Unpack your bags and stay a while. Life is an adventure in Apollo Bay with protected bays to swim, endless Great Otway National Park trails to blaze and a hearty meal of local food and wine waiting for you upon return. Explore nature’s big backyard.
The call of nature beacons as the warming morning light starts to filter into your beach side room. Another day in Apollo Bay begins with the possibility of adventure, discovery and the quest of knowledge from those who stepped before us.
Witness the contrast between east and west, grace and power, as you explore the coastline of Cape Otway. Starting at your doorstep, the protected eastern side of the Cape offers safer bays for swimming, surfing and diving. Head west and the Southern Ocean takes hold, sculpting high cliffs and monuments like the Twelve Apostle and London Bridge with ferocity and relentless force.
Head inland and be dwarfed by forests dripping with waterfalls, towering ferns, walking tracks and mountain bike trails. Be welcomed to the native country of the Gadubanud people at the Mia Mia ‘talking hut’ next to the Cape Otway Lightstation and share in a story of a culture that lived harmoniously with land and sea. Then head north to learn about the flora or fauna of the hinterlands whilst strolling around the 2km Triplet Falls Heritage Trail.
After a day working the mind, body and sole, the creature comforts await back in Apollo Bay. Rest those weary limbs over a hearty feast of local produce, prepared to your liking at any number of beach side restaurants. Don’t forget a matching glass of wine harvested from same earth, water and sun that filled your day with wonder.
One for the Calendar
The Apollo Bay events calendar is a busy one with locals assembling to orchestrate celebrations of sport, food, music and arts.
Home to the Great Ocean Road Marathon, Apollo Bay becomes a fitness metropolis mid May with athletes and supporters descending on town to endure long distances along the iconic coastline. For mountain bike enthusiasts, your month is February, with the Giant Odyssey marathon visiting the neighbouring town of Forrest.
Foodies are well catered for in Apollo Bay with fertile land and sea harvesting mouth watering produce year round. Meet the local farmers and purchase a piece of their labour from the Farmers Market hosted on the third Sunday of each month. February is the month for real seafood lovers with cooking demonstrations, tastings and live music presented by the annual Apollo Bay Seafood & Produce Festival.
Hot on the Otway Harvest Trail
Delicious wine and fresh berries served with a slab of locally made cheese and some bread from the local bakery, these are what holidays are made of and no you don’t have to be in Tuscany or Provence to indulge your palate. These delicious treats can be found all around the Otways.
Using the Otway Harvest Trail to guide your taste buds around the country roads, gather your loot for an indulgent holiday feast. Stop off for some fresh berries and homemade jams at Gentle Annie Berry Gardens, then continue on and collect a bottle of berry gin and local cider from Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm & Cidery. Did someone say wine? Choose from over 6 wineries plus the Forrest Brewing Company for a brew or two to keep the grownups happy. You certainly will not find it difficult to stock the picnic basket as you tour the farm gates, provedores and cellar doors.
Exhausted from tasting and shopping? Let local chefs prepare a meal for you at one of the excellent dining options from celebrated Brae restaurant to the family friendly Wonky Donkey in Forrest. You are spoilt for choice in the Otways, and you don’t have to do the dishes!
A Winter of Wonder
Forget what you think you know about a beach holiday in winter.
Apollo Bay’s simple seaside pleasures are year-round and all-season. Unwind in the gentle curve of the harbour, stretch out in wide open spaces or worship divine views from Marriner’s Lookout. Reminisce childhood holidays by the sea and browse markets brimming with locals proudly pitching local produce. Surrender to the charm with just-caught crayfish dinner in an elegant hilltop restaurant before retiring to the warmth of the wood fire at your beach side accommodation.
Out of town...
Be dwarfed by the vast, natural world. At Cape Otway Lightstation Precinct, witness the timeless wrestle between man-made history and big nature played out in incredible scenery, wildlife encounters and cultural experiences. Journey into ancient forests dripping with waterfalls, towering tree ferns, walking tracks, mountain bike trails and secluded campgrounds. The 103,000-hectare Great Otway National Park is in our backyard. Beyond, big country towns with even bigger hearts.
Some winter ready suggestions include:
- The Great Ocean Road Brewhouse - Specialising in craft beer from around the world, you can choose from over 100 beers at the Brewhouse. You can also visit their Taste of the Region produce center to browse a delicious selection of regional produce.
- Catch your own - Fishing is particularly good in the winter with beaches, rivers and oceans coming to life with full sized fish including salmon
- Whale watching - The Southern Right Whale returns to the Great Ocean Road in winter for breeding season
- Take to the hill - The ancient trees and oversize ferns of the Great Otway National Park make for great protection from the chilly wind.
- Mountain bike - Colder temperatures keep the mountain bike tracks from drying out. The more you pedal the warmer you'll be.
- The Otway Harvest Trail - Surrounding Apollo Bay are the treats of the Otway Harvest Trial. Breweries, wineries and local harvests await discovery
Wild for Wildlife
Many of Australia's unique animals can be easily spotted around Apollo Bay. And then again, some can not.
If you know where to look, there are kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, glow worms and birdlife on show. There are also platypus, echidnas, snakes, and emus, but for those you might need some keen eyes, or dumb luck. Start exploring and see what you find.