Down by the beach, we’re blessed with a glorious real-life playlist. It features the sounds of laughing families, the clink of wine glasses and the warm melodies of live music washing over us. It’s the whirring of a coffee machine and the faint scratch of a bar of wax gliding over a surfboard.
Of course, there’s also the simple symphonies of nature. Listen to the dulcet tones of waves crashing on the Torquay surf beach. Hear the wind whistle past you at the very top of the Split Point Lighthouse. Stand below one of Lorne’s waterfalls and hear the thundering crash of its power. Visit the wild Anglesea Heath and witness the warbles and trills of over 100 native bird species.
Sounds dreamy, right?
But if there’s anything Victorians love more than our drop-dead-gorgeous natural surroundings, it’s our music and sport. These two pastimes truly are the soundtrack to a weekend on the Surf Coast. From the roar of the crowd at a concert to the words of encouragement shouted at the finishing line of a bike race. Here are some of the best spots to hear the Surf Coast.
A night out listening to some stellar live music is just what the doctor ordered. The Sound Doctor, that is. The Sound Doctor is a group of local music lovers who coax talented artists out to our shores to play this intimate venue in Anglesea. With the sweet, sweet sounds of Kim Churchill, Liz Stringer and Merpire all gracing the stage in the upcoming months, your ears are in for a treat. The group also supports young and local artists through performances and workshops, so you’ll be helping shape the next voices of the Surf Coast, too.
If you’d rather something a little more breezy (and with a side of delicious food to boot) boogie on over to the Last One Inn. This old ‘70s beach shack in Anglesea has been transformed into a relaxed space for food, drinks, music and friends. Oh, and did we mention that it absolutely oozes charisma? We’re talking cool DJ sets, indie artists and even BYO vinyl nights if you’ve got a stash of records at home. The Inn looks out over the lovely Anglesea River, the perfect backdrop to enjoy a Spritz while you soak in the sounds of nature between sets.
No visit to the Surf Coast is complete without a pit stop at Torquay’s eponymous pub. Not only is it just a block from the beach, it also has a gigantic beer garden and attracts some of the biggest names in Aussie music. Torquay Hotel is the place to go if you want a proper night out with your mates, shaking it on the dancefloor until you drop. With beach-to-bar vibes, those long summer days and nights last all year here (but only in spirit — don’t forget your jacket!) Some of the talented folks making their way down to play the pub this winter include Thelma Plum, San Cisco and The Rubens.
It might not look like it from the road, but there’s a whole lot of magic going on at Aireys Pub. This spot on the Great Ocean Road has a live music stage, beer garden, huge dining spaces and even its own brewery tucked away on the hill. While Salt Brewing Co is well worth visiting for the freshest beer paddles around, the stage steals the show. It’s clear the crew at Aireys really love music and it shines through in everything they do. There’s live tunes every Saturday night and each year in Autumn they host a music festival.
Aireys Inlet Open Mic Music Festival is a beautiful three day event with a pay-what-you-want approach. It’s basically a big warm hug for music fans. While ‘open mic’ is a bit of a misnomer (the acts are well-vetted to ensure a stellar line-up) emerging talent is encouraged to sign up and share the stage. This means it’s a great opportunity to discover your new favourite band. A tonne of professional musicians make the trip down, and each year they have a surprise special guest. (Hey Tash Sultana, come back soon!)
If you want to find the action on the Surf Coast, follow the board shorts and bikinis down to Bells Beach. This iconic Torquay spot is home to some gnarly breaks and the world’s longest running competitive surf comp. Every year, this tiny beach lures in the best of the best surfers to take on its behemoth waves in the Rip Curl Pro. Even those of us who can’t tell one end of a surfboard from the other will enjoy cheering on the pros as they score big or wipe out. Chill on the sand in the sunshine, have some laughs and watch some seriously skillful surfing.
We all know the Great Ocean Road as one of the world’s most spectacular scenic roads to drive along. But did you know that once a year, the road is closed to let the cyclists have some fun? If you’ve ever wanted to cruise along the Great Ocean Road without the noise of all those cars, this is your chance. Amy’s Gran Fondo is an annual 130km road race that any cycling enthusiast can sign up for. The trail starts in Lorne, following one of the most scenic strips of the road and looping back through the Otways which makes for a beautiful but challenging ride. There’s also a Family Fondo for those who would rather take it easy.
Want to hear what else is happening around these waters? Take a virtual stroll through the area on the Surf Coast Events website. They have a tonne of events to pop in your calendar, from arts festivals to local markets and fun runs.
If all this is music to your ears, come down and wake up to the sounds of the Surf Coast.
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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.