TORQUAY: A CAFE + SHOPPING HUB ON THE GREAT OCEAN ROADby JESS ZARNOW
Our final stop on the Great Ocean Road was a beautiful one when we visited Torquay.
Just over 100kms from Melbourne, Torquay is the perfect coastal town to visit if you are in need of some 'vitamin-sea', or are just looking for somewhere to relax for a couple of days.
Our days were spent eating, relaxing, exploring the coast and spending our public holiday penalties at the surf outlets (whoops). We only had two nights in town, but we still managed to cram plenty of activities in.
The cafe culture
We do love a good coffee, so we were pretty happy to find there were plenty in Torquay! Here are my top recommendations:
- Pond Cafe (delicious juices, big breakfasts, coffee and blondies!)
- Moby Cafe (great chai tea!)
Rack up the calories
Just a few minutes out the road in Bellbrae is the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie. Every wall here is filled top to bottom with everything chocolate. Literally everything. They also have free samples on hand, which explains why there was so many hypo children running around. If you love ice-cream then you should probably get a scoop or two while you’re there (because there is always room for icecream).
Late afternoon beer
After a long day of playing tourist we popped into Blackmans Brewery Bar and Restaurant. For me, the beer and onion rings were the perfect combination. The onion rings were the biggest, crunchiest things I have even eaten. They also offer a variety of other meals and bar snacks, including wings, pizzas and chips.
When the sun goes down, you’ll find you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to food in Torquay. My picks included:
- Senors (great vibe and cocktails)
- Lure Fish and Chippery (modern fish and chippy where you can dine in or takeaway)
- Pholklore (Vietnamese street food and Pho)
If you love the sand between your toes then there’s plenty of options for you to get your fix. The Back Beach in Torquay is the perfect place for a swim, as is Fishermans Beach.
The iconic Bells Beach, just a short drive out of the town, is a must visit to check out the waves and dabble in some surfing. Jan Juc is another great beach offering one hell of a view.
TIP: If there's a bit of breeze, go to Jan Juc to watch the paragliders. There is a paragliding launch area where the general public can view. We watched them for almost a hour; watching them take off and float around in the breeze. Perfect for the big and little kids- just keep an eye on them as there’s some big cliffs around.
Max out the credit card
If you love bargains and surf brands, head to Baines Crescent and get acquainted with brands like Ripcurl, Roxy, Quicksilver, Reef and Rojo, offering ridiculously discounted clothing, footwear, wetsuits and even snowboards.
I loved their ladies two-for-$60 fleeced hoodies (because you can never have enough hoodies), and the other half picked up some cheap men's shorts and tees.
You can also find all the major surf brands in the Surf City Plaza just around the corner. If you love home wares then head to Bell Street, where you’ll find two of my new stores - Frankie Says Relax, and House Warming.
Rest your head
We spent two nights in town, and we found that it was the perfect amount of time to explore the town and the beaches as the weather was cooler when we visited.
We stayed at Torquay 1903 in one of their self contained cottages. They were close to the beach, detached, had onsite carparking and offered everything we needed for our stay.
I loved their big spa bath, free mini bottle of champagne (best enjoyed in the spa bath, because, holidays) and their gas fire.
Surf Coast Walk
If you like to get the fresh air in your lungs and rack up the steps on your Fitbit then check out the Surf Coast Walk. Stretching a total of 44kms, the walk can be done in full or in parts. The Bells Track section is more my style, being just over 3kms.
If you’re looking for some lookouts then check out Bird Rock Lookout and the Bells Beach lookouts. They have breathtaking views of the coast.