The Surf Coast is renowned for its excellent beaches, coastal biodiversity, and a wealth of recreation and tourism opportunities. It is also the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, a national heritage site.

The region has experienced increasing urban development pressure, particularly in Torquay-Jan Juc. To ensure the region’s long-term sustainability, we must effectively balance growth while protecting the features and characteristics that make the Surf Coast special.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is working with local councils, the Wadawurrung People, the community and other key stakeholders as they undertake this project.

The Surf Coast Distinctive Area and Landscape Project will inform the development of the Great Ocean Road Strategic Framework Plan, which will provide further protection to the Great Ocean Road Region.


In September 2019 the Surf Coast was declared a Distinctive Area and Landscape under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The following maps depict the declared area:

The declaration area is shown shaded in blue on the map above.

Statement of Planning Policy

Now that the Surf Coast has been declared, work has begun to develop a Statement of Planning Policy for the area. The Statement of Planning Policy will include a 50-year vision and land use strategies to better protect the unique features of the Surf Coast for current and future generations. It also provides the opportunity to designate long term, protected settlement boundaries.

Results of phase one engagement

As input for the declaration area and policy development, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) undertook its first phase of community engagement from 14 May 2019 to 14 June 2019.

The engagement sought community feedback on:

  • What is most valued about the Surf Coast
  • What threats there are to these values
  • Ways we could protect what is valued
  • The vision for the future of the Surf Coast

A summary of our phase one engagement findings and the full consultation report are available to download here:

Next steps

Now the declaration has been made, work on the Statement of Planning Policy has begun.

There will be further community and stakeholder engagement opportunities as the project progresses. This will include the opportunity to make submissions on a draft Statement of Planning Policy.

To keep informed of future engagement opportunities, please subscribe to receive project updates.