Torquay: Where to eat, drink, stay and play

Bells Beach Torquay

Tianna Nadalin, Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted December 06, 2022

The best things to eat, see, drink, and do in Torquay, on Victoria’s Surf Coast.

When it comes to laidback beachside destinations, Torquay, on Victoria’s southwest coast, should be on every travel bucket list.  

With its surf beaches, creative community and flourishing culinary scene, this relaxed seaside town 90 minutes from Melbourne might as well be worlds away.

 Torquay effortlessly straddles the line between quaint coastal retreat and vibrant seaside city. But don’t be fooled by the heaving surf apparel stores and factory outlets that fringe the highway into town - off the main drag, the real Torquay is a very different scene.

Here, casual beachside eateries and specialty coffee shops line the foreshore, while upscale restaurants, brewhouses and bars add a touch of cosmopolitan sophistication.

RACV Torquay Resort offers the chance to relax and unwind in a luxurious setting over an extended stay.

From families to couples and solo adventurers, get road trip happy with our guide to everything to eat, see, sip and do in Torquay.

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Stairs at Bells Beach

A surfer's paradise: Bells Beach

Guide to Torquay  

Top things to do in Torquay 

It’s not just the food and wine that has people flocking to Torquay – there is plenty of fun to be had, too: 

Ride the waves

Unsurprisingly, water sports are one of the town’s main attractions, with Torquay offering something for everyone. From kayaking and kite surfing to stand-up paddleboarding, there’s no shortage of seaside activities for swimmers of all skill levels.

Torquay Front Beach (aka Cosy Corner), is the ideal spot for wannabe wave riders to learn to surf. Check out local surf school Go Ride a Wave on Bell St for lessons. 

If you’re more of a spectator than a surfer, head to the  Australian National Surf Museum, Australia’s largest and only accredited Surfing Museum.

Head to the skies

Take in amazing aerial views of the Surf Coast skyline as you freefall from 15,000 feet, with RACV members saving up to 15 per cent on tandem skydiving at Skydive Great Ocean Road, or take to the skies for an exhilarating adventure on board a vintage tiger moth plane.

RACV members save 10 per cent on flights and 10 per cent on entry to Tiger Moth World Adventure Park

Go on a surf coast hike

Prefer land-based activities? Torquay is also awash with walking tracks. The Surf Coast Walk, made up of 12 separate trails, has hikes to suit all abilities. Be sure to check out the sundial at the Whites Beach end of the esplanade.  

Hit the shops

If you love bargain hunting, bag yourself plenty of big discounts with a day of retail therapy at Torquay’s famous surf outlets including Patagonia, Billabong, Rip Curl and more

Take a swing

Take to the fairway at RACV Torquay Resort for a round of golf on the 71-par course, one of the Victoria’s most spectacular golf courses designed by former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.

Relax and unwind

Soak up some serenity with a sensory massage or rejuvenating facial at  One Spa, where you can indulge in Hammam bathing, a thermal stone room, or the ultimate relaxation in the lounge and flotation tank, spa and pool for a unique thermal experience. 


Australian Surf Museum

RACV Members save at the Australian Surf Museum. Image: Supplied. 

Best beaches in Torquay

Cosy Corner (at Torquay Front Beach) 

If swimming, relaxing by the beach with a good book and a shade umbrella is what your holiday dreams are made of, is the beach for you. 

With its wide foreshore and safe, sheltered swimming access, it’s the ideal spot for family beach days, beginner surfers, bodyboarders and novice swimmers alike. 

Whites Beach

A little further along the esplanade from Cosy Corner is Whites Beach, a lovely sandy stretch that is less crowded than its cosy neighbours. 

Whites Beach is dog-friendly year-round, making it ideal for puppy play dates, and the Whites Beach playground, with its picnic tables, barbecue facilities and flying fox, is a popular spot for families.

Point Impossible Beach  

If you feel like baring all, Point Impossible Beach (the eastern section of Whites Beach) is a clothing-optional beach spot capped by 10-metre dunes, while keen anglers will love Fisherman’s Beach (located between Darian and Zeally Bay roads). The Elephant Walk playground area is also just a stone’s throw away and is one of Torquay’s favourite play and picnic areas. 

Bells Beach 

World-famous surfing spot Bells Beach is a great place to sit and watch the pros as they glide along the waves. There’s a boardwalk with great views, and the sand is a lovely spot for a picnic or walk. 

But be warned – Bells Beach, though beautiful, is treacherous even for the most competent of swimmers, so exercise extreme caution if entering the water and avoid swimming altogether in high surf. 

Always practise beach safety - swim between the flags and don’t enter the water if the beach is not patrolled.


The Bells Beach coastline

The spectacular Torquay coastline. Image: Supplied. 

Best cafes and brunch spots in Torquay

If there’s one thing Torquay isn’t short of, it’s cafes and, when it comes to beachside caffeine dealers, here are some of the best: 

  • Start your day with a cup of Joe and a toastie at Mavis Mavis if you’re looking for a quick bite for a day of seaside activities. 
  • Third Wave Kiosk's  a recycled steel exterior gives this rustic coastal coffee shop its natural, weathered look, and makes it an easy and eye-catching meeting point for summer surfers and sand dwellers. 
  • On the esplanade, you can’t go past one of Torquay’s original specialty coffee shops,  Pond, where they’re grinding Seven Seeds and plating up some of the town’s most interesting breakfast fare.
  • A little further along the way there’s the Salty Dog, a dog- friendly seaside cafe that boasts beautiful beach views and delicious beans to match.  
  • At Kuya Juice Bar & Surf Café inside South Coast Surfboards, it's all about espressos with a side serve of surf culture in this custom board store, shaping workshop and showroom with an onsite coffee machine.
  • At Amitie Cafe, a quirky spot in the Amitie Textiles warehouse, you can grab a cut of the coast’s coolest fabrics, as well as delectable house-baked treats (the yo-yos are a must-try) and locally roasted Ocean Grind coffee.
  • In town, have a stroll through the Torquay Farmers Market on a Saturday morning, or head to Surfcoast Wholefoods, an organic greengrocer-come-healthy cafe for nourishing plant-based bites as part of the regional vegan scene. 
  • Vegetarian cafe Ginger Monkey is little further along the highway.


