Nestled along the picturesque Great Ocean Road, Torquay is a quaint coastal town that has become a beloved destination for travelers seeking out that perfect blend of sun, surf, and sand.
Marking the official starting point of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is home to some of the most impressive coastal scenery in the state, with its long stretches of pristine beaches, rolling hills, and rugged cliffs.
But Torquay is much more than just a pretty face. The town has a rich history, from its Indigenous inhabitants to the surfers who helped shape its modern identity.
Speaking of, one of the main draws of Torquay is its reputation as a surfing mecca.
The town’s famous surf breaks have been attracting surfers from around the world for decades. Bells Beach is home to the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing competition, which draws some of the biggest names in the sport. But even if you’re not a surfer, you can still soak up the culture in Torquay by browsing the many shops and cafes that line the town’s streets.
In addition to its surfing scene, Torquay is a great destination for beach lovers. The town is home to a number of beautiful beaches, including the family-friendly Front Beach, wild Point Impossible Beach, and rugged Jan Juc Beach. You can can spend your days soaking up the sun, swimming in the clear waters, or exploring the nearby cliffs and rock pools.
And Torquay is not just a summertime destination. The town’s mild climate makes it a great place to visit year-round. Visitors can enjoy hiking along the Surf Coast Walk, which offers breathtaking views of the coastline, or exploring the nearby Great Otway National Park, which is home to some of the region’s most impressive waterfalls and wildlife.
There’s no doubt about it: we can’t get enough of this beautiful coastal town. Today, we’re excited to share exactly what it is about Torquay we love and what exactly there is to do there.
Kick Off Your Time in Torquay With Brunch at Pond Cafe
Now, if there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I’m a disciple of all things brunch. I often tell friends, in fact, that the main reason why I moved to Melbourne is because it’s home to the best brunches in the world. I can’t get enough of them!
Whenever I travel, then, I find myself lowering my brunch-based expectations, as there isn’t much that can live up to the excellent meals I regularly eat in Melbourne’s Inner North.
That is, except for Pond Cafe in Torquay. I adore this bustling cafe!
It’s one of the most popular spots in town; always busy, but there’s usually a table or two free, so you don’t often have to wait for a space. It’s located on the town’s esplanade, overlooking the beach, and on a sunny day, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
Pond Cafe offers a range of breakfast and lunch options, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. They use fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, too, which helps make their meals so delicious.
One of the highlights of Pond Cafe is its coffee, made with Seven Seed Roasters beans and prepared by skilled baristas. Dave was seriously impressed with his oat flat white — and he knows his coffee — while I opted for one of their delicious cold-pressed juices.
Dave ordered the smashed avocado for brunch: the perfectly-ripened avocado was topped with creamy turmeric hummus, sweet cherry tomatoes, tangy Meredith goat cheese, and roasted soy pepita seeds. It made for a delicious blend of flavours and has quickly become his go-to order whenever we’re in town.
I’m always delighted by the breaky burger, which is filled with smoky bacon, fried eggs, melted cheese, pickled onion, jalapeño mayo, and served in a soft brioche bun. It’s a fantastic version of a breakfast burger and I’d highly recommend trying it out.
Of all the brunch spots in Torquay, this is easily mine and Dave’s favourite, so if you’re going to go to just one, make it Pond Cafe.
Address: 39 The Esplanade, Torquay, VIC 3228.
Opening times: 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., seven days a week.
Prices: The cheapest dish on the menu is the jam on sourdough toast for $10, while everything else is between $14 and $24. The smashed avo is $22, while the breaky burger is $18.
Relax on Front Beach: the Main Beach in Town
Torquay is home to quite a few beaches, and we’ll be mentioning the very best of them throughout this post. But if you’re planning on spending time on just one, odds are it’s going to be Front Beach. This is the main beach in Torquay, located in the heart of town with the esplanade running right alongside it.
It’s a wonderful place to while away a sunny afternoon.
What we love most about Front Beach is its vast, grassy embankment. I don’t know about you, but one of my least favourite things about going to the beach is dealing with the sand that inevitably ends up blanketing my sticky, sunscreen-covered skin. At Front Beach, though, you can simply lay your towel down on the grass, indulge in being 15 metres from the ocean, but not feel as though you need to shower every five minutes to get the sand off.
