Holiday fun on the coast for all

Looking for activities for the kids these school holidays? Perhaps activities that are not only fun but educational and with an environmental message might be just what you are after.

Get out and about and have some fun on the holidays and learn about the environment as well!

There’s so many options for holiday fun on the coast- one example is Parks Victoria’s holiday program – with  activities being held over the school holiday period between 7 July and 14 July at a variety of locations along the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road (including Pt Addis and Urqharts Bluff) and across Victoria as part of their Junior Ranger program.

Activities include bushwalking and beach discoveries, and are suitable for primary school-aged children and their families.  They also have some DIY activities for both indoors and out.

The Marine Discovery Centre is also running free activities with Rockpool Rambles being held on the coast, find out more here. 

You can have fun and learn about the coast these school holidays either out and about or in the comfort of your own home!

 

If its cold and wintery you can have fun at home on a rainy day using our free printable activities like board games puzzles and brain-teasers that are not only educational but fun for all ages.

If the weather is fine, you could head out and discover the coast, find inspiration for an activity trail and discover the Surf Coast Walk here or explore the wonders of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and Split Point Lighthouse here.

For a comprehensive list of school holiday activities on offer throughout the state visit the Victorian Government’s School Holiday Activities Page here.

Are you getting out and about on the coast these holidays? Share your stories!

There’s nothing like the Great Ocean Road

Tourism Australia just released a short YouTube video enticing people to visit the Great Ocean Road and a free App to for holiday makers which they say will ensure “you can see for yourself why There’s Nothing Like Australia”.

Check out the video below and the app on their website  here and let us know what you think of it!

 

This is just one of the amazing views you will see when you drive along the Great Ocean Road.

 

For more of our blogs on visiting the coast, click on one of the following links.

Head out now to look out on our spectacular coast

What’s not to love about the coast in Winter?

Great Ocean Road GPS App

Gone are the days when we had to read outdated maps and sift through hundreds of brochures to find out valuable information on our favourite tourist destinations.

A new App called the Great Ocean Road GPS Tour  has been designed for those who both love the Great Ocean Road and technology.

As you travel along the Great Ocean Road in a westerly direction,  the App will act as your own personal guided tour whilst providing you with audio-visual material at specific locations along the route.

This GPS App will help you navigate your way along the beautiful coastline of the Great Ocean Road.

General Information

  • Cost: $6.49
  • Released: 30 March 2012
  • Size: 104 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: MetroView Systems Pty Ltd
  • Compatability: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. (Requires version iOS 3.1.2 or later)

Where can I find out more?

For further information, please visit the Apple store at http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/great-ocean-road-gps-tour/id511163046?mt=8

Check some more of our blogs on visiting the coast:

Head out now to look out on our spectacular coast! 

What’s not to love about our coast in Winter?

 

Have you used the new GPS App? Give us your reviews and let us know how well it worked for you!

Beachgoers and dunes at risk

It might seem like fun but playing in sand dunes can not only destroy these areas but can be dangerous.

Coastal conservationists are sending out the message- stay safe and keep out of the dunes!

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Projects Manager, Mike Bodsworth said running and jumping on dunes could be great fun but caused serious damage to the vegetation which holds the dunes together.

It might look like fun, but playing on the dunes is prohibited to preserve native vegetation along the Surf Coast.

Have you noticed anyone entering the dunes in your area?

“Dunes that are stripped of native vegetation commonly develop ‘blow-outs’, or large gullies of wind-blown sand.“Over time these gullies become larger and are extremely difficult to rehabilitate,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

Torquay Coast Action (TCA) is a local group dedicated towards shaping, restoring and maintaining the environmental integrity of coastal dunes.

TCA President Glenda Shomaly, said the fragile dunes, desperately needed to be looked after, and that plants were vital to the future of the dunes.

“It doesn’t take much to loosen the vegetation holding the dune together and kill the roots causing erosion and ‘blow-outs’,” she said.

Mr. Bodsworth said playing in the dunes could not only threaten the natural environment but there were hidden dangers for beachgoers as well.

It’s common for objects like sharp sticks, stones, wire and glass to lurk amongst soft dune sand and we are concerned for the safety of people playing in the dunes.

