Tips For Exploring Aireys Inlet

If you don’t already know, the Great Ocean Road region features stops and destinations that offer magnificent views of the southwest coast of Australia. One of them is Aireys Inlet, a hamlet situated between Lorne and Anglesea, where the Great Ocean Road starts to curve and the Great Otway National Park begins. With a population of only 802 at the 2016 census, the Aireys Inlet is surely one that can give you calm and fun at the same time. 

A Sneak Peak of What Awaits You in Aireys Inlet

Aside from the obvious great beaches, fresh sea breeze, stunning ocean, and sweeping views along the Great Ocean Road, there is so much more waiting for you to explore in this inlet. Read on and have a sneak peek before knowing them in more detail and leaving Melbourne.

Ghosts, anyone?

If you’re fond of hearing ghost stories, then the Aireys Inlet will get you hooked, especially when you explore the Split Point Lighthouse. Aside from its exciting history, you’ll hear about the lady or girl ghost that is said to haunt the place as well as the many maritime legends surrounding the location.

Lookouts and Trails

What better way to explore the town than by enjoying a walk through this great place? Aireys Inlet has numerous lookouts, trails, and walks such as the Surf Coast Walk, the Lighthouse Precinct Walk, and the Cliff Top Walk; the last one offers magnificent coastline views. And, if you come during the whale season, you’ll have tons of opportunities to spot a whale or two. 

Sun, Surf, and Sand

Drive to Fairhaven Beach and find out where the people are – kids swimming and people surfing. The place is patrolled throughout the summer, making it a safe place for all. The nearby coves of Step Beach and Sandy Gully feature rock pools and good spots for snorkelling. And if you try the inlet beach, you can find a great picnic area to stay in for a few hours. 

Good Food and Drinks

You will be spoilt for food in Aireys Inlet–from seafood and desserts to drinks and coffee, there’s just so much to choose from. 

The Aireys Inlet Market is the local community’s pride, with more than 60 stalls that brim with fresh, locally sourced, and recycled goodies that wait for you to try. You can also find restaurants that serve Southeast Asian and Greek cuisines as well as gin-inspired Asian cocktails. And if you love beer, there’s Aireys Pub, home of award-winning beers with an amazing interior that suits the seasons. 

Fun Around Town

Aside from these activities to enjoy on this surf coast, there’s more to do in the skate park and other parks where you can play tennis or go cycling. Explore the playground or visit Moggs Creek or Distillery Creek for some excellent barbecue. 

Best Ways to Enjoy Aireys Inlet

Did I get you at great beaches, vast ocean, and fresh sea breeze? Here are some of the best ways to explore this part of the Great Ocean Road. So take your #vanlife lifestyle a notch higher and imbibe the exciting activities and unique cultural heritage of the Aireys Inlet.

See the different species of birds at the Allen Noble Sanctuary

If you want to see a wide variety of bush and water birds, then you’ve got to come to the Allen Noble Sanctuary, located in Inlet Cres and aimed at visual impact and biodiversity. This reserve has been extensively redesigned and re-planted to serve as the habitat of different bird species. It also features various indigenous plants.

Visitors can access its low-gradient walking track or take the boardwalk for a chance to view and admire the birdlife and nearby lake. After doing this, you can use any of the picnic tables, walk to the lighthouse, or watch the children in the playground. 

Admire the natural beauty of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary

Protecting an estimated 17ha of ocean water, the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary is situated right below the Allen Noble Sanctuary’s lighthouse and includes the Table Rock and the Eagle Rock. You can see how the shore rock platforms are covered in a brown seaweed called Neptune’s Necklace, which looks like strings of beads. 

There are also deep rock pools in the shore rock platforms that are rich in marine life and are inhabited by octopuses, chitons, crabs, and schools of fish. The offshore rocks are not just great for snorkelling around the rocks but also provide a home for Crayweed and Bull Kelp. And if you look more closely, you can see sponges and sea tulips growing on the rocks. 

Discover the maritime history of Aireys Inlet at the Split Point Lighthouse

Standing at 34 metres tall as a majestic sight on the historic Shipwreck Coast is the equally majestic Split Point Lighthouse. It’s another can’t-miss attraction, which you can recognise with its distinct red cap, as it tells stories about this dangerous coastline that has caused many ships to run aground. 

Today, this lighthouse is still functioning using an automated system to help vessels navigate the treacherous Bass Strait waters. 

