Having spent the majority of my time in Australia based in and around Melbourne, it only makes sense that perhaps my favourite beach/seaside place in the country would be Torquay, Victoria. A mere 21km from Geelong, it’s in a pretty accessible place, and as the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, you can make an excellent day trip out of it.
The easiest way to explain why Torquay is such a great place to visit, is to consider it’s 3 (four) major assets. To keep things simple, I’m going to completely disregard a few points. Namely the optional extras such as the National Surfing Museum, or the Surf Coast Walks. You can easily get a few days worth of entertainment from this single point of the Great Ocean Road. Can’t really complain about that! Anyway, back to it.
It goes without saying that a place known for its surfing has pretty nice weather to go with it. I mostly added the point for effect, but it should be noted that in the summer months the population of Torquay can swell. It’s noticeable particularly around January/February, where the number of people in Torquay can triple in conjunction with the school holidays.
It’s also one of the most popular destinations for Schoolies – an Aussie celebration for school leavers, and not to be confused with the common university theme of students getting leathered whilst dressed up in school uniforms. With this in mind, should you require accommodation in or around Torquay, you should look for places to stay before you arrive. I’ve not spent a night in Torquay so I have no recommendations, but a quick Google should be able to help – if you have stayed, and do have recommendations, please pass the word on in the comments!
Torquay is up there with the best surf spots in the world, and some of the biggest surfing brands started out here. Torquay itself has a few tamer surf spots, but they’re perfectly fine for a day at the beach with a bit of surfing or bodyboarding with the family.
The best part is, the more experienced surfers can head just down the road to Jan Juc, which is right next to Torquay, and get their watersport fix at the world famous Bells beach. Bells beach also happens to be the venue for Rip Curl Pro, formerly known as the Bells Beach Surf Classic.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty terrible at surfing after having learnt over at Manly beach in Sydney, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying myself getting wiped out at Torquay. If you’re in the same boat as me, you can always get surfing lessons whilst you’re down here, and enjoy the waves. As I mentioned before, the waves here are slightly tamer and are ideal for beginners. You could probably be standing on your board within a few hours!
One of the great things about Torquay is that it isn’t just about the surfing. There are plenty of golden beaches around, and even at the busiest of times you’ll be able to find somewhere to plonk down a beach towel to lay on. In fact, it’s not uncommon to head to the beach to just be lazy and read a book, it’s actually pretty common.
The water is also relatively shallow, and there’s a fair bit of a walk until you need to swim, so even if you don’t bring anything suitable to go for a dip, you can still get your feet wet without worrying too much. All in all, a beach is a beach, and the beaches at Torquay are amongst the best of them.
All this being said, remember to bring your sunscreen. You’ll need it.
I felt like bastardising the adage a bit further, by adding my own fourth point on. But, not without good reason! As many backpackers will tell you, you might routinely bring sunscreen, a towel and sunglasses with you on a trip, but rarely will you think “I’ll bring my wetsuit and surfboard, you never know”. You don’t do it. Which is exactly why it’s important to have somewhere to do some shopping.
Whether you need to buy or hire either a wetsuit, surfboard, bodyboard, or all three, Torquay is the right place to do so.
Torquay just happens to be the home of Surf City Plaza. The shopping centre dedicated to everything surfing. Just what you would expect, and exactly what the doctor ordered. Need I say more?
Surfboards and wetsuits aside, and forgetting about brands like Quicksilver and Billabong, you might just want some good old fashioned fish and chips. Well, ‘fish and chips’. Either way, Torquay has it.
If you’ve stayed in Torquay, or are planning to, don’t forget to share your stories and ideas in the comments!