Australian National Site Guide - East Coast

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Victoria - East Coast - 13 sites

Map of East Coast sites
Name Location Type Conditions Rating Height
Cairns Bay 90km S of Melbourne. Coastal S - SSW - SW PG4 / HG Intermediate 100' / 30m asl
Cape Liptrap 150km SE of Melbourne. Coastal Cliffs W,SW PG4 / HG Intermediate 300' / 90m asl
Eagles Nest Cape Patterson 100km SE of Melbourne. Coastal Cliff SE PG4 / HG Intermediate (PG2 / HG Supervised?) 120'/ 35m asl
Fisher Street, Phillip Island On Phillip Island. Low coastal cliffs. NNW-NW 12m / 40ft
Flinders Golf Club 75km S of Melbourne. Coastal cliffs S, SSE PG2 / HG Supervised 114' asl, 35m asl
Flinders Monument 75km S of Melbourne. Coastal cliffs E Advanced HG, PG5 90' asl, 30m asl
Grossard Point, Phillip Island On Phillip Island. Low coastal cliffs. NW at 10-15kn 17m / 55ft
Kilcunda 100km SE of Melbourne. Coastal Dunes S-SW PG2 / HG Supervised 50' / 15m asl
Phillip Island 85km SSE of Melbourne. Coastal
Portsea 65km S of Melbourne. Coastal dunes/cliffs S-SW up to 20kts maximum PG2 / HG Supervised 70' / 20m asl
Potters Road, San Remo 90 km southeast of Melbourne via the Bass highway, just ouside San Remo. Grassy coastal cliff Southerly PG2 / HG Supervised in bowl, PG5 / HG Advanced otherwise 45m/150ft
Rhyll, Phillip Island On Phillip Island. Low coastal cliffs. East to NNW, North is best. 10 + Knots. PG5 / HG Advanced 16m / 52ft
Shoreham 75km S of Melbourne. Coastal Cliff E - ESE PG4 / HG Intermediate 80' / 24m asl
Victoria - East Coast

Cairns Bay

Relatively high soaring site near Melbourne with easy top landing.

Takeoff

Park in the small parking area off the road and walk down the track to the coast. When you reach the gully at the bottom cross over to the left hand side and make you way to the left hand side cliff top. Take off is just to the right of the bowl on the cliff top, all of the cliff top is a good grassy area.

Landing

You should top land here as well, the beach is very small (non existent at high tide) and very rocky. Quite a few injuries have happened here as a result of beach landings.

Flight

The flying beat is 1 km and down the coast to Flinders ramp as well as along the coast to the right but this can only be done in great conditions. Fly the bowl and around the cliff to the left of launch. Some great flying can be done here, the area suits a SW just great. Make sure you have at least 50' above the cliff top before venturing around the cliff to the left of launch and only fly around the point if the wind is straight on launch the rotor on the point has caused some moments of grief for some.

Soaring at Cairns Bay is a doddle, but can be very potentially dangerous if the wind is slightly cross to the west or east. If inexperienced pilots fly out and in front of the large cliff to left or right of takeoff, the rotor can be horrendous. Several severe accidents have taken place on this stretch of coast due to point-induced rotor - and there is nowhere to go but into the sea. Don't go out of the bay area on your own, or without talking to an experienced pilot first.

Hazards/Comments

Avoid Beach landings, as the beach is very small or non existent. Beware when flying around cliff corner on left hand side of Launch that you have enough height to get around - a number of pilots have been hurt in emergency landings due to insufficient height to capture lift band. Beware rotor/turbulence that can occur on point to left hand side of launch if wind is too cross.
Victoria - East Coast

Cape Liptrap

A beautiful coastal soaring site consisting of five large bowls and approximately 11km of low sand dunes. The five bowls cover a distance of about 3km. Launch is ideal for paragliding and adequate for hang gliders although not really steep enough. In a firm wind, launch is no problem.

Takeoff

Rounded ground ramp cliff top.

Landing

Top landing only. Large 60m x 20m cleared area to the left of takeoff. From the air the landing area is clearly visible, do not fly beyond the roadway/powerline, you may find penetration difficult and undershoot into the tea trees.

Flight

Excellent flying, reminiscent of Flaxmans and Bells with superb views over Wilson's Promonotory.

Hazards/Comments

Do not fly at Cape Liptrap alone. The site is relatively remote and has few visitors. There is little or no mobile phone reception. Only fly this site in winds strong enough to stay up due to the lack of bottom landings. If the wind shifts to the west or south the points create turbulence. The bowl adjacent to the lighthouse faces SSW, the remainder of the coast faces SW. It is a long walk out if you bomb out on the beaches to the north.
Victoria - East Coast

Eagles Nest

The National Parks Act 1975, Part 1, 4(a)(iii)provides for the use and enjoyment of those parks by the public for inspiration, solitude and appropriate self-reliant recreation.

