A Winter Getaway on the Surf Coast is waiting for you

A Winter Getaway on the Surf Coast is waiting for you

Photo via Visit The Great Ocean Road
Words by Savannah Selimi

The Surf Coast is perfect for cosy weekends away with your other half or a cheeky flit somewhere with friends.

There’s no doubt that our beloved Surf Coast is one of Victoria’s most enviable assets. From Bells Beach to Teddy’s Lookout, it’s home to some of the country’s most ethereal sights, boasting good vibrations no matter the season. Although the vibes remain spectacular all year round, the majority of tourists come down in the summertime. From October to February, the Coast becomes a haven for the spontaneous roadie; Christmas and News Years celebrations; and the infamous Schoolies trip.

But the gigs don’t pause at the Torquay Hotel and the waves don’t stop crashing against the shore in the colder months. 

As we approach winter, rethink moving your summer getaway down the Great Ocean Road up a few months. I know this sounds counterintuitive considering the beachy sunshine is what people come for, but there’s so much more to the Surf Coast than that. There’s plenty you can get up to in the wintertime.

Rug up and enjoy coffee with coastal views

Surf Coast winters are distinctly chilly, but there is one really good reason to rug up, pick up a coffee and head for the beach. Or if you’re keen to relax, perch yourself at one of the cafes on the esplanade and soak up the cool breeze while admiring the view.

There’s a tonne of beautiful cafes in Torquay that will do the trick, including The Salty Dog Cafe, Bomboras, Pond Cafe, and Third Wave Kiosk. If you prefer to get exploring, Swell Café in Jan Juc is close to clifftop lookouts.


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Visit the Erskine Falls

Lorne is famous for its beautiful waterfalls. The mesmerising Erskine Falls has long been an Instagram feed staple and it’s no wonder why. The 30-metre waterfall is at the centre of this Lorne attraction, surrounded by breathtaking earthy surroundings and the sounds of nature; birds chirping, trees swaying in the wind; water cascading. The winter months make this attraction quite chilly so you’ll need to pack your puffer jacket, but it doesn’t make it any less beautiful. 

Become One with Nature at Great Otway’s National Park

Can’t get enough of the nature on the Surf Coast? Located between Torquay and up towards Colac, Great Otways National Park encompasses over 1000 kilometres of vast greenery and waterfalls. There are different walking trails available for you to trek and become enthralled by this national gem. The middle of the year brings a nice breeze and some possible rain, meaning hikes won’t get you distractedly hot or scarily sunburnt (still wear your sunscreen!).

Check out all the bits you can explore here.


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Visit the brilliant winter festival Winter Wild in Apollo Bay

Far from your average festival, WinterWild is returning to Apollo Bay this August, igniting the Otways with an immersive, boundary-pushing program for the fourth time delivering an experience hailed as Victoria’s answer to Dark Mofo.

The festival – wrapped in the darkness and elemental power of the Victorian winter – will take place over two wintery weekends, August 13-15 and August 27-29, with the festivities kicking off around large ocean-side bonfires before moving in to explore the town of Apollo Bay that’ll be transformed with roving performers and projection art.

The first weekend has punters sorted with music and comedy, featuring the likes of The Vasco Era, Bananagun, The Murlocs, ORB, Parsnip, and Charlie Zangel,winner of Best Newcomer in the 2021 Melbourne Comedy Festival. The second weekend is worth braving the cold for, celebrating food, theatre and surf with burlesque, an outdoor cinema, mulled wine, yoga, workshops, a food trail, and a ‘Wild Feast’ with local seafood bouillabaisse, smokehouse style meats, fresh-caught char-grilled seafood, and seasonal local veggies buried in the coals.

Lighting a fire under winter with a multi-artform fusillade to rip through the darkness, WinterWild is Victoria’s answer to Dark Mofo, and it’s well worth travelling down the Great Ocean Road for. WinterWild will run across two weekends, from August 13–15 and from August 27–29, check it out here.


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Toast marshmallows around the bonfire

Winter brings along chilly nights, but that’s okay – we have bonfires and blankets! 

Most holiday-goers are heading towards AirBnB’s nowadays, and in the winter you can book your stay at a cheaper price, as it’s outside popular holiday times. AirBnBs along the Coast typically come with lush, grassy backyards, backgrounded by tall trees – think a place like the small town of Wye River, twenty minutes south of Lorne. The starry backyard setting, made special by the sounds of singing parrots and quiet waves, makes for a relaxing bonfire with tunes playing and marshmallows roasting.


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Catch a stunning glimpse of the giants of the ocean

Each year from May until early October, our region’s spectacular coastline is renowned as being prime spotting territory for humpback whales, southern right whales, blue whales and orcas as they make their annual pilgrimage from the feeding grounds of Antarctica to give birth and raise their calves in Australia’s warmer waters. The Great Ocean Road provides many prime whale spotting vantage points with designated parking spaces off the road. The beaches in Torquay and Lorne are known for occasional visits, however taking to the high-up lookouts will give you a better chance of viewing from afar. There’s a lookout at Anglesea just above the main beach, and another one on the cliff at Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet that provides prime viewing.

You can stay apprised of recent whale sighting on the Great Ocean Road by visiting the road’s official tourism website.

Although summer evokes the charm of the Surf Coast, it still strives wonderfully in the cold. Come on down!

For your guide on where to stay along the Surf Coast, head here for inspiration.