Early into the Great Ocean Road where you get that first view of the sea at Anglesea, then head up the small hill to be greeted with a vantage point right out to the west over the glowing sandstone cliffs and Split Point Lighthouse, it makes you just want to get out there and explore the coastline by foot, and that’s just what we did.
The gold sand below the massive, ancient sandstone cliffs with the small waves breaking in the bay makes the Point Addis Beach possibly the most stunning parts on the entire Surf Coast. So, after hiking there from Bells Beach (last blog post) along part of the Surf Coast Walk and seeing its beauty for the first time, we wanted to come back and we did so the next day, then continued the trail for a further 25kms to where it ends at Fairhaven Beach.
Instead of having to walk along the coast for a while and then back to where started, we bought two cars, parking one at either end.
We took another quick look to east and admired yesterday’s hike, then ventured west towards Anglesea.
It’s about one kilometre to the end of the beach. With the roaring ocean, thick gold sand and lack of people, it’s a decent way to start the day and doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of the populated Surf Coast on the Great Ocean Road.
At the end of the beach, the trail then heads up on top of the dunes and continues for another couple of kilometres to Anglesea.
At times, you’ll be right on top of some huge cliffs but only get the occasional vantage point to actually realise how big the drop is and how close you were to going over.
We popped out of the forest and arrived in Anglesea just in time for brunch.
Anglesea is an iconic little town known for world-class surf and fishing spots. Some of the best surf beaches in the country surround the town, but we were there for a meat pie with sauce.
The Anglesea River goes right through town and on a map, the walk goes along the river for a few hundred metres to a bridge, but the river mouth is often closed and you can keep walk straight ahead, along the beach.
Anglesea is right in the heart of surf territory. The beach right in the middle of town has nice small waves that are ideal for beginner surfers, it attracts masses of them.
A little bit further to the south are the Soapy Rocks, which are these huge chunks of Sandstone that get super slippery, but waves break at either end so you’ll see plenty more surfers navigating their way out there too when the conditions are right.
The walk goes around the back and over the top of Soapy Rocks and brings you to Point Roadknight where the water is protected from the weather and calm. On a hot day if the swell’s a bit rough elsewhere, it can still be calm here and a good place to cool off.
Things get a bit more wild once you get to the south of Point Roadknight and make your way onto Guvvos Beach.
Guvvos is rugged and massive. It’s one straight span of gold sand that covers over four kilometres and is unprotected from the weather that’s pushed across the Southern Ocean and into Bass Strait by the Roaring 40’s.
We walked from one end to the other admiring the waves barrelling into the shore for entire distance of the beach. There was a lot of swell but we didn’t see anyone surfing until we made it to the other end of the beach at Urquhart Bluff where there was dozens of them.
From Urquhart Bluff all the way to the end of Surf Coast Walk, the coastline is made up of about a dozen beaches that are backed by huge cliffs and between rocky headlands.
The trail goes over the bluff for about one kilometre, then down onto Sunnymeade Beach that can only be accessed by the Surf Coast Walk.
Without too much heat, the weather was perfect for hiking but it could be more fun on a hotter day. There are loads of places to skinny dip where there’s no-one to notice a noodle, not that we’d ever do that, but the point being that there’s not a lot people around and a lot of privacy between the headlands.
After Sunnymeade, the trail goes along the top of the cliffs and around the back of each beach. We still ventured down and explored Sandy Gully Beach, then the rocks at the end of Step Beach where we got close to the bottom of Castle Rock beneath Split Point Lighthouse.
The dog had given-up and was asleep in my backpack, which really doesn’t indicate much, but we were getting tired too. The lighthouse doesn’t just signal the rocks to passing ships, but it also told us that we only had a short but super beautiful walk through Aireys Inlet past the Painkalac Creek to Fairhaven Beach where our car was waiting for us.
Just like the Anglesea River, the Painkalac Creek mouth is often closed, so we could followed the beach on the western side of the lighthouse and stroll straight onto Fairhaven Beach and continue from there, but instead we walked through town and along the river.
Earlier in the day, we thought the 4-5km Guvvos Beach was long, but then we got a view Fairhaven Beach which is over 6kms is length and longest on the entire Great Ocean Road. We parked on the Aireys Inlet side of the beach, so once we had the sight of the incredible beach with the near perfect waves breaking, we then finished up with a short walk to the car.
This was one of the best coastal hikes that we’ve been on this year, a close competitor with the west coast of Tasmania that we explored earlier in the year. Both coastlines are rugged with surf constantly rolling in, yet Tassy seemed just that bit more special because it felt so remote.
Soon, we’re going to tackle the Great Ocean Walk, which is a 90km trail from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles in the Port Campbell National Park. It’s west of the Surf Coast Walk, yet just as rugged as a lot of trail is along the infamous Shipwreck Coast. Make sure you keep an eye on our blog so you can take a look once we’ve completed that challenge.