Bellarine and Surf Coast

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Overall Area
Main TownsTorquay
Ocean Grove
Barwon Heads
Point Lonsdale, Portarlington
Indented Head
St Leonards
Land UseViticulture
Sheep and Cattle Grazing
Main IndustriesTourism
Main Natural FeaturesCoast
Swan Bay
Lake Connewarre
Reidy Lake
Lake Victoria
Barwon River
Edwards Point National Park

The Bellarine and Surf Coast is one of the smaller landscape systems, and is located in the south eastern corner of the Corangamite region. It is bounded by the bass strait to the south, and around into Port Phillip Bay. Geelong City and its surrounding urban areas is situated to the north, with the Barwon Plains and Otway coast wrapping around the western edge.

This area contains the area south of the city of Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsular that is primarily for habitation and recreation, it does not include the urban area of Geelong.  It is an area of very productive broadacre agriculture, intense horticulture and lucrative viticulture as well as a variety of other industries. Much of this landscape is also used for habitation and lifestyle purposes.  The townships of Torquay, Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale, Portarlington, Drysdale, Queenscliff, Indented Head and St Leonards are in this area.  It also contains parts of the City of Greater Geelong, all of the Borough of Queenscliffe, parts of Surf Coast Shire and Golden Plains Shire local government areas.  The traditional owners are the Wadawurrung.

Click on map to access Natural Resource Management Portal interactive mapping

The area has high visitation rates, given its proximity to Melbourne and Geelong, with an extensive, readily accessible coastline.  Many of the residents within this area either work in the area or commute to Geelong and Melbourne for employment.  The area has a history of industrialisation, but this has changed substantially within recent years to a more service based and commercial focus.

Other natural values include significant native fish, such as Yarra pygmy perch, amphibians including the growling grass frog and bird a range of species including the Hooded Plover and the Orange Bellied Parrot. The Bellarine Peninsular Ramsar sites are also highly significant.

Very little remnant vegetation remains within this area, with most of it occurring along linear reserves such as roads and waterways.  There are areas of high value intensive agriculture including vineyards, market gardens, orchards and groves.

The Bellarine and Surf Coast is also known for its stunning coastline and beautiful beaches and attracting large numbers of tourists annually, with the population more than doubling in the warmer months. It is known for its attractive rural hinterland, boutique wineries and artisan producers. With historic towns such as Queenscliff, Drysdale and Portarlington and popular holiday destinations such as Torquay, Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads all with excellent beaches, it is a tourism and recreation destination.

The Bellarine and Surf Coast is coming under increasing pressure from development, visitation and climate change impacts (such as flooding and erosion), increasing the threat of degradation to its landscape, environment and heritage values. There is a need to manage residential and visitation growth and their associated challenges sustainably and safely. The distinct landscapes of Point Addis, Bells Beach, the surrounding coastline and hinterlands are treasured and protected landscapes, enhanced by the natural backdrop of the Otway Ranges. The open rural areas between settlements provide important views across the landscape and a sense of openness.