If you are heading down the Great Ocean Road for a holiday, weekend break or day trip then there are plenty of beautiful attractions to see along the way, from the seaside town of Lorne to the iconic limestone Twelve Apostles, but no visit would be complete without dropping into Barwon Heads.
Situated on the Southern Coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, Barwon Heads is a popular coastal community that offers everything you need for a beach break. But if surfing and sandy beaches aren't your cup of tea, the cafes, shops and golf course should give you plenty of reasons to stay a while.
The beach at Barwon Heads, Victoria [Elizabeth Donoghue]
You can access the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary by shore or by boat where you'll find 17ha predominantly composed of reef. The sanctuary is part of the Country of the Wathaurong people and the aboriginal community continues to have a close connection to their ancestral land and waters. Visitors can experience a wide variety of animal and plant life thanks to the variations in conditions across the reef, including rock lobsters, kelp and schools of fish.
You won't be short of sand as you travel along the Great Ocean Road, but the beaches at Barwon Heads are quite special. As well as picnic and barbeque areas attracting a steady stream of visitors, swimmers and windsurfers make use of the water along the stretches of sandy and river estuary beaches. Barwon Heads is separated from Ocean Grove by the Barwon River, so make the crossing for a nearby surfing beach with café, kiosk and parking.
The Boadwalk at Barwon Heads, Victoria [Marie Matthews]
What better way to relax and unwind than with a game (or two) of golf among the coastal dunes of the 13th beach Surf Coast. Not only was the Barwon Heads Golf Course ranked number seven of Australia's top 100 public access courses in 2013, but it came in at number three in the state of Victoria. Once you've had enough exercise, you can retire to the clubhouse, which is listed by the National Trust and Heritage Victoria and has a cosy atmosphere.
Get back to nature just a short drive from Barwon Heads. The beautiful lagoon known as Lake Connewarre has an average depth of 100cm and is located in the lower reaches of the Barwon River. Pack comfortable footwear as this wildlife reserve incorporates walking tracks and a wetlands and game reserve.
Located on the banks of the Barwon River in the heart of Barwon Heads, this caravan park has everything required to keep the whole family happy. Whether you're breaking up your journey with an overnight stay or planning to stick around and explore the Great Ocean Road for a while, there are a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets from caravan sites to cabins. Amenities include a playground, kiosk, BBQ area and campers' kitchen.