you can stop off for a bite to eat, drink, and even doss down for the night. This is a moderately challenging route that is suitable for most fitness levels. It’s ideal if you’re short on time or can’t manage an extensive hike as the entire route is broken up into 12 distinctive stages. Each section has a designated start and end point, often located at convenient car parks.
6) Treat Your Tastebuds To A Chocolate Indulgence
Experience chocolate heaven at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie And Ice Creamery. Sitting on 15 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, this destination is a must-visit for chocolate lovers, sweet tooths, and anyone traveling with kids. Here you’ll be amazed by the enormous showroom filled with thousands of tempting chocolates. If you have trouble narrowing down your choice the staff are happy to give you a free taste test. Next to the retail area is a huge window where the kids can gaze in wonder as they watch the chocolates being made. There’s a 300-seat café onsite offering savory dishes and sweet treats. Try the hot chocolate you won’t be disappointed. If that’s not enough there’s also an outdoor ice cream bar serving enormous scoops of deliciously creamy ice cream. Once you’ve finished indulging your taste buds let the kids play on the lawns, explore the garden, and visit the pet guinea pigs. If you’d like to take your chocolate experience further there are a variety of chocolate-making classes suitable for both adults and children available.
7) See Wild Kangaroos – On A Golf Course!
You can’t visit Australia without meeting some of its unusual wildlife. One of the more unique (and fun!) ways to get close to kangaroos is on a guided kangaroo tour at Anglesea Golf Course – home to over 300 Eastern Gray Kangaroos. Suitable for all ages, the tours are conducted in open-air electric vehicles which can comfortably seat 13 passengers. The local guides are volunteers who share interesting facts on kangaroo life cycles and habits, and how they come to be living on the golf course. You’ll also be taken to prime spots where you can “hop” out for that perfect photo opportunity. Who knows you might even snap a joey peeking out of its mother’s pouch. Tours are available at selected times throughout the week. If you’re a golfer you might even want to play a round. It’s a magnificent course.
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8) See The Views From Split Point Lighthouse
Built back in 1891, Split Point Lighthouse has been helping ships navigate the treacherous waters of Bass Strait for over 130 years. To this day, it’s still an important working lighthouse operating every night by an automated system.
The 34 meter high tower’s red helmet is a local landmark that’s easily spotted as you drive along the Great Ocean Road. Towering above the headland the lighthouse offers some of the best views along the Surf Coast – even if you don’t climb to the top.
The lighthouse is open every day for self-guided tours, and staff are available at the top and bottom of the stairs to answer any questions you may have.
Take your time climbing the stairs and pause at the landings to admire the old photographs. There are interesting photos of the Great Ocean Road being built and some of the ships that ran aground here, as well as fascinating stories about the former lighthouse keepers.
If you’re feeling peckish a café has been set up in the old lighthouse stables where you can grab a coffee and takeaway or sit down for a more substantial meal.
9) Swing Through The Trees At Live Wire Park
Live Wire Park in Lorne is a fun place to stop for both adults and families with kids. Here you get to zoom around the bush on a high-speed zipline, climb high in the trees, and spend time jumping around on trampolines.
The eco-friendly park has a range of circuits to choose from. The most popular ones are the Super Circuit for adults and teenagers and the Short Circuit for children over 110 cm in height. The circuits are obstacle courses set high in the trees with swinging planks, ladders, zip lines, and more that are designed to challenge and build self-confidence. And of course, to have fun!
The Spring Circuit is fun for all ages but is particularly good for younger kids. It’s made up of a series of elevated trampoline areas in nets, with balls and other toys to play with. There’s also a wooden walkway Canopy Circuit that rocks as you walk. A highlight of any trip to Live Wire Park is the Shockwave Zip Coaster, a 525 meter long zipline. Although it’s high the Coaster is not as scary as it seems, and kids can use it from the age of 10.
10) Marvel At The Natural Beauty Of Erskine Falls
Considered by many to be the most beautiful waterfall in the Otways, Erskine Falls is just a short drive away from Lorne.
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This gorgeous 30-meter-tall waterfall is surrounded by lush rainforest, moss-covered rocks, and giant green ferns. Accessing them couldn’t be easier – there’s a sealed road leading to the car park, followed by a quick and easy 5-minute stroll to the top viewing platform.
For a more immersive experience, you can walk down to the bottom of the falls. While this walk only takes about 10 minutes be prepared for a bit of a challenge on the way back up as there are 240 steps to conquer.
If you feel up to it, you can hike all the way back to Lorne on a scenic 7.5-kilometer trail that starts at the bottom of the falls.
I hope you found this guide to the best things to do on the Surf Coast useful. The Surf Coast’s great location makes it ideal for a weekend trip from Melbourne, as part of a longer exploration of the Great Ocean Road, or even as an interesting region to explore on a road trip between Melbourne and Adelaide. So head down to the Surf Coast in Victoria for an unforgettable holiday. We’re sure you won’t regret it.
Guest Authors: Audrey is the principal blogger behind Victoria Uncovered. A site that helps people get the most out of their visit to Victoria Australia.
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