Locals share their love of Surf Coast Shire as winter approaches

May 6, 2022 BY

Freshwater Creek Estate's Matt Freeman.

EXPLORE Surf Coast, in partnership with community storytellers, has created a series of short videos as part of its Backyard campaign, with new content ready for autumn.

One local featured in the series is Torquay-based Stewart Guthrie, who has lived in the shire for more than two decades.x

When he needs to find inspiration, he says he just heads to work – he’s the owner of Ashmore Arts, a commercial hub for creatives.

The hinterland hub has 28 artists currently in residence, including timber furniture makers, a water colour artist and a blacksmith.

“I’m constantly inspired by the people at Ashmore Arts,” said Stewart. “We have a vast array of micro and small businesses all pursuing their chosen craft.”

Stewart Guthrie from Ashmore Arts in Torquay.


He says the people who live in Surf Coast Shire make it a great place to live, work and create.

“People who live regionally think differently, which allows the freedom to experiment with lifestyle and career choices,” said Stewart.

One of his favourite things to share with visitors is a drive along the Great Ocean Road, which he says has so much variety.

But, before you head to Ashmore Arts for a look, make sure you’ve made an appointment with the artist you’re coming to see, or plan a trip around the Surf Coast Arts Trail when studio doors will be wide open to welcome visitors on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7.

Other autumn road trip ideas in the shire include Freshwater Creek, where farm gate produce and roadside plant stalls are on offer, as well as The Creek Gallery and Gardens and the renowned Freshwater Creek Cakes, with its famous passionfruit sponge.

Stop by Freshwater Creek Free Range Eggs for golden yokes made from happy hens, where owner Matt Freeman loves to take visitors to meet his chooks in the paddocks.

“It’s great for them to see how happy and friendly our chooks are, and how they truly are free range,” said Matt. “They’re so friendly, they’ll undo your shoelaces and tie them back up for you.”

He says the best thing about living in Surf Coast Shire is his neighbours – from farmers to doctors to AFL players, he says they all look after each other.

Aaron Boyd from Lorne’s Cumberland River Holiday Park. Photos: PETE JAMES


“My local tip is going for brekky at Sandbah Cafe in Gilbert Street, Torquay,” said Matt. “They serve our eggs and cook them perfectly.”

For a blast of ocean air and time in nature, head to Cumberland River Holiday Park, just 7km from Lorne.

Manager Aaron says from there you can link back into Lorne and the surrounding area through bushwalking.

“You also have the ocean across the road, less than 100 metres away, swimming holes and unique cliff faces,” said Aaron.

Pull up to a firepit to roast marshmallows under a blanket of stars and with a stunning cliff face backdrop to end your day in Surf Coast Shire.

How would you spend your day in the shire? Explore Surf Coast and the Surf Coast Times will be running a competition launching in May where community storytellers and visitors alike can submit their local secrets via video grabs recorded on their mobile phones and uploaded to a DropBox account – watch this space, more details to come.

Head to exploresurfcoast.com.au