Barwon Heads

Barwon Heads, Tourism Victoria

Population 2994

This picturesque village, situated on the banks of the Barwon River near Bass Strait in Victoria, was established in the late 18th century and more recently received nationwide fame as the setting for the ABC’s TV show SeaChange. Although well known for its river beaches and coastal activities, Barwon Heads is experiencing a sea change of its own as the hometown of 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, which has revived interest in the town.

The population of this coastal town swells during the holiday season, as people take advantage of the range of activities on offer and the friendly village atmosphere. Apart from cycling and water activities, Barwon Heads is also home to one of the top links golf courses in Victoria.

Visitor Information

Geelong and Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre, Princes Hwy, Little River; (03) 5283 1735 or 1800 620 888

Nearby national parks

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

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  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

Nearby towns

  • Ocean Grove

    Ocean Grove is a popular summer-holiday destination near the mouth of the Barwon River. The beaches around the town offer great surfing and...more

  • Drysdale

    Drysdale, situated on the Bellarine Peninsula, is primarily a service centre for the local farming community. The town is close to the...more

  • Queenscliff

    Queenscliff is a charming seaside town on the Bellarine Peninsula. It began life as a resort for wealthy Victorians in the 1800s, as...more

In Town

Golf courses: golf courses include Thirteenth Beach and the Barwon Heads Golf Club.

Barwon Heads Bridge: the recently restored bridge is a heritage-listed structure.


Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary: covering 17 ha of ocean, the sanctuary is home to a vast array of marine life, as well as kelp forests and a couple of shipwrecks; contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963.

Swim with dolphins: swim with dolphins and other marine life in the beautiful waters of the Bass Strait.

Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Reserve: home to an abundance of Australian wildlife, including koalas; Taits Rd; open 9am–4.30pm; (03) 5254 2484.

Fishing spots near town

Barwon River Estuary 2 km

The Barwon River estuary enters Bass Strait about 10 km west of Port Phillip Heads and it divides the holiday towns of Barwon Heads  and Ocean Grove. This estuary  is one of the most productive  waterways... Find out more

Lonsdale Bight 12 km

With lots of weed, waters affected by current and a high level of exposure when a southerly comes in, Lonsdale Bight is one the most productive all-round fishing areas in Port Phillip. The bight goes from Shortland Bluff... Find out more

Curlewis Bank 15 km

Curlewis Bank is well regarded for King George whiting during late summer and autumn. However, this vast bank of sand, seagrass and spoil ground also produces snapper, snook, squid and flathead. It is popular with soft... Find out more

Torquay 15 km

The offshore waters of western Bass Strait, from Torquay to Cape Otway contain an abundance of species including Australian salmon, snapper, barracouta, King George whiting, yellowtail kingfish, silver trevally, gummy... Find out more

Clifton Springs 15 km

Clifton Springs is a sheltered harbour with a double boat ramp, mooring jetty and toilets. The facility is well signposted. To get there, take the Portarlington road out of Geelong and turn left at Jetty Road just before... Find out more

Queenscliff 16 km

Queenscliff harbour has a solid reputation for mullet, silver trevally and salmon. In some years, large runs of couta can be enjoyed in the harbour, and garfish are a common late-autumn visitor. On the debit side, the... Find out more

Portsea to Point Nepean 16 km

The annual salmon migration into the bay is part of a chain of fish migrations including snapper and baitfish species such as sandy sprats and pilchards, as well as krill. For the salmon, it isn’t so much the need... Find out more

Stingray Bay 17 km

Stingray Bay on the southern shore is properly called Stingaree Bay, but many anglers simply refer to it as Limeburners, due to the boat harbour at Limeburners Point. The boundary of the bay is roughly between the... Find out more

Swan Bay 17 km

Swan Bay is a small offshoot of Port Phillip Bay. The southern extremity is marked by the Queenscliff marina, the northern extremity by Edwards Point. A large portion of the bay is designated a marine park and off-limits... Find out more