It’s a sheltered beach (especially in comparison to the nearby surf mecca of Bells Beach) which makes it particularly kid-friendly. The water is clean, clear, and not too rough, so it’s excellent for swimming, too. Throw in a pristine stretch of golden sand and you’ve got yourself a pretty wonderful place to spend a day.
Alongside the waterfront, you’ll find tons of amenities. You’ve got a playground, BBQs, public toilets, drinking fountains, and even showers, along with a walking-and-cycling path that runs the full length of the beach. (This trail is officially part of the Surf Coast Walk, which we’ll be talking about later.) The esplanade is alive with cafes, restaurants, and bars, including the previously-mentioned Pond Cafe, so grabbing a meal involves very little movement.
While the beach is spacious with plenty of parking, on a sunny day on a public holiday in the middle of summer, you may struggle to find a space if you don’t get there early. This won’t be a problem if you’re spending the night in Torquay — you can just walk to the beach instead — but if you are day tripping, expect to spend 10 minutes driving up and down the esplanade in search of a space.
Finally, Front Beach is a dog-friendly beach, so if you’re bringing your four-legged friend with you to Torquay, they’re going to love this spot as much as you do.
Find Your Slice of Calm at Cosy Corner Beach
Continue walking southwest along Front Beach and you’ll eventually find yourself on the aptly-named Cosy Corner Beach. Located in a quiet cove, between Front Beach and Point Danger, this secluded stretch of sand is backed by grass verges and is home to some of the calmest waves in Torquay.
The beach is particularly popular with families — both locals and visitors — as the ocean is perfect for swimming with little ones. Its sheltered location means it doesn’t get too windy, either, so if you’re a fan of stand-up paddleboarding, this is a great place from which to get out on the water.
Lose Your Clothes at Point Impossible Beach
One of the main attractions of Point Impossible Beach is its excellent surf conditions, which make it a popular destination for surfers of all skill levels. The beach is home to several different breaks, with waves that are suitable for beginners as well as more experienced surfers.
This is also a infamous clothing-optional beach here in Torquay, so don’t be alarmed if you see your fellow beachgoers shimmying out of their bathers while you’re there.
If you’re going for sunbathing, make it a morning visit, as in the afternoon, the beach gets shaded by the surrounding sand dunes.
This is the start point of the Surf Coast Walk, so do take some time to stroll along the dunes to get a taster for what this walk has to offer.
Jan Juc Beach
Jan Juc Beach is yet another popular surf beach, three kilometers south-west of Torquay’s Front Beach. It’s known for its wide stretch of sand, which is perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and playing beach games. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months, making it a safe and family-friendly destination for swimming and water activities.
One of the main attractions of Jan Juc Beach is its world-class surfing conditions. The beach has several surf breaks that provide consistent and challenging waves for experienced surfers.
Jan Juc Beach is surrounded by beautiful coastal cliffs and rolling hills, which provide stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape. The beach is also located near several walking trails, including the Surf Coast Walk, which provides visitors with an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area.
Grab a Coffee From Mikro Coffee Roasters
If Dave and I aren’t swooning over brunches, you can guarantee we’re roaming the streets in search of a perfect flat white. One of our first ports of call whenever we arrive in Torquay, then, is Mikro Coffee Roasters.
Mikro is a specialty micro-roastery, known for its high-quality coffee beans, which are roasted in-house to create a rich-yet-smooth-tasting cup of delight. They focus on bringing sustainably-produced coffee to Torquay, ensuring the farmers they work with are paid well for their work and that, in turn, we get to enjoy the best coffee in town.
What’s particularly interesting about Mikro is that they offer 100% Australian grown coffee as a single origin option; something that’s a real rarity in this country! Have a try: we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
We drink oat flat whites and have to confess that Mikro’s would fit right in with some of the best cafes in our Extremely Coffee Focused neighbourhood. They have a small indoor and outdoor space for drinking your coffee, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and you can buy bags of their beans if you decide you want to have an attempt at recreating their offerings at home.
