The Surf Coast Walk stretches for 44 kilometres along the coastline that’s made up of world-class, pristine surf beaches that are separated by rocky headlands and huge sandstone cliffs.
Along the way, you’ll walk through dry forests that are packed with Eucalyptus trees and an abundance of other native Australia flora. Keep an eye out for Koalas in the trees, Kangaroos and Wallabies among the bush, if you’re lucky, Dolphins in the ocean and if it’s the right time of the year, you might see some Whales swimming past.
The trail starts right at the beginning of the Surf Coast on the eastern side of Torquay at Point Impossible and ends at Fairhaven Beach, on the western side of Aireys Inlet. With loads of attractions, car parks and hospitality options in the various towns along the way, you can choose to complete Surf Coast Walk in as many sections as you desire. We completed it over three days, spending the first exploring around Torquay, including the beaches, town and of course the Surf Factory Outlets. For our second stint you can take a look at this blog post of us hiking from Bells Beach to Point Addis, & for our final stint, here’s another blog post of us hiking from Pt Addis to Fairhaven Beach.
For the first 13 kms or so, the walk is along a heap of different beaches, where for most of it, you’ll be right beside the townships of Torquay and Jan Juc. Although the Surf Coast Walk official begins on the eastern end of the Point Impossible beach, you can chose to start anywhere at any pace and just head west.
Point Impossible Beach eventually merges into Fishermans Beach, where you’ll find a cafe and lots of vessels entering the water via the boat ramp or leaving their dock from out the front of the sailing club. Once you’re off this beach, you’re then just next to the centre of Torquay, where you can stop in for some food, drinks or shopping, otherwise take a break on the large grass section at the Torquay Foreshore. The Foreshore sits on the Torquay Front Beach, which is a calm, safe beach due to way that the beach is shaped, being protected by Point Danger from the big swell that the Southern Ocean pushes across from the south-west.
Foreshore & Front Beach
View over Torquay Front Beach from Point Danger
Torquay Surf Beach sits between Point Danger and Rocky Point, with the decent waves usually rolling in on the south-west side and just out past the headland. If you’re not short on time, you can rent a surf board from the Torquay Surf Academy, on the other side of caravan park that’s behind the beach, otherwise walk to the far end of the surf beach across the creek mouth (if the creek/river is impassable, there’s a board walk about 100 metres from the mouth where you can make a dry crossing) then head up to Rocky Point Lookout.
Rocky Point Lookout gives a view over the Torquay Surf Beach to the east and looks over the Jan Juc Surf Beach to the west. After taking in the sights, you can then continue along the trail, following the stairs down onto the beach.
Once you’ve passed Rocky Point and crossed over from Torquay to Jan Juc, if you were to follow the side streets out the main road, you’d be at the start of the Great Ocean Road.
Down the end of the Jan Juc Surf Beach from Rocky Point is a large timber decking and viewing area, sitting on the dunes behind the beach. If the waves are rolling in and they usually are, head onto the viewing platform spend some time watching the surfers.
After the Jan Juc Surf Beach, the coastline is mainly made up steep cliffs all the way to Bells Beach.
Follow the trail, it goes along between the top of the cliffs and the road. You’ll go past Bird Rock Lookout, right beside the small town centre of Jan Juc, then it’s a further 2.5 – 3kms to the incredible Bells Beach.
Budget some extra time for at Bells Beach and the nearby Southside Beach where you’ll often be able to watch world-class surfers making the most of regular huge waves. This is where the Rip Curl World Surfing Championships is held around Easter time each year.
Bird Rock Lookout
The Surf Coast Walk then goes slightly inland as it cuts across from Bells Beach to Point Addis.
You can choose to take the most direct route or Iron Basin Trail that adds a few hundred extra metres.
Which ever way you go, you’ll walk through a dry Eucalyptus forest packed with loads of other Australia native plants, teaming with Bracken Ferns, Grass Plants and Grass Trees. Keep an eye out for Wallabies and Koalas and be treated with the occasional stunning view of the ocean before you make it back to the coast line and then arrive on top of the cliffs above Point Addis Beach.
Looking east from the cliffs above Point Addis
View over Point Addis
Right out on the headland at Point Addis, there’s a large timber board walk where you can sit, have a rest and look out to the ocean with the hope of spotting some marine life.
On the western side of the board walk, head down onto the beach and continue along the trail for another 7 kms until you reach Anglesea.
A while after walking along several beaches, the track then goes up on top of the dunes and cliffs again and is set back about 50 metres from the coastline. Eventually, you’ll be able to see along the red sandstone cliffs that you’re about to walk across, you then arrive in Anglesea.
Anglesea is beautiful coastal town where you’ll be able to stop for hot food and cold drinks or even rent a surf board. The Surf Coast Walk continues across the front of the town and main surf beach, past the Soapy Rocks and out to Point Roadknight.
You can surf and swim along most of the beach, although there are plenty of rips and it can be unsafe inexperienced surfers and swimmers.
Between Urquhart Bluff beach until you’re right into the township of Aireys Inlet, the trail goes over the headlands and calls into multiple beaches with that have three sides surrounded by large cliffs.
The next beach after Urquhart is Sunnymeade Beach, where there’s an incredible stone formation on the eastern end of the beach.
You then head over to Sandy Gully beach, then have the option of going down to several other sandy beaches, such as Step Beach below Split Point Lighthouse where you can get to the bottom of Castle Rock, if the conditions allow it.
Split Point Lighthouse above Step Beach
The Split Point Lighthouse isn’t just a great sight and home to one a ghost of a teenage girl (read the ghost story here), but it also means that once you’ve passed it, you’ve almost made it to the end of the Surf Coast Walk.
At the lighthouse, you can get a great view of Castle Rock, then if you look to the west, you’ll be able to see Fairhaven Beach.
Walk down the hill and past the town (if you don’t need to stop in for some more food and drinks), then go around the Painkalac Creek, unless the tide is out and you can walk across the creek mouth and along the beach.
Once you’ve reached the Fairhaven Beach (where you should be able to see plenty of surfers if there are any signs of swell), you’ve completed the Surf Coast Walk!