Book unique holiday rentals, houses, and more on Airbnb
Guests agree: these stays are highly rated for location, cleanliness, and more.
Now a cute surf village that draws families and holiday crowds to enjoy its safe, scenic white sand beaches, this Great Ocean Road town’s current quaintness belies its history as an open-cut coal mine and a place once called Swampy Creek. But the name changed in 1884 and the mine closed in 2015, and now Anglesea better fits the regional moniker — the Surf Coast Shire. The long beaches situated below craggy cliffs make for great views along the area’s many walking trails that weave along the water and near the town, giving visitors many chances to check out the local flora and fauna, including the famed spring flowers.
The easiest — and best — way to get to Anglesea is by car from Melbourne, as the 1.5-hour drive takes you along the Great Ocean Road. The spectacular drive winds along the Southern Ocean shore’s outstretched beaches, making getting there a highlight of any trip to Anglesea. Melbourne’s international airport (MLB) receives flights from major airlines serving destinations around the country and the world, and has ample rental car options. From other parts of Australia, you can fly into the slightly closer Avalon airport in Geelong (AVV), about 35 minutes away. Trains from Melbourne also serve Geelong, from where buses run regularly to Anglesea.
December holidays bring the big summer crowds to Anglesea, when people celebrate while the town sees its best weather of the year. The coastal region receives a decent amount of rain year-round, but December and January see only about eight days of rain each month, while winter months see rain more than half the days each month — which, of course, brings out the storied spring blooms. The summer also brings warm days with average high temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and pleasant evenings with lows in the high 50s, which is about what the average highs are during the moderate winters. Overall, the pleasant climate makes for good walking weather and requires little more than packing a raincoat.
Just south of town — about a two-mile stroll along the Surf Coast Walk — sits the longest beach in the area. Wide, empty stretches of sand leave plenty of room for visitors to enjoy the sun, while consistent waves draw enthusiastic surfers.
Anglesea’s famous Sunday and holiday markets serve the area and visitors alike with produce, prepared foods, crafts, jewelry, clothes, toys, and lots more. More than a hundred stalls sell their wares from the scenic location on Great Ocean Road, and the profits go toward supporting the local community.
This large park demonstrates the reason for the town’s original Swampy Creek name — Coogoorah means the same. But the marshy island area covered in trails brings visitors the opportunity to walk over bridges and along paths through the river-fed landscape and admire the tea trees, paperbarks, and other flora and fauna. Picnic and barbecue facilities make it an inviting place to spend the day, especially for families with children who can enjoy the adventure playground.