When it comes to things to do on Victoria’s Surf Coast, most people just think about one thing – the beach. But there is a lot more for families to discover in this area – especially during the cooler months which is actually a time when I prefer visiting this area. Still as beautiful but without the crowds.
We spent a few days at Torquay last winter and experienced both the best and worst of what the weather can throw at you. But it gave us the opportunity to explore wider than we usually would.
Split Point Lighthouse
After having children, I cannot think about the Split Point Lighthouse at Airey’s Inlet without this tune going through my head – Have you ever – ever felt like this? Strange things happen when you are doing ‘round the twist.
Familiar? The lighthouse featured in the Logie-award winning ABC series, Round the Twist, about a father who moves to a haunted lighthouse with his 3 children.
We visited the lighthouse on a beautiful, but windy day, and decided to do the tour (minimum age allowed on the tour is 5-years, $40 for a family of 4).
The lighthouse was built in 1891 to help guide ships along the notorious Victorian coastline, which was known to have wrecked hundreds of ships. Today it still serves a maritime safety purpose, but is also a picturesque beacon to tourists travelling along the Great Ocean Road.
The tour takes you up to the top of the lighthouse, stopping at various landings to learn a bit more about is history. There are also some fascinating historical photos on the walls.
I particularly liked the story about a former lighthouse keeper who didn’t let work get in this way of his social life – he made a hole in the black paint on the back of the lantern which aligned with the local hotel, which meant he could make sure everything back at the lighthouse was working.
But the highlight is being able to step outside onto the lighthouse balcony (although I must admit I am not good with heights and was gripping onto my children as we slowly made our way around the tower).
The views were amazing but safety was paramount and with wind gusts blowing hard (our guide had a hand-held monitor to measure the wind speed), we were ushered inside when it started to become unsafe (but not before I got some amazing pictures).
See here for details on the lighthouse and tours.
Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road.
- Parking: we parked at the bottom of the cliff on which the lighthouse sits (playground and reserve at Inlet Crescent, which involved a fairly steep climb – not ideal for young children. However, I understand there is parking at the corner of Lighthouse Road and Federal Street, which a lot closer and an easier walk.
- Eating: Stop and have a drink or bite to eat at Willows Teahouse, which is in one of the old Lighthouse cottages. Nice food in a gorgeous historic setting.
Another rainy day activity close-by to visit is Barwon Park Mansion.