Belfast Coastal Reserve

Belfast Coastal Reserve

Belfast Coastal Reserve

Explore

Belfast Coastal Reserve

Belfast Coastal Park is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape. Parks Victoria respects the deep and continuing connection that Traditional Owners have to these lands and waters, and we recognise their ongoing role in caring for Country.

Popular all year round with dog walkers, birdwatchers and ocean anglers who enjoy the 20km stretch of sandy beaches, grassy dunes and thriving wetlands right on the doorstep of Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

This coastline is alive with activity. Belfast Coastal Reserve has attracted people for thousands of years to its freshwater wetlands, sandy beaches, grassy sheltered dunes, rocky outcrops and in-shore rocky reefs and rockpools.

Stretching from Port Fairy to Warrnambool the reserve is very popular with locals and wildlife all year round and gets extra busy in summers water activity holiday periods. Buzzing with shorebird-watchers who flock to this sandy strip of land, unique to Victoria’s parks. It is home to several endangered wildlife species including Hooded Plovers and Oyster Catchers; all sharing beaches with dog-walkers, joggers, anglers, surfers, swimmers, horse-riders and birdwatchers.

Things To Do

 
A man walks his dog along the beach at Belfast Coastal Reserve

Dog walking in Belfast Coastal Reserve

Exercising and exploring the wild beaches of Belfast Coastal Reserve with your dog is a fun and popular pastime enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. To encourage sharing the beach fairly and safely, and ensure that the wild nature of the coast is protected, special regulations apply.
Hooded plovers and chick on the sand at Belfast Coastal Reserve

Birdwatching in Belfast Coastal Reserve

Belfast Coastal Reserve is known for it's abundance of shore birds. Over 20 species of shore bird visit the reserve, but of note are Hooded Plovers, the smallest and other most vulnerable beach-nesting birds.
A man in a red wetsuit and a women with the top half of her wetsuit undone follow two men in to the surf on the Morning Peninsula.

Surfing

Learn to surf from beaches dotted along the coast or for experienced boarders ride the ultimate wave at ocean back beaches or famous Bells Beach.
Two friends fish off the back a boat on a misty morning on Lake Eildon.

Fishing

In quiet lakes and gently flowing rivers, in the pounding surf or in the depths beneath your boat – the waters of Victoria’s parks and reserves offer some prize catches.

 

Tours in the area

Bushwalking, four-wheel driving, horse riding, kayaking, rock climbing and mountain biking are just some of the many activities you can experience in Victoria's parks.


If you want to try something new or meet some like-minded people on your next visit to a park, contact a licensed tour operator.


Parks Victoria licenses tour operators who are experts in these activities and more. They will help you get the most out of your visit.

View all local tours

How to get there

Belfast Coastal Reserve

The reserve adjoins Warrnambool City and extends 20km to Port Fairy.

The main visitor areas are accessed off the Princess Highway A1. Warrnambool is 256km from Melbourne on the Princes Highway or Great Ocean Road and approximately 600km from Adelaide.

When to go

Summer brings holiday makers, birds and people, seeking sun, sand and surf. Junior Ranger activity programs explore and discover the natural treasures of the reserve.

Need to know

Belfast Coastal Reserve

Change of Conditions

Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Parks

    Seasonal road closures 2021

    Some roads in this park are subject to seasonal road closures. Seasonal road closures generally operate after the long weekend in June through to the end of October, but may be extended due to seasonal conditions. Visit the seasonal road closures page for maps and more information.

  • Belfast Coastal Reserve

    Changes to recreation activities in Belfast Coastal Reserve

    There have been recent changes to where recreation activities can take place in Belfast Coastal Reserve.

    These changes come from the Belfast Coastal Reserve Management Plan which was developed after extensive consultation in 2018.

    The plan strikes a balance between recreation on the reserve with the protection of environmental and cultural values. The key changes to achieve this are:

    • creation of a ‘Conservation Zone’ prohibiting horse riding and dog-walking
    • creation of a ‘Conservation and Recreation Zone’ allowing on-leash dog walking and recreational horse riding
    • restriction of commercial horse training to a small area at Levy’s Beach and Hoon Hill
    • priority management strategies to protect and monitor populations of beach-nesting birds
    • foreshore access throughout the entire reserve for walking dogs on-leash and recreational horse riding.

    The below links provide further information about the management plan and recent changes for the reserve.

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