If you’re a Melburnian coffee snob like us, head to Mikro. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Hit up Surf City Plaza for Some New Fits
In a town that’s so popular with surfers, it’s no surprise that a place like Surf City Plaza has managed to thrive.
This shopping complex is dedicated to all things surfing. You’ve got your Rip Curl, your Billabong, your Quicksilver, Boardriders, Oakley, and more. In other words, this is the place to come if you’re keen to pick up some new beachwear while you’re in town.
I love to stop by here and nearly always find myself picking up a couple of items from the Rip Curl store. Speaking of: note that Surf City Plaza isn’t marked on Google maps for some reason, so instead, set your GPS for the Rip Curl store, which is in the heart of the complex, then you can navigate from there.
I’ll confess that these stores can be quite spendy, so if you’re finding the items a little out of your price range, walk around the corner to Baines Crescent, where you’ll find a series of factory outlets for the exact same stores.
Let’s just say, while I was blowing my travel budget on a whole new wardrobe from Rip Curl, Dave could be found in the outlet around the back, scoring plenty of better-value outfits.
In addition to clothing, you’ll also be able to pick up surfboards and wetsuits from many of the stores, along with thongs, towels, sunglasses, and anything else you might need for a day out at the beach.
Learn to Surf in One of the Best Places to Do So
I have a rule that every time I find myself in a surf destination, I sign myself up for a lesson. At this point, I’ve done so in countries as diverse as Indonesia, Mexico, and England. And so, as soon as I arrived in Torquay, I started hunting down a surf school; it was time to remind myself just how terrible I am at this sport.
So why is Torquay such a good place for learning how to surf?
Well, it’s the surfing capital of Australia, home to some of the best surf breaks in the world. You’ve likely heard of Bells Beach, which is where the Rip Curl Pro surf tournament has been held for over 60 years, but don’t panic: that’s not where you’ll be surfing! Fortunately, there are plenty of beaches in Torquay that are well-suited for beginners.
There’s a handful of surf schools to choose from here; we’d recommend opting for Go Ride a Wave, a well-respected provider that has been operating in Torquay since 1987. Their teachers are warm, patient, and excellent at providing thorough, clear instructions.
Surf lessons are a lot of fun, and even though you’ll likely find it frustrating at first, you’ll be filled with adrenaline after riding your first wave to shore. Go Ride a Wave provides you with a wetsuit and soft surfboard (these are best for beginners), then takes you down to the beach to run through the basics.
During the class, you’ll be in waist-deep water at all times to keep you safe and your instructor will help you spot the perfect waves. Whenever they do, they’ll give your board a push to help you get started with riding. Once you’re racing off towards the shore, lying flat on your stomach, it’s time to try and stand! It might take you several (dozen) tries to get yourself upright and stable, but when it finally clicks, there’s no greater feeling.
Doing all of this in such an iconic surf destination? In our eyes, it’s an unforgettable experience.
And, Of Course, Head to Bells Beach
If you’re no beginner to surfing, you’ve probably already planned to carve out a significant chunk of time in which to tackle the waves at Bells Beach. This world-renowned surf spot is famous for its large swells and perfect right-handers, some of which reach as high as five metres when the conditions are right.
Most notably, Bells Beach has been the location of the Rip Curl Pro surf competition — one of the most prestigious surfing events in the world — for over 60 years now. The competition is held annually for 10 days over the Easter holiday period and attracts surfers and spectators in their thousands. We timed one of our Torquay visits with the event and had such a fun time watching the professionals show us how it’s done.
But it’s not just professionals who ride these waves.
The best time of year to surf here depends on how advanced you consider yourself to be. If you’re still a novice, you’ll encounter the gentlest waves and warmest water between November and March. But if you have your heart set on experiencing the most infamous of breaks, aim to visit between April to October.
Just don’t forget your wetsuit.
What about if you’re not a surfer? There’s still plenty to reasons to visit.
Boardwalks and viewing platforms provide panoramic views over the beach, enabling you to admire the swells from above. From Bells Beach Lookout, steps lead you down to the sand, where you can check out the waves from a new perspective. Bring a towel and a book and settle in for an afternoon of sunbathing or, if the waves are particularly calm, have a cautious paddle in the shallows.
