A Remarkable Surf Coast Walk – Torquay to Bell’s Beach

An Introduction to the Myriad of Walking Trails Along the Surf Coast:

A spectacular view of Victoria’s Surf Coast.

I knew Victoria’s Surf Coast was renowned around the world for it’s immense natural beauty, however I never truly realised how amazing the walking and cycling trails along the sea were!

Having recently moved more inland, I’ve had quite the hankering for a walk out along the coast. I was talking to my dad about this, only for him to recommend a set of trails along the Great Ocean Road he completed some time ago.

Intrigued, I drove down to Torquay’s Fisherman’s Beach to check out my options.

Upon arriving (as well as after consulting the extremely helpful Surf Coast Walk website*), I found out that there’s an entire litany of picturesque, pristine trails and paths running all the way from Point Impossible right through to Fairhaven!

*which can be found at the bottom of this post

The Flexibility of the Walking Paths Available:

A great feature of the Surf Coast walking trails is that you can easily trek according to your whims of the day. I personally walked as long as time (and my sun protection!) permitted, ending up about 9km one way. Experienced trekkers could easily increase this to a maximum of a whopping 44km if they walk/cycle all the way from Point Impossible to Fairhaven.

Similarly, beginners (or those simply wanting a lighter fare) could even just select any limited number of the 12 trails, which range from 1km to about 8km in maximal lengths!

My First Leg of the Surf Coast – Fisherman’s Beach to Point Danger, via Yellow Bluff:

An example of the rustic sandstone cliffs reminiscent of Yellow Bluff.

With a large carpark, and close access to Torquay’s vibrant esplanade district, my Fisherman’s Beach starting point turned out to be perfect.

Blessed with lovely weather, I set out west along the immaculately maintained walking path. This stretch was a very pleasant walk, completely flat, and close to public toilets and the local angler’s club.

I continued along, making sure to savour the fresh sea breeze on such a nice day.

It felt like no time at all (approximately 1km) until I reached my first checkpoint of the day – the beautiful, jagged protrusions of the Yellow Bluff.

The majestic scale of the Yellow Bluff beach head.

This was certainly a happening spot, with another expansive carpark, children’s playground, as well as a myriad of trendy cafes and restaurants in close proximity. There was even a dog café, the perfect pit stop for those with a canine trekker friend!

After stopping for a light snack, I continued along to Point Danger. The area up and around here provides a great opportunity for appreciating the poignant beauty of the nearby war memorial, as well as for strolling leisurely along the rustic beach.

A beautiful retrospective view of the Torquay Esplanade.

I opted for a bit of both, and soon found myself on the way to the next check point.

Point Danger to Bird Rock:

This trail was slightly longer, racking in at approximately 3km, and is full of fun for everyone. There’s ample opportunity to walk along the beach, inspect rock pools, enjoy the surf, or even simply observe the unique native flora littered around the place.

As someone who loves a good bit of gardening and plant spotting, I enjoyed browsing the eclectic range of succulents scattered along the beach head.

I recalled being offered a taste of this particular plant (see below) by a local Indigenous elder on a school excursion many moons ago. He said it’d be the perfect salty addition to a summer salad. However, I certainly cannot vouch for its taste, nor nutrition, supposing I’m even thinking of the right plant!

The salty succulent I may or may not have consumed years prior. I can’t recommend consuming it without proper knowledge of the species!

All I can remember is my then 14-year-old self-wincing at the saltiness, but perhaps it’s simply an acquired taste!

It wasn’t until I reached an inviting set of stairs down to the beach itself that I snapped out of my nostalgic daze.

A flight of stairs, enticing my descent onto the sand.

Although I have a tendency to become irritated with sand, the hint of rock pools were too great a temptation for me to not proceed down!

Afterall, what’s more fun than spying out some sea life in these little pools, pockets seemingly from some far-out oceanic civilisation…

I rushed down with the same curiosity that often captured me at 14.

And….after walking up and down several fields of rock pools, I hit the jack pot.

A master of disguise at work.

Unfortunately I’m not much of a fish expert, so have no clue what sort of fish this one is, however, I was nonetheless entranced by its clever colouring! In fact, it took me several inspections to actually see the little guy, its spotted back providing the perfect camouflage against the sand and brown-beige aquatic plants.

I then proceeded to stroll along the absolutely immaculate beach.

The pristine reflective sands of one of several of the Great Ocean Road’s surf beaches.

Yep, this was the type of beach people all around the world wish was in their back yards, how lucky we are to have such a treasure.

I’d imagine this would also be a great surf beach for those who have a little more dexterity and balance than me!

You can easily continue walking along this beach until you reach the Bird Rock lookout. I did just that.

A lovely cape vista from Bird Rock lookout.

I should probably say lookout(s), as I discovered there’s a nice stretch of observation decking running along the beach front for a good 300 metres or so.

I would recommend climbing up the ‘Little Bird Rock Lookout’ first, then proceeding to the main lookout by continuing along west.

You could spend quite some time exploring and enjoying these vantage spots themselves. There’s even some beautifully placed seating here and there, providing the perfect spot for a picturesque picnic on the go!

What is heavenly bliss if not enjoying your favourite food with a close companion, whilst drowning your eyes in the azure expanse in front of you…

A front seat view of the Surf Coast’s sparkling sea.

Bird Rock Lookout to Bell’s Beach:

The remainder of my trek was about 3km, and was once again filled with an abundance of interesting plant life and stunning vistas.

A collection of lovely purple flowered natives.

I particularly liked this hidden gem about a kilometer and half along. The rhythmic lapping of the water became louder as you walked along the boarded path, which was very tranquil and relaxing indeed.

A picturesque boarded path out onto Bell’s Beach.

I’d also urge the reader to keep an eye out for any sea life in the shallows here. I did see a crab, but the little bugger was far too quick before my clumsy attempt to take a photo could be made!

You can then take this board walk up again to a more trail like area, extremely pristine nonetheless.

A return to the sandy trail.

It was from here that I reached the terminus of my journey, another lovely spot for rock pool perusal, hidden amongst the sandy cliffs that make the Great Ocean Road so special.

A window onto Bell’s Beach.
Another chance for rock pool browsing!

Final Thoughts

My custom selection of trails ended up amounting to around 9km, and took me about a 2 hours, with time spent basking in the extensive vistas, as well as inspecting those rock pools!

An important aspect to remember when planning for Surf Coast trails is the fact that the trails are of course linear, so make sure to factor in return distances and time.

My entire trip was 4 and bit hours, but as I said in the introduction, the beauty of the Surf Coast walks is that you have a lot of liberty in picking and choosing which trails to trek along.

Overall, I would highly recommend giving this particular stretch of coast a go! There’s certainly a lot of accessibility, with frequent toilet pit stops, car parks, and even cafes at certain points.

The abundance of rock pools and interesting beach plants also provide the perfect activity for those with kids (or even just child-like curiosity!) to enjoy.

The website also has a great map feature, so you can plan for the particular walk(s) you wish to adventure out onto!

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