The Bells Track is a 3.2km coastal walking track that runs between Jan Juc and Bells Beach.
It is walk number 4 on the iconic Surf Coast Walk (a track which consists of 12 separate walks, and stretches for 44km from Point Impossible, near Breamlea to Fairhaven, just past Aireys Inlet).
There are carparks at both the Jan Juc and Bells Beach ends, so the walk can be started from either end, or if you have a group with two cars, you can leave a car at one end, if you just want to do one-way. (I started the walk at the Jan Juc end, at Bird Rock Lookout Carpark and did the walk as a 'return' walk).
One thing that struck me about the track straight away was how open it was. The vegetation is quite low due to the coastal winds, so the cliffs and ocean are in view for most of the walk.
In terms of difficulty, the track is classified as an 'easy' track, and it is quite wide, with gentle slopes along most sections. Seats are also provided in a couple of places, for those who want to sit down for a moment and have a rest or have a bite to eat.
Sections of the track. There are also several signs on the track advising of the distance to certain points
The track is unsealed, yet well-maintained, with good drainage systems in place and clear of fallen branches and overgrown vegetation. Parts of it are fenced, and there are several lookouts and beach access tracks along the way.
It explains how group called SANE (Surfers Appreciating Natural Environment) have been working with the Surf Coast Shire and Parks Victoria to replant indigenous species, remove weeds, and lay brush material to prevent any further trampling and erosion.
Another important part of the coastal environment are the Moonah trees, which are currently classified as 'threatened', and measures are being taken to protect them.
The sign reads: Coastal Moonah Woodland Protected Area - Keep Out
Accessing the Coastal Moonah Woodland Reserve is prohibited under Surf Coast shire local laws and penalties apply.
Moonah Woodlands are listed as 'threatened' under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1998. This plant community is vital in preventing cliff erosion and provides habitat and food for many native animals.
A short distance from Bells Beach, the track meets up with the Bells Beach Recreation Reserve Carpark, before returning back into the bush, and then running alongside the road for the last stretch.
One of the points where the road meets the track at Bells Beach Recreation Reserve (just before Bells Beach)
At the end of the walk, there's a roundabout with a sandstone 'Bells Beach' sign, where the track turns in towards the carpark. Once you're there, there's a lookout and a bit further along, a path which leads down to Bells Beach, a Lookout, and Winkipop Beach.
The track is very popular and is used for a variety of different purposes, such as running, cycling, dog-walking, family walks, photographers, bird-watchers, etc. I visited on a weekday in Winter, and the track was still quite busy all the way along.
Overall, it's a nice walk and offers a great view of the coast. If you're keen to do one of the other walks along the coast you can download the Surf Coast Council's Walking Map from here.
There isn't much shade along the track, so in Summer make sure you bring a hat and sunscreen.
Keep a look and listen out for cyclists, as they can come around the corner very quickly.
Check the weather before you go. It wasn't very windy when I visited, but most of the track is very exposed so I imagine it'd get very cold and windy some days.
There are signs warning that snakes may be active on the tracks.
Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads and all dog waste must be collected and taken with you to dispose of (there are dog waste bags and rubbish bins at a couple of places along the track).
Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads and all dog waste removed