The coastline along Victoria's Great Ocean Road is truly spectacular, and is one of our state's premier tourist attractions. The only problem is that sometimes it gets a bit crowded at the usual lookout points, but locals around Warrnambool have a secret spot that is just as beautiful: Childers Cove.
Stunning view of Victoria's southwest coast to rival the Twelve Apostles
Just off the Great Ocean Road before you hit Warrnambool, the cove is a short walk through low, scrubby sand dunes from the first car park. The cove was named after H.C.E. Childers, the founder of the University of Melbourne.
Sometimes you hear the (incorrect) story that the cove was named after the ship that wrecked there, the 'Children', an event which claimed 17 lives in 1839. The ship was on its way from Launceston to Adelaide but fell foul of bad weather, hit a large rock and broke up. When you gaze out onto the Southern Ocean in rough weather, you can imagine what a truly horrific experience that must have been.
However, the place is now a lovely spot to visit. Intrepid surfers take advantage of the surf but I'd say that swimming is something that you should definitely avoid at this location. Instead, take a walk down the wide sandy beach and admire the stunning rock formations. The dunes are low and scrubby, offering comfortable spots along the beach to sit and take in the magnificent views.
This little-known cove isn't over-run with tourists. View from the first car park.
The gigantic rock formations here are similar to the Twelve Apostles, and like them are slowly eroding and crumbling into the sea, but they are really breathtaking. The biggest advantage of Childers Cove is that many tourists don't come this far down the Great Ocean Road, so you and the locals pretty much have it to yourself.
If you're down Warrnambool way, I'd definitely recommend a visit to this beautiful location, even in bad weather - it's even more awe-inspiring then.
Note: The walking track from the car park to the beach is sand, so not suitable for wheelchairs and probably not for anyone with serious mobility issues. There are also no facilities like toilets, so go before you get there.
The beach pictured is actually Sandy Bay. Childers Cove is another 3 bays west of here. Childers is actually a reasonably safe swim beach as long as you watch for rips. Do not swim at Sandy Bay!! Murnanes bay is the best family beach. It sits between Sandy and Childers.