Along the clifftops, the Surf Coast Walk winds its way along the length of the beach and onwards in both directions. You could walk to Bells Beach and back from Torquay if you fancied a 8 km round-trip stroll, or simply stretch your legs for a few hundred metres until you’re ready to turn back to the car.
There’s Even a Surf Museum in Torquay
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to hear the phrase “surf museum” and respond with a barely-concealed shrug of the shoulders. I mean, how impressive can such a niche museum be?
Well, I’m hear to tell you that this is a fascinating museum, incredibly well done, and absolutely worth visiting — even if you’ve never surfed before and have no interest in doing so.
I mean, let’s face it: I’m barely a surfer myself — I’ve tried it half a dozen times over the years, but I’m far from a fanatic. And yet, I firmly believe this is one of the best museums on the entire Great Ocean Road.
The building is huge, for starters, and you could easily spend two or three hours exploring it all. Yes, really. There’s that much to see.
You’ve got a full timeline of the history of surfing, particularly within Australia, and an in-depth showcase of the evolution and transformation of surfboards over that time. You’ll learn about the surfers themselves, from the early trailblazers to the greatest of champions — and even get to see the boards they once used to use. Exhibits and videos share the history of surf competitions, as well as the technicalities involved when deciding how to ride different forms of waves.
There’s even a 90-minute feature film[!] in the theatre that we fully recommend watching.
The museum is open seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm. It costs $12 to enter, with discounts available for children, seniors, and families.
Stroll the First Few Kilometres of the Surf Coast Walk
If you love to explore a new destination on foot, allow me to introduce you to the Surf Coast Walk. This 44 kilometre trail stretches along the coastline from Torquay to Aireys Inlet.
What I love most about the Surf Coast Walk is that, as long as you’re not a completionist, it’s so easy to pick and choose the sections of the trail that appeal most to you. Perhaps you want to walk to Bells Beach, or start your stroll from Split Point Lighthouse — either is totally possible!
Each section of the walk is well-marked and there are access points and car parks running alongside the vast majority of it. After all, this is the Great Ocean Road; much of the coastline is accessible from the road.
Within the Torquay area, there are three different sections of the walk that I’d recommend. You could string all three together in a continuous line and rack up 13 kilometres for the day, or simply choose one or two parts to keep the walking a little easier.
- Wadawurrung Country Walk: 6.8 km
- This section is the first of the Surf Coast Track, taking you from the start point, at Point Impossible Beach, into the centre of Torquay. If you plan on walking the entire distance or want to tackle the trail in chronological order, this is the perfect place to begin. The terrain is flat and easy to traverse, overlooking surfers in the water for much of it.
- Torquay Promenade Walk: 2.3 km
- This portion is easiest to get to, as it runs along the Torquay esplanade, parallel to Front Beach. You’ll start from the sundial and end at Jan Juc lookout — once again, it’s a simple walk with coastal views, and paved the entire way.
- The Jan Juc to Bells Track: 3.8 km
- Starting from Jan Juc Lookout, this part of the Surf Coast Walk leads to Bells Beach. You’ll be up on the cliffs for this section, giving you a panoramic view of the surf for the duration of the walk.
Pick Strawberries at Surf Coast Strawberry Fields
We’re huge fans of Surf Coast Strawberry Fields here at Everything Victoria. This family-owned farm is open to the public during the strawberry picking season — between November and April — and makes for a fun-filled way to spend an hour on your way into Torquay.
While the farm isn’t directly in the centre of town, it’s located just 10 kilometres north of Torquay so you’ll drive past it if you’re travelling here from Melbourne.
Stretched across nine acres of land, Surf Coast Strawberry Fields gives visitors the opportunity to pick their own strawberries, fresh from the plant, ensuring that only the highest quality fruits make it out of there.
On-site, you’ll find a small cafe and shop, selling homemade ice cream, jams, cherries, honey, and even pre-picked punnets if you don’t feel like crouching around in the fields for an hour. Their strawberry ice cream, in particular, is delicious.
