Bellarine and Surf Coast

This Draft of the Corangamite Regional Catchment Strategy is currently awaiting Ministerial approval and may be subject to change

Overview

Overall Area68,124 hectares
Population79,167
Climate627 mm per annum at Drysdale
Main TownsLeopold
Torquay
Ocean Grove
Barwon Heads
Point Lonsdale Portarlington
Drysdale
Queenscliff
Indented Head
St Leonards
Land UseViticulture
Horticulture
Sheep and Cattle Grazing
Main IndustriesTourism
Hospitality
Agriculture
Main Natural FeaturesCoast
Swan Bay
Lake Connewarre
Reedy Lake
Lake Victoria
Barwon River Barwon Heads Bluff
Ocean Grove Spit
Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve
Map of the Bellarine and Surf Coast Landscape System including link to NRM Portal
Click on map to access Natural Resource Management Portal interactive mapping

Landscape

The Bellarine and Surf Coast is one of the smaller landscape systems, and is located in the south eastern corner of the Corangamite region. It is bounded by the bass strait to the south, and around into Port Phillip Bay. Geelong City and its surrounding urban areas is situated to the north, with the Barwon Plains and Otway Coast wrapping around the western edge.

This Landscape System contains the area south of the city of Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula that is primarily for habitation and recreation, it does not include the urban area of Geelong.  It is an area of very productive broadacre agriculture, intense horticulture and lucrative viticulture as well as a variety of other industries. Much of this landscape is also used for habitation and lifestyle purposes.  The townships of Leopold, Torquay, Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale, Portarlington, Drysdale, Queenscliff, Indented Head and St Leonards are in this area.  It also contains parts of the City of Greater Geelong, all of the Borough of Queenscliffe, parts of Surf Coast Shire and Golden Plains Shire local government areas.  The Traditional Owners are the Wadawurrung.

Very little remnant vegetation remains within this area, with most of it occurring along linear reserves such as roads and waterways.  There are areas of high value intensive agriculture including vineyards, market gardens, orchards and groves.

The area has high visitation rates, given its proximity to Melbourne and Geelong, with an extensive, readily accessible coastline.  Many of the residents within this area either work in the area or commute to Geelong or Melbourne for employment.  The area has a history of industrialisation, but this has changed substantially within recent years to a more service-based and commercial focus.

Other natural values include significant native fish, such as Yarra pygmy perch, amphibians including the Growling grass frog and a range of bird species including the Hooded Plover and the Orange Bellied Parrot. The Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar sites are also highly significant.

Livelihood

Relative soil productivity on private agricultural land on the Bellarine and Surf Coast is highly variable. The lowest relative productivity is located near coastal areas and around the Lake Connewarre Complex wetlands, and is moderate to higher towards the west.

There are a variety of land uses across this landscape system with a variety of different sized holdings producing a variety of commodities.  Grazing for cattle and sheep is a major agricultural pursuit in this area.  Viticulture and horticultural industries are also well established with numerous vineyards and market gardens evident.

Tourism, hospitality and recreational pursuits are also major industries within the Bellarine and Surf Coast area.  The summer holiday period is the peak time for visitation as well as public and school holidays and weekends, given its close proximity to Geelong and Melbourne.

Lifestyle

The Bellarine and Surf Coast is also known for its stunning coastline and beautiful beaches attracting large numbers of tourists annually, with the population more than doubling in the warmer months. It is known for its attractive rural hinterland, boutique wineries and artisan producers. With historic towns such as Queenscliff, Drysdale and Portarlington and popular holiday destinations such as Torquay, Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads, all with excellent beaches, it is a tourism and recreation destination.

The Bellarine and Surf Coast has a population of just under 80,000 – almost 20% of the total region population. This landscape system is the second most populated area of the Corangamite region after Geelong City. This is the third smallest landscape system by area, with numerous towns throughout. The most densely populated areas are in and around the coastal townships of Torquay, Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove, Point Lonsdale/Queenscliff and Portarlington, as well as Drysdale and Leopold further inland.

Recreation including swimming, surfing, fishing, game hunting, picnicking, sightseeing, walking tracks and motor and non-motor boating are key pursuits in this area.

The main Landcare groups in this area are Torquay, Bellarine, and Connewarre Landcare Groups.

Lake Connewarre