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To get a panoramic view of the town and the bay, head north out of town and follow Marriners Lookout Road. Leave your car in the car park, and take a quick walk along the foot trail to reach the lookout. Once there, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the town, harbour, and coast. If lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the SS Casino, a 1932 steamship which sank in the shallow waters close to shore. Look eastwards to try to spot this historic shipwreck.
The Great Ocean Walk leads 91 kilometres from Apollo Bay all the way to Glenample Homestead and is the ideal way to get an intimate feel for Victoria’s rugged coast. The walk leads through the National Park and has been designed to give walkers the flexibility to get on and off the trail at a variety of places, making it feasible to do both long and short hikes. The walk also overlooks the Marine National Park and offers access to deserted beaches and shipwreck sites. Along with hiking, the park offers great opportunities for camping, mountain biking, and horse riding. One of the most beautiful ways to experience the park is by camping and then picnicking near one of the park’s many waterfalls. For accommodation that is a bit more upscale, look into a night’s stay at one of the eco-lodges or luxury retreats.
Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia, +61 13 19 63
Apollo Bay is renowned for the fresh fish caught by local fisherman. Spend an afternoon in town exploring the many restaurants and cafés offering seafood dishes. Chris’s at Beacon Point is a good option for a lovely dinner with perfect ocean views from atop the cliffs. After enjoying a good meal, walk it off by exploring the boat harbor and marina, home to an active fishing fleet. If all the luscious seafood is making you eager to get out on a boat and cast a reel yourself, there are many options for guided deep sea fishing adventures.
Saturday is the best day to explore Apollo Bay’s gift shop and galleries, as you will also be able to stroll through the Saturday foreshore market. The town centre is clustered along one side of Great Ocean Road and overlooks the grassy foreshore leading to the main swimming beach. Each Saturday, vendors gather at the foreshore to offer the best fresh produce, crafts made by local artisans, and curios galore.
Time on the beach and out on the sea is one of Apollo Bay’s greatest draws. After getting some rays on the main town beach, look a bit further afield and take a short trip over to Mounts Bay to find another pristine beach to lay on. One of the best ways to explore the coastline is by renting kayaks and heading out towards the many local seal colonies. Surfing is also a great option to get out and enjoy the waves.
Take a drive to Cape Otway Lightstation to check out Australia’s most famous lighthouse. Built in 1848, the lighthouse is perched on sea cliffs 90 metres above the ocean. A visit will offer awesome views from the Lighthouse Balcony. Guides are on hand to tell tales of tragic shipwrecks along the coast. Whales often frolic in the seas below, and koalas are commonly spotted in the forest drive to the lighthouse from Great Ocean Road. Make sure not to miss the nearby Aboriginal Cultural Site for a lesson in painting, spear throwing, and other traditional activities. Stop by the Lightkeeper’s Kitchen Café in the original Assistant Lightkeeper’s cottage for a quick snack or coffee before hitting the road.
A trip to nearby Lake Elizabeth will delight you with serene lake views over a mirror calm surface surrounded by lush giant ferns. An added bonus is the chance to spot platypuses. Rising early for this expedition is essential, as the platypus is a very elusive creature – best spotted at dawn. One of the most adventurous ways to reach Lake Elizabeth over water is by a canoe tour from Apollo Bay.
The Otways rainforest is green, dense, and majestic. The Otway Fly is a treetop walk and zip line tour that will offer great views and immersion into the forest canopy. There are over 600 metres of elevated walkways to traverse. The Otway Fly is the world’s highest treetop walk and is suspended up to 30 metres above the forest floor. Visitors can get right into the rain forest by accessing towers, cloud stations, and suspended arms to view the unique flora and fauna. Get a bit further into the rainforest on the incredible drive to Tanbryn on the loop back to Apollo Bay.
Otway Fly, 360 Phillips Track, Weeaproinah, VIC, Australia, +61 3 5235 9200
The Base Strait Shell Museum gives a good overview of sea life specimens, coral, and shells. For those more interested in local history, try The Old Cable Station Museum, located on Apollo Bay’s northern edge. The Old Cable Station Museum offers displays of local memorabilia housed in the cable station that was historically used as a link between Tasmania and the rest of the Australia.
Base Strait Shell Museum, 12 Noel St, Apollo Bay, VIC, Australia, +61 3 5237 6395
A popular local scenic drive is along Barham River Road. This drive will lead inland and give a great vantage point of the rainforest through Barham Valley and deliver you at Marriners Falls. However, the Great Ocean Drive is also perfect for a more epic road trip. Apollo Bay can be a great stop along a car journey taking in the spectacular coastal route. Once you get a taste of the open road and the pleasure of Apollo Bay, you will surely want to check out a few other towns along the Great Ocean Drive!
Apollo Bay is an idyllic seaside treasure with all the amenities of a resort town and access to some of the most beautiful natural environments that Australia has to offer. With prime access to both the coast and the Otways mountain range, a base in Apollo Bay provides the perfect location to be truly immersed in Victoria’s most mesmerizing landscapes.