Explore Surf Coast highlights of the region’s diverse waterways

November 24, 2021 BY

Local photographer Barrie Sutherland features in the The Backyard series.

You’re never far from water in the Surf Coast Shire, as a new series of videos for Explore Surf Coast’s Backyard campaign highlights – whether it’s the Barwon River, the lifeblood of Winchelsea; the Great Ocean Road surf beaches; or the waterfalls inland from Lorne, the new campaign shares the best local spots.

Fourth generation Winchelsea resident Stewart Matheson describes the Barwon River as a drawcard for the small rural town as it runs through it, before eventually emptying into Bass Strait at Barwon Heads.

The scenic river has always been an important resource for the region and there are a number of grand bluestone buildings, such as the Barwon Park Mansion, as well as a bluestone bridge to walk underneath on the network of riverside trails.

Winchelsea resident Stewart Matheson describes the Barwon River as a drawcard for the small rural town. Photos: PETE JAMES


The Backyard series also features local photographer Barrie Sutherland, well-known for his iconic surfing images from the 1960s and beyond.

“Every town throughout Australia’s got a specific culture,” says Barrie, from a deckchair at the Australian National Surfing Museum.
“Torquay is probably a little more unique than others because it’s firmly based on the culture of surfing.”

The Museum has a collection that will take you through the early days of surfing to the modern day, with film screenings and exhibitions, such as Waves and Wheels, featuring the wagons, vans and other surfmobiles that were used by surfers in search of the perfect waves and fun times.

Undoubtably one of the most famous surf breaks in the world, Bells Beach on the Surf Coast is just a short drive from the museum and surrounding Surf City Plaza, an entire precinct dedicated to surfing and filled with all the best surf brands in the one location – including Quiksilver and Rip Curl, who began operations here.

For those who prefer to stay on dry land, a walk to any of the 10 waterfalls within 10km from Lorne town centre will provide soothing nature and inspiring views: the perfect meeting place between the bush and the beach.

Parks Victoria ranger Caitlyn says visitors love the region for the coast to forest interface.


“Visitors love the region for the coast to forest interface,” says Parks Victoria ranger Caitlyn.

“Some walks take you along cliff faces with ocean views, and others take you deep into the forest via a creek, with tree ferns overhead – the variety is what I think attracts people.”

Whether it’s a meander next to the Barwon River with its historic sights, an invigorating dip in the ocean with your surfing mates, or a waterfall walk among the gum trees, you’ll find every Surf Coast local has a favourite waterway story to share with new locals and visitors to the region.

Find out more secrets of the Surf Coast Shire, by watching the Backyard series of videos at instagram.com/ExploreSurfCoast.



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