This site is managed by Parks Victoria under the National Parks Act 1975. This site has been temporarily prohibited for use by Parks Victoria. Should you choose to launch from this site you may be in breach of the National Parks (Park) regulations 2003, Part 2, section 44(2) "A person must not, in a Park- (a) launch or land an aircraft."

Takeoff

Grassy easy launch overlooking the small Eagles Nest bay on the left of the carpark entrance.

Landing

Landings at the bottom are safest, however top landings over 300m from the cliff edge have been achieved but are risky.

Flight

Good flying for paragliders or floaters. Due to the small restricted beach landings, not ideal for higher performance gliders.

Hazards/Comments

If the wind is E or S the points produce turbulence.
Victoria - East Coast

Fisher Street, Phillip Island

Takes a NNW-NW so good if too NW for Rhyll and too west for Grossard. Height 12 M, so possible if Rhyll or Grossard is too strong.

Takeoff

Parking area at the end of Fisher Street. Careful - boggy after rain. Launch at the marked spot or anywhere to the right of it.

Landing

Beach directly in front and top landing is good also.

Hazards/Comments

Be careful if the wind is strong as there is only houses behind.
Victoria - East Coast

Flinders Golf Club

A ground ramp and a good set up area.

Weather station

Takeoff

Ground ramp.

Landing

Beach landing only.

Flight

In light conditions pilots are restricted to the bowl area and should take care to avoid trees, rotors from the right hand point and the wakes of other gliders.

In consistent southerly lift, pilots can enjoy a trip up the coast to the point before the Blow hole, about 1.6km away to the west and to the Gunnery boundary on the low slopes to the left of the bowl.

In excellent Southerly conditions, it is possible to cross the Blowhole and fly to Cairns Bay and return. Note that there is no bottom landing area west of the Blowhole, so this should only be attempted if you are sure the conditions are consistently good.

You are advised to take a vario. In summer quite bouyant bubbles of air can lift from exposed rock areas on the beach and this can result in additional heights of several hundred feet.

In exceptional post-frontal conditions, higher performance gliders can work cloud suck from parcels of moist air passing over the coastline with gains of 1000 to 2000ft possible by circling back under the clouds and over the town. Care must be taken not to drift back over the Golf course too low to make it back, however.

Hazards/Comments

The Flinders area has proven to be a very popular, versatile paragliding and hang gliding venue. The golf course take off area and recovery steps make it that much safer and easier. When the wind is SW, give it away, the turbulence in the corner has nearly claimed some of our more experienced pilots. From time to time this site is still in danger of being lost due to landings on top, and driving the wrong way down the one way road. Beach landings are easy and safe, and will ensure that we keep the golfers happy.

Flinders Bowl (golf course)- Special rules apply to this popular and sensitive site.

  • Half hour maximum flight time if other pilots are waiting to launch.
  • No aerobatics anywhere near the ramp.
  • No top landings.
  • No wraps on the golf course
  • Walk up the cliff on the paths only.
  • Do not fly in front of the Naval gunnery. The guns are still in use!
  • Do not use the launch next to the Naval gunnery. This is a security issue for the Navy.

In addition to the above rules always allow HG to establish their flight after T/O, beware of spectators, and radio controlled gliders. Their operators do not always appreciate the danger they can be to pilots. Accidents that have occured here have been due to scratching in light winds. These rules are simple, obey them or the site WILL be lost.

Hooded Plovers nest at this site.

Victoria - East Coast

Flinders Monument

This site has been recently reopened (March 2017) and use is subject to a license granted by the Mornington Peninsula Shire for one year, with renewal subject to our responsible use. Please help us hold onto this site by assuring all operations are conducted safely and in accordance with the license conditions which are summarized below.

Weather station

General conditions of use

  • Site rating: Advanced HG/PG5, (Intermediate pilots may fly if a safety officer present considers conditions are suitable.)
  • All pilots must be current financial members of the HGFA.
  • Landings and takeoffs must be made in the designated areas (see maps).
  • Do not take off unless a safe landing area is immediately available. For example, the tide may be in leaving no beach and conditions may not guarantee soaring, or there may be too many people in the landing area.
  • Flying is not to take place if the reserve is being used for scheduled ceremonies or other booked events such as weddings. (Keep an eye on the HGFA forums for notification of these events, and do not fly if you find one in progress).
  • No competition or commercial use is allowed.
  • The gate must remain closed and locked when not in use.

Access to the site

The slope may be accessed by a gate which is secured with a combination padlock. The combination is changed regularly.

