*Disclaimer: Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, some of the activities listed may be closed or have changed hours. Follow the latest health advice and contact individual businesses for information about their operations.*
It might be the surf capital of Australia, but there’s a whole lot more to Torquay than just waves, wax and wipeouts. This little Victorian town is a tourist hotspot for good reason.
What exactly are those reasons? You’re about to find out, because we’ve put together a list of Torquay’s 10 best free and paid family activities.
When you’re booking accommodation for four at Wyndham Resort Torquay, make sure you keep this article close by, because we’re pretty sure both you and the kids are going to love these every one of these awesome attractions.
Keeping reading to find out what made the list.
Explore The Great Ocean Road
Did you know it’s against the law to stay in Torquay and not visit the Great Ocean Road? Actually, that’s not true, but it would be pretty serious mistake to skip one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks.
Built by returned WWI veterans, this spectacular highway is dedicated to the memory of the ANZACs, and has the distinction of being the world’s largest war memorial. It snakes from Torquay to Allansford, spanning 243 kilometres of picturesque Victorian coastline.
If the prospect of driving for hours with two restless kids doesn’t sound particularly appealing, don’t worry. The Great Ocean Road is populated by a variety of incredible sites, including wineries, seafood restaurants, national parks, hidden waterfalls, isolated beaches and, of course, the Twelve Apostles.
Alternatively, you can explore the region at a more sedate pace via The Great Ocean Walk. This formidable 8-day hike can be tackled in bits and pieces (we recommend a few hours along the most scenic sections), and is a great way to experience pristine natural beauty while the little ones burn themselves out.
Have fun in Torquay Foreshore Play Park
Sometimes you can’t afford to drive hours to find something fun for the kids to do. They keep wanting to play outside, you’re still waking up, and your caffeine-starved brain can’t cope. Luckily, as a guest of Wyndham Resort Torquay, you’re just a brisk walk away from Torquay Foreshore Play Park.
Grab a coffee from The Salty Dog Café and soak up the beautiful morning sunshine while the children unleash themselves.
The play park isn’t your usual collection of brightly-coloured slides and swings; it’s actually a fairly intricate wooden construct featuring boardwalks, climbing nets, different-sized slides, and hidey holes. It’s perfect for keeping younger kids entertained, and the surrounding parkland makes for a beautiful picnic spot.
Walk along Bells Beach
Bells Beach might not look particularly stunning if you’re used to the perfect beaches of Queensland and WA, but this stretch of sand happens to be home to the world’s longest-running surf competition, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
If your kids own a board and talk about things like ‘barrels’ and ‘dropping in on kooks’, they’ll probably have already heard of Bells, but this surfing mecca is a must-see for any family visiting Torquay, surfers or otherwise.
Take a walk along the sand, watch the locals carve up the foam, and grab a family selfie at Bells Beach lookout. Although the beach is relatively safe for swimming at low tide, we don’t recommend getting in the water unless you’re there to surf – Bells is notorious for its rips, which can easily drag weaker swimmers out to sea.
Hike through the Great Otway National Park
If the Great Ocean Road is Torquay’s most famous attraction, the Great Otway National Park is its most expansive. Scarred by a history of bushfires and logging, this mountainous sprawl of eucalypt forests, beaches and rivers is one of southern Victoria’s most beautiful natural areas.
The Great Ocean Walk actually runs along the coastal section of the park, so, if that’s already on your itinerary, you’re good to go.
Want more than just nice views to keep the kids happy? The GONP is also famous for its plethora of waterfalls – the Triplet, Hopetoun, Beauchamp and Sheoak Falls are the most popular, but there’s plenty of smaller waterways to discover too.
If you’re happy to splash a bit of cash, we also recommend visiting Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, which feature everything from forest-floor boardwalks to ziplines and arboreal walkways.
Climb at The Rock Adventure Centre
Looking for something that gets the younger members of your clan away from their phones and into the world of physical activity? Scaling a 12-metre rock-climbing wall will do the trick!
The Rock Adventure Centre is technically a Geelong attraction, but we’ve included it here because we know there’s only so much sightseeing the kids can take before they start to get bored. Breaking up days of exploring picture-perfect coastal settings with something a little more energetic is a great way to keep them happy and focused on the holiday.
With over 100 different climbs across 25 walls, The Rock features traditional rock climbing, as well as bouldering (no harnesses, lower heights, padded floors) and lead climbing (more advanced). Regardless of how big or small your children are, climbing is a great workout that also helps build their confidence and teach them the importance of overcoming challenges.
Discover what’s on offer at the Rock here.
Visit Cape Otway Lightstation
Cape Otway Lightstation is a genuine Aussie icon. The oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia, this white-washed tower sits on the edge of a 90-metre cliff, gazing out across the foaming waters of the Bass Strait.
The Lightstation was built as a way to combat the plague of deaths along ‘the Shipwreck Coast’; bad weather, rocky coastline and violent currents resulted in over 600 shipwrecks, with British explorer Matthew Flinders stating he’d never seen a “more fearful section of coastline”.
