The magnitude of the ocean versus the majesty of the forest. Discover a land where ancient flora and bubbling streams meet life on a cliffs edge shaped by relentless crashing waves. Apollo Bay marks the entry point for the celebrated Great Otways Walks.
Download a Walks & Waterfalls Guide for Apollo Bay & the Otways:
Apollo Bay Beach
Take a stroll along the wide, crescent-shaped sandy beach of Apollo Bay offset by a stunning backdrop of rolling green hills. A 3km long eastern facing beach, Apollo Bay provides safe, patrolled (during peak periods) waters for walking, swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, sand castle building and beach cricket. Starting at the South end of the beach, Point Bunbury and the harbour wall create a protected bay best suited for families and leisurely bathers. This is the area patrolled by the Apollo Bay Life Saving Club during the summer months and popular weekends.
Apollo Bay Coastal Trail
Starting from the Visitor Information Centre, you can choose from two options along the Apollo Bay Coastal Trails:
- Walk to Marriners Lookout Road - 1.4km | 1,866 steps (one way)
- Walk to Wild Dog Creek - 2.5km | 3,300 steps (one way)
Please note: the trail is subject to coastal erosion following kings tides and big swells (and may be closed in sections). Check at the Visitor Information Centre for the latest conditions.
Apollo Bay Harbour
Beginning at the Visitor Information Centre, walk west along the beach to the Apollo Bay Harbour or take a gravel footpath alongside the Apollo Bay Foreshore turning left at the Nelson Street War Memorial Statue and continuing alongside the Apollo Bay Golf Course enjoying some of the best views in town.
The Harbour precinct is great for fishing or pick-up some fresh fish from the Fishermen’s Co-op.
Distance: 2km return | Time: 30 minutes | Difficulty: Easy
Apollo Bay History Trail
Discover ten historical points of interest on a walk through the Apollo Bay township.
Apollo Bay Sculpture Walk
A permanent exhibition of local artists' work, the wooden sculptures along the Apollo Bay Foreshore have become an iconic feature of the town. Follow this interesting trail along the gravel footpath starting at the Visitor Information Centre, heading west along the grassy foreshore towards the playground, skate park and golf course.
Distance: 1.5km return | Time: 20 minutes | Difficulty: Easy
Apollo Bay Shorebirds Trail
There are two Apollo Bay Shorebirds Trails (Marengo to Barham and Apollo Bay to Wild Dog).
Each one lets you explore the environment and history of our coastline. Along the way you will learn about the shorebirds that make the coastline their home, with a particular emphasis on the endangered Hooded Plover. To complete the trail you will need a Smart Phone with a QR code reader. No QR reader? No problem. Download a free iPhone app or a free app for Android. If you’re at the Marengo Beach Car Park, head down onto the beach and start walking back towards town. From the Apollo Bay Information Centre, head out of town towards Skenes Creek.
Keep your eyes peeled for the pine posts with QR codes attached – you will find 10 along each trail. The first nine stations of each trail will ask you a question, the answer to which will be found at the next station. If you answer all nine questions, follow the instructions at the last station to win tickets to the Cape Otway Lightstation.
The Shorebirds Trail is an initiative of the Southern Otway Landcare Network and Birdlife Australia and is funded by the Australian Federal Government through its “Caring for Our Country” program.
Marriners Lookout is located on top of the hill sitting just north of Apollo Bay. An easy 10 minute walk from the carpark is rewarded with spectacular ocean, beach, hinterland and town view. If you're feeling more energetic, walk about 1.5 kilometres north from Apollo Bay along the beach or Great Ocean Road, then climb a steep hill along a surfaced road for another 1.5 kilometres to the lookout track (take heed of passing traffic).
Marriners Lookout is a popular take-off point for hang gliders. With the right conditions you may see someone take off.
Distance: 1km return | Time: 20 minutes | Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Apollo Bay-Marengo-Shelly Beach
Do the beginning section of the Great Ocean Walk (GOW) starting from the wave sculpture trailhead in the Visitor Information Centre carpark. Take the GOW track on a gravel footpath leading west alongside the Great Ocean Road through town and continuing west to the Marengo caravan park. Follow low cliff tops overlooking the ocean and the exposed and aptly named Bald Hill. The hike traverses on and off the beach through sheltered forest to picturesque Shelly Beach. Coastal route at low tide and during calm seas.