To obtain the combination, log onto the members only section of the HGFA website and open the forums. The current combination is posted in the "Cloudbase Cafe/Flinders Monument Site Information" forum. Alternatively, contact either the Skyhigh or MHGC club site officers for the latest combination.

As per the conditions of use, the gate must be locked immediately if the site is not being used.

Please respect the purpose of the RSL flagpole and do not use it as a mount for wind indicators.

Takeoff

The takeoff is above the pier to the right of the war memorial(s) on the cliff top. This launch is through a gate in the fence. Most hang gliders should use a couple of wire men to avoid snagging the fence with a side wire as they go through the gate.

Paragliders can usually lay out on the grass just behind the gate, get the wing up and walk through the gate as they launch.

Hang gliders should assure that there is at least 10-12 knots of wind before launching as they need a wind that allows them to step off and fly away. There is almost no run available. (Hang Gliders should NEVER try to run through the gate!)

Try to avoid too much foot traffic in the takeoff area to minimize impact on the lawn.

Landing

The usual landing area is the beach to the right of the pier and below the car park which can be very wide at low tide and is generally lightly used by pedestrians when the wind is moderate to strong, but can dwindle significantly at high tide and can get crowded by sun worshipers on light wind sunny days.

If you are flying and find that the main landing area subsequently becomes obstructed by beach goers, land on the beach near Dodds Creek 600m to the left and carry back up.

Directly after launch if you go left, there is a large pine tree that must be avoided. Please give it good clearance.

Designated takeoff and landing areas

Flight

The Monument site offers excellent lift in any soarable E-ESE wind. The best flying is generally in October/November when there are usually lots of easterlies or in March. Good winds also occur perhaps once or twice a week up until April. In light winds the site is generally flyable from just south of takeoff to where the cliff peters out about 500m to the left, but in any reasonable wind, you can cross to Boyds Point to the north. In excellent winds, it is possible to fly all the way to Shoreham/Point Leo and if the wind is East and about 15 knots, high performance gliders can usually make the return trip from Shoreham.

It can sometimes be very difficult to get up in light conditions. In fact, in very light conditions it can seem soarable, but there appears to be some form of block which destroys lift below cliff level at the sheer cliff end to the north. The boats anchored by the pier in front of the site offer a good indicator of wind direction.

Hazards/Comments

The Monument is best flown in SE to Easterly wind conditions, with ESE being the best wind for the takeoff and the section of ridge. The maximum safe wind speed for takeoff for hang gliders is about 20 knots with 3 wire men. It is not recommended to fly in close to the cliff to the north of take off if you find yourself below the top of the cliff in light winds.

Do not take the presence of whitecaps out to sea as necessarily indicating wind. The tide flows very quickly just offshore and generates whitecaps in quite light winds. Your best indication of wind direction is the presence of "wind lines". The angle of the moored boats close to shore is useful, but they can also be affected by tidal movement.

Map information

map
Victoria - East Coast

Grossard Point, Phillip Island

Only a short beat, but great for top landing practice.

Takeoff

From the end of Devon Ave walk right a bit to get a clean launch.

Landing

Top land or bomb out on the beach and walk up via the stairs at left.
Victoria - East Coast

Kilcunda

The Graveyard site consists of dunes on the stretch of coast between the town of Kilcunda and Cape Patterson, and is suitable for STUDENT rated pilots upwards. It may be soared, and offers a glide for learners when the tide is out.

In June 2009, Launching from the disused railway embankment within the coastal reserve close to town has been temporarily prohibited for use by Parks Victoria and VHPA.

Flight

In lighter winds, the dune takeoff at the Graveyard (on west side of the path in to the beach) is preferred for hang gliders, as the embankment take off further west around the rocky point is quite low and is suitable only for stronger winds.

The dune face is broken and uneven further to the East, but there's a good high soarable dune face about 400m long at the Graveyard takeoff. In a good wind (15kts), it is eminently soarable, but beware - this site has claimed a life in light winds when scratching the low dunes.

No flying past the point right of launch, to Trestle bridge, August to April, because of Plovers nesting there.

Hazards/Comments

The takeoff at the Graveyard is directly above a popular surf fishing spot, so beware of people and fishing equipment on the beach when landing.

The Graveyard launch does have a limited takeoff run. It has become very overgrown, so watch out for undergrowth snagging the hang glider control bar on the takeoff run. Paraglider, student and novice pilots should consider walking along the beach to the east about 150m and launching from some less overgrown although lower dunes.

There is very little beach at low tide.

Be careful not to catch a wingtip in the face of the dunes when scratching if the wind is light.

Hooded Plovers nest at this site.

