LET THE LOCALS GUIDE YOU IN APOLLO BAYby LISA STEPHENSON
When guests staying at our luxury properties ask us about the best places to visit in Apollo Bay, we could give them a list a mile long.
As locals, our team at Great Ocean Road Escapes do have some favorite spots that we tend to recommend, and these are just a few of them!
1. Score a fresh catch
The Apollo Bay Fishermen's Co-operative was founded in 1945. The local fishermen grouped together to find ways to increase and better market their catch. Some of our fishermen and managers have been involved with the Co-operative for over 40 years. Apollo Bay is the last working fishing harbour on the Great Ocean Road. Rock lobster and shark have traditionally been the main catch, but today scallop, giant crab, squid and abalone are also sought after in the Bass Strait seas. Our market today now includes live export, quite often you may see the boats unloading freshly caught squid or locally caught scallops.
The short drive from Apollo Bay to the Wye General Store is beautiful. If you're after lunch, they've got everything from a simple ham and cheese toastie on sourdough to a Boscastle pie. The burgers are pretty famous; created using homemade brioche buns, and the patties are shaped and chargrilled to perfection! They also offer fresh fish and seafood (subject to availability), vegetarian options and hearty soups served with their famous tasty sourdough bread. There's also an impressive gift shop carrying some local goodies.
3. Visit a nearby waterfall
Walk through magnificent mountain ash forests with large myrtle beech, blackwood and thick ferns to arrive at the spectacle of the Beauchamp Falls crashing over a ledge into a large pool. One of several waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park, this 20-metre waterfall rewards a somewhat strenuous walk. To get to the falls, take the walking path from the picnic area, located off the Aire Valley Road from Beech Forest Road. The three-kilometre path is an hour's walk return, and requires reasonable fitness. The descent to the falls leads to a viewing platform (there is no access to the falls). The path back is steep and has steps that can be slippery when wet.
4. Walk through the rainforest
Maits Rest is about 15 minute drive from Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road along the way to the 12 Apostles. There is car parking immediately after you see the Maits Rest sign, to the left off the road. This 30 minute, 800 metre walk along mixture of boardwalk and gravel paths takes you along a valley floor in part of the ancient rainforest. Giant myrtle beeches rise through the mists and create a canopy for the amazing array of tree ferns and moss on the forest floor. Many of the beech trees are 300 years old and form an important part of this cool temperate rainforest within the Great Otway National Park. Look for a wide range of birds, including 43 species found nowhere else in the world.
5. Try a famous scallop pie
Home of the famous scallop pie, this award-winning bakery is open from 6am seven-days-a-week. They make fresh bread, pies, cakes, and specialty goodies using the freshest ingredients.
If you're after breakfast, a quick snack, a healthy lunch or catering for a function they can sort you out. They also make fantastic coffee for either takeaway, or so you can sit and relax in the cafe area. In winter, you may even be lucky to see a whale swim by!
6. Indulge in authentic Italian
Tucked away in a quiet side street, Casalingo is a favourite with the locals. Smart set décor of chandeliers, linen table cloths, high ceilings and an ambient mezzanine level resonates with a sleek Italian style, attune to a menu of timeless favourites. Having undergone training in a number of award winning restaurants, Casalingo owner and chef showcases his wealth of experience on a menu of traditional Italian cuisine, using fine fresh produce, local seafood and as many organic ingredients as possible to craft a selection of hand rolled pasta, stone oven gourmet pizzas and mouth watering mains.
7. Walk high through the treetops
Experience a breathtaking view of the magnificent Otway Ranges from the world’s tallest treetop walk at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures. The 600 metre-long, 25 metre-high elevated walkway provides unrivalled views of the unique beauty of the region’s flora and fauna, from the rainforest floor up into the soaring heights of the treetops.
Don’t miss the 45 metre tall Spiral Tower and the cantilever perched above Young’s Creek – a truly exhilarating experience as you gently sway with the rain forest canopy.
Great Ocean Road Escapes manages luxury, self-contained properties in Apollo Bay. Many are pet-friendly, so everyone in the family can enjoy their holiday in the Great Ocean Road region.