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Apollo Bay: Where the Call of the Wild Inspires the Soul
Chances are you’re going to spend most of your days in Apollo Bay outside. In the summer, you’ve got safe swimming beaches buzzing with activity. In the colder months, you can whale watch right from the sand. Year-round, you can try your hand at kayaking, hike along the coastline or explore the rainforests right behind town. However, upon strolling Apollo Bay’s streets, you’ll soon discover a rich history and a thriving artistic scene, where man’s will and nature’s beauty intersect at every turn. As one of Australia’s top destinations, visitors to this Great Ocean Road community have a wide range of holiday rental options, from studios on the main street to private four-bedroom homes in the shady backstreets.
Apollo Bay Hiking and Walking Trails
Apollo Bay benefits from a prime location on the Great Ocean Road for those wishing to spend their holidays hiking. This town marks the starting point to the 91km Great Ocean Road Walk and is only a short drive to the Great Otway National Park, where a myriad of trails lead deep into the rainforest. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can walk the entirety of the Great Ocean Road Walk, which abuts at the 12 Apostles. If you don’t wish to spend several days hiking, the walk is divided into numerous sections, allowing you to only do as much of it as you feel comfortable. One of the benefits to hiking this coastal trail is that you can get much closer to the water than if you were driving by.
The Great Otway National Park, one of the most visited outdoor sites in Victoria, is traversed by the Great Ocean Walk, but to properly explore the rainforest, spend at least a day on trails shaded by towering hundred-year-old trees. The park includes plenty of spots for a picnic and some campgrounds, should you wish to spend the night in the great outdoors. If you’re looking for a more leisurely stroll, you don’t have to leave the town of Apollo Bay: simply stroll along the 3km foreshore.
On Apollo Bay’s Foreshore
Apollo Bay enjoys a series of safe swimming beaches, as well as more challenging surf spots. The Main Beach is perfect for families, bordered by cafes and shops. While you’re here, you can learn to surf or take kayaking lessons with qualified instructors. From June to November each year, residents and visitors come to the water’s edge to watch the migrating whales. Keep an eye out for whale spotting signs, indicating where you’re most likely to see these majestic mammals. Year-round, wildlife enthusiasts can observe Apollo Bay’s seals by renting a kayak or taking part in a guided tour aboard a cruise.
The Artsy Side of Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay’s scenic surrounds have long attracted artists to the coast, many of whom have galleries in the town centre. Apollo Bay is home to several traditional painting and print galleries, as well as artists’ studios where you can buy works directly from those who made them, from crafts to jewellery to glass creations. The galleries are close to each other and two are set above the famed Nautigal’s Cafe along the Great Ocean Road, so it’s easy to grab a bite to eat while you go gallery hopping. If you prefer to stay outside, make sure you visit Apollo Bay’s Foreshore Market, which takes place every Saturday. Here, you can browse handmade creations and speak to local craftsmen against a beach and ocean backdrop.
Australian Heritage in Apollo Bay
Once an important whaling station, Apollo Bay offers plenty for those wishing to discover the region’s past. If you would like to learn about the Great Ocean Road’s history, spend the afternoon at the Apollo Bay Museum, conveniently open on weekends and public holidays. The museum is located in the Old Telegraph Station, which used to house the underwater cable that served to connect Tasmania to mainland Australia. While at the museum, you can learn about shipwrecks that happened right off the coast, view remains of the boats that capsized and learn all about Apollo Bay’s founders and the people who helped build the town.
Getting to Apollo Bay
The quickest, easiest way to get to Apollo Bay is by car but there’s no need to rush, as the town is set right on the famous Great Ocean Road. Slow down to appreciate the rugged ocean scenery or stop at one of the many lookouts and see if you can spot whales or dolphins. If you don’t have a car, you can join a tour group departing from Melbourne or take a coach.
For more travel information on Apollo Bay, read our guide on Things to do in Apollo Bay.