What is the surf culture in Australia

Australia: Surf culture in Melbourne and a real dream street

Melbourne (dpa / tmn) - There is still a comprehensive entry ban for foreign travelers. But when vacationers are allowed to return to the country, Australia will remain a top destination - especially for surfers.

Somehow they are all surfers. Because surfing in the south of Australia is more than a sport, also more than a national sport. It's a way of life. As relaxed as they ride the waves on their boards, the residents of Melbourne also take their everyday lives with ease.

It is quite possible that the young bank clerk wears a bikini under her business suit and that her colleague already has the neoprene suit in his briefcase so that he can go surfing after work.

Those who can't go to the beach flock to the countless bars and restaurants in the graffiti-covered brick houses around Flinders Lane. Here are some of the city's best cuisines that can rival Sydney in culinary terms. In the Coda restaurant, chef Adam D'Sylva's small masterpieces are served by waiters, some of whom are tattooed over a large area, who answer every extra request with a friendly "No worries, mate!" acknowledge.

Surfing is also possible with a hangover

You can see that people love to party in Melbourne when you cycle or walk along the Yarra River. The river flowing into Port Phillip Bay separates the Botanical Garden from the Rod Laver Arena, where the best tennis players in the world play the Australian Open. The bars on the banks are always full.

Even if good waves are forecast for the next day, Melbourne's surfers start early. "Better to surf with a hangover than not at all," admits a surfer, for example, who stocked up on provisions at the Queen Victoria Market. «No worries!»

The Queen Victoria Market in the middle of the city is one of the largest markets in the southern hemisphere. There is everything there - from Asian seafood to “German Bratwurst” to grilled kangaroo and crocodile. The market is a reflection of the multicultural city.

If you love surfing, you have to go to Torquay

The heart of surfer culture beats an hour and a half's drive southwest in Torquay, where the waves of the South Pacific roll in perfectly - in some bays gentle for beginners and children, in others gigantic high for professionals. There is one surf shop after the next.

Torquay is Australia's surfing capital. And as befits a capital city, it of course also has a museum. The National Surfing Museum is the largest of its kind in the world.

Everywhere beach girls and beach boys run barefoot and with boards under their arms across the streets to the beach. Under the attentive gaze of the lifeguards present everywhere, they paddle out and then slide back to the beach while riding on the waves.

On the Great Ocean Road to Lorne

Behind every bend of the Great Ocean Road, which begins in Torquay and leads dreamily along the coast of Victoria, new dream bays with lighthouses and sandy beaches open up.

Halfway between Melbourne and the famous Twelve Apostles is Lorne, where half of Melbourne meets on weekends. This is one of the reasons why Melbourne restaurants such as Coda or Movida with first-class, Spanish-inspired cuisine have branches in Lorne. The food with a view of the ocean is a pleasure, as long as you are not attacked by the cheeky cockatoos.

Further west, the Great Ocean Road leads to Apollo Bay, where Cape Otway juts out into the Pacific. Visible from afar, a white lighthouse marks the headland in these dangerous waters with numerous shipwrecks. Some of them, such as the S.S. Casino »are now popular diving spots.

At eye level with koalas

Surfers are also gliding on the waves in front of Apollo Bay. Here, however, they compete with two other Australian advertising icons for the attention of tourists: kangaroos and koalas.

The Wildlife Wonders, which opened in summer 2020, was spared the devastating bush fires. It looks like a magic forest from a fantasy film. Giant ferns cover a ground on which countless eucalyptus trees grow. Only the handicapped accessible path gives an idea that this jungle was created by landscape architect Brian Massay, who was also responsible for the sets of the blockbuster “Lord of the Rings”.

"Wildlife Wonders is a non-profit organization," explains manager Shayne Neal. He and his team regularly offer guided tours to their stars. “These are of course our koalas,” says Neal. The cute bears are mostly eating or slumbering in the forks of the eucalyptus trees. Since the path meanders along the slope like a serpentine, you can observe the animals from eye level and a few meters away. Kangaroos, on the other hand, like to hop behind the visitor center across a huge clearing with a sea view.

“This is where the wonderful Great Ocean Walk begins, all the way to the Twelve Apostles. You can comfortably hike the 104 kilometers in five days, ”explains Neal. It's only an hour and a half by car.

Where the sea meets imposing cliffs

The name Twelve Apostles became common in the 1950s. Even then, there were only nine rocks that rose up to 45 meters from the surf into the sky. They were created over millions of years by erosion. Every year the South Pacific eats up a good two centimeters of the cliff. More massive areas remain as rocks until they are completely washed around, the bridges to the mainland collapse and finally the cone sinks into the sea - like the ninth apostle a few years ago.

In addition to the rocks, bays were created in which the foaming surf is pressed into caves until the water withdraws again after an explosive thunder.

Countless ships sank in this raging sea, for example the «Loch Ard» with 52 people on board in 1878, a few kilometers west of the Twelve Apostles. Only two sailors were able to save themselves in a bay now called Loch Ard Gorge. Nowadays visitors can enjoy themselves there on a beach protected by rock walls, while the graves of the drowned are weathered on the cliffs.

They are a reminder for reckless people who hang around on the other side of the Twelve Apostles instead of the safe stretch of beach of Gibson Steps. Not even the craziest surfers dare to venture into the roaring sea. That's the end of "No worries, mate!"

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210215-99-451347 / 8

Visit Melbourne

Visit Victoria (English)

Restaurant Code (English)

Australian National Surfing Museum (English)

Information about the sunken S.S. Casino

Wildlife Wonders (English)

Timbon Railway Shed Destillery (English)

Movida Restaurant

Travel and safety advice for Australia

Melbourne and Great Ocean Road

Climate and travel time: The months of October to May - i.e. spring, summer and autumn in the southern hemisphere - are best. The lowest temperatures are then on average between 10 and 15, the highest temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius.

Arrival: Melbourne International Airport is served by various airlines from Germany with a stopover.

Entry and corona situation: Australia has so far got through the pandemic very lightly. There is still a comprehensive entry ban for foreign travelers.

Information: https://de.visitmelbourne.com/