Bells Beach is on the world surfing circuit, known as Australia’s best place to surf and home to worlds longest ever continuously running surf competition, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

You’ll find surfers here all-year-round and loads of spectators up on the hill behind the beach as it’s one of the first stops on the Great Ocean Road that starts nearby in Torquay. Huge numbers of tourists roll-in here each day to take a look at the famous beach and because it’s a popular spot for Kangaroos. During Easter, tens of thousands of people head here to watch the surfing competition.

Bells Beach is named after William Bell that owned a lot of the area behind the beach in the 1840’s. It’s been a popular spot for elite surfers since the 1930’s and has grown a lot in popularity since the world championship surfing comp kicked off here in the 1960’s, then of course more popularity came after Bodhi went missing there when attempting to surf a 50 foot wave at the end of Point Break.

Bells Beach, Australia

Getting to Bells Beach

Up until the 1960’s, surfers use to walk for kilometres through dense bush to get to Bells, now it’s an easy drive from Torquay or Jan Juc.

If you’re already at Jan Juc, then you can head along some back roads to get to Bells Beach, otherwise if you’re coming from Melbourne or Torquay, you’ll have to go via the Great Ocean Road.

When you’re coming here from Torquay, just after you leave the town and are driving along the Great Ocean Road, there’s a huge sign directing you to take a left turn to Bells Beach. Otherwise if you’re heading directly from Melbourne, it’s faster to head towards Anglsea but turn left to Torquay when you hit the Great Ocean Road (instead of right to Anglesea) and follow the signs to ‘South Side‘.

Surfers at Bells Beach on the Great Ocean Road
Surfers at Bells

Other places to go Surfing near to Bells

Bells Beach is an incredible place to surf or watch elite surfers take on some perfect barrelling waves, but it can get a bit busy or be too advanced for beginners.

Other than South Side that’s right next to Bells, experienced surfers have loads of close options. Heading to the west is Urquhart Bluff, Sunnymead Beach and Lorne that are all great surf beaches with decent size waves. Going the other way, Jan Juc Surf Beach is only minutes down the road or if you’re willing to head a bit further, 13th Beach at Barwon Heads has some big waves and is popular among advanced and ballsy surfers.

For beginners, head back east to the Torquay Surf Beach, even further east to Ocean Grove or west to Lorne. You can rent aurf boards and wet suits in all of these towns and the waves are normally small and gentle, ideal for learning.