Torquay is widely considered the surf capital of Australia, with some of the best surfing beaches in the world at its doorstep. The coastal town also marks the start of the Great Ocean Road. In other words, a visit to Torquay is a must if you’re interested in Australia’s favourite pastime, or simply if you wish to see some of the most picturesque oceanfront scenery on the planet. In the summer, the number of visitors to Torquay triples, but holiday rentals of all sorts welcome guests year-round.
Torquay is the closest town to world-famous Bells Beach, where surf and shark movie Point Break was set in the early nineties. This stunningly rugged, larger-than-life stretch of sand between cliffs attracts great swell and is sought after by experienced surfers. Even non-surfers holidaying in the area must visit Bells Beach, if only for the plunging seascapes. If you’re seeking slightly calmer waves to surf, head over to nearby Jan Juc, considered the breeding ground for the next generation of surfers. Total newbie? A number of surf schools line the beaches in Torquay, giving beginners a chance to learn the craft, too.
As you might expect, surf culture goes beyond the waves in Torquay: visitors can learn about the history of the sport at the Surf World Museum [LINK http://www.surfworld.com.au/] or browse the latest Quicksilver or Rip Curl fashions right where they were created and launched to the world, at Surf City Plaza.
As the official start to the Great Ocean Road, Torquay offers a number of attractions other than surfing. If you’re looking for a safe, family-friendly beach where you can relax and swim with the kids, head to Torquay’s Main Beach. Several cafes are located along The Esplanade, moments from the shore, so visitors can combine a delicious meal with a visit to the beach.
Tiger Moth World, an adventure park in Torquay, invites you into the universe of vintage aircrafts. The park advertises good old-fashioned fun for the whole family and runs scenic flights over Torquay onboard a World War II inspired, open-cockpit plane, along with a host of activities for kids of all ages, such as minigolf, paddle boating, volleyball, mini soccer and playground equipment.
Don’t worry: Torquay has something for the grownups, as well! Saltair Day Spa features a number of treatments, including a range of massages. If you have half a day to spend in heaven, try the Ocean Dreaming treatment, a rejuvenating 8-part experience that you can enjoy on your own or with a friend or partner. Otherwise, indulge in a 60- or 90-minute treatment for some well-deserved ‘me time’.
Staying active when you’re not surfing is easy in Torquay, with coastal trails that offer panoramic ocean views high above the beaches. If you’re feeling ambitious, walk close to 6km from Point Impossible to Yellow Bluff. This trail meanders through Wathaurung Country, where you can learn about the Aboriginals who once lived here. Closer to town, Torquay Promenade offers an easy family walk of under 2km, where visitors can find out about the region’s history while taking in breathtaking scenery. If you want to see Torquay’s beaches from up high, walk the trail from Point Danger to Bird Rock: you’ll pass Main Beach and Jan Juc and may be able to observe a surf lesson taking place.
Travellers seeking something more thrilling can go skydiving, with Australian Skydive based right in Torquay. Enjoy freefalling and parachuting while taking in beautiful ocean and hinterland views from a unique perspective. Alternately, visitors can rent a motorcycle for a few hours and ride along the Great Ocean Road. That way, if you don’t have a car, you can still drive all the way to Anglesea or Lorne. Finally, get up close and personal with the wildlife below sea-level and go snorkelling around Point Danger Marine Sanctuary. West Coast Adventure Surf School will be happy to take you out to the limestone reefs, where over 90 species dwell.
Torquay is an iconic Australian holiday destination, the birthplace of Aussie surf culture as we know it today. The town’s population of 7000 nearly triples over the summer, attesting to its popularity. If you’re planning to spend some time in Torquay, of course an interest in surfing helps, but groups and families will find plenty to do without even touching a surfboard. One thing is for certain: holidaying in Torquay will keep you on your feet!