The township of Torquay, set some 95kms from Melbourne on the shores of the Bass Strait, is the gateway to the shortened part of the Great Ocean Road. The little resort is world-famous for its surf beaches, with the best, Bells Beach, found on the southwestern edge of town. Many top-notch surf companies are located in Torquay’s Surf Coast Plaza, close by the Surf World Museum, and aficionados of the sport arrive from all over the world in the summer months of January through the end of February.
The town of Torquay is split into several districts with charming names, such as Frog Hollow, Ocean Views and Wombah Park. Its glorious beaches are modelled on their English equivalents and feature shady trees and lush, grassy foreshores that are great for walking as far as Yellow Bluff and Point Danger, with their stunning vistas of the wild ocean. Gilbert and Pearl streets link with the Esplanade to form the town centre and its shopping, dining and entertainment hub, and Bell Street boasts further shops, eateries and bars.
Bells Beach is home to the annual international Rip Curl Pro Surfing Classic, which attracts competition surfers and spectators from across the world. Another unmissable event is December’s High Tide Arts and Culture Festival for its marine-themed parade, street parties, gallery shows and community events. It’s held before the hectic surfing season begins as a celebration of local culture and the natural beauty of the region, and is aimed at local people although visitors are more than welcome to join in.
Learn more about Torquay.
Accommodation options in Torquay cover all styles and budgets, from luxury resorts through motels, cottages, apartments, small hotels and guest houses. Many lodgings are on the beach or have views across gardens to the countryside, and all are within walking distance of the attractions and the beaches. If you’re planning to arrive during the summer months, booking in advance is a good idea.
Beaches and surfing
Surfing and Torquay are synonymous and the town has rightly earned the crown as Australia’s surf capital. It is one of the most popular beach resorts on the Surfcoast.
Since the early 1960s Bells Beach has hosted the world’s most prestigious and longest running event on the men’s professional surfing circuit, the Rip Curl Pro. Bells is also home to the women’s world championships, the Sun Smart Classic.
Every Easter, the world’s best surfers descend on Bells to tackle the swell and waves that can rise up to five metres. The event is now a 10 day festival attracting a crowd of thousands.
You can visit the famous beach, walk the sands and watch the big waves roll in. Torquay is a great place for surf-related products. The major manufacturers are located here, making surfboards, wetsuits, clothing, sunglasses and accessories.
The Surfworld Museum and Hall of Fame are well worth a visit.
If you can’t make it for Easter, surfing carnivals are held throughout the summer, as well as the Australian Strongman Triathlon in February and the High Tide Festival in December.
But you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy Torquay. A holiday resort since the late 19th century, Torquay’s beaches are modelled on English seaside resorts with immaculate grassed foreshore reserves, shady trees and picnic areas. A number of protected beaches offer safe swimming and are ideal for families. Sailing, diving, fishing and windsurfing are just some of the other favourite pursuits around Torquay.