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:
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.
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.
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
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
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 prearranged 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 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
Feel humbled amongst the ancient giants of the Otways Ranges. The striking cool temperate rainforest of the Great Otway National Park boasts one of the highest rainfalls in the state with waterfalls flowing year-round. Walkers of almost any ability can trek around the Otways, discovering the Great Ocean Walk, waterfalls, lush forests, cliff top walks, heritage and coastal trails. Whether you go inland or hug the rugged coast, the Otways is a place for adventure, romance and discovery. Apollo Bay is the perfect base to explore them all.