An aerial shot of Apollo Bay with waves rolling into the beach and cars driving along the beachside road.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Your ultimate guide to exploring Apollo Bay

Discover everything this beautiful coastal region along the iconic Great Ocean Road has to offer

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Just 2.5 hours drive from Melbourne is Apollo Bay, a seaside town where you can explore some of Victoria's lushest landscapes, dine on regional food and beverages and enjoy plenty of fun activities such as wildlife tours and golfing by the seaside. It's rife with fresh local seafood, a history of shipwrecks and panoramic ocean views, perfect for a delicious, historic and relaxing getaway. 

You’ll also find landmarks like the Cape Otway Lightstation just a half hour's drive away, as well as the unforgettable 12 Apostles only an hour's drive from the main street of Apollo Bay. And in exciting news for Victoria, it was our state's only beach to make a list of Australia's best beaches

Looking for more weekend guides? These are Victoria's best getaways to try.

The best things to do in Apollo Bay

See and do

Experience the open bushland of the region and see some native animals at Wildlife Wonders. There are several tours to choose from including a Walk with Wildlife Tour and Dusk and Dawn Discovery Tours, all guided by a knowledgeable conservationist. With an enclosed area of more than 12 hectares, it is a safe haven for the many species who live in this sanctuary including koalas, bandicoots, and pademelons. 

Anyone up for golf by the water? Grab your clubs and enjoy nine or 18 holes at the Apollo Bay Golf Club. Operating year-round, this golf club is situated next to the marina so you can enjoy the beautiful coastal aspect while perfecting your swing.   

If you’re keen to learn more about the local shipwrecks and the rich history of Apollo Bay, you should stop at the Apollo Bay Museum. Located right on the Great Ocean Road, just before entering the town, this not-for-profit and volunteer-run community organisation houses many artefacts, photographs, and pieces of the region’s history. Here you can discover what life was like for those living in the small, isolated community of the 1800s prior to the construction of the Great Ocean Road. At that time, the primary means of access to the isolated town was via ship; sadly, shipwrecks in the area were frequent and were the demise of many. 

Want a view from the top? Head to Marriners Lookout for a stunning overview of the bay, hinterland, and ocean waters. You can get to this hilltop with a ten-minute walk from the carpark or make the most out of it with a hiking trip. 

Eat and drink

You can definitely bet on a historical fishing town to have excellent fish and chips, and you’ll find it at the Apollo Bay Seafood Café. This family-owned and run business has been operating for almost two decades to bring fresh and locally sourced seafood for dine-in or take-away at your leisure. With a large assortment of seafood, you can enjoy the Apollo Tasting Platter with natural Coffin Bay oysters, king prawns, steamed mussels, grilled lemon pepper calamari and grilled scallops all on one plate. While seafood may be the staple, the café's menu also offers a variety of options with burgers, steak sandwiches, salads and even souvlakis. In addition to its indoor dining space, there is also a secluded escape found in its rear courtyard where you can enjoy the fresh ocean air Apollo Bay has to offer. It also contains its own herb and vegetable garden which are used in its meals and recipes for that extra addition of fresh, local produce. 

One of the most popular spots in town is the Apollo Bay Bakery, aka the “home of the scallop pie on the Great Ocean Road”. It's a must-try for seafood lovers, and you can choose between the curry scallop or scallop mornay – or both! Baking seven days a week, this beloved bakery also offers pies, pasties and sausage rolls that are all handmade on-site. Many assortments are available including beef, chicken, lamb and seafood, as well as gluten-free and vegan options. Even if you’re just picking up some bread, this bakery's sourdough loaf is made from its own wild yeast with bacteria harvested from the skins of ‘Otway Red’ potatoes, making it a unique staple for locals and tourists alike. 

Discover the only gin distillery on the Great Ocean Road and one of the best local places to dine at the Apollo Bay Distillery. Located on the town’s main street, here you’ll find seasonally inspired pizzas made with local produce, an array of share plates including truffle fries, pumpkin arancini and cheese board selections, as well as its hand-crafted selection of house-made gins. These gins are distilled on-site and are linked to the nautical history of Apollo Bay and its heritage as part of the ‘shipwreck coast’.  The core range includes the SS Casino Dry Gin and Captain Chapman’s Navy Strength Gin which you can order on its own, enjoy as part of a gin flight on the menu or, even better, take a bottle home for later! (You can also order them online from Dan Murphy’s). If gin’s not necessarily your drink of choice, they also have their own Nitro Vodka with four different flavours to choose from including watermelon, lime, pineapple and blueberry. You may also want to keep an eye out for the distillery's specially made spirits but be aware you’ll only find these ones in-house! 

If you’re looking for a great place to stop in for a drink and a bite to eat, the Apollo Bay Hotel is just what you need. Originally built in 1855, this town landmark has undergone a total refurbishment and offers a warm welcome to regulars and newcomers alike. Here you can enjoy a cold beer or cocktail, order a pub classic like a chicken parm or pizza or try new items available with their seasonal menu. Cosy up by the fireplace in winter or enjoy the warm summer breeze on the outdoor alfresco dining area – there are ideal dining options to enjoy throughout the year. You can also catch the game with live sports available and live music is often on offer on weekends. 

What’s a brewhouse without good hand-crafted beer? That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse. More than 100 craft beers are on offer and it's the home of Prickly Moses Handcrafted Beer. Be invited by the vibrant atmosphere, spacious beer gardens and roaring fires as you enjoy all that Apollo Bay has to offer. With dining options including classic pub food, modern dishes, and daily chef specials, here you can sit back and relax, or be entertained with acoustic shows every weekend, trivia nights and happy hour! You can also find Tastes of the Region, the brewhouse's dog-friendly tasting room and bottle shop located just behind the brewhouse. In addition to beer and wine tastings, it has a wide selection of local produce from the Otways and Great Ocean Road regions with cheese, chocolates, jams, chutneys and more. Take them home with you or better yet, revel in one of the picnic hampers to enjoy in one of the many beautiful spots in Apollo Bay. 

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Stay

Stay your way at the BIG4 Apollo Bay Pisces Holiday Park with cabin, camping and caravan accommodations available for whatever suits you best. Located across from the beach and less than a five-minute drive to the town's main street, it makes a great place to relax after a big day of exploring the beautiful coastal regions. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the holiday park itself with an adventure playground featuring a flying fox, pump track, heated swimming pool, undercover fireplace (did someone say marshmallows?) and indoor games room. 

If a motel is more for you, you can enjoy stylish and modern rooms at the Sandpiper Motel Apollo Bay. Choose from king, queen, twin, and family apartments with free Wi-Fi to unwind and enjoy your stay. 

For something a little more spacious and self-contained, the Apollo Bay Cottages have one, two and three-bedroom cottages to choose from. Situated on four hectares of landscaped grounds and opposite the beach, this is the perfect place to stay for single travellers, couples and families.

Check out what the rest of the Great Ocean Road has to offer

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