“It’s common for objects like sharp sticks, stones, wire and glass to lurk amongst soft dune sand and we are concerned for the safety of people playing in the dunes,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

Have you noticed any dunes which are developing gullies or blowouts?

Ensuring kids utilise the designated areas such as playgrounds and reserves on the foreshore will prevent further damage to the fragile coastal dunes. Click here for location maps of playgrounds and reserves on the Surf Coast.

Surf Coast Shire local laws prohibit access to dunes unless on designated pathways, the laws apply to all fenced and unfenced sand dune areas.

Where an area is unfenced, the ban applies to the entire sand dune starting from the bottom part closest to the sea.

The vegetation on the dunes holds them together when this vegetation is destroyed the dunes begin to recede.

“You can help to protect our dunes and stay safe by staying to designated paths and tracks, and staying off the dunes,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

For more information about protecting the dunes and our coastal environment visit the GORCC website www.gorcc.com.au.

TCA conduct regular working bees, for more information or to volunteer contact Glenda Shomaly on 5261 6266 or click here to visit the GORCC volunteers page on our website.

This column appeared in the Surf Coast Times fortnightly Greent the Coast Column.

Your input into the management of the coast is much appreciated and we’d love to hear from you.

Whale watching season underway

A whale breaching at Logans beach in 2010. The photo has been provided by M.Watson, DSE, 2010

The 2011 season for Southern Right whales has commenced and the majestic creatures can now be spotted gliding along the southern coastline.

Southern Right whales migrate from sub-antarctic waters, where they feed during the summer months, to the southern coastline of Australia to breed during winter.

Senior Natural Resource Management Officer Mandy Watson from the Department Sustainability and Environment (DSE) monitors the whales.

“They come here to give birth and raise their calves, presumably because it’s warmer and there is more shelter for them.” said Ms Watson.

“They also come into the shallower waters to protect their calves from predators such as Killer whales and sharks.”

There have been two reported sightings so far this season, the first on May 10 at Logans Beach in Warrnambool and the second in Ocean Grove on May 16.

Simon Branigan Victorian National Parks Association Marine and Coastal Project Officer, said there would be many opportunities to view the whales from the Surf Coast as well.

“Driving along the Great Ocean Road is a perfect way to see whales in their natural habitat, a very special experience.

Split Point Lookout in Aireys Inlet, built by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee in 2009, features a special cliff-edge design, allowing for an unhindered view of the passing whales.

The platform is just one example of a number of spectacular viewing locations in the region.

“There are a number of lookouts and viewing platforms for drivers to safely pull over and observe the whales,” said Mr. Branigan.

Whale watchers can identify Southern Right Whales by their distinguishing features.

Unlike other whale species they don’t have a dorsal fin; they have short square pectoral fins and a distinctive v-shaped blow rather than a single plume.

They are large fat whales with a rounded heads, strongly arched mouth lines and can grow up to 18 metres long.

The whales are black in colour with some irregular white patches on their underside and white growths called callosities on their heads, which people often mistake for barnacles.

Sightings of Southern Right whales can be reported to mandy.watson@dse.vic.gov.au or by calling (03) 5561 9961 or 0408 302 421.  

This story was written by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and published in the Surf Coast Time’s Going Green Column.

Saving your health and your environment

While steps have been taken to reduce smoking on our beautiful beaches, we still need to work together to keep them smoke and cigarette butt free.

The Surf Coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia which attract  millions of visitors each year.  Surf Coast beaches provide an important social and recreational outlet for visitors and locals and are thought of as a local ‘park’ by many.

Unfortunately, our precious beaches experience significant litter during peak summer periods.

A number of studies in recent years have proven that cigarette butts are a major source of beach litter. Data from Clean Up Australia has revealed that over 32 billion cigarette butts are dropped in Australia each year, and that prior to 2004 (when smoking was banned at Bondi) there were 700,000 cigarette butts on Bondi Beach alone!

Cigarette butts are ‘toxic time bombs’ containing significant pollutants that can harm wildlife and damage coastal environments. They can take up to five years to break down in sea water and cost management authorities thousands of dollars each year to pick up.

In 2008 the Surfrider Foundation lobbied local land managers and authorities for smoking to be banned at a number of beaches within the Surf Coast Shire.