Point Henry 19 km

Point Henry is a sand spit point on the southern shore of Corio Bay and is the demarcation between the inner and outer harbours. It is distinctive in that there is a large aluminium smelter and a long pier used to unload... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Marine Discovery Centre, Queenscliff 15 km

Primarily set up to educate school children about the marine environment, this government-run facility also has an interesting holiday program and an interactive aquarium and touch tanks. Holiday activities include... Find out more

Swim with dolphins, Sorrento 23 km

In the warmer six months of the year, the eco-accredited Moonraker Charters will help you get in the water, swimming alongside Australian fur-seals and bottlenose dolphins. Of course, swimming is not compulsory on the... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Barwon Heads Golf Club

From the moment you pull up at the car park in front of the Barwon Heads clubhouse, it is as if you have travelled back in time to a more genteel era. The old-world charm is present not only in the architecture of the... Find out more

Thirteenth Beach Golf Links (Beach Course) 3 km

After all the accolades Tony Cashmore received for his design work at The Dunes, on the Mornington Peninsula, he must have felt some pressure to produce an equally fine layout when it came time for his next project:... Find out more

Thirteenth Beach Golf Links (Creek Course) 3 km

Sir Nick Faldo won six major titles, playing himself into winning positions on the back of strong shot-making, a trait that is highly prized on the courses he now designs. The Creek course at Thirteenth Beach, created... Find out more

The Sands, Torquay 13 km

Sands by name . . . Sands by nature. It doesn’t take long to figure out the overwhelming feature of a round at Torquay. Standing on the 1st tee of this Stuart Applebydesigned layout, a blanket of white is... Find out more

Portsea Golf Club 19 km

Portsea Golf Club has long been regarded one of the best-kept secrets on the Mornington Peninsula. Although it is a private club, the public is welcome at most times to experience this visually striking layout across... Find out more

The Dunes Golf Links 32 km

If you are looking for true links golf in the tradition of the great courses of Scotland and Ireland, you can satisfy your desires here. The Dunes has become one of the most popular courses on the golf-rich Mornington... Find out more

Moonah Links (Open course) 34 km

When Australian golf’s governing body decided in 1998 to shift its operations to a custom-built facility on some Mornington Peninsula farmland, many golfers reckoned it an ambitious move. But the Australian Golf... Find out more

Moonah Links (Legends Course) 35 km

The Legends course might have been the second course built at Australian golf’s new home, but it was so well received by golfers that today it is regarded as the better of the two. The course officially opened... Find out more

St Andrews Beach 35 km

When it comes to quality golf courses and how to design them, American Tom Doak is a learned man. His second and most recent Australian creation – St Andrews Beach, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula... Find out more

The National Golf Club (Ocean Course) 39 km

Nearly a decade after the celebrated opening of Robert Trent Jones Jnr’s Old course, the club’s board discovered that the adjoining property was to be put up for sale. It could be seen from the highest... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Campsites around town

Barwon Heads Caravan Park

The campsites here are sprinkled alongside the Barwon River, right where the watercourse flows out into Bass Strait. Aside from the picturesque views, the park offers safe freshwater swimming, quick access to a surf... Find out more

Riverview Family Caravan Park 3 km

The beach here at Ocean Grove is a lovely stretch of sand that’s very popular with holidaymakers when the summer sun is shining. Equally popular is the nearby nature reserve, where there is over 140 ha of native... Find out more

Breamlea Caravan Park 8 km

Fringed by tea-trees and sand dunes, this caravan park is located on Horwood Dr in the small, low-key town of Breamlea, near the beginning of the Great Ocean Rd. A patrolled surf beach is only a short walk away and... Find out more

Royal Park camping area 11 km

Point Lonsdale is joined to Queenscliff by a narrow isthmus and shares the same ocean-wide view. It’s here you’ll find snug Royal Park. Stroll the promenade behind the seawall down to the point itself, or... Find out more