Victoria - East Coast

Phillip Island

Other than Grossard Point and Rhyll, there are currently no "official" sites on Phillip Island, although there are flyable spots on council land.
Restrictions: No launching anywhere within the boundaries of Phillip Island Nature Park. Check the detailed map on their regulations page. Launching within the park boundary may attract a sizable fine from a Park Ranger.
Victoria - East Coast

Portsea

The site is within the Mornington Peninsula National Park so pilots should respect and enjoy the environment. Most importantly that means take-off cleanly from the ramp, land on the beach and return via the main access track. NO scrambling up and down the cliffs or dunes! Stay out of the sand dunes completely to protect their structure and to protect the birds and animals that live there. This means that flying operations of launching and landing are to be confined to the launch area, the beach and the interconnecting ramp.

All of the beach may be used for landing and part, but not all, of the beach can be used for ground handling practice as well. However, launching from the beach at Portsea is not permitted.

The beach area where ground handling is NOT permitted runs between the beach access ramp and a point 200 m west of the access ramp - see map.

Takeoff

The path to the launch from the carpark leads to a glider set-up area, out of the wind on the right, and the synthetic turf take-off ramp to the left (see photo). Pilots should set up with the aim to being airborne about 1m before the edge of the ramp. For paragliders that means standing about 3m back from the edge before inflating the glider and being sure to keep quickly pulling the canopy up until its flying above your head - if you don't you'll get dragged back into the scrub!

Landing

On the beach in front of launch. Beware the beach slopes quite dramatically and can be very difficult for hang gliders to land. The wind slightly off to west and tide fully out provides the best opportunity for landing. The beach widens towards London Bridge, watch for turbulence.

Flight

The total flyable distance is 8km. When flying below the point to the left of takeoff, be wary of the slight rotor which has claimed many kites.

Flying to the Rip should only be attempted when the wind is off to the right (south) at takeoff.

The dangers to watch out for are:

  • The rotor behind London Bridge (more than one glider has crashed behind the Bridge).
  • At high tide there is no landing area on the beach at some sections.
  • The points in between the bays can be hazardous, and even more dangerous if the run is attempted with a wind which is not off to the right at takeoff. If at any stage of the run you should land, a long hard walk is in front of you, and if you are injured, help may be some time in getting to you.

On an average day, heights of 300ft or so above launch are normal. The site record is probably held by Ken Hess in an Icarus V, with about 1000ft above, back in the late 70's.

Hazards/Comments

Spectators crowding around the takeoff and landing area, small or nil landing area at high tide, and power lines near the life saving club.

Map information

map
Victoria - East Coast

Potters Road, San Remo

This grassy cliff is private property and the kind owner allows access as long as he is rung first (business hours): Pete Maclellan 5678 5292 or Eleanor Ross 5678 5668.

This was going to be a golf course but was not completed, so there are lots of nice areas for top landing. South winds are very good. SSE is better if you want to try left, as getting back can be an issue. While the bowl is rated Supervised, going left or right out of it is Advanced.

No smoking on the site.

Takeoff

Launch from the top in 8-15 kts.

Landing

There is ample beach to bomb out, with a stairway up on the left. Top landing is very good, just avoid the rotor from the large pine tree, right of launch. When the winds is crossed left or right, there is rotor at the points.

Flight

This site offers flights all the way to Kilcunda and San Remo.

Hazards/Comments

Watch out for the occasional hole and star picket.

Going left there is no bottom landing in places, and you cannot climb out, because the waves come right up to the points, so you must be sure of a top landing option. Its then a long walk back...

Victoria - East Coast

Rhyll, Phillip Island

The BOM Rhyll AWS ( Automatic Weather Station ) is at NE point.

Takeoff

Large grassy area available from East to North. East beat very small. North is best with 2 km beat.

Landing

Plenty of room for top landing. Bomb out: If there is beach, walk around to right 200 Meters and up near the yacht club.

Hazards/Comments

Beware of high wind gradient. Carefully gauge the wind in the high trees behind launch. Check the tides for Rhyll before going as there is no beach if the tides are more than 1.5 Meters.
Victoria - East Coast

Shoreham

Takeoff

Walk around the cliff point on the right hand side of the beach. Launch is around the point and up on the more clear part of the cliff top. It is important to get the canopy up cleanly as launch is covered in small bushes etc that is easy to get your lines snagged in.

Landing

Landing is easiest by flying around the point to Shoreham beach

Flight

There is a beat of up to 1km. An easy 100' to 150' above Launch and up to 500' above Launch achievable. This site can be only usually flown with a good ESE wind as takeoff is quite low and the cliff is not that steep. However once up and flying it can be quite good.

Hazards/Comments

For paragliders this site has a very limited range of flyable conditions. If it is windy enough to get up from the low takeoff there is a danger of being blown back once higher.