Torquay, an easy 90 minute drive from Melbourne, has long been one of Victoria's favourite beachside playgrounds. As the gateway to the famous Great Ocean Road, it attracts hordes of visitors year after year, from families to surfers to well-to-do couples to backpackers. Torquay has changed somewhat over the last decade or two, with funky cafes, fine-dining restaurants and all-day breakfast joints outnumbering the take-away food outlets; one of the original caravan parks now long-gone, with a swish resort is its place; and the cars parked along the esplanade are more likely to be sleek sedans and fancy SUVs than beat–up old station wagons and kombi vans. But there is one thing that has remained a constant despite the changing demographic landscape: the beauty of Torquay's beaches.
Surfers flock to Torquay Surf Beach all year-round (yes, some of them still in their beat–up old station wagons and kombi vans), and families, swimmers braving the cold ocean and those just wanting a splash in the shallows of calmer waters fill the shores of Cosy Corner, just around the bend from the surf beach. And the rise in accommodation and dining options mean this beachside town is no longer just a summer haunt—Torquay is happily abuzz with visitors twelve months of the year.
But if the year-round crowds mean that Cosy Corner is getting just a little too
cosy for you, or if your peaceful beachside stroll is getting interrupted by surfers with boards tucked under their arms jogging across the beach from the car park to the waves, then pay a visit to Whites Beach. It's just a kilometre or two further along the esplanade, as the endless stretch of sand begins to curl its way around towards Barwon Heads and Queenscliff, and it's the perfect place to go to escape the masses.
The peace and quiet of Whites Beach
Whites Beach is peaceful and quiet, and sometimes the only sounds are of the waves crashing against the shore. It's ideal for walking (and even jogging when the tide is out), writing your name in the sand, or collecting shells and driftwood. Swimming is possible in some small sections of the beach, however it is not patrolled, and care must be taken due to the wave and tide conditions. The beach is dog-friendly, with no restrictions on timing or seasons as to when you can take Fido down for a long run along the sand and a splash in the waves as they roll in (and there are plenty of pooper-scooper bags available from the 'pooch post' just before you head down onto the sand).
Whites Beach is perfect for dogs.
Watching the waves roll in...
Whites Beach is accessible from numerous points along the Surf Coast Walk, a gravel path that runs along the esplanade, all the way to town and Torquay's main beaches. The path then keeps going towards Jan Juc and beyond, and heads further along the Great Ocean Road. It also continues in the other direction from Whites Beach, skirting along the cliff tops, winding through the bush and low trees. The walk rewards you with glimpses of the ocean on one side, and the magnificent houses made of glass and rendered brick on the other side, perched grandly on prime beachside real estate where fibro beach shacks and weatherboard holiday homes on stilts once stood.
Access to Whites Beach is easy from the Surf Coast Walk
The fabulous Whites Beach Playground is also a must-see stop on your visit to this part of Torquay, for young and old. Located just above the beach, as the sandy clifftops turn to grass, there's a flying fox, a roped jungle gym and a big swingy thing that could fit a jumble of kids in it all at once. There are picnic tables and barbecues under a covered shelter, a drinking fountain and toilet facilities, as well as mosaics set into in the concrete pathway around the playground, a big wooden turtle to climb over, and information posts with little tiles about all sorts of topics relating to indigenous themes. There's plenty of open space and green grass to kick a football, chase the dog or just let the kids run crazy, and ample car parking is available along the esplanade for access to the beach and playground.
All aboard the swingy thing!
Torquay will remain ever-popular as one of Victoria's 'beachiest' places to visit, and Whites Beach is perfect if you are looking for a little more peace and seclusion as part of your stay on the surf coast, whatever the time of year. Just don't tell too many people…