Review: Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne teach guests how to ride the waves

While the majority of Aussies love the coast, surfing is a distant dream for most. However, anyone can tap into their inner grommet on this Great Ocean Road surf tour from Melbourne. Review: Chris Bright

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne. Image: Chris Bright

4.5 stars

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne with Great Ocean Road Surf Tours

These small group Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne offer guests the chance to learn to surf on crowd-free beaches, under the watchful eyes of fully qualified and experienced surfing coaches. You’ll also get to see some of Victoria’s most pristine coastline along the way. Transport, commentary, lessons and lunch are included. Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

A Pom, a German, a Swede and a bunch of Aussies boarded a bus…

It sounds like the start of an elaborate joke, but it’s actually the beginning of our incredible day out recently with Great Ocean Road Surf Tours. Television shows like Home and Away have fostered a fairly strong belief around the world that all Australians are naturally adept on a board. Thankfully for people like me, who didn’t grow up anywhere near a beach, it’s good to know that you’re never too old to learn.

Great Ocean Road Surf Tours has been operating for more than a decade from their base at Torquay. Their single day and overnight surf adventures from Melbourne are their most popular options, mainly because they allow guests to see a fair chunk of the majestic Great Ocean Coast without being confined to the inside of a tour bus.

The early morning pick-up from the Melbourne CBD is a bit of a struggle, but once we’re on the road, Al — our guide for the day, makes the journey a breeze. Some of us chat about surfing and travel, while others take the opportunity to grab some more sleep. For anyone situated closer to Torquay, you can organise pickup from the Geelong Railway Station at 9am or just make your own way to Great Ocean Road Surf Tours’ head office.

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne. Image: Photodune

The day starts with morning tea as the crew size us up for wetsuits and pack the bus with all the boards and necessary gear. By 10am we hit the Great Ocean Road — one of the most iconic coastal drives in the world. The spot each group visits to surf will differ depending on the weather and tides. Great Ocean Road Surf Tours are one of the few companies licensed to instruct on any of the ten beaches in the area. We try a few different places before settling in at Eastern View — a small stretch of beach between Aireys Inlet and Lorne. The weather isn’t perfect but with the water temperature at 22 degrees, it’s great in!

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne. Image: Chris Bright

Everyone changes into their wetsuits and gathers on the sand for a safety lesson, which is far more educational than you might think. You’ll learn some of the science behind riptides and swells, as well as the universal safety signals used by lifesavers to direct swimmers away from hazards. We go through the motions for getting from stomach to knees, and then up on our feet — and before we know it, are heading out to put it into practice.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve surfed before or it’s your first time holding a board, the instructors are genuinely happy to help. Our instructor Al was an absolute legend. He spent plenty of time with everyone in the group to ensure we were all enjoying ourselves and learning at a pace best suited to each of us. I don’t mean to brag (much) but I somehow managed to stand up and ride my first wave, and even if I did get a little cocky and stack hard on the next few attempts, there was still an amazing sense of achievement.

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne

Image courtesy of Great Ocean Road Surf Tours

We surf for a couple of hours before breaking for lunch. Everything is provided. As we sit and enjoy our subs, Al gives us a few more tips and shows us some tricks to improve our style and reduce fatigue. Then everyone gets back to work catching waves.

We wrap up at around 3pm and head for the bus. During the journey back to HQ, Al makes a stop to take in the amazing views of Bells Beach — home of the famous Rip Curl Pro. There’s an hour or so of free time in Torquay to explore the shops and surf outlets, before it’s time to head for home. Depending on what tour you’re on, you’ll either be dropped off at your overnight accommodation or transferred back to Melbourne by bus or train.

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne

Great Ocean Road surf tours from Melbourne: Bells Beach. Image: Chris Bright

I recall Al’s words at the start of the trip: ‘There’s no better sleep than the one you’ll have after a day of surfing.’ He was right! Whether you’re visiting Australia or you’ve lived here your entire life, surfing along the Great Ocean Coast is something everyone should try.

Chris travelled as a guest of Great Ocean Road Surf Tours.

Additional images: Bigstock


Chris Bright

About the writer

Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and most of North America — the most memorable of which was hiring a 7-foot RV and driving from Miami to LA with a bunch of close mates. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>