Caravan Parks get a breath of fresh air

Our Torquay and Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park management teams have undergone a change in management with new park managers, assistant park managers, commercial manager and marketing communications officer being appointed in the past six months.

Read more

Coastal team gears up for summer

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) coastal reserves team is working to prepare for the busy peak summer season.

Several major projects have recently completed, while intensive maintenance is underway.  From re-gravelling and re-grading carparks to pruning and cleaning, the coast is almost ready for the annual influx of holiday makers and beachgoers.

Recent works at Elephant Walk in Torquay included extensive car park upgrades.

GORCC Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said ongoing maintenance is an important component of GORCC’s work along the coast to ensure the foreshore areas are at a high standard.

“The coastal reserves team has been undertaking maintenance and upgrades in preparation for the busy Christmas and New Year period,” he said.

2015-09-11 08.28.44
Completion of upgrades at Voss’s carpark along the Surf Coast Walk has improved coastal users access and safety.

Recent work has included:

  • Voss Carpark pathway (Surf Coast Walk) upgrade.
  • Elephant Walk precinct works (playground and car park upgrades).
  • Whites Beach Toilet block completion.
  • Jan Juc Toilet Block completion.
  • New seating for Taylor Park, Torquay.
  • Re-gravelling tracks along Spring Creek.
  • Trimming and pruning trees along the Surf Coast Walk
whites beach toilet small
The new amenities block at Whites Beach.

What are some of your favourite summer, coastal activities? Let us know in the comments below.

Farewell Shorebirds

Five million sun-loving Aussie birds are embarking on an epic, 13,000 kilometer journey and you can track their process as part of a national Birdlife Australia event.

On a flight that would exhaust even the world’s most seasoned travelers, millions of birds leave Australia throughout autumn on their annual journey traveling great distances to countries such as China, Korea, Siberia and Alaska.

In their lifetime, migratory birds can travel more than 700,000 – as far as the moon and back.

The Red-necked Stint Photo: Andrew Silcocks/BirdLife Australia
The Red-necked Stint
Photo: Andrew Silcocks/BirdLife Australia

Birdlife Australia is following six of the 35 species that head north each year to escape the Australian Winter, exploring why they make this incredible journey and how they rely on Australia’s coast, wetlands and estuaries for their survival.

Those interested in following the captivating story of the shorebirds’ annual, global migration can sign up at and receive weekly videos and webcasts from Birdlife Australia.

Each webcast will mark the departure of another wave of birds and track their progress as they journey across the globe.

Webcasts feature Australian bird loving comedian John Clarke and are anchored by Sean Dooley, author of The Big Twitch, editor of Australian BirdLife magazine and holder of the Australian Big Year twitching record from 2002 until 2012.

The Bar-tailed Godwit. Photo: Andrew Silcocks/BirdLife Australia
The Bar-tailed Godwit.
Photo: Andrew Silcocks/BirdLife Australia

“Many Australians will be amazed to discover how these birds prepare for this incredible flight including many surprising facts—they shrink the size of their liver and stomach to make it easier to fly so far—this and many other fascinating shorebird facts will feature throughout the webcasts,” said Mr. Dooley

Birds featured include the Curlew Sandpiper—the most threatened of the 35 species, the Red Knot—whose journey stretches the length of the flyway (13,000 kms), and the Bar-tailed Godwit—known to fly 11,000 km non-stop from Alaska across the Pacific in 9 days.

The smallest of the group is the Red-necked Stint which weighs as little as two 50-cent coins.

The tiny bird is one of the many migratory birds that call our region home. Along surf beaches Saanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones, both migratory shorebirds can all be found while the Barwon River and Lake Connewarre are also important shorebird sites.

The ‘Farewell Shorebirds’ event will run from 10 April until 10 May 2014, concluding on World Migratory Bird Day.

The Ruddy Turnstone Photo: Andrew Silcocks/BirdLife Australia
The Ruddy Turnstone
Photo: Andrew Silcocks/BirdLife Australia


Watch the Youtube ‘teaser’:

Join the conversation at or use #FarewellShorebirds on Twitter.

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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?

Get outside! Nature nutures health

Spending time in the natural environment results in improvements to mental, physical and social health.

Research highlights the link between the environment and our health, including a 2010 project undertaken by Deakin University, which found that psychological benefits stem from engaging with outdoor open spaces.

Get out and about on our beautiful coast! Its great for physical and mental health.
Get out and about on our beautiful coast! Its great for physical and mental health.

These benefits include improved mood, lower levels of anxiety, lower stress levels, lower levels of depression and increased physical activity.

Active in Parks, a Healthy Parks – Healthy People Program, is fostered by People and Parks Foundation, Barwon Medicare Local, G21 and Parks Victoria, while Medibank Community Fund is the program’s major sponsor.