If I had to criticise just one thing about Surf Coast Strawberry Fields, it would be their strict requirement that everybody who enters has to buy a punnet to fill.
For adults, that’s a 500 gram punnet for $7 and for kids, it’s a 250 gram-er for $3. So yes, that does mean that if you’re a family of two adults and three children, you’re going to come away from the experience with almost two kilograms of strawberries to attempt to eat before they go off.
Dave and I didn’t want to land ourselves with so many strawberries between us, so we decided that only I would go in to pick them. It was a little disappointing, as we would have loved to have experienced this together. Alas! It wasn’t to be.
But I still had fun, wandering down the strawberry-lined aisles and ensuring I picked the freshest, sweetest ones for us to snack on that day. And I have to confess, these were some of the best strawberries I’ve ever had; unsurprisingly, far better than the ones you get from Colesworth, but for a similar price.
Surf Coast Strawberry Fields is open seven days a week during the strawberry season, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Note that they only accept cards for payment.
Hit Up the Best Chocolate Shop in Victoria
I’m obsessed with the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie that’s located mid-way between Torquay and Anglesea.
I love this store so much, in fact, that when we stopped in there during our most recent Great Ocean Road drive, I insisted we drive back past it again on our return to Melbourne. Their chocolates were so delicious that I needed another top-up!
Set in an expansive space, you’ve got every variety of chocolate you can think of, from white to ruby, in practically every shape you can imagine. There’s fudge, truffles, pralines, and even chocolate kangaroos, koalas, and wombats! As somebody with multiple dairy-free people in their life, I especially appreciated the large vegan chocolate offerings — not just a couple of token bars, there were dozens of flavours and styles — and even vegan easter eggs!
My personal favourite, though? The giant white chocolate polka dots that were the size of my head:
In addition to all that delicious chocolate, the Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery offers a range of ice creams, sorbets, and gelatos, all made on site using local ingredients. There’s a cafe that serves cakes and other food, but I’d personally just stick to the chocolates and ice creams: it’s what they do best, after all.
The Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery is open seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm, and there’s no admission fee to enter. Don’t expect to leave without having spent at least $30 on chocolate, though!
Grab an Insta-Worthy Smoothie Bowl From Bowlz
Bowlz is one of our favourite places for whenever we’re looking for a fresh, healthy meal. Let’s face it: as wonderful as it is to indulge on your holidays, do enough of it and you’ll be left craving nothing but vegetables.
You’ve got two main options here: smoothie bowls or salad bowls. The former is practically made for sharing on Instagram, with its bright, vibrant colours and nourishing ingredients. Our favourite option is the dragonfruit smoothie bowls, which are bright pink and topped with bananas, strawberries, raspberries, granola, coconut, almond flakes, and more.
The salad bowls are even healthier, offering versions containing meat, seafood, or falafel for vegans, along with plenty of vegetables and a variety of dressings. Here, we always go for the Black Pearl: smoked salmon, edamame, lettuce, cucumber, vermicelli noodles, avocado, roasted peppers, and sliced pear, with a soy dressing. Yum!
If you don’t feel like a full meal, it’s still worth popping in to check out their homemade smoothies and juices. The restaurant has a relaxed, casual atmosphere, making it a great place to hang out with friends and family or grab a quick drink on the go.
Bowlz is open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with both dine-in and takeout options available.
Pick Up a New Read from Torquay Books
Torquay Books might just have the friendliest staff in town. They’re always so cheerful, welcoming, and helpful, even at their busiest times of day.
I personally love to pick up some new reading material whenever I’m on holiday, so I often find myself making a beeline for Torquay Books to select another great story. They’ve got a wide selection of genres up for grabs here, as well as cards, stationery, and gifts, so it’s well worth having a browse while you’re in town.
I recommend taking a look at their selection of coffee table books. They have several on the Great Ocean Road and local area, which make for a particularly fun souvenir to take home with you.
Tiger Moth World Allows You to Get Up High
If you’ve been yearning to take on a unique form of adventure, Tiger Moth World is the place for you. This company has been operating flights over the Great Ocean Road for over 30 years now, but this isn’t just any old scenic flights company.
