Longest Beach on the Surf Coast and entire Great Ocean Road
Fairhaven Beach is a pristine stretch of gold sand that runs for over six kilometres from the Painkalac Creek at Aireys Inlet, past the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch and finishing in Eastern View. After Fairhaven Beach when driving to the south-west, the Great Ocean Road is then carved into steep hills, twisting and turning all the way to Lorne.
The direction of the beach means that it’s unprotected from the huge swell that rolls in from the south-west when the Roaring Forties pushes the weather across the Southern Ocean and into Bass Strait.
Nestled in the hills behind Fiarhaven Beach are some of the most grand houses along the Great Ocean Road. The houses face the ocean where there’s a mass of experienced surfers, the occasional dolphin and at the right time of the year, the odd whale or two to look at.
Surfing at Fairhaven Beach
Fairhaven Beach can easily be accessed by parking on the side of the road (in several particular, designated spots) and walking down some stairs to the beach. When the conditions are right and they often are, 1.5 metre waves will break right along Fairhaven Beach.
The beach is around six kilometres from east to west, so there’s lots of room, although the best breaks will have dozens of surfers and there’s a rip every couple of hundred metres. The powerful waves and 20+ rips can make this place dangerous unless you’re with a local and an experienced surfer.
Nearby, there are some other beaches with similar or bigger waves. Urquhart Bluff and Jan Juc Surf Beach have similar size waves, then Bells Beach and Southside can have monsters roll in. If you’re not interested in heading into the water, these are all decent places to watch some of surfing at its finest.
Beaches nearby for beginner surfers
Although Fairhaven Beach seems to go on forever and the waves can look gentle from the comfort of the beach, the strong waves, big swell and dangerous rip currents make this place better suited to experienced surfers.
If you’re heading west along the Great Ocean Road, keep driving to the nearby town of Lorne or further on to Apollo Bay. Both of these places have shops where you can rent a surfboard and wetsuit then walk to a surf beach that’s ideal for beginners. Heading east, try Anglesea, Torquay Surf Beach or Ocean Grove. These three places all have beginner surf beaches and shops to rent equipment from that are in walking distance of the beach.
If you haven’t surfed before, try starting by taking lessons at any of these places, there are loads of other surf schools along the entire coastline. That way, your instructor will chose the right gear for you and give you some tips on what board you’re best suited to, then next time you’ll know what gear to rent and how to use it.