Where the hell’s Bells on the top beaches list?

December 19, 2019 BY

John John Florence of Hawaii advances to the final of the 2019 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach earlier this year. Photo: WSL/CESTARI

WHEN a list of Australia’s ‘Top 20 Beaches’ was released last week, Surf Coast residents clamoured to see which of the region’s beaches would be on the list, and how many of the top five would be local surf spots.

Imagine the community outrage when, after checking the A-Z of the nominated beaches, not a single local entry, from Apollo Bay to Zeally Bay, was on the list.

Instead, the Tourism Australia list included “iconic” Australian locations Cabarita Beach at #1, Cape Tribulation in north Queensland and South Australia’s South Port Beach, while Wagga Wagga Beach on the Murrumbidgee River came in #9.

Judged by ‘coastal advocate’ Brad Farmer, criteria included environment, water quality, cleanliness, visual amenity, carrying capacity, social history, and facilities, as well as international access and appeal.

Compounding the sense of community hurt, when a state list was included in the same announcement, Surf Coast beaches barely made the top 10, with Bells Beach coming in highest at #8 on the Victorian list, followed by Apollo Bay, Johanna Beach and Gibson’s Steps, all on the Great Ocean Road.

Surf Coast Shire mayor Rose Hodge – whose ward as a councillor covers globally famous beach Bells Beach – said the result was “to be expected” from a New South Wales judge.

“I’ve never been to Wagga Wagga beach, I think you can only expect that from a New South Wales judge,” Cr Hodge said.

“The New South Wales rivalry is alive and kicking, but everyone who visits our beaches will know what a great time they have here.”

Surf Coast Times – Free local news in your inbox

Breaking news, community, lifestyle, real estate, and sport.