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Johanna Beach is the best known surfing location west of Cape Otway. It was the site of the World Surfing Championships in 1970, and its famous left and right breaks are a mecca for surfers. The beach can be reached on a loop road from the Great Ocean Road. There is a National Park camping and picnic area on the grassy slopes behind the western end of the 3.6 km long beach. Two parking and viewing areas overlook the beach. The beach faces south-west and receives waves averaging over 1.5 m. The Johanna River crosses the centre of the beach, with dunes climbing the 30 to 100 m high bluffs behind the eastern half of the beach. Rotten Point forms the eastern boundary and Slippery Point the western. The most noticeable features of the surf zone are the distinct bars and deep rip channels. The bar is 250 m wide and the rips are spaced every 350 m, forming eight bar-rip systems, each capable of holding waves from 1 to 3 m. These transverse bars and rips are a product of the medium sand and persistent high waves. Their spacing is determined by a phenomenon called edge waves (see page 22). The result is the production of bars with deep channels to either side, forming left and right hand breaks off each bar. Because the channels are deep, the beach can hold relatively high, surfable waves before closing out.
Beach Length: 3.6km
General Hazard Rating: 8/10

Patrolled Beach Flag Patrols

There are currently no services provided by Surf Life Saving Australia for this beach. Please take the time to browse the Surf Safety section of this website to learn more about staying safe when swimming at Australian beaches. Click here to visit general surf education information.


Formal parking area
Formal parking area
Drinking water
Toilets Block M/F
Passenger ferry



Topographic rips


SLSA provides this information as a guide only. Surf conditions are variable and therefore this information should not be relied upon as a substitute for observation of local conditions and an understanding of your abilities in the surf. SLSA reminds you to always swim between the red and yellow flags and never swim at unpatrolled beaches. SLSA takes all care and responsibility for any translation but it cannot guarantee that all translations will be accurate.