Guide to Bells Beach, Australia

Bells Beach, located 100km southwest of Melbourne on the Southern Ocean, is a renowned stop on any Great Ocean Road itinerary. Known for its stunning viewpoint and world-class surf, it is a popular destination for locals and tourists.

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Where's Bells Beach located?

Bells Beach is a 10-minute drive from Torquay in Australia's southern Victoria. Situated along the coastline, it provides beautiful views and excellent surfing opportunities.

The Great Ocean Road, starting in Melbourne, offers a scenic drive southwards. Tourists often stay in the nearby town of Torquay, known for its surf culture, beaches, outdoor activities, and dining options.

If you don't have a car, you can visit the Great Ocean Road Tours with us to visit one of the main attractions of the Great Ocean Road.

History of Bells Beach

Bells Beach, a long stretch of golden limestone and sand, has been utilized by the local Wadawurrung people for thousands of years. Traditionally, they hunted for crayfish and abalone, using Bells as a meeting place and trading site.

The European settlers' arrival significantly impacted the community, which later named the beach after the Bell family, the first to establish a pastoral run in the area.

The beach for surfing was discovered by a group of locals from the Torquay Surf Lifesaving Club in 1939. Word spread over the next two decades of the excellent surf conditions at Bells Beach, attracting more surfers to the area.

The first official Bells Beach surfing competition was held in 1962, eventually evolving into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, a renowned world-class event. In 1973, the Australian government designated Bells as a Surfing Recreation Reserve, the first of its kind globally.

The beach attracted surfers, significant surf brands, and manufacturing companies, with companies like Rip Curl initially starting in nearby Torquay and using Bells Beach to test surfboard and wetsuit technology.

A professional surfer, Simon Anderson won the Bells Beach Pro competition in 1981 using a new surfboard with three fins. This style of board is now widely accepted as the standard for high-performance boards worldwide. As a result, Torquay has become a hub for surf company headquarters and a thriving manufacturing industry.

Activities available at Bells Beach

Bells Beach Victoria offers a variety of activities for visitors, including beach relaxation, Great Ocean Road exploration, and surfing opportunities. It is considered one of the top attractions along the Great Ocean Road.

Bells Beach is suitable for swimming

Swimming is feasible when waves are low, and the beach is relatively safe near the shore. However, caution is advised due to waves breaking close to the beach and the rapid deepening of the water, especially for those who are not strong swimmers.

Sightseeing at Bells Beach

Bells Beach is a popular stop along the Great Ocean Road with stunning views from the cliff-top car park, perfect for watching surfers of all levels.

The elevated viewpoint offers a stunning view of the beach's natural amphitheatre. Descend the steps to the sand, tracing the footsteps of renowned surfers from across the globe.

Bells Beach spot for surfing

Bells Beach is a popular spot for surfers of all skill levels due to its ideal ocean floor contour, creating legendary swells from the Southern Ocean, protected by surrounding cliffs.

Bells Beach is known for its consistent right point break, which can be surfed on various tides, winds, and swells from the southeast to the southwest. The beach has two main breaks, Rincon and The Bowl, which can connect in favourable conditions.

Surfing at Bells requires experience due to the challenging conditions, but beginners can practice in shallower waters. Prepare for a challenging paddle out and the occasional set wave.

The best time to visit for ideal surfing conditions is between October and March, when storms from the Southern Ocean provide great waves. Surfing enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to surf at Bells Beach in Victoria.

Bells Beach Surf Comp

Every year, surfers worldwide compete at Bells Beach in the Rip Curl Pro, one of the longest-running surf competitions. The event is iconic in Australia, and the Bell trophy is a prestigious achievement for surfers. It is often compared to being the "Wimbledon of surfing".

The Bells Beach surfing competition was established in 1962 as part of the World Surfing League. The Rip Curl Pro is held annually around Easter, attracting visitors to Torquay to watch top surfers compete at Bells Beach.

A shuttle bus is available for attendees to quickly move between Torquay, Jan Juc, and Bells Beach during the event. The event is waste-wise, with efforts to be entirely plastic-free, resulting in 73% of waste being diverted from landfills in 2019. Check Rip Curl or the World Surf League's websites for current event details and schedules.

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Bells Beach Accommodation

There are no accommodations available directly at Bells Beach, but there are several options for accommodation in the nearby town of Torquay to suit any budget.

Deśa Retreat Ecovillas

Desa Retreat, located just a 30-minute from Bells Beach, is a picturesque accommodation option for relaxing and enjoying nature.

The villa offers a kitchenette, private bathroom, dining and seating area, and a deck overlooking the orchard garden. Guests can also explore nearby places like Jan Juc and Torquay and enjoy the bush. Additional amenities include a private garden, fire pit, outdoor shower, and barbecue.

Chianti Cottages

Chianti Cottages is situated near Bells Beach and Jan Juc Beach, offering two accommodation options - a studio with a balcony and a brick house with a fully equipped kitchen and washing machine.

Located in a bush setting, this Bells Beach accommodation offers ample space to run around or enjoy the garden, making it an ideal choice for families or couples.

Bells Beach Backpackers

If you're looking for budget-friendly accommodation near Bells Beach, consider staying at Bells Beach Backpackers in Torquay. They offer various room options, including dorm beds and private rooms, with shared bathrooms and a spacious kitchen.

The central Torquay hostel is close to cafes and bars, offering a friendly atmosphere for guests looking to meet new people for a Bells Beach surf. It is just a 10-minute drive to Bells Beach from the hostel, where guests can rent surfboards or store their own.

Whether you're an avid surfer, looking for entertainment near Torquay, or just seeking a place to stop along the Great Ocean Road, Bells Beach will not disappoint.

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