Our Backyard – Deans Marsh Creatives & Wednesday Ocean Waders

Our Backyard – Deans Marsh Creatives & Wednesday Ocean Waders

Explore the Surf Coast with locals and community storytellers, who share their favourite things to do and see on the Surf Coast.

Do you remember the first few months living on the Surf Coast? It can be a daunting experience, but also one that’s remembered vividly for the new experiences you uncover in your new neighbourhood — often thanks to the tip-off from a local.

Playing on this theme, Explore Surf Coast has brought 12 locals and community storytellers to share with you their Surf Coast experiences. Today lets meet;

Deans Marsh Creatives

Local community storyteller and member, Veronica Phillips, moved to Deans Marsh 20 years ago. At the time, she thought it was “a small country town with a big heart.”

She was drawn to the beautiful landscape on the edge of the magnificent Otway Ranges National Park, with the coast only half an hours’ drive away.

“We saw a healthy mix of good environmental practises, farming and a wonderful creative atmosphere,” said Veronica. “This town was where we wanted to put down our roots and bring up our young family.”

She soon learned that it was also a community with what she calls “a big can-do attitude: if Deans Marsh wants something done, the community rolls up their sleeves and does it!”

The locals she met welcomed and encouraged new residents to take part and create, which has led to “wonderful things happening here.”

“Deans Marsh people continue to surprise me by coming up with creative and innovative ways to make a living in a regional area,” said Veronica. “We support local businesses and trades to create a long-term sustainable future here in the Otway hinterland and are continuing to learn about our area’s rich indigenous history.”

Discover Veronica’s story here;

Wednesday Ocean Waders

For Torquay’s Joanna Halley, it was the beach and nature that first drew her to the area. But, three years after moving to the town permanently, she says it’s now the people she’s met who hold her heart the most.

“When I first moved to Torquay, I didn’t know anyone and the first few months were quite lonely,” said Joanna. “I thought it might take 20 years to feel like a local, but now I feel pretty settled and part of a community of people who are kind, health-conscious, beach-loving, laid back and positive, and definitely dog lovers.”

She was surprised to discover how many people were looking to meet other people and make genuine connections.

“When you are struggling to meet other people, sometimes it looks like everyone around you has a full social life, which is not always the case,” said Joanna.

She became part of the Wednesday Ocean Waders, who head to the beach early on Wednesday mornings for a wade in the ocean — whatever its water temperature.

“We don’t have rules — anyone is welcome to join and it’s nice to help new locals meet people, while challenging themselves to do something new,” said Joanna, who believes the more you connect with your new community, the more it reveals.

“I love how once you connect with the community, you learn so much more about the area you live in,” said Joanna, “those ‘secret’ things you don’t read about in a guide book that the locals just seem to know.”

Explore the Wednesday Ocean Waders below;

Accommodation Nearby

Things To Do Nearby

Places To Eat & Drink

Number One Restaurant


Squires Loft


Mr T And Me

Aireys Inlet

Pearl Torquay


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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.