By June Ramli
My recent visit to Aireys Inlet, a charming coastal town near Melbourne, left me captivated and eager to share my experience.
This hidden gem is nestled just a stone’s throw away from the Sunnymeade Hotel, which marks the beginning of the iconic Great Ocean Road.
I had the pleasure of exploring this quaint town, and it was a delightful escape from the daily grind.
Aireys Inlet is a tranquil hamlet with a population of around 2,000 residents.
Despite its small size, it recently earned accolades for its appeal to visitors.
In fact, you can easily explore the entire place in just one day, as I did.
Getting to Aireys Inlet is straightforward.
You can opt for a scenic bus ride from Geelong Station, which costs around $10 for a one-way adult ticket.
Alternatively, you can rent a car for more flexibility.
Arriving in the town, you’ll find a row of charming shops.
To make the most of your Aireys Inlet experience, I recommend staying at the Sunnymeade Hotel.
You can read our review of this delightful spot here.
While a day in Aireys Inlet is enough to savor its beauty, I would highly recommend dedicating an entire weekend to avoid a rushed experience.
When it comes to dining, the town has an old-school charm, with no Uber Eats service.
Visitors are limited to the local restaurants, so it’s a good idea to call ahead to secure your dining plans.
I particularly recommend the pub next to Sunnymeade if you’re seeking a variety of dining experiences beyond the hotel’s in-house restaurant.
There are a few other eateries in the area, including a delightful French restaurant Le Comptoir I tried their French Onion Soup was prepared to perfection, and what’s unique is that the staff hails from France, often conversing in their native language as they serve guests.
It’s an unusual but delightful touch, and I encourage you to check it out.
The icing on the cake of Aireys Inlet is undoubtedly the Split Point Lighthouse, which is well worth a visit. For a modest fee of $10, you can take a tour of the lighthouse.
The climb to the top is manageable for those with a moderate level of fitness, and you can learn about the lighthouse’s history during the ascent.
The view from the top of the lighthouse is simply breathtaking, and you can spot Eagle Rock, which resembles a smaller version of the Twelve Apostles.
The lighthouse also holds a unique charm, having appeared in a television series called Round the Twist which premiered in the 1990s.
As the tour guide revealed, some viewers of the series now make up some of the visitors of the lighthouse.
Tickets to visit the lighthouse can be purchased from the friendly staff at the counter at the lighthouse’s base, and card payments are accepted.
Note that children under five and those with pacemakers are not allowed to climb the lighthouse.
For those who prefer not to walk like I did from my hotel base, there are nearby car parks for a convenient pit stop.
Additionally, a quaint café can be found in the vicinity.
However, if you’re up for a walk, you can explore the nearby reserve, enjoy the local artwork, and take in the surrounding flora and fauna.
After a hectic weekend covering PAX, this relaxing mini-break in Aireys Inlet was just what the doctor ordered.
I feel fortunate to have experienced such a peaceful and beautiful retreat, and I can’t wait to return.
June Ramli is the editor of DailyStraits.com. To stay in touch with June, look her up on Twitter @junesairaramli