Visitors & locals get involved in open event

Australia Day weekend saw crowds flock to the foreshore to enjoy the spectacular weather.   The GORCC Open Day was held on the Saturday of the three day holiday, with a marquee set up on the Elephant Walk Reserve in Torquay.

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The successful event attracted approximately 160 locals and visitors who came along to have their say, learn about GORCC’s work and projects, enjoy the giveaways and prizes on offer or particpate in the fun, free environmental activities.

Not surprisingly the activity stall was the stand out favourite of the day providing entertainment and education to kids of all ages who made their own ‘insect hotels’, created their own Hooded Plover badges and more.

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While the kids were busy creating their masterpieces, mums, dads and grandparents asked questions about the coast and had their say on GORCC projects. The GORCC’s Draft Coastal User Transport Strategy was on display as was information about coastal hazards and coastal safety.

The day also included promotion of GORCC’s Save the Hoodie Campaign.  A sign featuring ‘Hamish the Hoodie’ was on display, giving people a chance to enter the #SavetheHoodie campaign and go into the draw for $1000 in prizes. More information can be found at www.savethehoodie.com.au and the competition closes on 1st April 2015.

A $1000 Quicksilver voucher is also up for grabs as part of this year’s Coast Survey.

Did you visit the GORCC Australia Day weekend stall?  What did you think? Share your thoughts below!

Free coastal fun for all

Summer by the Sea is almost here and in 2015 the program features stand up paddle-boarding – a new addition to a growing line-up of free activities.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria program which runs from 2-26 January 2015, is an opportunity for everyone to discover Victoria’s marine and coastal environment.

In 2015 more than 300 free, guided activities will be on offer across the state.  In the Surf Coast region activities are being funded and run by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), a program partner.

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GORCC Education Activity Leader Pete Crowcroft with little participant Hugh, holding up a piece of whale skeleton.

 

Stand up paddle boarding will feature in Torquay and Lorne and GORCC Education Activity Leader Pete Crowcroft who is organising and leading activities on the Surf Coast, said the activity is a fun way to explore and learn about estuaries and rivers.

“Stand up paddle-boarding is a popular but expensive recreational activity so we’re pleased to be able to offer it for free to participants,” he said.

In addition to activities for the more adventurous such as snorkelling, canoeing and stand up paddle-boarding, there are a huge variety of options available with something for every age and level of ability.

Participants can engage in everything from fossil safaris and walking tours through to coastal craft and playing detective both on the beach and in the bush.

“Those looking for something a little more relaxed can engage in activities like guided coastal walks along the stunning Surf Coast Walk, kite making sessions, rockpool rambles or calico craft,” said Mr. Crowcroft.

GORCC sponsored activities will be offered in Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Lorne and at the Torquay NightJar Markets.

“It’s wonderful to be able to get people of all ages to engage with our incredible coastline and experiencing and learning about the environment.

“It is particularly great for kids, as it’s very important that they learn to connect with and appreciate the natural environment from a young age,” Mr. Crowcroft said.

GORCC Community Liaison Manager, Jane Lovejoy said every previous January for four years GORCC had run a free environmental education program for campers.

“We are excited to partner with DEPI and Parks Victoria in Summer by the Sea and expand our activities to make them available to everyone on the coast.

“We look forward to seeing excited and happy participants of all ages enjoying what we have on offer,” she said.

Bookings are essential for most activities and the majority of activities are free.  For more information, visit www.depi.vic.gov.au or www.parks.vic.gov.au.

Top 10 ways to have fun on the beach when its cold outside

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.

Bike riding is fun and family friendly and its a great way to see our scenic coastline.
Bike riding is fun and family friendly and its a great way to see our scenic coastline.

 

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.
There's so much to discover on the beach! Kids love to find interesting things, especially in rock pools.
There’s so much to discover on the beach! Kids love to find interesting things, especially in rock pools.

 

Here’s our top ten fun things to do on the beach when its NOT 40 degrees: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

    Head out on a wildlife walk - there's so many amazing animals to be spotted.
    Head out on a wildlife walk – there’s so many amazing animals to be spotted.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Play Pictionary: The beach is a perfect canvas for drawing pictures which you can turn into your very own outdoor Pictionary game.
  9. Visit the rockpools: Rockpools are often full of interesting wildlife and sea plants. Discover little underwater worlds and identify the sea life.
  10. 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?

