I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published November 18th 2020
Surf Coast Hotspot
Anglesea, at the mouth of the Anglesea River and straddling the Great Ocean Road, is the first point west of the roads official gateway where it meets the coast.
Anglesea is on Victoria's fabulous Surf Coast, its beaches attracting countless visitors from far and wide. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The town and its surrounds are a mix of coastal cliffs, pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and coastal flora. Its patrolled beaches are a magnet to swimmers and surfers alike and there's a large, well patronised dog-friendly section right at the river mouth. Viewing sites on the cliffs at Point Roadknight and the Harvey Street lookout provide some stunning vistas up and down the coast.
A large percentage of Anglesea's visitors are here for the surf. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Originally known as Swampy Creek the site was renamed Anglesea River in 1884 with the establishment of the first township and again renamed Anglesea, after the Welsh town of the same name, in 1950.
The district was heavily impacted by the horrendous Ash Wednesday bushfires in February 1983 with many local homes destroyed.
For many years Anglesea was home to a large power station and open-cut coalmine but both closed in 2015 with the site undergoing restoration works with a view to turn it into an eco-tourism destination.
Today Anglesea is a very popular tourist destination year 'round but visitor numbers surge dramatically over Christmas and New Year with hundreds of Melbourne families heading here for the holiday season.
The banks of the Anglesea River are an important recreational feature of the town with attractive parks and gardens and a boardwalk leading to some pretty picnic spots. There are canoes, paddleboards and paddleboats for hire and you'll find an outstanding children's adventure playground at Coogorah Park.
Anglesea River is a popular destination for waterborne activities and family picnics. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
You can tackle a section of the 44-kilometre long Surf Coast Walk or enjoy shorter walks in close proximity to town including a 2.5-kilometre stroll along the Anglesea Art Walk showcasing six mosaic art sites.
In what's known as Anglesea Heath. you'll find examples of a quarter of all Victoria's plant species with an estimated 80 different types of Orchids, including a number of quite rare varieties.
If you enjoy a round of golf be sure to bring your clubs and test your skills at Anglesea Golf Club, a challenging 18-hole Par 73 layout covering just over 6000-metres. Open 7-days 9-holes here will cost you $30 and 18-holes $55.
You'll find Anglesea Golf Club on Golf Links Road, on the northwest edge of town. Contact the pro shop on (03) 5263 1951 or go to the website at www.angleseagolfclub.com.au where you can review the Club's Covid Safe Plan.
The General Store .....
..... surf shop .....
..... and central shopping strip supply the needs of holiday makers. Photos: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
At nearby Bellbrae, 14-kilometres on the Torquay side of Anglesea you'll find the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, an attraction certain to excite visitors of all ages with a chocolate experience you might only otherwise dream of.
Open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM (except Christmas Day) entry is free. There are free chocolate and ice cream tastings and demonstrations of traditional European chocolate making. The showroom tempts visitors with a mind-boggling array of chocolate, sweet & savoury delights, coffee and magnificent, fresh gelati.
The business has a Covid safe operating plan in place to ensure the safety of their team members and visitors alike.
You'll find the Chocolaterie at 1200 Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae, telephone (03) 5263 1588 or visit the website at www.gorci.com.au
Whether you come for the beaches, surf, coastal and riverside walks or the local flora & fauna rest assured Anglesea is open for business. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Mediawalks
Staying There …..
Anglesea Family Caravan Park is just off The Great Ocean Road, right on the bank of the Anglesea River and with easy walking access to the surf beach. The park has a great range of cottages and cabins, powered and un-powered sites and is dog-friendly.
Cottages with accommodation for 6 start from $139 per night and a powered caravan site will cost you $52 per night.
Why? Anglesea is open for business as Victoria approaches 'Covid Normal' and keen to attract visitors from around the State. It's the perfect place to set up camp for a stay on this magnificent stretch of the Surf Coast.
When:Anglesea is a year 'round drawcard but its beaches and river come into their own during the warmer months.
Phone:Anglesea Visitor Information Centre 1300 614 219