Flora and Fauna
Discover the array of lovely locals that call the Surf Coast Walk home. Spotted along the Surf Coast Walk is a myriad of wildlife including prevalent kangaroos and wallabies, blue tongue lizards, echidnas, koalas and plenty more to excite the visitor, especially internationals.
From Torquay through to Aireys Inlet, there are enough bird spotting opportunities to keep the mast ardent twitcher satisfied - tick off from your list Peregrine Falcons nesting in cliffs, Rufous bristle birds, egrets and cormaorants, nesting latham's snipe, estuary shore-birds, Fairy Terns, Kestrals and Hooded Plovers are just a few that call the Surf Coast Walk home.
The Hooded Plover is protected under the Victorian flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Spot the vulnerable Hooded Plover. The Hooded Plover, is a small black, white and red bird which lives and breeds on the beach, from August to March. Due to the Plover being endangered, signs alert beach users during the mating season along with temporary fencing, and wooden teepees for chicks to hide in, including dogs to remain on a lead has led to the population increasing.
The Rufous Bristlebird:
This predominately dark grey-brown bird has a long tail, rich Rufous nape and scalloped grey breast. It has a loud, distinctive call. Nest are built close to the ground, in tussock or low shrubs. Threats to Rufous Birstlebird population in the surf coast. Pairs of birds appear to occupy land on the coastal cliffs.
Wanders throughout the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere for most of the year. The Black-browed Albatross is the most common albatross. The bill has a pink tip, the back upper wings and tail are a slaty black. The face is white, with a small black brow over a dark eye. This species is also called the Black-browed Mollymawk.
Wild Life Walk
Not readily seen on the walk due to their quiet nature, they can be identified by their droppings, as well as the markings left after they forage for food. Echidna droppings are about 7 cm long, cylindrical in shape. Evidence to suggest an echidna has been foraging for food in an area may be half-ravaged termite mounds, which the echidna breaks up with its sharp claws and strong snout. Threats to Echidnas include foxes and domestic dogs. If disturbed or approached, an echidna will curl into a ball with shout and legs tucked beneath itself.
It is rare to find a kangaroo on the track, however, if you venture off the track to the Anglesea Golf Course, they offer tours daily to see the delightful animals.
National & Marine Parks
Wild Marine Walk
Pack your snorkel for the Walk and explore the many rockpools and marine sanctuaries en route including the 17 Hectare Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary at the base of the Split Point Lighthouse, Aireys Inlet, home to a huge variety of marine life, as is the reef areas found near Torquay. Seaslugs are abundant with 96 species known to occur in this sanctuary, many of which are endemic. Also present are carnivores worms, delicate brittle stars and majestic eagle rays.
The Great Otway National Park covers 103,000 hectares and represents all that is special about the region; the sandy beaches, rock platforms and windswept heathland fringed by rugged coastline.
Three significant Marine Parks and Sanctuaries feature along the Walk including Point Danger Marine Sanctuary, Point Addis Marine National Park and Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary.
Winter brings one of the world’s most majestic creatures to the Surf Coast. Between June and October each year look out for the Southern Right Wales as they migrate from sub-Antarctic waters to breed. View these magnificent mammals from one of the walk’s many perfect viewing vantage points as they cruise within 100m of the coast sometimes with calves in tow.
The Southern Right Whales:
Are medium to large baleen whales, white and grey. They have two blowholes to make breathing at the ocean surface easier. The marking on their heads (callosity) is unique to every whale. They travel thousands of kilometres along the Australian coast in a single winter season and by October the calves have become big enough to migrate to the South together with their mothers.
From wild orchids to flowering shrubs, native grasses and forest species, our coast is a plant-lover’s delight. Springtime, in particular, brings an abundance of wildflowers to the coast offering up a spectacular show.
Amazingly, over a quarter of Victoria's plant species grow here including more than 100 varieties of orchids, and rare orchids bloom in the coastal heathland around Anglesea during spring.