Summer is the perfect time to visit our beautiful beaches along the surf coast and enjoy the glorious sunshine.
To ensure everyone has a great time this holiday season, read our top tips for keeping you and your family safe.
Swim between the flags
Swimming between the flags is one of the easiest ways to stay safe this summer. Volunteer and paid lifeguards are patrolling Victorian beaches all summer to help protect beachgoers. The ocean is unpredictable which is why you always need someone looking out for you.
If you have young children, please remember that you must be within an arm’s reach of your child at all times and give them your full attention to ensure their safety.
If you are swimming in an unpatrolled beach, make sure you read and obey the safety signs and check that it is okay to swim before you enter the water as conditions can change regularly. It is vital that you know how to swim well and always recommended to have someone to look out for you whilst you are in the water.
The Victorian boating regulations require Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) to be carried on a boat for all persons.
All occupants must wear a PFD if they are:
in a powerboat up to and including 4.8 metres in length
off-the-beach sailing yachts
in a personal watercraft
using canoes, kayaks, rowing boats and rafts
using a pedal boats, fun boats and stand up paddle boards
kite boarding and sail boarding
a recreational tenders
a child under the age of 10
For more information about the Victorian regulations click here.
Take caution around cliffs
Many areas along the coast are subject to seasonal coastline erosion, especially Jan Juc and Anglesea regions causing unstable cliffs. To keep your family safe, please read and obey the advisory signs and take care when near cliffs. It is recommended to stay on designated walking tracks to avoid areas of cliff instability.
What can I do?
Avoid walking near cliff edges, or at the base of cliffs especially after wet weather and high tides
Keep to the walking tracks
Do not climb on cliffs as this can cause localised damage and increase the rate of erosion
Avoid damaging the vegetation as this promotes water infiltration and reduces erosive runoff
Obey all signs and stay behind safety fences
If you see evidence of a recent cliff collapse, take a photo and report it to your local land manager
For more information about unstable cliffs visit the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website click here.
Time check the tides
There are several spots between Point Addis and Anglesea River that can become impassable at high tide. It is important to check the current tide times and be aware of tidal changes to avoid being caught. Always read the warning signs and familiarise yourself with the area before walking along the coastline. If you are unsure about an area ask a local or seek further information.
For information about local coastal walks and their accessibility click here.
Here at the Great Ocean Road Coast Blog we like to feature stories about our coast and the locals who live on and love our coast.
Marian Charlton is one such local – an active Torquay community member and a lover of the natural environment.
Marian walks the scenic Surf Coast Walk on a regular basis, appreciating all our breathtaking coast has to offer.
Rocky Point Lookout, in particular, holds strong sentimental value to Marian, a place her and her family have been visiting for over 50 years.
“Rocky Point has always been a significant place for me since our family camped here over 50 years ago,
“It is a great place to just appreciate our coast with its rock headlands and great sweeps of beach with breaking waves,” she said.
Marian recognises the importance of caring for our coast and taking action to ensure it can be enjoyed by all.
“We should all appreciate and care for our coastal environment so that it is there for all to enjoy, including future generations,
“As a local community person I notify the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee of any hazards or problems I see on my walks. This includes both live and dead seals on our beaches, trees that have fallen on the path, and issues with local toilet blocks,” Marian said.
Marian is eager to see the transformation of Rocky Point Lookout as it undergoes a restoration, generously funded by RACV and DEPI.
The site is set to be fully restored by late September.
For more information on the Rocky Point Lookout redevelopment click here.
Want to get involved? Friends of the Surf Coast Walk are always looking for new supporters – learn more here.
What’s your favourite spot on the coast or the Surf Coast Walk?
Its suddenly a little cool down our way and we haven’t even hit winter yet!
Don’t despair though, because in our eyes it’s still beach weather. What? We hear you ask ….
Yes, we know, you usually spend time on the beach when its 35 degrees plus, but we reckon that if you don’t come down in the cooler months you might just be missing out on a really great holiday.
Not only are the below ideas fun for all ages, but they are also FREE.
First things first – what are the advantages of visiting the beach in the cooler months?
You won’t have to fight for a spot on the sand – take your pick!
All of the activities below are FREE.
You’re much less likely to get sunburt – although make sure to use SPF even when its overcast.
Here’s our top ten fun things to do on the beach when its NOT 40 degrees:
Sand art: Test your creative skills and make sand castles or sand sculptures. This one is fun and can be made into a competition – you just need an impartial judge! The only materials required are a bucket and a trowl, there’s plenty of natural decorations to be found lying around.
Volleyball, Football, Soccor or Cricket: The best way to warm up is to get moving! You’re not going to feel the cold when you’re running around hitting or catching a ball and the soft sand is the perfect crash mat for those epic catches.
Cycling: We are blessed with some fantastic bicycle tracks on the coast …get on your bike and check some out! There are tracks for all levels of rider and parts of the Surf Coast Walk is perfect for cycling.
Photography: There’s nowhere quite like the great ocean road for spectacular scenery. Get your camera out and take some incredible shots of cliffs, wildlife, beach scenery or your friends and family.