Great Ocean Road

The drive along the Great Ocean Road is half the fun. Image: Supplied. 

Torquay's best restaurants and casual eateries

Pub meals

  • Frontbeach, under the Esplanade’s towering Norfolk pines, is the place to go for classic bistro vibes as you enjoy seaside views. 
  • Torquay Hotel has classic counter meals with a contemporary twist, live music and events. 


  • The plate-list at Pholklore is a mix of contemporary and classic Vietnamese hits. Here, they’re dishing up everything from rice paper rolls and popcorn cauliflower to traditional pho, fusion pho (we’re talking miso pho and pho laksa) and pho-inspired cocktails. What’s not to love about lemongrass and Thai basil mojito or a Pho White with cognac, white rum, cinnamon, and lime.
  • For Italian, Pearl is Torquay’s local trattoria. With just six tables and a nightly-changing menu of five fresh, seasonally inspired spaghetti dishes scrawled on a blackboard, this is the epitome of local dining.
  • Over at Dough Bros, it’s all about that base, where they sling some of Torquay’s best pizza.


  • Roku Den for a fill of fresh sushi, sashimi and seared local scallops.
  • Fishos is your resident grilled fish and fried potato dealer, making some seriously delicious fish tacos and seafood platters.  

Fine dining

  • Have you even been to Torquay if you haven’t dined at RACV Torquay’s acclaimed Number One restaurant? With sweeping views over the golf course and beyond to Bass Strait, here, it’s all about local, seasonal ingredients – like artisan cheeses, panko fried oysters and Camperdow garlic. The drinks list also has an extensive range of local brews and wines, as well as an eclectic cocktail selection.  
  • Samesyn. Helmed by chef Graham Jefferies (who co-owns hatted Geelong stalwart Tulip), the seasonal, produce-driven dishes are all about highlighting local ingredients. 


  • Looking for a refreshing after-dinner delight? Get the inside scoop at one of Torquay’s famed gelaterias, from the mix of ice-cream, frozen yogurt and gelato at Nordenfine Ice Cream Company to a stop at Augustus Gloop or Splash Ice Cream. 
  • If you’re a chocolate lover, check out the Surfside Patisserie or a stop at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery.  
Cocktails at RACV

Grab a cocktail at Harding's Bar inside RACV Torquay Resort. Image: Supplied.

Best bars and brewery halls in Torquay

One of the best things about a weekend away is being able to switch off, unwind and kick back with a cocktail or a brewski while a gentle sea breeze sweeps away the city stress. 

If beers and burgers are your go-to relaxation tonic, you’ll love locally owned and independently run Blackman’s Brewery, one of the best breweries in regional Victoria, where you can stop in for a tasting paddle and caramelised pumpkin pizza.

A little further along the esplanade, you’ll find all-day eatery Bomboras. Pull up a picnic table or hanging chair overlooking the beach and cool off with a Great Ocean Road Raspberry Gin Fizz while knocking back some Blue Swimmer Crab Sweet Potato Cakes and Portarlington Mussels in a Thai broth.  

Sou’West Brewery is one of the latest editions to the Surf Coast craft beer scene. Hidden in the outlets, take a break from shopping and enjoy a delectable menu designed by two Bocuse d'Or Grand Finalist chefs, who focus on local suppliers, and a sustainable practise with fresh ingredients with no preservatives. 

Get into the craft spirit at the 4 Pines Torquay brewpub, which is co-located next to Boardriders.

For something more refined, Mr Archer Wine Bar is barrelling a selection of the finest local and imported drops. Make sure you also grab one of their delectable cheese or charcuterie boards, which are worth it just for the Brooklyn Brine pickles. 


Outside Frontbeach

Frontbeach combines bistro and beach. Image: Supplied. 

Best wineries near Torquay

Speaking of wine, if you love a good weekend winery experience, sip your way through some of the Surf Coast’s coolest cellar doors from your Torquay base. 

Just 13 minutes’ drive from Torquay, in Connewarre, you’ll find The Minya (appointment only), where owners Jeff and Sue Dans have been mastering the art of making grape juice since 1974. Stop in for a glass of grenache, shiraz, chardonnay or spicy gewurztraminer.

Heading about the same distance towards Anglesea on your Great Ocean Road tour, you’ll pass the beautiful Bellbrae Estate. Here, the wines are a celebration of the local area, with the Estate Range even named after some of the region’s best-loved surf breaks.  

About 10 minutes' drive inland from Torquay, you’ll find Wolseley Wines, a 100 per cent organic vineyard that runs solely on solar power. Sunday sessions are a regular fixture at this boutique Paraparap cellar door, which plays host to a revolving stage of talented local artists.

For lovers of pinot noir, a visit to the Brown Magpie cellar door is a must (currently open by appointment only). Located about 20 minutes from Torquay in the gently sloping Surf Coast hinterland, the rustic Modewarre winery is one of the region’s best-kept secrets, with their award-winning pinot noirs having garnered something of a cult following.