Queenscliff Recreation Reserve camping area 15 km

This foreshore reserve has lots of shady sites and plenty of wide open spaces for playing games. Go for a wander through the streets of the historic township or watch enormous tankers and cargo ships navigate the Rip,... Find out more

Victoria Park caravan and camping area 15 km

Victoria Park is on Hesse St, near Queenscliff’s main street with its quaint cafes and shops, and is almost as close to the dramatic entrance to Port Phillip Bay. Its campsites are arrayed opposite the town’s... Find out more

Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park 16 km

Torquay is the centre of the Victorian surfing scene, so it’s no surprise that this caravan park is adjacent to a great surf beach at the southern end of Paterson Bay – not very far from the best known surf... Find out more

St Leonards Foreshore caravan and camping area 23 km

You can camp in two parks on the foreshore at St Leonards, off The Esplanade. This is a useful base from which to explore the other lovely towns of the Bellarine Peninsula, or you can just sit and stare across placid... Find out more

Portarlington Seaside Resort 23 km

You’ll usually need to book well in advance of your visit to get one of the campsites arrayed along the beachfront at this sprawling holiday complex, located on Sproat St in Portarlington. Popular activities here... Find out more

Sorrento Foreshore camping area 24 km

There are plenty of campsites to choose from here alongside the bay. If you’re lucky you’ll catch sight of the bottle-nosed dolphins that sometimes frequent the area. You can also catch a ferry from Sorrento... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Barwon Heads Caravan Park

This is a large park fronting the wide picturesque estuary of the Barwon River close to the river mouth. It is a popular summer beachside park and just a short walk from the town centre. Waterfront sites are available at... Find out more

Riverview Family Caravan Park 3 km

This is a large holiday park with a long frontage to the Barwon River. It is popular with families during summer. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends, with a minimum-length stay period during... Find out more

BIG4 Beacon Resort 12 km

This award-winning establishment has all the trimmings you would expect of a park of this quality, including an indoor heated swimming pool and tennis courts. It is just a short walk to the beach. Bookings are required... Find out more

Geelong Surfcoast Highway Holiday Park 15 km

This park between Geelong and Torquay has been rejuvenated as a tourist park and importantly for those who travel with pets is one of the very few parks in the region that takes pets. It is easily accessible from the... Find out more

Torquay Holiday Park 16 km

The park is located on the highway about 400 metres from the centre of town. It is a very good quality park and facilities include tennis courts, putting greens and private bathrooms with spas. Bookings are required in... Find out more

Barwon River Tourist Park 18 km

On the south side of the Barwon River about 2 km from the centre of Geelong, this place has good facilities and is easily accessible. There are nicely shaded sites and it is just a short walk to the shopping centre. A... Find out more

Riverglen Holiday Park 19 km

This is a large, owner-operated park with good facilities and is located just 2 km from the centre of Geelong. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends, with a minimum-stay period at Easter and long... Find out more

Geelong Riverview Tourist Park 19 km

This is a great park on the south side of the Barwon River, just 2 km from the centre of Geelong. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends.... Find out more

Bellarine Bayside Holiday Parks - Portarlington 23 km

This beachfront park with a large number of powered sites is a very popular summerholiday park on a safe, bayside beach, with loads of appeal for families. The park has extensive facilities and is just 1.25 km from the... Find out more

Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park 29 km

This large beachfront and riverfront park is centrally located just 500 metres from the town centre. It has large expanses of lawn, shady sites and a range of good facilities. It is a very nice park! Bookings are... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Torquay park area 15 km

At Torquay

Overlooking the beach on the esplanade.

Anglesea Park Area 30 km

West side of town

Large area adjacent to the road on the west side of town. Good facilities.

Urquharts Beach park area 36 km

6km SW of Anglesea (L) or 23km NE of Lorne (R)

On the foreshore 500m off the highway.

Leigh River rest area 43 km

At Inverleigh

Large grassed area just off the highway under shady trees. On the east side of town.

What's on around town

Barwon Heads Festival of the Sea: Mar.

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