No, this is a flights company that takes you up in the air in a vintage Tiger Moth plane from WWII, complete with open cockpit! Talk about a thrilling experience.
And there’s so many options for flights.
Their cheapest option is the 20-minute flight that takes you over to Bells Beach and back, which comes in at $325. A 40-minute flight over to Aireys Inlet will have you up for $595. And if you want to go all in and make it as far as Lorne, you’ll be in the air for 55 minutes (with your wallet $875 lighter by the end of it).
If that’s not enough adventure for you, you can opt for an aerobatic (available in gradations from mild to extreme) add-on to your flight, which, yes — is exactly what you’re thinking. Barrel rolls, stall turns, and loop the loops over one of the most scenic parts of the country? You can’t get more
terrifying exciting than that.
Go Rock Pooling at Point Danger Marine Sanctuary
Point Danger Marine Sanctuary is a protected part of the coastline, home to a rich variety of marine life and ample opportunities for rock pooling. The best time for the latter is at low tide, when the beach’s shallow pools are exposed and accessible.
The most bountiful rock pools are located just around the corner from Cosy Corner Beach, although best accessed via the stairs that lead down from Point Danger Lookout, pictured above.
And there’s heaps to do in this part of Torquay.
To start with, you have the viewpoint itself. Overlooking the Bass Strait, with Front Beach to the left and Back Beach (alternatively known as Torquay Surf Beach) to the right, this is a picturesque spot from which to take photos. In particular, Dave and I enjoyed comparing the relative calmness of the north-east to the wild swells of the south-west. Back in 1891, the S.S. Joseph H. Scammell was shipwrecked here, which helped give the headland its name of Point Danger — even on a sunny day, you can sense this part of the coast would be tricky to navigate.
At the lookout, you’ll find Torquay Memorial, so do take a few minutes to pay your respects to those fallen heroes. The monument was erected in 1950 to commemorate the local soldiers who died during WWI and II, and has been added to over the years after further battles have commenced and ceased.
At low tide, the aforementioned rock pooling is a fun-filled activity for anyone to participate in; there’s sealife aplenty to uncover down here. From sea stars to weedy sea dragons, to a whopping 96 species of sea slugs, you’ll never be starved for entertainment. Ensure you bring some sturdy shoes for the pools as there’s plenty of seaweed to keep things slippery.
If you prefer to get up close and personal with your marine wildlife, this is a popular spot for snorkellers and occasionally even SCUBA divers. We do caution that there are often strong waves and a rocky seabed, so aim to do so on calmer days and only if you’re a strong swimmer. Eagle rays are often spotted on dives and you can sometimes make out dolphins splashing in the surf from shore.
Check the Time at the Beautiful Torquay Sundial
How beautiful is this sundial?!
If you’re a fan of admiring beautiful artwork or want to introduce the kids to the ingenuity of a sundial, this is definitely worth the short stop. Quite frankly, I couldn’t get over the fantastic condition of the mural! There were no scuffs or dirt anywhere on the piece, so it almost felt as though it had been installed that very day.
The sundial is located close to Fishermans Beach and is actually a mosaic, comprising 120,000 brightly-coloured glass tiles.
Traditionally, most sundials have a gnomon, which is the name given to the upright point that casts a shadow over the correct time. At the Torquay sundial, however, you get to the be the gnomon!
Simply stand on the current month on the eagle’s back, then see which number is suddenly cast in shade. And there you have the correct time.
(Unless it’s daylight savings time, in which case you’ll need to add one hour to the number).
Hit Up the Torquay Farmers Market
If you happen to find yourself in Torquay on a Saturday morning, make sure you get yourself over to the local farmers market, which is held between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
There, you’ll find around 20 stalls offering a range of (mostly) locally-grown produce, including fruits and vegetables, bread, olives, figs, preserves, and more. We recommend getting there early, as some stalls do sell out.
There’s enough options for you to put together a little picnic to have in the nearby park — we recommend the roast pork spring rolls, in particular, for that. And don’t forget to try some of the freshly-picked apples; they’re some of the best we’ve ever eaten!