Active in Parks co-ordinator Jayde Mulder said the initiative aimed to connect people to their local parks and outdoor spaces to enhance their physical and mental health.

“Parks provide a place for community connectedness, establishing social relationships and engaging in physical activity which can all have positive effects on people’s physical and mental health.

“The Active in Parks initiative provides various outdoor programs for all ages including, exercise classes, walking groups and adventure activities for kids which are all fantastic ways of staying active and engaging with your local environment.”

Coastal volunteering is another great way to experience these physical and psychological benefits.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) recognises this link and works to immerse schools and other groups in the natural coastal environment.

Coastal volunteering is a fantastic way to not only reap mental and physical health benefits, but to meet people as well.
Coastal volunteering is a fantastic way to not only reap mental and physical health benefits, but to meet people as well.

The committee also supports and works with a variety of environmental volunteer groups.

GORCC conservation officer Georgina Beale said coastal volunteering not only benefited our environment, but our health and wellbeing as well.

“Coastal volunteering increases physical fitness and gives people a sense of belonging and pride.”

Volunteers can participate in a range of conservation tasks including weeding, revegetation, and monitoring native birds and animals. “Volunteer groups such as Friends of Taylors Park, Friends of Eastern Otway’s and Friends of Queens Park in Lorne are always looking for extra hands to help protect and enhance the environment,” Ms Beale said.

“Get involved! It’s not just good for the coast, it’s great for you, too.

“From meeting new people through to getting some exercise, there are so many reasons to get involved.”

More information about environmental volunteering is available here.

For more information about Active in Parks, head to

This article featured in the Surf Coast Time’s fortnightly Green the Coast column.  View the article here.

Feista Fun on Bell Street

The second Bell Street Fiesta is set to explode with a fun filled day of events, activities, stalls and entertainment for all ages as part of the Drink Art Food Torquay (DAFT) Weekend.


The Bell Street Fiesta will be a fun filled day of activities and entertainment for all ages. Photo:
The Bell Street Fiesta will be a fun filled day of activities and entertainment for all ages. Photo:

The street will come alive on Saturday October 12th with 5 hours of non-stop entertainment for all the whole family. Activities on the day will include:

  •  Beer, wine and coffee appreciation tastings
  • Local produce tastings
  • Art Exhibitions
  • A Farmers Market
  • Fashion parades
  • A variety of engaging stalls
  • An array of kids activities

The Great Ocean Road Committee (GORCC) is hosting an interactive, environmental education stall at on the day.

Eco-Logic Education and Environmental Services have been comissioned by GORCC to set up the stand which will featuure a range of fun activities for all ages.

Activities include quizzes, ‘Spot the Hoodie games’, story book reading and plasticine fun.

All the fun will take place in Bell Street Torquay, commencing at 11am.

Click Here to check out the weekend program filled with events, activities and entertainment for all ages.

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Holiday fun on the coast for all

Take care, be aware and share on the Surf Coast Walk

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.

One of the four signs located in Torquay and Jan Juc
One of the four signs located in Torquay and Jan Juc

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.
Angela Norris and her two dogs Ollie & Shegi enjoying the Surf Coast Walk
Angela Norris and her two dogs Ollie & Shegi enjoying the Surf Coast Walk

More information including detailed maps are available at

More tips on staying safe on the coast are available here.

Did you know the Surf Coast Walk also has an official volunteer group, the Friends of the Surf Coast Walk?

Have you been out and about on the Surf Coast Walk lately? Let us know below or join in the conversation on the official Surf Coast Walk Facebook page.

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Whales sighted early on coast

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) have reported  three sightings of whales along the coast of Marengo on the Great Ocean Road (read the full media release).

whale breaching

DSE has called on Victorians to report any sightings of whales over the next few weeks after earlier than usual sightings of migrating humpbacks off our coast.

DSE Senior Biodiversity Officer at Warrnambool, Mandy Watson said they have had two sightings of Humpback Whales off the Victorian coast this year and they are keen to hear from anyone if they see any more.
“We normally don’t start seeing Humpback Whales until April or May so we are very interested in hearing any further reports of these early starters.”

“Anyone sighting migrating humpback or southern right whales over the next few weeks should call the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136 186,” Ms Watson said.

Marine mammals are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and rules and regulations are in place to protect them.

To report an emergency (stranding, entanglement, injury or death) involving a whale or a dolphin call the Whale and Dolphin Emergency Hotline – 1300 136 017.

A Southern Right Whale, which are most commonly seen close to the coast in the winter months between June and October.
A Southern Right Whale, which are most commonly seen close to the coast in the winter months between June and October.

Are you keeping an eye out for migrating whales this year, and where are the best spots on the coast to sight them?

Let us know below.

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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

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

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