Victoria’s Surf Coast Walk is a 46km trail from Torquay to Aireys Inlet at the start of the Great Ocean Road. Leah challenges you to test your fitness by taking on the Surf Coast Walk, running.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
- Running the whole distance of the Surf Coast Walk (46km!)
- Outrageous ocean views – and dolphins!
- Having sections of the trail all to yourself
- Celebrating with a coffee or a beer at the end
The Surf Coast Run
According to our local council website, ‘the 44km Surf Coast Walk lets you relax and enjoy a world-class walking destination at your own pace’. So what if that pace is a run?
When we moved to Torquay, I challenged my partner to run the entire length of the Surf Coast Walk. Not in a competitive, time-trial way. But as a means of exploring our coastline and the beautiful natural environment we’re lucky to live near.
We broke the trail up into sections of approx 7-8km each and he ran it over the course of a week. Turns out, it’s harder than I anticipated (sorry, Edi!)
While it might be a leisurely walk, the steep inclines, long stretches of soft sand, and strong southerly winds make it a challenge to run.
But that was the whole idea! Why not take on a challenge to test your fitness and connect to your local environment? As a reward, he was treated to spectacular sunrises, incredible coastal views, frolicking dolphins, and stretches of the trail all to himself.
Here’s how we broke down the different sections of the Surf Coast Walk, for anyone else who might like to give it a run.
Please note: We realised as the week went on that the trail is promoted as 44km long, but when you tally up the different sections – it’s actually 46km!
Point Impossible to Point Danger
The trail officially starts at Point Impossible. Park up with the local surfers and while they head for the waves, you head for the trail.
The start is a long and rather uninspiring stretch of dirt and gravel tucked in behind the sand dunes. At least it’s flat and not going to test the heart rate too much.
As you make your way into Torquay the trail becomes a shared footpath along the Esplanade. You’ll have to dodge the morning walkers, dogs, and prams – but it actually creates a nice atmosphere to finish off your run. Finish up the first stretch at Point Danger with some great views out over Torquay’s beaches.
Tip: If you’re planning to run solo, organise someone to drop you off and pick you up – or pre-plan a car shuffle if you’re running with a mate.
Point Danger to Bells Beach
Follow the footpath from Point Danger past Torquay’s main surf beach, across a beautiful boardwalk and back onto a gravel trail. The gradual incline along the Jan Juc coast will test the legs, but it also means the views just keep getting better.
You’ll pass by lookouts with excellent ocean views and locals hanging out watching the waves. The gravel trail then heads through bushland for a couple of kilometres before coming back to the coast at the famous Bells Beach.
Bells Beach to Point Addis
Start this section by crossing a small stretch of sand at Bells Beach and heading up the cliffs into the Ironbark Basin. For the first time, you should feel truly off the grid as you leave the cars, asphalt, and people behind.
Cruising amongst the trees and listening to the sounds of bird calls makes for a peaceful run, with some excellent viewpoints waiting for you as you exit the trees at Point Addis. This is a great section to run on its own if you don’t want to take on the whole trail.
Hot Tip: It’s always good to check trail maps before you go, or use your phone / GPS tracker – but particularly for this section as the trail isn’t as well marked through the Ironbark Basin.
Point Addis to Anglesea
This is where the track gets tough. Starting this section at Point Addis, head down onto the beach for a run along the soft sand (avoid this at high tide, or you’ll be running through the waves Baywatch-style).
When you reach the end of the sand and your calves are screaming for a break, the track goes steeply uphill! Follow the trail up to the clifftop for a run through coastal shrub and – thankfully – downhill into the town of Anglesea.
Anglesea to Urquharts Bluff
From beside the river at Anglesea, head out towards the beach and a quick climb to the clifftops again. Enjoy cruising back down to Point Roadknight, because you’re about to hit the tough stuff.
The map for the trail describes this section as the place to ‘Relax, slip off your shoes and get some sand between your toes on this long, uncrowded beach walk.’ A great reminder that this was designed as a walking trail.
Heed the challenge and take on the 4.5km of sand to get to Urquharts Bluff. Time this section for low tide, or head up to the road for more stable ground – your legs will thank you.
Urquharts Bluff to Fairhaven
This last section is a beauty. Say goodbye to the sand and get the lungs going with a steep climb up from the beach, through the trees, to the clifftops again. With excellent views of the coast and the sea breeze keeping you cool, you can cruise along towards Aireys Inlet.
Run past the famous Split Point Lighthouse and down around the estuary to your finishing point at the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club.
There it is. An epic 46km of coastal track complete.
Now head to the Lighthouse Cafe or Airey’s Inlet pub for a post-run celebration!
- Running shoes
- Rain gear
- Car shuffle / support team
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
How To Get There
The start of the trail at Point Impossible is approximately an 80 minute drive from Melbourne. Take the M1 past Geelong and follow the signs to Torquay. Turn off onto Blackgate Road and then head down the dirt road to Point Impossible car park.
Certain sections of the trail are okay for beginners, particularly around the towns of Torquay and Anglesea. Other areas require trail running experience and plenty of stamina to get through the harder sections.
There’s easy road access to the different sections of the trail so if you want to run the whole distance, you can make it as easy or as hard as you wish!