Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Roaring oceans, sea cliffs, iconic surf beaches, coastal heathlands, remote bush tracks, seaside promenades, remote lighthouses... what more could you want? You can have it all on the 40km Surf Coast Walk from Point Impossible near Torquay to Fairhaven Beach.
This fantastic seaside walk can be broken up into 12 easy stretches, done as 3 or 4 day walks, or as a 4 day continuous walk, staying at campsites or lovely B&B's along the way, with a shuttle bus taking you back to hot showers and a soft bed at the end of each day. In fact, the walk is flexible enough, with such a variety of walking, and close enough to Melbourne, that you can shape it to fit your own needs.
The walk has just had a $1.3m, 2 year makeover, and previously inconsistent signage and walking trails are now easy to follow, with distinctive signage and maps along the way. Much of the walk can also be done with dogs, as long as they are kept on leads, although you can't take dogs on many of the beach sections during daylight hours in summer, even if on a leash. You will need to make sure you take sufficient water for both yourself and the dogs though, as the more southerly sections only pass through towns at the start and end of each day. Access in and out of the walk is easy by car, though you will need to organise a car shuttle or walk out to the Great Ocean Road in some sections to catch the bus.
There is both an excellent facebook page and website with all the information you could possibly need about organising your walk. I did the walk in sections as day trips out from Melbourne, with a variety of friends in the autumn and spring, and the walking is generally easy and incredibly scenic. I couldn't recommend it more for when you want to wipe away the urban cobwebs.