As mentioned earlier, there have been people claiming to have spotted a ghost on the lighthouse. There are various versions, but one of the most interesting and popular is that of the family that lived in the lighthouse some 100 years ago. It is said that their teenage daughter told her parents that she was pregnant, and so the father took her fishing that night. She never returned. People say that the girl still looks for the father of her child and, thus, still haunts the Split Point Lighthouse.

Visit the Painkalac Creek Estuary for a canoe experience

Another exciting destination along the Great Ocean Road region is the Painkalac Creek Estuary, a coastal lagoon system that supports a diverse blend of microorganisms, plants, and animals. The Estuary is the point where the saline water meets the fresh creek water.

With a length of 3.5 kilometres, it not only attracts the eastern banjo frog and the green frog but also provides a home to numerous bird species, such as the Royal Spoonbill, Nankeen Night Heron, and the Eastern Great Egret. 

If you want to bring your adventure a notch higher, you can take a canoe ride from the jetty off River Reserve Road for amazing opportunities to spot the birdlife. 

Immerse yourself in the stunning nature of the Great Otway National Park

The Great Otway National Park, which stretches from Torquay to the Otways hinterland, forms a part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape. Thus, it is in respect of the Traditional Owners’ deep connection with the waters and lands situated within this landscape, with the goal of building genuine, lasting partnerships with the park administration and the government. 

You can feast your eyes on the amazing scenery, which includes breathtaking waterfalls and perfectly curved coastlines, lush mountain forests, and some of the best surf breaks in Australia. To the north, you can bask in tranquil lakes and ferny gullies. Head south where the rainforest meets the ocean and to the Cape Otway Lightstation where the Bass Straight kisses the South Ocean. 

Don’t miss trying the Great Ocean Walk, a long-distance walk of more than 100 kilometres from east to west, covering Apollo Bay, the Twelve Apostles, and the Otways. If you have all the time, you can complete this walk in eight days or do it in sections. 

Discover works of art and their artists at the Eagles Nest Fine Art Gallery

If you’ve had enough of the beach and great outdoors of Aireys Inlet, then it’s time to visit the Eagles Nest Fine Art Gallery.

Though there are not a lot of art galleries in this town, this gallery compensates because of its wide array of new artwork that arrives regularly, in addition to its four exhibitions. 

They display stunning artworks of both local and regional artists, many of whom live in Aireys Inlet. Not only do they cover artworks in painting format but also in sculpture, jewellery, cards, prints, and glass art. 

Stop for a tee time at the Great Ocean Road Mini Golf

Take a break from the beach and surf of Aireys Inlet and head to the Great Ocean Road Mini Golf for a different kind of adventure–golf, of course!

With two superb courses and 30 mini golf holes, you’re up for a different kind of challenge. Plus, the course is set in an expansive and beautiful garden, filled with an array of plants that are endemic to the Great Ocean Road region. But that’s not all because you’ll be putting around the replicas of some of the area’s greatest and most iconic attractions, including the Twelve Apostles, shipwrecks, and the Split Point Lighthouse. 

Some More Helpful Bits for Your Aireys Inlet Adventure

Still got questions? Read on to learn more.

Where can I camp in Aireys Inlet?

Allenvale Mill Site 

Toilets: composting or long-drop

Water: non-potable water may be available 

Campfires: not permitted

Barbecues: not provided

Hammond Road Campground

Toilets: composting or long-drop

Water: non-potable water may be available

Campfires: may be allowed in built fireplaces (subject to local fire rules and bans)

Barbecues: allowed; campers to bring their own wood and check fire bans

Beauchamp Falls Reserve

Toilets: composting or long-drop

Water: non-potable water may be available

Campfires: may be allowed (subject to local fire bans)

Barbecues: allowed; campers to bring their own wood and check fire bans

You can find more camping sites here.

Where are the public toilets in Aireys Inlet?

Finding a public toilet around Aireys Inlet shouldn’t be a problem, with three of them located within the area–one off Reserve Road, another one on Inlet Crescent, and the third one on Bambra Road. 

To search for more public toilets around Aireys Inlet, check out the toilet map website

Is there a visitor information centre in Aireys Inlet?

While there is no visitor information centre in Aireys Inlet, there are other visitor centres of nearby towns along the Great Ocean Road, including Lorne, Torquay, and Anglesea. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready for another great adventure, make sure to include Aireys Inlet in your stops. With a great blend of sea, sand, coastline, and more, you’re surely going to have a great time. 

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