Details: 31.2km ; 629m elevation change, one-way run.
The Surf Coast is renowned for its spectacular sandstone cliffs, big waves and holiday hotspots. This coastline is super popular with trail runners thanks to the varied topography and landscapes, from expansive ocean views to winding bush tracks. With towns such as Torquay, Jan Juc, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet linking the Surf Coast Walk, there are plenty of options for places to take five along the way.
This particular run is a point to point, starting from Bird Rock Lookout in Jan Juc and finishing at the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet.
This trail makes up part of both the Surf Coast Century and Surf Coast Trail Marathon; both excellent events that really showcase the vibrant trail running community of the Surf Coast. It’s an excellent training run but be wary the track might be pretty congested around the towns so be prepared to pull back on the pace.
The first section from Bird Rock follows the cliff top walk, winding around to Bells Beach and onto Southside. These world-renowned surf breaks always pulls a crowd, making it hard not to stop and watch the black-clad surfers vie for waves. From Southside (which is also a nude beach 🤔 ), the track heads inland through beautiful Ironbark forest before offering sweeping views across Point Addis. From the Point your destination is a distant speck on the horizon, but don’t be deterred! The trail heads down to the beach for a bit, before climbing the cliffs and winding through bush and heathland before circling the Caravan Park in Anglesea. If you feel like a refreshment, head along the river into town (this will add a few kilometres), or if the inlet is closed to the ocean, cut across the beach to the SLSC.
This from the SLSC a well-defined and popular track takes you around to Point Roadknight where you join the beach again, for a solid section along (hopefully!) hard sand. We were lucky enough to have pelting rain and wind for this section, so it was heads down and headphones in as we slowly made our way towards Urquhart’s Bluff. From here, you’re on the home stretch. The Surf Coast Walk continues behind the toilet block, and winds thorough now familiar bushland before briefly joining the sand again at Sandy Gully. There have been some pretty epic tides along this coastline, and if the tide is in, chances are you’ll get wet shoes! The track heads up to the carpark before winding along the cliffs, with the White Lady in full view, you’ll be relieved to finally have the finish line in your sights!
Chances are you’ll be muttering the theme song to ‘Round the Twist’ as you head along Federal Street, with the majestic Split Point Lighthouse towering overhead. After you’ve caught your breath, be sure to check out the lookouts before deciding what kind of post-mission treat you feel like. If milkshakes and fresh French pastries are your thing, the Lighthouse Cottages right behind you are just the ticket. If your more of the beer and parma type, a short cool down will soon have you at the Aireys Pub, with the biggest beer-garden going around and speccy sunset views.
Being a point to point track, this can result in lots of annoying car shuffling and asking of favours. Public transport is a good alternative, with V-Line buses linking all 4 towns several times a day in either direction. My only suggestion is to get the shuffle out of the way before you run, because you’ll always regret leaving it until after your run, when you’ll be hanging out for a quick ocean dip followed by a hot shower!