Barwon Heads. Still the seachange dream.
Barwon Heads remains a sleepy paradise since first inspiring sea changers to ditch the city and their 90’s power suits at the dawning of the naughties. However, those chasing a homely waterfront shack, a sense of community and sexytimes with Diver Dan will be left partially wanting.
Prices here sit at the higher end for this region’s property market, often reflecting the fortunes of the main game in Melbourne with a similar median. Development, planning codes and planning decisions are carefully scrutinised by this politically active local community who fiercely resist over-zealous property hijinks. Those pursuing a quick buck can expect objections of biblical proportions and notoriety in the local press if they try to uck with Barwon Heads shit. Barwon Heads ratepayers expect their pound of council planning department enforcement flesh.
Despite this, scope for knock-down/rebuilds and subdivisions remains. At times, the built environment in Barwon Heads reanimates faster than the T1000 from Terminator 2. Strict (for the time being) town boundaries drive capital growth here. Renovations add to the regeneration of housing stock; there’s a highly evolved eco-system of tradies here.
Barwon Heads is neatly intersected by the Geelong Rd, which morphs into the town’s main drag, Hitchcock Avenue. The junction of Geelong Rd and Sheepwash is the start of the community precinct which comprises the newly rebuilt ‘Pirate’ Park, skateboarding park, bowls club, tennis court, a new kindergarten playgroup and occasional care facility, little athletics club, cricket club, soccer field, pony club and scout hall. If it’s sounding like family friendly’s-ville, that’s because it is.
Cycling is de riguer here – not just because Cadel Evans calls Barwon Heads home some of the time – but because it’s dead flat and perfect for treadlies. Come summertime, when campgrounds swell and parking is a competitive sport, the trusty bike is the best way to get around. Bike riding an equally pleasant way to travel when the population shrinks back under 4,000.
Overwhelmingly, Barwon Heads offers a beautiful outdoor lifestyle, enveloped as it is by water and greenery. To the north-east is the Barwon River and to the south is the magnificent 13th beach on Bass Strait. To the west, golf greens and farming pastures frame a pretty aerial picture.
The Barwon Heads Bridge crosses where the river meets the ocean. The craggy bluff offers spectacular 360 degree views across to neighbouring Raff’s Beach, Ocean Grove, and right across to the Mornington Peninsula on a clear day.
Boutiques and café’s line Hitchcock Avenue. Like any self-respecting gentrified east coast hideaway, in Barwon Heads you can dine out on boulibasse, pick up your favourite European cheese, and wash it all down with a quality Chablis whilst out walking the pooch. The only relic of yesteryear is the utterly charmless pub. Rumour has it there’s a gastronomic intervention in motion, and a possible pokies venue fatality.
Barwon Heads is still an old money town. Magnificent estates dotted round the Barwon Heads Golf Club rub shoulders with more modest but equally lovely homes. No matter the state of the house, land value goes a long way to denoting price. Traditional beach shacks are as rare as hen’s teeth and cost a pretty penny. As you’d expect, riverfront property comes at an absolute premium.
While blocks in town are hard to come by, there’s still new releases at the 13th Beach Golf Estate. It’s five kilometres or a six minute drive out of town, and offers comparatively bigger blocks right on course if you’re that way inclined. If building’s not on your agenda, a steady supply of existing property sells here too.
Barwon Heads is the coastal town closest to a Melbourne bound train station with Marshall Station just 17 minutes away. There’s plenty of professionals who make the journey to Melbourne on a frequent if not daily basis from Barwon Heads. Drivers will benefit from a planned extension connecting Barwon Heads Road to the Geelong Ring Road.
The local primary school is well regarded with little Catholics ferried by bus to Ocean Grove’s Star of the Sea. Secondary schooling is also accessible by bus with services connecting to a multitude of Bellarine and Geelong options.
Bellarine Secondary College’s year 7 and 8 campus is located in Ocean Grove. The Drysdale Campus is 20 minutes away, hosting years 9-12. Other local secondary options include St Ignatius and Christian College, both with campuses in and around Drysdale. Schools in Geelong are 25 minutes and Oberon High School is also popular with locals.