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Bass Coast

Home > The World > Walks | Outdoor | Free | National Parks | Escape the City | Family | Nature
by Sue Williams (subscribe)
Writer, bushwalker, dessert enthusiast. Author of the Rusty Bore Mysteries. More info here:
Published June 7th 2012
Cliffs on Bass Coast
Cliffs on Bass Coast

The spectacular George Bass Coastal Walk is an hour and a half's drive south-east of Melbourne. This 7km cliff-top walk, from the end of Punch Bowl Road, San Remo to Kilcunda, has amazing views over Bass Strait. It's a great walk in all seasons.

Waves off Bass Coast
Waves off Bass Coast

For the average active person, the walk takes around 2 hours each way, or you can do it as a car shuffle (park one car at Kilcunda, the other at Punch Bowl Road).

It follows the route taken by the explorer George Bass, who set sail from Sydney cove in 1797 to prove the existence of a strait between Tasmania and what we now call Victoria. He proved it, but I've sometimes wondered why he didn't just ask the Bunurong indigenous people. For thousands of years they had lived by this treacherous stretch of water.

There's little navigation involved in the walk - even a navigation ditz like me can't get lost - you just follow the cliffs. Keep the sea on one side, land on the other. See here for a walking map. You need a reasonable level of fitness and sturdy footwear. And there's little shade, so, in summer, take a hat, shirt, sunscreen and drinking water.

There are endless views across the sea and detours to beautiful deserted beaches including Shelly Beach near Kilcunda. In winter, you can sometimes see Southern Right Whales on their annual migration to the warmer waters along Australia's southern coast.

Shells at Shelly Beach
Shells at Shelly Beach

Inland, there are also great views across the rolling farmland. Volunteers have planted trees and shrubs along the path, and these are a good place to see honeyeaters and blue wrens. Skylarks call above and seabirds patrol the coast.

The beaches are not safe for swimming, unfortunately - there are strong undertows. And I wouldn't advise rock-hopping or fishing from the rocks - large unpredictable waves crash over them.

If you're hungry afterwards, you could try the San Remo Fisherman's Cooperative at 190 Marine Parade, San Remo. I recommend munching on their fish and chips at a picnic bench overlooking the water.

That's if you're not too tired of looking at the sea.
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Why? Because the views are unmissable
When: Any time of year although avoid stormy days and days of high wind
Where: Punch Bowl Road, San Remo (near Philip Island)
Cost: Free
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