A travel junkie who loves to write, Caity Pfohl comes from central New York state and recently finished making her way around Australia on a one-year Work and Holiday visa. Read more about her travels here: caitypfohl.com
Published February 19th 2015
Life's a beach on Victoria's Surf Coast
Tired of that city hustle? Want to feel the sand between your toes? Feel like jumping into the ocean to cool off instead of resorting to a cold shower? Look no further than Torquay, only 90 minutes from Melbourne's CBD, and the perfect spot for some beachy R&R.
Boasting beautiful beaches, great shopping and quirky, delicious cafes, you'll have plenty of things to keep yourself busy with, or, more importantly, plenty of pretty spots to do nothing but breathe in that fresh sea air.
Between Fishermans Beach, Front Beach, Cosy Corner and Torquay Surf Beach - to name just a few - you won't find it very hard to find a spot to lay your towel (if anything, it will only be hard choosing where to lay it first). The beaches above are all right in Torquay, but if you happen to come by car, you have even more options. Beautiful Bancoora Beach is only 12k from Torquay and is a great spot to escape the summer crowds. Even closer is the equally secluded Point Impossible. Just west of Torquay you'll find Southside, Point Addis and more. (A heads up so you're not completely caught off guard: both Point Impossible and Southside have nude sections!)
Bancoora Beach: peaceful and removed even on the sunniest of days
If retail therapy is what you're after, you won't have a hard time making it happen in Torquay. The Surf Coast Highway is home to Rip Curl, Oakley, Billabong, Roxy, Quiksilver, Patagonia, Ghanda, Strapper, Blunt, Globe, DC and more, offering trendy street wear and practical gear for heading into the ocean prepared. Nearby Baines Crescent has a few outlet shops (namely Rip Curl and Roxy/Quiksilver) so if you're looking to snag a few bargains, these are your best bet.
Stretch Your Legs
The Surf Coast Walk is a path that runs through Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. If you're up for it, you can take on all 44 kilometres; if you'd like to check it out but want to leave the trainers at home, a leisurely walk on one of the shorter sections (such as Torquay Surf Beach to Jan Juc Beach, or Jan Juc Beach to Bells Beach) will offer stunning views and a handful of secluded patches of sand, on the off chance you haven't found one to your liking yet.
Walking from Torquay to Jan Juc on the Surf Coast Walk
Whether you're on the prowl for cheap eats, fancier fare, that morning caffeine fix or a cheeky nightcap, Torquay has plenty of options for everyone. Fill up on flat whites at coffee spots Cafe Moby, Sticks and Stones or The Usual Suspects. Keep it casual and pick up takeout from Torquay Thai on Bell Street. Have some beachfront fish and chips at brand new Fisho's on the esplanade. Visit the newly renovated Swell café in Jan Juc, or check out its fellow local favourite, Bird Rock Cafe. Grab something filling, fast and affordable at Spudy on Pearl St. Sample some local craft brews in the chilled out beer garden at Blackman's Brewery.
Delicious, inexpensive food in a laid-back setting at local favorite Spudy
Still need convincing? Here's one more pro: Torquay serves as the official start of the Great Ocean Road. Hop on the B100 and check out nearby beauties Anglesea, Aireys Inlet or Lorne if you have the time.
Snapping that quintessential Great Ocean Road view at Teddy's Lookout in Lorne
Catch A Wave
Speaking of pros, the Rip Curl Pro takes place at nearby Bells Beach every April. If you don't mind having to brave the crowds, this is a great time to experience firsthand the oldest pro surfing competition in the world.
How to Get There:
Train/Bus: The easiest way from the CBD without a car is to take a train from Southern Cross. Get off at Geelong and take the #74 bus right to Torquay.
Car: If you have the luxury of driving, this is probably the most convenient way. Hop on the M1 and stick to it until you see signs for Torquay/the Great Ocean Road.
Where to Sleep
Torquay has a few hotel options, but for those who are a bit more budget-conscious (thinking of my fellow backpackers here), the Bells Beach Backpackers is the perfect spot to call home for the weekend. Located right on the Surf Coast Highway, it's in a great location, not to mention being a clean spot with a great atmosphere. Don't hesitate to ask the owner, Sean, for some local advice.