Regarded as one of the most prime surf spots in Australia, Bells Beach is perhaps best known as the host of the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing competition – the world's oldest surfing event circa 1962. While Bells certainly comes alive every Easter when the internationally lauded Rip Curl Pro rolls into town, the rippling waters are adorned with skilful boarders throughout the year.
Bells Beach is worthy of a visit for its natural splendour alone. Steep ochre cliffs plunge into the Southern Ocean, the natural amphitheatre rings with booming offshore swells and exposed reef lining the shallows contributes to the iconic breaks that make Bells a surfing hotspot. While the powerful surf is best left to the experts, even a novice can appreciate the picturesque panoramas.
There's not much actual beach at Bells Beach – it's more about the crashing swells which average one to one-and-a-half metres in height. Instead of swimming or sunning, find a spot at the Bells Beach car park off Jarosite Road and stretch your legs along the Surf Coast Walk. The walk itself starts a little further east at Point Impossible, finishing some 44 kilometres along the coast at Fairhaven.
While you may not choose to tackle the full 44-kilometre walk, there are a variety of trails offering something different for nature and leisure lovers. There are a dozen distinct tracks to traverse along the Surf Coast Walk: the Torquay Promenade from Yellow Bluff to Point Danger is a perfect short trek if you have little ones in tow, while the Ironbark Basin from Bells Beach to Point Addis offers a lengthy inland meander through the ancient Otways forests.