The following summer a ban was placed on smoking at all Surf Coast beaches.  The decision marked the adoption of the first coastal smoking ban in Victoria.

The decision has played an important role in reducing cigarette butts on the coast. The Surf Coast ban on smoking extends along approximately 55 kilometres of coast from Torquay to Lorne including the iconic Bells Beach.

The Surfrider Foundation is working with the Surf Coast Shire and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee to support the ban.

The Great Ocean Road Committee, as managers of much of the foreshore from Torquay to Lorne, provides bins on grassed foreshore areas and adjacent to sand areas, conducts litter clean ups twice a week and once a day in park season.  The Committee also supports and coordinates volunteer clean up activities on the foreshore

Your cooperation will contribute to a safe, healthy and litter-free coastal environment for everyone to enjoy.

Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the protection and enhancement of Australia’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through CARE: Conservation, Activism, Research and Education.  For more information, to get involved or to volunteer, Please email info@surfrider.org.au .

This article was published in the Surf Coast Times as part of the publications fortnightly “Going Green Column”.

Who does what where?

The forum provided an opportunity for coastal volunteers to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the various land managers and government agencies involved in caring for the coast.

COAST ACTION/COASTCARE

Coast Action/Coastcare supports community volunteer groups involved in caring for Victoria’s coast.

This role encompasses:

  • coordinating volunteers for coastal projects
  • funding projects through the Coastcare Victoria Community Grants program
  • providing boundaries for volunteers
  • facilitating volunteer achievements, and
  • communicating and sharing ideas to provide connections between the different volunteer groups, projects and stakeholders.

The agency fulfils an important public education role on several levels:

  • linking coastal management policy to communities
  • helping to find a role for the public in coastal management
  • communicating current coastal-related issues, and
  • educating the broader community (e.g. children, schools, visitors, businesses) about caring for the coast.

Coast Action/Coastcare also contributes to community capacity building by providing various education and training programs for volunteers and the general public. These include occupational health and safety, leadership, first aid, community forums, field days, workshops and the annual Summer by the Sea summer holiday program.

Provided by Matt Fox, State Coordinator, Coast Action/Coastcare

GREAT OCEAN ROAD COAST COMMITTEE

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee manages 37 kilometres of Crown land foreshore reserves along the Great Ocean Road between Point Impossible (east of Torquay) and Cumberland River (west of Lorne).

Its responsibilities as a land manager are focused on looking after these reserves by:

  • protecting the sensitive coastal environment through weed eradication programs and other activities
  • building and maintaining an A to Z of coastal facilities, assets and infrastructure – from artwork to zebra (pedestrian) crossings
  • controlling commercial and other activities on the reserves through the issuing of leases, licences and permits, and
  • contributing to the area’s overall amenity in various ways, such as removing rubbish from beaches and foreshore areas.

The committee also operates caravan parks in Torquay and Lorne, and manages the leases for two other privately operated parks at Anglesea and Cumberland River.

The income generated by the parks funds the committee’s coastal management work with additional income, mainly from State and Federal Government grants, supporting the delivery of various capital works and improvement projects.

Much of the committee’s work is undertaken in partnership with other coastal land managers, State Government and local community volunteer groups who contribute much valuable time and effort to caring for the coast.

Provided by Richard Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

PARKS VICTORIA

Parks Victoria is responsible for managing a wide variety of parks in Victoria as well as the recreational management of Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers

Specifically, the estate includes:

  • 45 national parks
  • 13 marine national parks
  • 11 marine sanctuaries
  • 3 wilderness parks
  • 25 state parks
  • 30 metropolitan parks
  • 60 other parks (including regional and reservoir parks)
  • more than 2,000 natural features reserves and conservation reserves
  • 10,412 formally registered Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and
  • more than 2,500 non-Indigenous historic places.

These assets total more than four million hectares (about 17 per cent of Victoria) – total area of parks and reserves.

As land manager, Parks Victoria’s responsibilities include:

  • preservation of natural eco-systems
  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage protection
  • access and visitor facilities
  • fire management, and
  • education and interpretation.

Funded by the State Government, the organisation comprises locally-based rangers, as well as planners, environmentalists, scientists and managers working at both state and local levels,

Provided by Frank Gleeson, Ranger in Charge – East Otways, Parks Victoria