Located 113 km south west of Melbourne at the northern end of the Great Ocean Road, Anglesea is an interesting mixture of an attractive seaside resort town and a piece of urban sprawl which spreads for about 5 km along the coast and includes the Anglesea industrial estate. From Point Roadknight in the south around Soapy Rock to the main surfing beach and Coogoorah Reserve it is very much a beach resort town.
Anglesea combines a good beach with plenty of holiday activities. The fishing is excellent in the local area. So too is the surfing, sailing and windsurfing. Not surprisingly the town’s population increases dramatically in the summer months.
Anglesea Golf Course has quite a reputation for the unusual sight of kangaroos hopping around and grazing on its greens early in the morning. Tourists have become such a hazard for golfers that the club has had to post signs saying ‘absolutely no golf course entrance for kangaroo viewing’. You don’t have to go onto the golf course see the kangaroos however, just drive around the outside and you will see plenty. There are often seen in Noble Street or Golf Links Road, or if you go to Bells Beach early, they are often seen there.
Attractive headland which protects the Anglesea beach from the full force of the southern ocean. It is an attractive vantage point and has good protected swimming below. Point Roadknight is a narrow ridge that parallels the adjoining Urquhart Bluff Beach. The point and its reef protrude 500 metres to the east and afford considerable protection to the beach. Beware of the slippery rocks which are a hazard to walk on. There is road access to the back of the beach, a large car park, a boat ramp and a yacht club. This is the safest beach in the Anglesea region and is also patrolled daily by lifeguards during the Christmas holiday period. Waves reaching the beach average less than 1 metre, so it is bypassed by serious surfers.
Soapy Rocks beach lies between Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club and Point Roadknight Beach and is protected by Point Roadknight. There is a patrol tower – lookout above the centre of the beach. Access is from the western Soapy Rocks car park and along the beach from Anglesea or Point Roadknight. Beware of the unstable cliffs and slippery (soapy) rocks which make this a hazardous beach to access on foot. Soapy Rocks refers to the eroding, red bluffs that back the beach.
Turn off the Great Ocean Rd 7 km north-east of Anglesea and it’s 3 km to the carpark. A walking trail lead to the beach, which is located at the base of 20 metre high Point Addis. The narrow, 80 metre long, sand beach is awash at high tide and fronted by rocks and reef flats at low tide, so it is not recommended for bathing. The Point is popular with hang-gliders as well as surfers and swimmers. The Koorie Cultural Walk, a 1-km loop-track, leads through the Ironbark Basin, a nature reserve with a profusion of birdlife.
Addiscot Beach is a 1.8 km long, curving, south-east facing beach, bordered and rimmed by red cliffs that reach 80 metres high toward the eastern Jarosite Headland. The beach is an official Optional Dress (nude) Beach. The southern corner is the safest, as it has lower waves and is usually free of rips. Be very careful up the beach, as both the rips and cliffs are hazardous. A road from the Great Ocean Road runs out to the southern Point Addis, where there is a car park and a track down to the southern end of the beach.
Point Addis to Anglesea Cliff and Beach Walk
Between Point Addis and Anglesea is a spectacular, but hazardous, 5 km section of cliffed coast and energetic beaches. The cliffs are composed of weathered sandstone that continually slumps and, in places, falls onto the beaches. The three beaches face south-south-east and receive wide, energetic surf which helps to erode the base of the cliffs and bluffs.
The first beach (Black Rocks Beach) extends 1 km from Point Addis to Black Rocks. It can be reached via a walking track from the Point Addis car park. It usually has a single bar, cut by permanent rips against each headland. The backing bluffs reach only 30 metres. Eumeralla Beach is 2.2 km long and backed by massive slumps in its 90 metre high bluffs. The beach sand is coarser. Demons Bluff, as the name suggests, is a sheer, 30 to 50 metre high, eroding cliff, fronted by a narrow, 1.5 km long beach that is awash at high tide. Rock falls commonly cover parts of the beach, which can only be reached on foot along the base of the cliffs. The beach has a wide surf zone, dominated by rips every 300 metres.
These are three potentially hazardous beaches, dominated by moderate waves and persistent rips, with Black Rocks and particularly Demons Bluff having the added hazard of rock and cliff falls. All three beaches have similar beach breaks, with the best access for surfers via Point Addis to Black Rocks. There is a point break at Grinders (Point), however access via the backing scout camp is steep and very difficult. The southern side of Point Addis is the best fishing location, with both rock and beach fishing into deep rip holes.
Coogoorah Reserve (‘coogoorah’ is an Aboriginal word reputedly meaning ‘swampy reed creek’) lies on the western side of the Anglesea River on either side of the Great Ocean Road. It is an interesting combination of bushland islands linked by boardwalks and bridges. It has good picnic and barbecue facilities as well as a range of activity-based equipment for the children. The boardwalk offers excellent opportunities to experience the flora and fauna of this interesting wetland. The park achieved some infamy when the 1983 bushfires set the peat alight. It was subsequently necessary to diver the Anglesea River to put the slow burning fire out.
Surf Coast Walk
The 35 km Surf Coast Walk that passes through Anglesea and can be followed in either direction, along the coast and inland up beside the Anglesea River. Offering natural beauty and easy access, the Walk lets you relax and enjoy a world-class walking destination at your own pace. Many distinctive tracks invite you to explore inspiring landscapes on foot or bike beyond the edge of Victoria s beautiful Great Ocean Road. Discover ancient Aboriginal traditions, fascinating surf culture and abundant wildlife as the walk connects you with the coastal town comforts of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Whether you’re a nature lover or a fun lover, whether you take an hour, a day or a week, the Surf Coast Walk puts a stunning and unique coastal environment within easy reach.
Anglesea is the official start of the Great Ocean Road which runs for 320 km west along the coast offering some of the most beautiful coastline anywhere in Australia. One of Australia s great drives, the 273 km Great Ocean Road winds its way to Warrnambool on the south west coast alongside some of the most dramatically scenic seascapes in the world. It was constructed by ex-servicemen and the unemployed between 1918 and 1932 and is dedicated to those that lost their lives in World War I.
The coastline contained within Port Campbell National Park is what those who drive the Great Ocean Road come to see – sheer limestone cliffs overlooking offshore islets, rock stacks, gorges, arches, and blow-holes. As part of the Shipwreck Coast, it hosts several well known attractions; including The Twelve Apostles, the London Arch (formerly London Bridge), Loch Ard Gorge, the Gibson Steps, and The Grotto.
Anglesea was originally known as Swampy Creek. Subsequently it was known as Anglesea River. The name was eventually changed to Anglesea which is a well known town on the west coast of Wales.
The region was settled in the 1830s by squatters attracted to the freshwater creek and the grazing land which lay behind the sand dunes. Most notable was the arrival of William Roadknight (the local point is named after him) who brought sheep across from Tasmania in 1836 and settled near Ceres Bridge, west of Geelong. William and his son Thomas pioneered a track to the Cape Otway lighthouse in 1846.
Anglesea developed as a convenient stopover for the mail coaches which plied the southern coastline in the 1850s. In 1865, sporting parties with a taste for adventure came on horseback through dense ironbark forests to reach this isolated seaside location. The sleepy hamlet changed after the government of the day surveyed land into convenient blocks.
For many years, Cobb & Co. ran a mail coach service in from Geelong on unformed tracks. They called at nearby Mrs Murray’s post office and tturned around at Jackson’s Anglesea Hotel. Passengers for Aireys Inlet then changed to James Hasty’s four-horse wagonette for the remainder of the journey.