Wildlife spotting: Grab a pair of binoculars and head off on a beach safari. See if you can spot endangered animals like the Hooded Plover or Rufus Bristlebird or some of our more common but equally cute friends such as echidnas and koalas. For a sure fire way to view some wildlife, head on over to the Jirrahlinga Koala Wildlife Sanctuary where you can meet all sorts of furry friends.
Have a picnic. If it’s not swimming weather but it’s not too windy or overly cold a picnic is a great activity. You’re spoilt for scenic spots and if it is a little chilly you can bring some hot chocolate.
Fly a kite: There’s no place quite so perfect for kites as the beach. Kites are inexpensive and can even be made at home. Kids and adults alike will love this activity.
Play Pictionary: The beach is a perfect canvas for drawing pictures which you can turn into your very own outdoor Pictionary game.
Visit the rockpools: Rockpools are often full of interesting wildlife and sea plants. Discover little underwater worlds and identify the sea life.
Do nothing. This is probably one of our favourite options! Lie around, read a book, eat great food and RELAX.
Are you someone who likes the beach in the cooler months? What do you like to do at the beach when the weather is a little more wintery?
A new trail marathon event is set to shine the spotlight on the Surf Coast Walk.
The inaugural Surf Coast Trail Marathon will take place on Saturday, 28 June, 2014, with marathon runners starting at Torquay, an hour south west of Melbourne, and finishing 42.2km further west on the beaches of Fairhaven, located on the world-renowned Great Ocean Road.
Runners will be enticed off road by a course that takes in impressive coastal scenery, including a short run along world-famous Bells Beach.
There is also a half marathon course being offered, beginning from Point Addis, and a relay team option allowing two runners to complete half of the marathon course each.
The Surf Coast Trail Marathon will benefit local organisations with a percentage of each entry fee going towards three Surf Coast beneficiaries, including the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club, where the event finishes, and the Anglesea Primary School.
Some funds will also go back into supporting the trail and environs via the Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee.
There has been a marked increase in the popularity of ‘adventure racing’ and nature based tourism and sports on the coast, with many opportunities to get inv0lved and active in the great outdoors.
Offering natural beauty and easy access, the recently redeveloped Surf Coast Walk along the edge of the Great Ocean Road offers a world-class walking destination for all to enjoy.
The track has proved popular since its official reopening last year and from dogs to bicycles to pram to runners, everyone is out and about enjoying different sections at different paces.
In recognition of the multiple uses of the track and in response to some community concern around safety, GORCC has installed some signs in high use areas around Torquay and Jan Juc, to promote safe shared use.
The Take care- Be aware- Share campaign encourages those who are cycling along the path to:
Give way to pedestrians
Travel at safe speeds
sSlow down and use their bell when passin
The signs also remind dog owners to clean up after their pets and to keep appropriate control over them at all times. Additionally, all users are asked to be vigilant of vegetation and wildlife and to keep to the left of the paths.
To stay safe and ensure you have an enjoyable Surf Coast Walk experience you should also:
Wearing sturdy, non-slip footwear
Carry plenty of drinking water and a well-charged mobile phone
Take care when walking near the edge or base of cliffs
Beware of snakes in late spring and summer
On days of extreme fire to seek information from Visitor Information Centres or the Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667, as some walks may be closed to the public.
As the Surf Coast Walk redevelopment nears completion, volunteers are being sought to become official guardians of the track.
The new ‘Friends of the Surf Coast Walk’ group will become stewards of the 44km walk, which is set to be a world-class walking destination and a valuable recreational and community resource.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Projects Manager Mike Bodsworth said the group would play an active role in the ongoing life of the track.
“The Surf Coast Walk is almost ready for launch and group will become a vital ingredient in the track’s long term success.
“We would love to hear from anyone interested in assisting us to protect, monitor, maintain and enhance it into the future,” he said.
Volunteers can contribute in a variety of ways depending on their interests and skills, and choose a section of track they are most interested in.
“Friends can monitor the track as part of their normal, regular, recreational use of it and report back on any issues – for example degraded sections or any overgrown areas or weeds.
“More active options will include minor track maintenance work, litter collection, trimming overgrowth or trackside planting and rehabilitation,” Mr Bodsworth said.
Volunteers will work with the three land managers involved in the Surf Coast Walk’s maintenance and upkeep – GORCC, Parks Victoria and Surf Coast Shire.
“The three agencies together with the friends group will care for and extend the lifespan of this coastal asset for the benefit of the community,” Mr Bodsworth said.
The Surf Coast Walk will be officially launched on 4 November 2012 in Anglesea at a free community event suitable for the whole family. The official opening will take place at 10am and be followed by free activities from 10.30am – 12.30pm.
“Those interested in learning more about or registering their interest for the Friends of the Surf Coast Walk group are invited to either contact us or come along to the launch event where there will be plenty of information and opportunities to register on the day,” Mr Bodsworth said.
The redevelopment of the Surf Coast Walk has been made possible thanks to funding from Regional Development Victoria GORCC and the Surf Coast Shire and support from a range of partners, including Parks Victoria.