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Bells Beach is Victoria's most famous surfing beach and one of the world's great surfing breaks. The excellent break is due to a combination of clean waves, that have refracted around the Otways, and particularly a gently sloping limestone reef off the southern point that produces one of the world's best right handers. It can handle anything from 1.5 up to 7 m. The world's longest running surfing contest began at Bells in 1961 and continues every Easter. In recognition of its surfing status, the Victorian government proclaimed it the state's and Australia's first Surfing Reserve in 1971. Bells is now serviced by a good road, a large car park, viewing areas and facilities. The walk to the beach is still, however, down the gully at the southern end of the beach. The beach is just 300 m long and faces south-east, with prominent, 40 m high, limestone headlands at each end. Waves average 1 to 1.5 m and the beach is composed of coarse sand which, even under high waves, stays steep and barless. A normally low shorebreak becomes very heavy in high waves.
Beach Length: 0.3km
General Hazard Rating: 6/10

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
Street parking
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.