Hang Gliding in one of the most spectacular corners of Australia

Why to fly the Great Ocean Road ?

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s greatest drives. The 243 kilometer drive between Torquay and Allansford (near Warrnambool) winds through rainforest, hugs cliff edges and offers you the chance to see a number of renown sights.

As the hang (or para-) glider pilots we have a unique luxury to see all the dreamy views not only from the road but also from the air. This is a truly "once in your life" experience!

We created the ultimate guide with the list of must-sees along the way and a list of insider’s tips for those who pursues the goal to fly along Victorian Coastal line and to enjoy the views of Great Ocean Road.

Great Ocean Road Victoria
Great Ocean Road Victoria

Different from Inland Flying in Australia.

In this article we want to show that flying along Victorian Coast might complement flying in other locations in Oz, such as Manilla, Forbes and Blue Mountains. Many people hesitate coming from the overseas only for the Australian Nationals in Forbes as the trip for the one-week-long competition might appear somewhat pricy. However if there is some more time to spend in the southern hemisphere, then the coastal adventures can greatly broaden the flying impressions about Australia.

Forbes is a traditional annual flatland competition, which takes place in New South Wales around New Year's day. This great event normally provides reliable weather conditions for long and tough flights. Every day starts with a 9 am briefing and finishes no-one-knows-how-late somewhere 200++ km away from Forbes. Long retrieve times together with quite intense flying makes a good training combination, so in the end of the competition week you will probably have about 30+ hours in the air. You will also likely think you've gotten enough of flatlands for the moment and it would be nice to have some different and more relaxed sort of flying. Though you don't want it to be just "boring soaring", do you?

That's why Great Ocean Road flying is a good choice -- it is not one bit just soaring... And in case you are acompanied by the family, they will be definitely benefiting from enjoying the views and other attractions that are plenty there for "normal" tourists.

A closer look at the variety of flying

So by this time you are probably in! Let's have a closer look at what sorts of flying to expect from coastal Victoria. There are essentially three ways to do it:

  • Dune gooning
  • XC-flights between Winky Pop and Apolo Bay
  • Ridge Soaring

It means that whatever your glider is you will find the right take off and "a right flight" for yourself. As you might have already noticed from the pictures - everything flies there - from a biginner to a high performance glider.

Hang Gliding Victoria Australia

Dune Gooning and Coffees

While dune gooning is very popular among Australian pilots, it is rarely practiced in Europe. Which is understandable since there are not too many dunes around. However this is a pure flying joy which has a lot to do with perfecting handling techniques. It is actually quite intense as all the action happens close to the ground.

The way the flying day is conducted is also different from the classical cross-country flight. There is a lot of playfulness and breaks - as long as the wind is on you can skim the dunes, practice top landings and take offs alternating the flying with one or two coffees in the meantime. Thanks to the far-sighted Ozzies, they have provided a nice cosy café for most of the dune gooning take offs.

In the area of Zeally Bay, east from the very beginning of Great Ocean Road, there are famous 13th beach and Ocean Grove
dune gooning runs.

Overall Victorian Coast has a number of dune sites which can be found on the map in the beginning of this article, the take-off icons are clickable. Also this very handy and good organized Siteguide of the Australian Federation provides lots of descriptions. If you decide to fly there, please get in touch with the local club called Dynasoarers.

The Dynasoarers

The Dynasoarers are the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club for the Geelong and Surf Coast region. They have an active membership of over 30 pilots and assist in the maintenance of local hang gliding sites in the Surf Coast/Geelong region.

Get in touch with them if you intend flying at their sites for the first time and they are more than happy to assist with information, guidance or even another pilot to fly with.

The contacts are under this link and also in every take-off description on the map.

Rob van der Klooster

Rob is an active local pilot and the HG SSO in Victoria. He has been around for quite a while and gives best hints on local nuances.

Coastal Run Bells Beach to Apollo Bay
Coastal Run from Bells Beach - Winkipop to Apollo Bay
Bells Beach to Apollo Bay. For pilots who fly the Victorian coast it's the Holy Grail of hang gliding. The flying is challenging and the views fantastic. It is very rarely done. The total distance as the crow flies is 73kms. You can fly further, down to Cape Otway, another 17kms (it's been done). If you are passing by it's worth a look and it's a good excuse for a beer.

Very precise description of this flight written by Geoff Coombs can be found on this webpage of Dynasoarers Club. Please contact the locals in case you are around for attempting this spectacular run.

A few tracklogs of coastal runs and some shorter attempts can be found on XContest under this link

Gecko and a Malibu shadow over Pacific

Ridge soaring at most popular Spion Kop.

Spion Kop is Victoria's most popular coastal site and very beginner-friendly. Given the right conditions it is possible to cross a large gap and fly to the larger hills to the west - this is quite rare for paragliders but nearly always possible for high-performance HGs. You can also fly the low 20' primary dunes at the base towards the Aireys Inlet lighthouse.

On an appropriate day with good light and enough soaring conditions the pictures in front of the famous House on Stilts and the Aireys lighthouse are the must!

Please, be aware that pilots are required to be Spion endorsed to fly this site. You can complete the Spion site specific induction with any authorised officer of the Dynasoarers, it takes a few minutes. Just give them a call. Detailed information can be found under this link

AdventureFlying Hang gliding

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