FAMILY FUN IN ANGLESEAby CINTIA GONZALEZ-PELL
But, with some of the best beaches in the area, please do stop in, or stay. This sleepy town is a relaxing 1.5 hr drive from Melbourne making it the perfect distance for a quick weekend escape or day trip.
I spent many a weekend here in my youth with friends that had a little caravan site along the river. But, even though it’s slightly more developed that it was back in the 80s and 90s, it still has it’s seaside charm (and Jums Chips).
Anglesea holds a very special place in my heart, and I’m glad we returned to enjoy it as a family. Here's what we did on our most recent trip there:
Anglesea has a range of accommodation options to suit every style and budget.
From campsites to luxury holiday houses you are sure to find a place to stay that fits your family’s needs. Plan to book early if visiting in peak Summer season as apartments and caravan parks fill up fast with loyal holiday makers that love returning year after year.
We stayed at Great Ocean Road Resort, which is centrally located on the Great Ocean Road and is walking distance to the Main Beach. The complex has self-contained studios and apartments that cater for groups of two to six people.
Families will enjoy the facilities which include an indoor heated pool, tennis court, games and barbecue area, and Jumpz Anglesea trampoline park. The resort also has an onsite restaurant, The Coast Restaurant & Bar, and a day spa.
Next time we'll stay at:
- Big 4 Anglesea Holiday Park in one of their safari tents! Sleeping up to six people in style, these tents have all the facilities you’d expect from a luxury campsite including private en-suite, decked out kitchen, personal barbecue and even an outdoor claw-foot bath! At the holiday park, there's also a playground and the the largest indoor pool in Anglesea.
You’ll find an abundance of family friendly places to grab a meal in and around Anglesea. There are also several public BBQ and nice picnic areas if you fancy self catering.
Maid’s Pantry at Anglesea General Store
A large outdoor eating area with plenty of room to play will keep the kids happy until their breakfast arrives. Order from the brunch menu which has a good selection of healthy meals to get your day started or if you are after something more exotic, try a ‘breakfast from abroad’. If you want to hit the beach early grab something to go from the General store.
Pod Cafe at Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery
Come for the chocolate and stay for a meal at the Pod Cafe. There’s a good selection of pizzas and burgers, as well as several kids lunch box options that come with a cool ‘moo box’.
Of course the desserts are a must try! They are super large, so you may want to share.
A local institution! Any trip to Anglesea is not complete without a serve of hot chips and gravy from Jums. They also do great roast chicken rolls and other quick take-away options.=
Situated in the car park of Point Roadknight beach, this little hole in the wall serves Padre coffee, cold drinks, take-away sandwiches and other tasty snacks. Perfect for keeping the hunger pangs at bay without leaving the beach.
The Coast Restaurant
Conveniently located at the Great Ocean Road Resort, The Coast Restaurant has a family friendly menu with a great value kids meal selection.
A popular happy hour hangout with $5 beer and wine from 3-5pm.
We enjoyed a double tiered seafood platter that was big enough to feed the three of us.
Little Feast Aireys Inlet
Head down the road a little to Aireys Inlet for lunch or dinner at Little Feast Aireys. The atmosphere is relaxed and the decor features work by talented local artists.
The dinner menu is based around sharing plates which make for a fun and sociable meal. Don’t miss their stellar selection of ‘cocktails with benefits’ packed with nutritious twists like kombucha. No need to twist my arm, you had me at cocktail!
Things to see and do
This little town has plenty to keep the family entertained all year round. With three beaches to choose from, stunning coastal walks, and wildlife to encounter, it’s the perfect place to chill.
Anglesea has some of the best beaches along the Great Ocean Road, my personal fave being Point Roadknight. Swim and play at Main Beach or Point Roadknight in summer. In the cooler months Soapy Rocks is ideal for rock pooling, dog running or beach walks.
- Point Roadknight beach – A sheltered beach at Point Roadknight a favourite for young families.
- Anglesea Main Beach – Main beaches shallow waves are your ideal learn to surf spot.
- Soapy Rocks – Soapy Rocks is the back beach at Anglesea between the Anglesea Surf Club and Point Roadknight Beach.
Take a walk along the Anglesea river. Kids will enjoy spotting the many species of water bird that are native to the area. There are lots of bridges that criss-cross the wetlands which makes for an interesting adventure. The boardwalks are also suitable for bike riding or a spot of fishing (license required).
If you are feeling more adventurous hire a paddle boat or canoe and explore the area from the water.
Canoes can be taken up-stream, you’ll need to duck under the low bridges. It was a super fun way to explore the area, and the sheltered estuary is easy to paddle for even the most novice of canoers.
I really loved getting out on the water and paddling up the river in the canoes. It was the highlight of our weekend.
If you are in kind of a lazy mood, the mini motor boats are a hoot. Emma got such a thrill driving hers around.
Meet the local kangaroos
Take a guided kangaroo tour of the Anglesea Golf Course to meet the local resident marsupials.
This 20-minute golf buggy tour is lots of fun and is the perfect way to see the kangaroos. The eastern grey kangaroos on the golf course are highly habituated to humans which provides a unique opportunity to observe and study kangaroos up close.
There are currently over 200 kangaroos living on the golf course, one of the highest population densities ever recorded for this species.
Play on a pirate ship
Coogoorah Park adventure playground is a great place for a picnic lunch or barbecue. You can walk there from town along the river or drive (there is a small carpark).
The wooden ship is inspired by the ‘Inverlochy’, wrecked off the coast in 1902.
Walk the Surf Coast
Hike sections of the Surf Coast Walk at your own pace. The 44km walk connects Torquay to Aireys Inlet but you don’t need to tackle it all at once: sections 6, 7 and 8 are all accessible from Anglesea and take in some great views. Section 12 from Split Point Lighthouse is very scenic.
Get your Jump on!
Kids can bounce themselves silly at Jumpz Anglesea.
Located at the Great Ocean Road Resort, it’s open to the public 7 days a week. With 360 degrees of trampolines, bouncing off the walls is a piece of cake.
Learn all about Chocolate
Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. You can learn how chocolate is made, watch the chocolate makers at work and taste lots of samples.
Join one of the daily, hosted tasting sessions where you will be guides through a selection of 12 hand crafted chocolates while explaining how chocolate is made, how ingredients are sourced and the artisan techniques of their European Chocolatiers use to create each sweet treat.
Visit a working lighthouse
Known as the ‘White Queen’, the Split Point Lighthouse has been keeping seafarers safe since 1891 and is still in use today.
You may recognise her from the classic children’s TV series ‘Round the Twist’.
Climb the 132 stairs for a 360 degree unparalleled view of the coastline.
Anglesea is an easy 1.5hr drive from Melbourne.
There are regular bus services from Geelong (via Torquay), which has connections to Melbourne via train.