Every year in February we head away with the family and this year we headed to Torquay. Partly it’s to celebrate birthdays but it also gives mum and dad a chance to get away from their home during bushfire season.
Torquay is about an hours drive from Melbourne, just past Geelong on the coast. You might have driven through Torquay if you’ve ever driven down the Great Ocean Road. It’s known for its surf beaches and is the birthplace of the Rip Curl brand.
Torquay Holiday Park
This trip we stayed at Torquay Holiday Park as we were camping. But there are also a couple of resorts in town if you prefer something a bit fancy.
The Torquay Holiday Park still has plenty of luxuries to make your stay comfortable. You can choose between camping in your tent, camper van or they also have units.
They have a bunch of activities on site including mini golf, a small swimming pool and hot tub, a TV and games room including air hockey and a table tennis. There is also a jumping pillow for kids (or adults if there are no kids around). If you want to use the hot tub then you have to let management know so they can turn the hot water on – otherwise it’s just a tub. It takes about 45 minutes to heat up and if you want bubbles you have to insert a dollar.
The grounds at the Holiday Park were kept exceptionally clean, the staff were always working really hard to keep the place tidy. We had most of our meals in the camp kitchen which had plenty of hot plates and even an oven.
Shopping For A Fashion Deal
Right near the Holiday Park you’ll find a lot of the surf fashion brand stores including Rip Curl.
There are also a couple of factory outlets on Baines Crescent where you can snag a great deal on last seasons clothing. I got some cheap thongs (flip flops for Americans) and a hat for $5. Bargain!
The Holiday Park is about a 5-10 minute walk from the beach. There are a few different beaches in town:
- Torquay Beach
- Torquay Front Beach
- Torquay Surf Beach
- Jan Juc Beach
- Bells Beach
Bells Beach is further out of town but famous for surfing competitions and appears in the 90s movie Point Break. It’s definitely worth a visit.
In the mornings we enjoyed just walking down to the beach and going for a jog along the foreshore.
We had a couple of fairly windy days which made great kite flying weather at Torquay Beach.
When the tide was out we also walked out along the reef in front of Point Danger at the edge of Torquay Front Beach to look at the rock pools, though we didn’t see much.
Surfing is part of the very fabric of Torquay. We didn’t give it a try this time around but enjoyed sun baking on the beach and body boarding. There were plenty of awesome waves to catch at the surf beach. You will also see plenty of people learning to surf.
There are a number of surf schools, so it’s a great opportunity to have a go and enjoy the waves, especially if you haven’t done it before.
On the nicer days we were there, there were a lot of boarders in the water so you do have to be careful not to run into others when you’re catching a wave.
We did have a few days of rough weather while we were in town but we still managed to find plenty to do. One option is to check out the Australian National Surfing Museum. We didn’t have time for that this trip but hope to visit next time.
Barwon Heads Boat House
We did, however, take a drive to Barwon Heads to visit the Barwon Heads boat house restaurant called At The Heads one stormy afternoon.
This little restaurant has a spectacular view of the water. It was beautiful watching the storm pass by while we enjoyed a drink and took in the view.
Back in the Main Street of Torquay, you’ll find Routleys Bakery. We had coffees a few times at Routleys as well as sausage rolls, pies and vanilla slices. They are good for their baked goods and hot drinks, though they don’t have any milkshakes or iced chocolates.
Just a few steps down the footpath from Routleys is Augustus Gelatery, which you can’t miss for the colour.
They have a massive selection of ice cream flavours. I tried the rum and raisin and it was pretty good though the flavours are a bit subtle.
It’s just the refreshing snack your tastebuds need after a walk along the beach.
The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie
Speaking of tastebuds, you have to visit the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie while you are in the area. It is just a short 10 minute drive from town. They have a store with countless chocolate options including Great Ocean Road cover art which makes for a great souvenir.
You’ll also be able to watch the chocolate artisans (can we still call them Oompa Loompas?) at work through a glass window. Lucky the glass is there, otherwise I’d jump in there! They do have some chocolate samples that you can try at the door too (limit one spoonful per person).
Not only do they have endless varieties of chocolate, but they also have a restaurant that serves lunch. We visited there for my birthday lunch and ordered a margarita pizza with a special kind of Pavlova including ruby chocolate sauce. Yes it was indulgent, but it was also melt in your mouth deliciousness.
After lunch we booked in for a chocolate tasting session for just $3 each. During the tasting they will give you something like 20 different samples of chocolate to try along with water to cleanse the pallet. Our host was excellent. She told us all about how they make the different varieties of chocolate and how it is farmed. I learnt that ruby chocolate doesn’t actually have berries in it, but it’s just normal chocolate made with a slightly different process.
They have some really interesting chocolate combinations including some Aussie flavour infusions which you might not normally try. There was a lavender variety and one that had bush tomato mixed in which was quite interesting l, but not my cup of hot cocoa.
If we hadn’t already had enough chocolate we finished up with an iced chocolate back in the restaurant. We’re in for chocolate hangovers tomorrow!
Torquay is definitely worth a visit. Whether it’s just passing through on your way to the Great Ocean Road or for a longer stay, you’re bound to fall in love with the place.