Head to Torquay and stay

A trip to the surf hub of Torquay is a beginning, not an end

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Only 90 minutes from Melbourne, Torquay has it all for those who know its pleasures.

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GOOFY STUFF: Some of the amusingly decorated surfboards at the National Surfing Museum in Torquay, gateway to the renowned Bells Beach.

GOOFY STUFF: Some of the amusingly decorated surfboards at the National Surfing Museum in Torquay, gateway to the renowned Bells Beach.

To the uninitiated, the coastal village of Torquay is simply the official starting point of Victoria's famous 200-kilometre Great Ocean Road.

But those in the know stop at Torquay and go no further. They understand what they will be missing if they speed past on the way to better-known destinations such as Lorne and Apollo Bay.

Only 90 minutes from Melbourne, Torquay has it all - great accommodation, stunning beach walks, restaurants and cafes galore, unique shops and more.

TIME ON HIS HANDS: A visitor stands in the central analemma of the Sundial of Human Involvement. His shadow indicates the hour of day.

TIME ON HIS HANDS: A visitor stands in the central analemma of the Sundial of Human Involvement. His shadow indicates the hour of day.

But what it is best known for is surfing - world-famous Bells Beach is on its doorstep - though there are many protected beaches at this year-round holiday haven.

One of its key attractions is the Australian National Surfing Museum. Housing the most important items relating to Australian surfing history, the museum has the first known image of a surfer on its walls. Painted at the time of Captain James Cook's arrival in Hawaii's Kealakekua Bay in 1779, it shows in the foreground a figure riding what would have been the surfboard of its day.

There are dozens of surfboards from the early years of Australian surfing in the museum. If you ever wondered why they were once referred to as ironing boards, there is a good reason for that - many were. People staying at seaside guesthouses would unscrew the supports from ironing boards, tuck them under their arms and head to the beach. Also see the first documented motorised surfboard. The Surf Scooter was made in Sydney in 1932 for surf rescue work. It soon sank without trace.

For visitors feeling energetic there are plenty of walking tracks along the foreshore with scenic views. Don't miss the Anzac Memorial perched high over the ocean at Point Danger or the Sundial of Human Involvement.

All that exercise you will do at Torquay - walking and swimming - deserves a reward and you will find that at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Icecreamery, a two-minute drive away in Bellbrae. We had enrolled in a rocky road-making workshop and behaved like kids in a lolly shop, deciding from more than 50 exotic ingredients to festoon our creations.

IF YOU GO...

Wyndham Resort Torquay occupies the dress circle position on the Esplanade, right opposite the beach.

The resort has everything you need on holiday - a huge lagoon-style pool and spa, a poolside bar, barbecue, tennis court and fitness centre. Choose between spacious rooms or apartments with comfy couches and fully fitted kitchens.

PRIME POSITION: Situated right opposite the beach, Wyndham Resort Torquay has everything you need on holiday, including a glorious pool in beautiful grounds.

PRIME POSITION: Situated right opposite the beach, Wyndham Resort Torquay has everything you need on holiday, including a glorious pool in beautiful grounds.

Eat in, enjoy the in-house restaurant or choose from a great range of restaurants a saunter away.

Sue Preston was a guest of Wyndham Resort Torquay.

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