Things to do around Inverloch
From dinosaur remains to pristine beaches, the top attractions in and around Inverloch.
On a slightly cloudy Saturday, the road from Kilcunda to Inverloch isn’t crowded. And apart from the odd cyclist pair, there’s virtually no-one on the coast-hugging Cape Paterson-Inverloch Road that affords wide views of the long sweep of Venus Bay down to Cape Liptrap.
On the Bass Coast beaches there is a fisher meditating on the horizon, pods of paddleboards, and beach walkers claiming a whole coast to themselves.
Andersons Inlet Beach.
“That’s really the whole theme of this coastline,” Mike Cleland from the Bunurong Environment Centre says. “It’s all a theme of discovery. It’s good for rock-pooling. In winter it’s a great place for whale watching, and I’d argue that it’s got some of the best beaches in the world.” But it’s the incredible sense of remoteness that most appeals to him.
Walking with dinosaurs
As Bunurong Centre’s environment officer and, as one of the top spotters of dinosaur bones along Australia’s richest Cretaceous fossil site, Mike is well placed to talk about the past – back 115-130 million years ago when Australia was within the Antarctic Circle and dinosaurs inhabited a wide river valley that is now an intertidal rock shelf stretching from Inverloch to San Remo.
At The Caves, 6km south of Inverloch, Mike points out the fossilised stumps of trees; some with recognisable growth rings, that become visible at low tide.
“It would have been a decent forest around here,” he says. “It would also have been very dark with a whole lot of little dinosaurs running around in the gloom.” The first dinosaur fossil discovered in Australia in 1905 was “the Cape Paterson claw”, found further down this coast.
Mike was in the line search in 1991 which rediscovered the potentials of a site that soon rose to world significance because it proved that mammals had indeed been living alongside dinosaurs.
Each year since, hundreds of bones have been liberated from the fossil layer in an annual summer dig called Dinosaur Dreaming that is largely staffed by amateur palaeontologists.
Archies Creek Pub
In a one-road town with a population under 50 and set in the hinterland hillocks near Wonthaggi, The Royal Mail Hotel is where in early 19th century the post was dropped off. With an old red VW convertible permanently parked out front for the kids to play in, and a premises that is mainly dining room with two small bar annexes, these days it offers an absolutely country pub experience.
One of the villas at RACV's Inverloch resort.
Until the late 1970s there was a series of well-established, scrap-built squatter shacks along the coast between Inverloch and Cape Paterson that had been there for generations.
Sam Gatto, immediate past president of the Wonthaggi Historical Society, says “there was a long, wonderful history to the little communities that were set up at Harmer’s Haven, Shack Bay and Eagle’s Nest. At Flat Rocks there were 18 huts”.
Because it starts at 10.30am every Sunday, Jane Seaholme, manager of the Kongwak market, admits that it’s otherwise known as “the lazy person’s market.” Held for the past 11 years in a couple of big tin sheds that were shops, produce and stock feed stores, the market has developed a reputation for specialising in vintage, retro and collectables.
How to save in Inverloch
From caravan sites to premium ocean view rooms or stylish eco villas, RACV Inverloch Resort has a mix of accommodation options for couples, families and groups. Set in a 32ha site with views of Bass Strait and Anderson Inlet, the resort has been designed to integrate into its environmentally sensitive landscape. More than 50,000 individual plants have been planted on the property and wetlands provide habitat for birds and aquatic life.
Guests can enjoy a fully-equipped recreation centre, including a heated swimming pool. For children there are outdoor playgrounds including a giant jumping pillow, bikes to use and a flying fox.
Dine at the Radius Restaurant, open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and enjoy panoramic views from the huge windows. Drinks and nibbles are available in the Zenith Lounge, while the Kiosk has house-made gourmet burgers and shakes during the summer months.
Away from the resort, you can use your RACV membership card to save at a number of businesses and attractions.
RACV Resort at sunrise.