Market stall raises coastal awareness

Visitors to Torquay have been learning about protecting the coast and identifying wildlife as part of the Nightjar markets held during January.

Fun educational activities
Fun educational activities encouraging people to learn about our coast.

Free educational activities including everything from quizzes and puzzles to learning how to look after rare Hooded Plovers were enjoyed as part of an environmental education tent funded by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee.

The tent was run by local environmental education group EcoLogic on behalf of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee.

GORCC Education tent
The GORCC Environmental education tent.

EcoLogic Interpretation Officer Regina Gleeson said that the tent had been popular with children who enjoyed a variety of different activities.

“The attendance at the tent has been good and people have been interested in learning about protecting our beautiful coast,” she said.

“It’s nice that visitors to the coast can use this opportunity to learn about our precious coastline and how they can help look after it.”

The tent also provided people with an opportunity to learn more about environmental volunteering, caring for lost or injured wildlife and sand dune erosion.

Identifying threats to wildlife
Identifying threats to local wildlife.

Ms. Gleeson hoped that after visiting the tent, people would have an increased awareness of their environmental impact and be more inclined to care for what’s around them.

“It’s great that this is the one stall which focuses on looking after the coast. Hopefully people will take away with them the environmental messages we are promoting and will put them into practice when they get home,” she said.

An example of how we protect hooded plovers.
An example of how we protect hooded plovers.

Visit the GORCC website to:

Related blogs:

brody-milly-and-jessamine-with-starfishMarine activities a hit with families
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Marine activities a hit with families

Kids on the coast have been getting up close with marine environments and enjoying everything from ‘adventure safaris’ to ‘ranger yarns’ as part of the free Summer by the Sea program. Children participating in a ‘rock pool ramble’ activity in Torquay recently were delighted to discover a range of unusual sea creatures in the rock pools at Point Danger.

Brody, Milly and Jessamine with starfish
Brodie Mascoll, Milly Dundle, Marine Park ranger Alicia Ivory and Jessamine Turner with a  sea star  found during the rock pool ramble.

Marine Park ranger Alicia Ivory who hosted the activity said the discovery of chitons, sea slugs, sea stars and blue bottle jellyfish in the rock pools helped to highlight the importance of looking after our local marine environment. “The plants and animals living in places like Point Danger Marine Sanctuary are sensitive and diverse with over 96 different types of sea slugs recorded over recent years,” she said. Participants Milly Dundle and Jessamine Turner said finding the different creatures was their favourite part of the activity. “I really liked finding the sea stars and learning that it’s important to put the rocks back where you found them so that the animals don’t get lost or hurt,” Milly said.

Milly Dundle with a starfish
Milly Dundle with a sea star.

Local resident Jill Tregonning said the chance to see the rock pools was a great opportunity for both herself and her granddaughter Milly. “Even though you live here, you don’t know and appreciate what’s under your nose until you actually see it,” Jill said. Summer by the Sea activities are an opportunity to uncover more about our precious coastal and marine environments with the help of expert guides. The annual event sees families come together to participate in fun, educational activities that are enjoyable for all age groups and participants range from locals to day trippers and regular visitors. “These activities help visitors learn how to look after the environment, while enjoying the parks. “It’s not just the children but also the adults who love learning new facts about the species they regularly see each time they visit the rock pools,” said Ms.Ivory.

Brody and Kai ??? with Marine Park ranger Alicia Ivory learning about the creatures which live in rockpools.
Brodie and Kai Mascoll with Marine Park ranger Alicia Ivory learning about the creatures which live in rockpools.

Ms Ivory said understanding why each species is important helps people realise how special our marine environments are. “It’s great to see people getting out and experiencing these amazing places that are protected for ours and future generations,” she said. Summer by the Sea is run by Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. More information is available at www.dse.vic.gov.au/summerbythesea.

This article featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

Related blogs:

Kinder kids on the coast
Coast Connections at student forum
Explore Underwater Victoria