After three days at the inaugural Word for Word Non-fiction Festival at Geelong, I needed a stretch, both physically and mentally. While transfixed by authors and writers and artists dissecting their craft and their work, I’d been sitting on my bum with the only movement being hurried note-taking, occasional gasping and enthusiastic applauding. My head was brimming with ideas in need of sorting. So down to the sea we went, late on a wild and woolly afternoon, to complete another section of the Surf Coast Walk. Perhaps you’ve read about our other Surf Coast Walk adventures here or here.
This section is 6.6km (return), from Point Danger to Bird Rock and back again.
The guide map says: “Explore surfing evolution and surf culture origins on this walk or cycle past Torquay and Jan Juc surf beaches; the “classroom” for the next generation of surfers. Peer out from Rocky Point over the many surf breaks, sheltered bays and wild headlands that gave the Surf Coast its name. Grade 2: Mostly flat / some steps/ well-formed track / some stand.”
I love the coast when it’s windy and wintery. We rug ourselves up in rainjackets (just in case) and scarves and take in the stunning ocean vistas from high on Point Danger before we head off on our trek. The concrete path takes us down and behind the Torquay back beach, past theTorquay Surf Life Saving Club and across Spring Creek. We follow the trail up to Rocky Point (for more sea-gazing).
From here, you can choose to stay on the clifftops or drop down onto the beach. We opt to wander along the beach, which is quieter than usual.
Not so many dog walkers out today, but still plenty of anglers and surfers.
This coastline is famous for its ochre coloured cliffs and we have a great vantage point to appreciate their scale and beauty. We clamber up the wooden steps back to the cliff tops and take the gravel trail leading through the scrub between the shoreline and the first row of houses, mostly built multi-level to capture the views. We capture our own views from the Bird Rock Lookout, resting a while to absorb it all and catch our breath before heading back.
This time, we stick high above the beach, where the trail runs through thicker scrubby woodland alongside the Torquay Golf Club and against a backdrop of the magnificent new RACV resort. Always, the not-so-distant sounds of the crashing ocean fill the air. The path here is gravelly and less formed, with a couple of stretches that look purpose-built for mountain biking.
A long curvy boardwalk carries us back over Spring Creek.
Above the Torquay Back Beach we stand and watch seagulls hovering in the updrafts and recall how different the scene is in mid-summer when the grassy slopes are populated with beach-goers and holiday-makers, and the carparks are chocka-block full.
Back at Point Danger we’re rewarded with kite surfers enjoying the perfectly wild and woolly conditions.
We deem this section of the walk to be very do-able. The scenery changes often, there are plenty of public toilets, and Torquay and Jan Juc’s renowned shops and cafes are within easy reach. There are BBQ spots and picnic-friendly parks. And then there are the sublime beaches, for ambling or swimming or surfing or fishing. Or, on a wild and woolly day, for simply gazing from the many lookouts.