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Overview

Bays & Surf Coast Touring Route

You don't have to go far from Melbourne to experience the best of Australia's coastal attractions. Less than 2 hours from Melbourne you can meet the world-famous Little Penguins, sip pinot gris overlooking Port Phillip Bay, swim with dolphins, visit the home of surf culture in Australia and learn to surf, and indulge in the freshest seafood, straight off a boat. This touring route is 445 km/277 miles and can be completed in 5 days - a round trip of less than 7 hours drive time.

Explore

Bays & Surf Coast Touring Route

Melbourne to Phillip Island

140 km/ 87 miles, 1 hour, 45 minutes

Depart Melbourne for Phillip Island. Head to The Nobbies Centre to visit the Antarctic Journey exhibition. Stroll The Nobbies boardwalk for spectacular views of Phillip Island's rugged south coast and see resting little penguins and gulls. Nearby Seal Rocks is home to Australia's largest fur seal colony. Head out on the water with Wild Ocean EcoBoat to get a bit closer. Stroll along elevated boardwalks at Phillip Island's Koala Conservation Centre for more close encounters of the furry kind. Walk the trails at Pyramid Rocks or Cape Woolamai for ocean views and birdwatching. Visit the protected main beach at Cowes, overlooking Western Port Bay, or take a surf lesson at Smiths Beach. At sunset, take the Ultimate Penguin Tour at the Penguin Parade, or visit the Penguins Plus viewing area. Book a bed at resorts, apartments and lodges, or self-cater with a holiday let.

Phillip Island to Mornington Peninsula

135 km/84 miles, about 1 hour, 45 minutes

Take a walk on Cowes Beach, Phillip Island before breakfast at Mad Cowes Café, then depart for Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. Get out on the water with Peninsula Stand Up Paddleboarding, or hire a snorkel and mask from Extreme Watersports or Bayplay and view the weedy sea-dragons under Rye Pier. November to April join Polperro or Moonraker tours and swim with the dolphins of Port Phillip Bay. Enjoy a wine tasting and lunch at an award-winning winery restaurant or casual bistro. Check in at your luxury accommodation, independent holiday rental or bed and breakfast location at Main Ridge, Red Hill, Flinders, Sorrento or Mornington. Grab your bathers again and head to Peninsula Hot Springs for an afternoon soak or relaxing massage. Set off next day for a walk along the clifftops – part of over 100 kms of coastal trails known as the Mornington Peninsula Coastal Walk. And get set for an evening tour at Moonlit Sanctuary where you'll see Australia's nocturnal wildlife.

Mornington Peninsula to Geelong & the Bellarine Peninsula

26 km/ 16 miles, 1 hour, 15 minutes

Depart Mornington Peninsula on the Peninsula Searoad Ferry for Queenscliff across the bay, on the Bellarine Peninsula. Meander through the Bellarine Peninsula villages of Queenscliff, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads, or take in the views at Jack Rabbit Winery over lunch. Follow the Bellarine Taste Trail for fresh fruit and vegetables, olives, seafood and cheese.  Stop in at Advance Mussel Supply and collect a bag of lovely mussels fished fresh out of the cool clean waters of Port Phillip Bay. Tee up a cruise to see the gannets and fur seals of Port Phillip Bay with South Bay Eco Adventures seals and stay overnight at Point Lonsdale, Queenscliff  or Geelong.

Geelong & the Bellarine Peninsula to Torquay

40 km/25 miles, 45 minutes

Drive on to Torquay on the Surf Coast, birthplace of surfing in Australia. Discover the Australian National Surf Museum and visit nearby Bells Beach, home of the Rip Curl Pro surfing championship, to watch experienced surfers take on the mighty waves. Hit the waves yourself with a surf lesson from Go Ride A Wave. Shop at the flagship stores of Ripcurl and Quiksilver, both legendary surfwear brands that started here in Torquay.

Torquay to Melbourne

104 km/ 65 miles,  1 hours, 20 minutes

Return to Melbourne via the Surf Coast Highway and M1.

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Highlights

Bays & Surf Coast

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

Cuddle koalas and feed kangaroos at this award-winning ecotourism park set in beautiful bushland.

Cape Woolamai

Catch a wave against the backdrop of ancient pink granite at perennially popular Cape Woolamai.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Spend a luxurious weekend down at Victoria's first natural hot mineral spring and day spa.

Penguins

Experience the electricity of seeing your first little penguins waddling on a Phillip Island beach.

Phillip Island Nature Parks

See little penguins every day of the year, peek into burrows, and spot other Australian animals.

Bells Beach

Ride a wave at Bells Beach, one of Australia's famous surfing beaches and home to the Rip Curl Pro.

Mornington Peninsula wine region

Sample your way around the Peninsula's cellar doors for unexpected experiences and delicious meals.

Surfing and windsurfing

Ride the crystal clear waves that roll in along Victoria's famous and tempestuous coastline.

Dolphins

Join an expedition to watch, swim with or cruise alongside Port Phillip Bay's bottlenose dolphins.

Australian National Surfing Museum

Check out the Surfing Hall of Fame and exhibits celebrating surfing and beach culture in Victoria.

Seals

Let Phillip Island's resident fur seals entertain you with their playful behaviour on Seal Rocks.

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Destinations

Bays & Surf Coast

San Remo

Greet the fishing boats of San Remo as they return home with their bounties of fresh seafood.

Queenscliff

Be charmed by the historic seaside village of Queenscliff with its elegant Victorian-era buildings.

Barwon Heads

Relax at Barwon Heads, a popular summer holiday with quiet river beaches and excellent golf courses.

Phillip Island

Experience penguins, scenery, family fun, outdoor pursuits, motor sports and life by the water.

Red Hill and Main Ridge

Get your fill at vineyards, restaurants, artisan producers and orchards all within one micro region.

Cowes

Feel a distinct seaside holiday vibe and celebrate a relaxed life by the water in bustling Cowes.

Sorrento

Join in the good life in Sorrento with waterfront dining, upmarket boutiques and dolphin encounters.

Geelong

Explore vibrant Geelong, the gateway to the stunning Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road.

Point Lonsdale

Witness ocean and bay waters collide, then enjoy more peaceful pursuits along the foreshore.

Dromana and Rye

Rediscover the long sun-kissed days of family holidays by the beach at Dromana and Rye.

Torquay

Dose up on surf culture at Torquay, home to Bells Beach and birthplace of Rip Curl and Quicksilver.

Flinders and Cape Schanck

Breathe the world's cleanest air in Cape Schanck and escape for a retreat around tranquil Flinders.

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