- Name: Torquay
- Where: Victoria, Australia
- Founded: 1892
- Population: 10,142 (Wikipedia)
- More Information: VisitVictoria.com
The small town of Torquay (Pop. 8,000) on Victoria’s Surf Coast may be the most recognizable small town in all of Victoria. What makes Torquay so well known is the fact that is the start point for The Great Ocean Road and home to the Rip Curl Pro World Surfing Championships.
The Great Ocean Road is recognized across the country as one of the greatest if not the greatest road journey in all of Australia. The road runs from Torquay and around the southern peninsula of Victoria hugging the stunning coastal hills of the Otway Ranges that steeply plunge into the Southern Ocean before the road ends with amazing views of the dramatic coastal cliffs of the 12 Apostles at Port Campbell National Park:
The Great Ocean Road may have gotten Torquay its first recognition, but it is surfing that has made it a national icon. The downtown area of Torquay is packed with name brand surf stores to include such famous brands as Quiksilver and Rip Curl. These stores and nearby beaches makes Torquay a very popular destination for weekend surfing fans.
Unfortunately the day I visited Torquay the weather was not cooperating and there was not a whole lot of surfing going on at the beaches that border the city:
There was a few people out there playing some beach cricket which is popular at just about any Australian beach it seems no matter the weather:
Walking further down the beach at Torquay we did run into some people body boarding on the waves coming in:
How these people are able to body board in such cold weather is beyond me. However, most of the beaches around Torquay were lonely as this picture suggests:
Something else my wife and I found interesting besides admiring the beaches of Torquay was to check out the gigantic mansions that line the beach front in Torquay:
Judging by the size of the homes in the city, Torquay definitely has a lot money either living in it or at least owning property the owners take advantage of on the weekends. Torquay is also home to the Surfworld Museum that is considered the world’s premier surfing hall of fame:
If you have any interest in surfing you will find all you ever wanted to know about surfing in this museum. Part of the museum is open to the public and serves as a visitor center but to explore the remainder of the museum a small entrance fee is needed.
The most iconic aspect of Torquay’s surfing image is the Rip Curl Pro World Surfing Championships that take place every Easter Weekend:
This world famous surfing championship is held every year at Bell’s Beach located just a short five minute drive south of Torquay:
This competition has happened every year since 1962 and the world’s longest running surfing competition and this more then anything has put Torquay on the map. However, you don’t need to be a surfing fan to enjoy Bells Beach. The view from the cliffs that overlook the beach are really stunning:
I visited the beach early in the morning and the weather had improved dramatically from the day before but very few people were visiting the beach despite the large waves coming in:
There was a few dedicated surfers out there taking advantage of the beach they literally had to themselves:
Besides the handful of surfers the beach was deserted which a bit surprising considering how famous this beach is:
However, when I pulling out of the parking lot I did see a tour bus come rolling into the parking lot which leads me to believe that after the breakfast hours the beach probably starts getting filled up with tourists like myself wanting to get a look at the beach.
Anyone traveling the Great Ocean Road I highly recommend taking the side trip and taking a look at the beautiful Bell’s Beach because the views from the cliff over the beach is quite scenic and it is fun to watch the surfers do their thing on the waves which at times was quite impressive. However for the city of Torquay unless you are into surfing there isn’t a whole lot else to see. I found the city a bit one dimensional and definitely almost exclusively geared towards the surf crowd. So keep that mind if visiting, but it was interesting seeing the town none the less.