Surfing the Great Ocean Road
Famous amongst surfers for the world's longest running surfing competition held mostly at Bells Beach, and the birthplace of two giants of the industry, this region is also home to an experienced and pioneering surfing community who enjoy the diversity of charging big waves during the chilli winter months, along with some mellow beach break summertime fun.
During hot summer holidays, the Great Ocean Road is also a favourite getaway for city and country folk who flock to the protected bays that dot the coast to get their saltwater fix in the softer beginner waves.
A drive along this winding road reveals unrivalled coastal scenery, classic surf towns and beautiful old native forests. This is a definite Australian highlight.
Ocean Grove, Torquay, Anglesea & Lorne
Great Ocean Road Beaches & Tours from Melbourne
Torquay Beaches & Tours from Geelong
Ocean Grove, Torquay & Anglesea
Bancoora Beach & Point Addis
Warrnambool, Port Fairy & Bridgewater Bay
Port Fairy, Warrnambool & Bridgewater Bay
Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads & 13th Beach
1.5 hours drive south from Melbourne and 12 hours drive south from Sydney.
V/Line goes by train from Melbourne to Geelong & Warrnambool, then offers return buses that link the towns along the Great Ocean Road daily.
Greyhound & V/Line connect from Melbourne to Geelong, & V/Line then continues to the surf coast.
Avalon Airport (Jetstar airlines) is 40 minutes & Tullamarine Airport is approx. a 2 hour drive (serviced by all domestic airlines) from Torquay.
Gull Airport Service, Avalon Airport Shuttle.
Discover the best sights & waves along the Great Ocean Road by renting a car or campervan.
Where To Sleep
Torquay Holiday Park, Torquay Foreshore, Jan Juc, Anglesea Beachfront, Big4 Anglesea, Lorne Foreshore, Apollo Bay, Warnambool, Port Fairy.
Hostels & Holiday Parks on Great Ocean Road
Hotels & Holiday Homes on Great Ocean Road
Between Surf Sessions
What to see & do
Surfworld Australia Surfing Museum in Torquay provides an excellent display, plus a fun, interactive experience on the nation's surfing culture.
Jump in the car (or bus) & cruise along the Great Ocean Road, which is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. Highlights include, Bells Beach Surfing Reserve, rainforests, the Twelve Apostles & stunning views around every corner.
Spend the day picnicking & walking through the Great Otway National Park. Hike through rainforests, waterfalls and the rugged coastline that fringes the wild Southern Ocean.
Where to eat & drink
The bigger coastal towns of Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay & Warnambool all have great cafe's & restaurants with a range of food options.
Head to the local pubs for refreshments & for the biggest party on the coast each year, check out the Bells Easter Surfing Festival & the Falls Festival for music lovers.
Surf Spots for Beginners & Kids
Ocean Grove, Torquay, Point Roadknight, Lorne and Apollo Bay are great spots for learning, as are Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Bridgewater Bay to the west of Cape Otway. For more info on the best beginner surf spots along the Great Ocean Road click on the landmarks on the map below.
Good To Know...
This south east corner of Australia does experience big swell events, especially during the cooler months of the year when treacherous surf conditions on exposed beaches are common. If the surf is big stick to the protected east facing bays for safer surfing conditions.
During summer however, flat spells of little to no surf are common. If the waves at the east facing bays are tiny, head further east along the beach for bigger waves or check out the more exposed west facing beach breaks for more size. Be aware, that these exposed spots are mostly unpatrolled by lifeguards, access can be dangerous and strong rip currents are often present. Remember to always practise surfing etiquette.
If you are heading down to the Great Ocean Road to escape the city in the height of a summer heatwave, don't be fooled into not bringing along a good wetsuit. When the air temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius, jumping into the cool water in just a bikini or boardies can provide a surprise! In winter, water temperatures drop to 13 degrees Celsius, so at any time of year bring a good sealed wetsuit.
Driving the length of the Great Ocean Road can take up to 5 hours. To do this beautiful region justice, spend a couple of days either travelling along the length of the coast, or book accommodation somewhere for a few nights and explore a different section of the coastline each day.
Bring some warm all weather clothes in case a cold front passes through the region. Even in summer cold snaps can be as common as heatwaves.
Blunt Skate & Surf
Anglesea Surf Centre
Lorne Surf Shop
Hodgys Surf Centre
Apollo Bay Surf Shop
One Ocean Surf
Surf Centre Warnambool
Port Fairy Surf Shop
Ask in the surf shops if you need a board repaired.
Apollo Bay Boardriders Club
Point Lonsdale Boardriders
Port Campbell Boardriders Club
Surf Coast Longboarders
Torquay Boardriders Club