History aside, the views from ‘the Beacon of Hope’ are pretty impressive, and definitely worth an Instagram post or three. We also recommend keeping an eye out for dolphins and whales, particularly if you’re visiting from May to October – humpback whales, southern right whales, blue whales and orcas all migrate north during the winter months to raise their calves away from the freezing waters of Antarctica.
Explore the Australian National Surfing Museum
Yes, Torquay has a museum dedicated to surfing, and, yes, it’s the largest in the world. You shouldn’t be surprised – this is the same town that gave birth to international surf brands Ripcurl and Quiksilver.
The Australian National Surfing Museum goes beyond just showcasing a bunch of boards (although it does do that too – there are 150 all up). Its tributes to surfing are thoughtful and genuinely interesting, and its various displays are windows into Australia’s past, exploring how a pop culture phenomenon of the 1960s evolved into an intrinsic part of modern Australian identity.
There’s no excuse for staying in Torquay and not visiting one of its most unique attractions. Grab your grommets, hop in the car, and spend an afternoon learning about the history of wave riding.
Explore the world of surf by visiting the Australian National Surfing Museum.
Soar with Tiger Moth World
You’ve seen it on foot, by car and maybe by bike, but Torquay arguably looks best from high in the sky. Tiger Moth World gives visitors the chance to soar above the ocean in a WWII-era open-cockpit biplane wearing leather jackets, helmets and flying goggles, à la fictional adventure hero Biggles.
Choose between scenic adventure flights, flights for two or sight-seeing flights that glide above the Twelve Apostles. Alternatively, turn it up with Tiger Moth World’s range of acrobatic flights – these terrifying experiences include loops, 360-degree rolls and downward spirals.
Still sound too tame? Book yourself and the family in for a skydiving session. It’s pretty hard to beat memories of plunging towards one of Australia’s most iconic coastlines at 220kph.
Kickstart your flight with Tiger Moth World here.
Wander through Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village
If Torquay prides itself on its surfing culture, nearby Warnambool’s point-of-difference is its fascinating maritime history, captured at Flagstaff Hill’s open-air museum.
Comprised of 40 different buildings, Flagstaff Hill Village is populated by costumed figures from the town’s earliest years of European settlement, like blacksmiths, soldiers and school teachers. You can chat with them about history, or wander into their respective workplaces to see them in action.
As your kids wander along the cobbled streets, make sure they keep an eye out for the village’s resident collection of historical items, many of which were salvaged from actual 1800s shipwrecks. The Flagstaff Hill Museum (also located in the village) helps contextualise them, using interactive displays that recount the long history of the Shipwreck Coast.
After you’ve finished exploring the village, head up to the nearby lighthouse for spectacular views of the ocean.
Get rad with Torquay Surf Academy
The last activity on our list isn’t unique to Torquay, but how could you pass up learning to surf in the wave riding capital of Australia?
Torquay Surf Academy is run by Torquay born-and-bred coach Grayme ‘Gally’ Galbraith, a former professional surfer and coach to other pros like Nathan Hedge, Adam Robertson and Amy Stewart. With a variety of family-friendly lessons available, he and his team teach both kids and parents to surf at locations like Bells Beach, Jan Juc, Bancoora and Cozy Corner.
You can choose from solo, family or advanced lessons; each package includes change rooms, toilet facilities, hot showers, surfing equipment and secure lockers. Alternatively, you can explore the ocean yourself – TSA also offer surfboard, SUP, kayak, bodyboard and wetsuit hire.
If you’re looking for an authentic Torquay surfing experience, you don’t want a miss a chance to learn from Gally and his expert coaches.
Learn more about Torquay Surf Academy here.
|Wyndham Resort Torquay|
|Address||Phone||Website||Cost per Person||Time from Resort|
|The Great Ocean Road||Starts at the corner of Bell Street and Geelong Road in Torquay||–||Click here||Free||5 minutes by car|
|Torquay Foreshore Play Park||Elephant Walk Reserve, Torquay VIC 3228||–||–||Free||2 minutes|
|Bells Beach||Parking off Bell Beach Road (C132)||–||–||Free||13 minutes|
|Great Otway National Park||Varies||13 19 63||Click here||Free||Varies|
|The Rock Adventure Centre||Rear, 403 Pakington St, Geelong VIC 3220||(03) 5221 3101||Click here||From $14||25 minutes|
|Cape Otway Lightstation||Otway, Lighthouse Rd, Cape Otway VIC 3233||(03) 5237 9240||Click here||–||2 hours 13 minutes|
|Australian National Surfing Museum||3228/77 Beach Rd, Torquay VIC 3228||(03) 5261 4606||Click here||From $8||3 minutes|
|Tiger Moth World||Torquay Airport, 325 Blackgate Rd, Torquay VIC 3228||0447 615 100||Click here||From $250||8 minutes|
|Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village||89 Merri St, Warrnambool VIC 3280||(03) 5559 4600||Click here||From $9||2 hours 12 minutes|
|Torquay Surf Academy||34A Bell St, Torquay VIC 3228||(03) 5261 2022||Click here||Hire boards from $25||4 minutes|
Feeling ready for your Torquay adventure? Book your family holiday now.