Pick Up Something Unusual at The Pickers Place
We stumbled upon the Pickers Place by accident, but couldn’t have been happier about doing so, as this is such an unusual shopping experience in Torquay.
This is the most un-antique store antique store in the world.
As you can see from our photo above, the Pickers Place provides a colourful, eclectic wonderland for all, selling all manner of vintage items and clothes. You’re equally as likely to stumble across a full drum kit as you are a pair of embroidered jeans, a vintage camera as you are a new motorbike, and you’re able to browse the full range of items by wandering through a series of retro buses.
There truly is something for everyone at the Pickers Place, so we recommend spending at least 10 minutes browsing the myriad delights they have for sale.
Hit Up a Brewery (or Four)
For such a small town, Torquay is home to a remarkable number of breweries — four of them, in fact. If you like your beer, it’s well-worth checking out as many of them as you can. Here’s a round-up of the offerings, in order of our most to least favourite:
Bells Beach Brewing: Bells Beach Brewing is home to the best tasting beer in Torquay, in our opinion. We recommend grabbing a tasting paddle and opting for the four beers that sound most interesting to you. There’s outdoor and indoor seating, a relaxed vibe, and even live music on occasion.
The one downside to Bells Beach Brewing is that they don’t serve food! The other breweries on the list have restaurants on-site, so that does make them a slightly better proposition for a sunny lunchtime. There is a food truck beside the brewery that offers (admittedly very tasty) burgers (including a vegan option) and fries — and you can eat them in the brewery — but nothing beyond that.
Blackman’s Brewery: If you’re looking for excellent beers to pair with excellent food, then Blackman’s is the place to be. They offer up around 10 beers year-round with a couple of seasonal options now and then. As with the other breweries in Torquay, you can opt for a tasting paddle; theirs offers up six of their beers to sample, and we’re particular fans of their wildberry sour.
In terms of food, Blackman’s is known for their tasty range of pizzas, but they also serve fish and chips, burgers, and other pub-style dishes. They have a sunny beer garden and a spacious interior, but I’d still recommend making a reservation if you’re planning on visiting during the weekend.
4Pines Brewing Co.: 4Pines is a great brewery, with excellent beers and delicious meals. 4Pines is a fairly well-known brewer, with over a dozen brewpubs across the east coast of the country, and has a selection of around ten different beers on tap. Order a flight with five of your favourite styles ($25) and see which one grabs you!
The food is great here, too, with particularly tasty tacos on the menu, along with salads, burgers, and standard pub dishes. But really: it’s all about the tacos!
Sou’west Brewery: The beer hall is Sou’West’s biggest drawcard: quite literally, as it seats over 200 people! If you’re after an Oktoberfest vibe on the Surf Coast, here’s where you’ll find it.
There’s a smaller tasting room if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter, along with a family room where you can park the kids in the playground while you enjoy a crisp ale or two. With a wide selection of food on the menu, too, this is a good choice if you’re travelling with pickier eaters.
You Have to Try the Fish and Chips From Fishos
We’ll end the article now with an amusing anecdote.
Before our first ever trip to Torquay, I’d heard through the grapevine that Fishos offers up some of the best fish and chips on the entire Great Ocean Road. It was all I needed to know in order to start planning my visit. I found its location on Google Maps and promptly added it to my favourites.
Several days later, when Dave and I were lounging on Front Beach, lunchtime rolled around. I was craving some fresh fish and chips, so I dutifully pulled out my phone, and set my destination for Fishos.
Imagine my dismay, then, when after 20 minutes of walking, I finally arrived but simply could not see a fish and chip shop anywhere. Well, it turned out that I had somehow managed to favourite a street called Fishos Drive on my map and was now standing on it, two kilometres from where I needed to be.
Learn from my mistake: there are two Fishos related landmarks in Torquay, but only one of them serves up fantastic flake and crispy chips.
In all seriousness, Fishos is a fantastic spot for lunch or dinner, with delectable seafood (the gummy shark tacos are wonderful) and a beachside location — and yes, it really does serve some of the best fish and chips on the Great Ocean Road.
All images copyright Everything Victoria