RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
Torquay is the gateway to Victoria's Great Ocean Road and also the south coast's surfing mecca, home to many iconic surf brands including the headquarters for (recently sold) Rip Curl. The resort's 18-hole golf course separates it from the main surf beach, which is about five minutes' drive away. A pleasant walk along Spring Creek across from the beach leads to Rocky Point Lookout, while Jan Juc's beach and surf lifesaving club is located on the resort side of the creek.
The resort is an imposing building, long and curved overlooking the expansive green grass of the golf course and out to the Southern Ocean beyond. The 92 rooms are spread across five floors, either with views out to the ocean or of the golf course. There are two restaurants, the main eatery Number One and the more casual bistro White's Paddock. On the ground floor there's a large, heated indoor pool, a well-appointed gym, games room and spa. Outside there's a basketball and tennis court along with some playground equipment. As the resort is also an operating golf club, the facilities are also available to members. Fortunately the gym and pool are large enough to accommodate plenty of people.
My Premium Ocean View room is vast, with a king-sized bed, two-seater couch, armchair with ottoman and a small desk. The expansive windows look out across the golf course to the surf beach and slide open to a small glass juliet balcony. Bright walls contrast with the dark furnishings and carpets. The bathroom is also spacious, with a separate bath and shower and toiletries from Biology.
The resort's No.1 restaurant is a popular dining spot for visitors to Torquay and it makes the most of its location with panoramic views of the coast. The menu features hearty dishes such as fish and chips, beef cheek with creamed potatoes, chickpea curry and several cuts of steak. While the food is fine, given the price point it feels a little like gussied up pub grub.
Inclement weather gives us little opportunity to explore the area on day one, so we make good use of the heated indoor pool and the spa. Day two is bright and sunny, if still brisk (it is winter in Victoria, after all) so we head out to the beach. It may to be too cold to go swimming, but the local surfers won't be put off and it's worth going for a stroll just to watch them in action. A short drive from the resort is the famous Bells Beach. While it doesn't look much like the one that featured in the iconic ending of Point Break with Keanu Reeves, it's still one of the best surf beaches in the country. If conditions are right, you'll see some true experts doing their thing on the waves.
Previously associated with cheap and cheerful caravan parks and motels, the RACV's Victorian resorts are now setting the standard for comfortable beachside escapes and Torquay is no exception.
Rooms at the RACV Torquay Resort start from $196 a night with discounts available for RACV members. See racv.com.au/Torquay/Resort
The views are hard to beat even when the weather's bad.
For such a large resort, it's surprising to find only one person working on reception in the afternoon. Repeated calls to the front desk go unanswered and it's a long wait to get attention in person.
Craig Platt stayed as a guest of RACV.