Spectacular Surf Coast Walk
The Surf Coast Walk is a spectacular trail weaving its way along cliff tops, popular surf beaches and coastal bushland tracks. It currently starts at Jan Juc and finishes at Moggs Creek, but is undergoing major upgrades which once completed will almost double it's distance to 65km and stretch from Breamlea to Lorne. There is also medium term plans to extend the walk to Cumberland River beyond Lorne.
The Surf Coast Walk takes you through a wide range of flora from coastal forests and woodlands to wind swept sand dunes and even salt marshes. Wildflowers bloom in the heathlands in spring, which is a sight to behold, and a perfect photo opportunity for the Landscape Photographer.
Surf Coast Walk Stages
Like the Great Ocean Walk, the Surf Coast Walk is divided in stages; five to be exact, each with it's own access point so anyone from beginners to experienced hikers can enjoy the beautiful natural wonders the trail has to offer. There is many a photographic opportunity along the walk, which is the main thing that attracts me personally to the area.
Stage One: Jan Juc to Bells Beach
This is (currently) the official start of the Walk. This stage is a cliff top walk along coastal heathlands. Needless to say, it has some breathtaking views in both directions, particularly of Rocky Point. The track is well maintained, so it's suitable for the most casual of walkers!
At low tide you can loop back along the base of the cliffs and return to Jan Juc. The Beach walk will involve navigating some rocky outcrops and rock ledges, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear and check the tides!
Scenic lookouts at the popular surfing spots of Bird Rock and Jan Juc are two of the highlights along this section of the walk. The track then heads past 'Steps', another popular surf spot, and continues to Bells Beach carpark, with views of Winkipop and Bells Beach.
Start: Carnarvon Avenue Carpark, Jan Juc
Finish: Bells Beach Carpark
Distance: 4km (8km incl. beach loop)
Duration: 1 hr (2 hrs incl. beach loop)
Difficulty: Easy (moderate for beach loop section)
Stage Two: Bells Beach to Point Addis
More spectacular coastal views await when you embark on stage two of the Surf Coast Walk. This is a more heavily wooded section which includes a journey inland through ironbark and messmate forests, as well as the familiar coastal heathlands as seen from stage one. You will also enjoy the impressive sandstone cliffs which the area is so well known for. This section is one of the most scenic, and the views from Point Addis are simply stunning, so if you're on a time limit and want to sample the walk then do this section.
The track itself is poorly maintained for the most part, but is well worth the effort. You start at the Bells Beach carpark and head down the steps and walk a short distance along the beach. Follow the track at the western end, and up the steep track towards Southside carpark. From here you head inland and uphill to the Jarosite Mine ruins.
The track to the Mine and heading towards the Ironbark Basin is probably the roughest section so be careful, especially after rain.
Once you reach the Ironbark Basin carpark, its on towards the Koorie Cultural Walk section (which is incorporated into the Surf Coast Walk) along the top of the cliffs to Point Addis.
At low tide, it's possible to loop back along Addiscott Beach to Bells Beach, but be sure to check the tides.
Start: Bells Beach Carpark
Finish: Point Addis Carpark
Duration: 2 hrs
Stage Three: Point Addis to Anglesea
This section hugs the coast for much of the walk so get ready to enjoy a mix of beach, heath and clifftop walking!
Head down the steps and onto the beach past Point Addis. You will head uphill at Red Rocks where you can enjoy the scenic views of the beach. You head slightly inland here, past Eumeralla Scout Camp before heading down to the Anglesea clifftops.
As you approach Anglesea, you will follow the track down to the beach and to the mouth of the Anglesea River. The eastern bank of the river is home to countless birds and other wildlife who live in the salt marshes.
The walk ends at the Bridge, where the Great Ocean Road crosses the river.
If you are doing all five sections of the Surf Coast Walk then this is a natural place to break your walk for the night. You can pre-arrange to stay at the campground near the mouth of the river.
Start: Point Addis Carpark
Finish: Anglesea River Bridge
Duration: 2 hrs
Stage Four: Anglesea to Aireys Inlet
This stage takes you from the Anglesea River to Aireys Inlet.
Note: This section of the walk is undergoing major upgrades, and the information provided here is based on the new alignment along the coast, and not the older section which was primarily poorly maintained inland fire tracks.
The new walk is fairly straightforward, as most of it is walking along beaches between Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Stay tuned for more info.
Stage Five: Aireys Inlet to Moggs Creek
Starting from Sunnymead Beach Lookout, you take the Aireys Inlet Cliff Walk to the Famous Split Point Lighthouse. From there it's down to the mouth of Painkalac Creek and along the beach to Fairhaven. There is an inland option here, but I would recommend the beach route, which takes you practically all the way to Moggs Creek walking along Beaches.
Start: Sunnymead Beach Lookout
Finish: Moggs Creek Picnic Area
Duration: 3 hrs
Note: As the Surf Coast Walk is undergoing redevelopment, there is some conflicting information out there as to exact routes along the walk. As always, make sure you visit an Information centre before heading off on your walk to ensure you have the most up to date information.
Surf Coast Walk --> Great Ocean Road Homepage