Distance: 6.5km one-way | Time: 2hr 45min one-way | Difficulty: Medium
Great Ocean Walk
Strap on your boots, open the back gate and take your first step into one of Australia’s most iconic coastal walks. Apollo Bay is the starting point for the 100 kilometres of trail making up the Great Ocean Walk. With walking itineraries ranging from a stroll to 8 days, weekend wanderers and seasoned trampers can uncover breathtaking vistas exploring the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks.
Day hikes range from short, well made paths to more challenging, full day treks. A great starting point is the 2km Shelly Beach walk, only a 10 minutes drive from Apollo Bay. From there, shine your gaze towards the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the haunting shores of Wreck Beach and everything in between.
With the aid of vehicle or pre-arranged shuttle, single and multi day hikers along the coastal trail can be mixed and matched to create an itinerary based upon the time and distances you want to travel. Anything from 1 night – 7 nights is possible.
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
Maits Rest is a relatively short, circuit walk virtually beside the Great Ocean Road about 15 minutes west of Apollo Bay. It is a great introduction to a true rainforest gully and has been protected since the early 1900s to give an idea of what the pre-European Otways were once like. It is home to a couple of spectacular trees, including some towering Mountain Ash and a massive Myrtle Beech tree estimated to be at least 300 years old. It also includes plants that are remnants of the forests that dominated this area 100 million years ago when it was part of Gondwanaland.
Distance: 1km return | Time: 30 mins | Difficulty: Easy
Lake Elizabeth Walk
Head to Lake Elizabeth hidden deep in the Otways and discover its inspiring beauty with heavily timbered flanks and calm waters punctuated by the trunks of dead trees, drowned when the valley was flooded more than 50 years ago to form this "perched lake". The elusive platypus can be found in the waters of the lake - wake up early or head to Lake Elizabeth at dusk to catch a glimpse of these shy Australian natives. The loop trial follows the lakes edge and is best suited for moderate walking ability. Otway Eco-Tours also offer guided platypus tours by canoe to maximise viewing potential. There is free camping at the walk-in campground (approx 100m from carpark) next to river, where dogs and fires are permitted.
Distance: 1.5km return (lake) OR 4km return (circuit) | Time: 1hr (lake) OR 2hr (circuit) | Difficulty: Easy (lake) OR Easy - Moderate (circuit)
Otway Eco Tours (Paddle with the Platypus)
Address: 21 Grant St, Forrest
Phone: 0419 670 985
Melba Gully - Madsen's Track Nature Trail
Melba Gully (Madsen's Track), aptly known as the Jewel of the Otways, is one of the wettest places in the state. The gully has prolific plant growth and is a dense rainforest of Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Tree-ferns, with an understorey of low ferns and mosses. The Madsen's Track Nature Walk provides an adventure into a world of ancient, mossy trees and cool fern gullies. Located near Lavers Hill, this short walk is a good spot to see the remarkable glow worms at night.
Distance: 1.2km return | Time: 30 mins | Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Download the Melba Gully - Madsen's Track Nature Trail Park Notes
Otway Fly Treetop Walk
The Otway Fly Tree Top Walk is located in Victoria's magnificent Otways, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to view the forest from a bird's eye view. The Tree Top Walk is the longest and tallest elevated walk of its kind in the world. At 600 metres long and 30 metres above ground level. The walk is a 1.9 kilometres round walk starting from the visitor centre and takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour to complete.
Distance: 1.9km return | Time: 1 hour | Difficulty: Moderate
At the remarkable Californian Redwoods, let your imagination come to life along this enchanting walk, where fairytales seem to come alive! This remarkable stand of the world's tallest tree species have thrived in Otway soil, far from their native California. Towering on the sheltered river flat at the Aire Valley Plantation, these Sequoia Sempervirens Trees were originally planted in 1936 by Victorian forresters for experimental purposes. While still in their youthful growth phase, the Otway Redwoods may one day claim the title of tallest trees in the world. A walk for the first time between the massive trunks flanking the river creates a special feeling of awe and reverence - not to be missed.
Distance: 500m return | Time: 15 mins | Difficulty: Easy