Top things to do in Apollo Bay
With lush rainforests, golden beaches and calm rivers, Apollo Bay is a truly stunning part of the country to visit. There’s plenty to see and do, with a number of museums to satisfy the history buffs, some fantastic surfing spots and a number of breathtaking hikes through the vibrant scenery. As well as all of that, the bay is also home to a wealth of boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, full of local flavours and crafts.
With so much choice, it can be hard to decide how to spend your time here! Fortunately, we’ve come up with a list of things to do in Apollo Bay.
1. Visit Tastes of the Region
For anyone looking to get the full Otway flavour experience, why not join us here for a taste sensation? With a huge range of local products to try in our tasting rooms or to take home. It’s a fantastic culinary journey. From locally produced honey and cheese, to locally reared meat specialities and a huge range of jams and preserves, plus much more.
Besides our own Prickly Moses handcrafted beers, we also stock in excess of 100 of the finest local, Australian and international craft beers. Join us for a tasting and try a paddle of five Prickly Moses beers or four local wines, as well as one of our local food platters.
2. Apollo Bay Distillery
Apollo Bay Distillery aims to preserve the tales of Apollo Bay and embody the spirit of the town. Their gins are linked to the ships that sailed off this treacherous coast many years ago and serve as a strong reminder of Apollo Bay’s nautical history. Located in the old Post Office, built in 1970, they also house the anchor of the historic SS Casino who came to a fateful end off one of our local beaches. A visit to ABD would not be complete without trying a gin flight consisting of unique handcrafted gins, distilled onsite, using local botanicals. Their beautiful copper column still is not to be missed! These unique and artisan gins can be enjoyed alongside a freshly made wood fired pizza, using only the finest flour and ingredients.
3. Cape Otway lightstation
A nice hike out of the town and up onto the cliffs will take you to the oldest lightstation in mainland Australia. First put into service in 1848, the light has been blinking ever since, though it was replaced in 1994 by a solar powered beacon. Nowadays, visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the magnificent views from the observation deck – you may even spot whales!
The area is also home to the old telegraph station museum, a world war two radar bunker and an indigenous cultural centre. It’s a great place to spend the day, and people from all walks of life are likely to enjoy all that’s on offer. Don’t forget to pass by the Lighthouse Station cafe for lunch, they serve some delicious local dishes.
4. Hit the surf
Apollo Bay enjoys some incredible waves and fantastic surfing opportunities, suitable for beginners and veterans alike. Beginners are well catered to, with a number of surf hire shops and schools offering board and wetsuit hire and two hour lessons for kids and adults. If you’ve never tried surfing before, it’s a great place to give it a go!
Stand up paddle boarding is another popular alternative, and is a great way to explore the bay. Again, boards, paddles and wetsuits are readily available to hire.
5. Waterfall walks
Who doesn’t love to witness nature’s untamed power, paired oddly with a sense of tranquility that only a waterfall can offer? There are several exciting hikes into the rainforest surrounding Apollo Bay, many of them leading to beautiful cascades, set among vivid greenery. There are three falls very close to Apollo Bay;
- Triplet falls
- Beauchamp falls
- Hopetoun falls
All are reached by wandering through ancient rainforests, thick with ferns and breathtaking sights. The Great Ocean Road area and the Otways boasts a huge number of other waterfalls within close proximity of one another if you haven’t yet had your fill!
6. Catch your supper!
Apollo Bay is famed for serving up some of the most delectable seafood in the country, and now you can catch your own – you can’t get fresher than that! Despite becoming a popular tourist destination, many locals continue to work in the fishing industry, reeling in a great selection of fresh and delicious fish and crustaceans. However, many fishermen have diversified due to the influx of tourists and now offer chartered fishing trips.
Head out on working fishing boat and enjoy some exciting inshore fishing, for the chance to land anything from shark or snapper to flathead or squid! Other tours will take you out to try deep sea shark or tuna fishing, great for those seeking adventure! For those more willing to leave it to the professionals, fantastic, local seafood can be enjoyed in a number of restaurants in Apollo Bay, plus there’s an annual seafood festival in February.
8. Seek out the local wildlife
Apollo Bay and the Otways are home to a wealth of creatures, great and small. All the typical Australian critters, such as koalas and kangaroos can be regularly spotted in the area. Others are not quite so keen to be spotted, such as the elusive platypus. You can always head to Lake Elizabeth for the best chance of catching sight of one, or take a ‘paddle with the platypus tour’.
The Great Ocean Ecolodge is another excellent place to get up close with the local wildlife. This social enterprise is run by the Conservation Ecology Centre, with all profits going into the protection and conservation of local flora and fauna. Visitors are invited on guided dusk tours with a high chance of seeing koalas, kangaroos and other creatures, and they can even volunteer to help with conservation efforts.
9. Visit the Apollo Bay restaurants
World class seafood can be found in abundance in Apollo Bay restaurants, and there are a number of places serving up sumptuous snacks and delectable dinners. Look out for the famous ‘Scallop pie’ from the Apollo Bay Bakery, and the fresh, gourmet offerings from Chris’s Restaurant, perfectly paired with local wines.
More great food can be found at our Great Ocean Road Brewhouse, as well as a huge selection of craft beers on tap and by the bottle. The locally produced Prickly Moses, crafted using pure rainforest rainwater, makes up our range of house beers. It’s a fantastic place to catch some live music, sport, or just chill out with good food and great beer.
10. Bag a bargain at the market
The Apollo Bay Market runs most Saturday mornings throughout the year and is a fantastic place to discover local crafts, produce, food and artwork. Grab a locally roasted coffee and explore the various stalls, all the time chatting to the friendly stall holders. From farm fresh fruit and veg, grown within 40km of the town, to homemade cider and preserves, it’s a fantastic chance to get your hands on fresh, locally produced goods.
It’s not just about food though – there are stalls selling anything from clothes and artwork to toys and handcrafted jewellery. You really can bag some truly unique gifts for friends or family, or just treat yourself! The atmosphere is lively and friendly, with the hustle and bustle of a thriving marketplace and the aroma of coffee and baked goods drifting through the air.
11. Apollo Bay History Trail
Discover ten historical points of interest on a short walk along the main street of Apollo Bay. Various signs tell you about the history of the area and you can see how it has changed over the years. Pick up a brochure about the trail from the information centre, take the dust off your hiking shoes and learn more about the history of our beautiful coastal town and its buildings.To read more about the history of the Ballarat Hotel, click here. Also worth a visit is the Apollo Bay Museum, housed in the buildings from which the undersea cable connected Tasmania with the mainland.
12. Watch whales, dolphins and seals
Apollo Bay is a fantastic place to discover a wide variety of marine wildlife, and there are numerous vantage points along the beach. Southern right whales can normally be spotted between May and September each year, with some pods staying in one location for as long as a week.
There are a number of charter boats running tours around the bay, and the chances of bumping into a dolphin or seal is pretty high. Sea kayak tours can also be enjoyed and are a fantastic way to get up close and personal with the Australian fur seals.