Waves and Wheels Exhibition

In the late 1950s and early 1960s surfing became part of a youth movement that swept the world, as music, fashion and language became centered around the beach. Surf adventure became a central part of the surfing experience as surfers and their friends started exploring the Australian coast in wagons, vans and other surfmobiles in search of fun times and perfect waves.

Car companies released surfing themed models , Sandman, Sundowner and Drifter panel vans were soon hitting the road, featuring over the top graphics and advertising that made real surfers cringe. For many surfers van life was reality, greeted by a wide open road, very few rules, and new horizons around every corner .

Surfers invented skateboards (miniature wheeled surfboards) to maintain their stoke on flat days, invading footpaths, roadways and carparks to go sidewalk surfing . The skateboard influence found its way back to the beach, with modern surfers adapting skateboard moves into their surfing repertoire.

Through the Waves & Wheels exhibition we are celebrating the relationship between surfers and their cars from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Featuring vintage surf photographs, interactive panel van experience, historic surf film footage, model cars, skateboards, roof racks and Great Ocean Road game visitors can immerse themselves in the surfing road trip and experience surfing’s epic sense of adventure.


  • review rating 5  Fabulous displays, indepth history of early days of surfing in Oz, boardmaking and designers, champions, vans, memorabilia, gr8 value for money, a worthy detour THANKS!

    thumb Drew Payne

    review rating 5  What a gem in Torquay! Great place to learn about the history of the Sport, showcasing how the surfboard design evolved over the years. They have few kids activities - balance the surfboard, decorate chalk surfboards, kinetic sand pits and a cool green-screen photo booth. Definitely worth checking out on a cold day!

    thumb Piotr Rochala

    review rating 5  Always worth a visit while in Torquay. It really helps to understand how surfing is really entrenched in the Australian culture and history, especially in this specific region.

    thumb Marco Celon
  • review rating 5  Awesome display. So many memories from years past. Recommend highly

    thumb Geoff Smith

    review rating 5  A long overdue visit ...

    thumb Elaine V. Hare

    review rating 5  When in Torquay, the home to world famous surf location, Bells beach, a must see, is the iconic Australian National Surf Museum. With a vast selection of surfing memorabilia from the early board styles, through to the latest design shapes, it traces the history of surfing in infinate detail, with the aid of classic movie footage, plus a myriad tactile, hands on items from the past, to capture the imagination of young and old alike. 😎

    thumb Paul Armistead

Australian National Surfing Museum

77 Beach Rd
Torquay VIC 3228


9am – 5pm
7 days a week
364 days a year
(Closed Christmas Day)


Adult $12,
Student/Pensioner Concession $8
Child (aged 16 and under) $8
Family $25.

PLEASE NOTE: General admission prices are for self-guided tours with no time limit.

Group Discounts
Please see Education / Group Tours for details.


03 5261 4606
77 Beach Road
Torquay Victoria 3228