Welcome to the beautiful town of Marengo, known by locals as a hidden gem of the Australian state Victoria. Home to stunning natural scenery and picturesque walking tracks this unique regional area offers an unbeatable opportunity for you or your family to escape city life and find yourself lost in nature’s untouched beauty.
Immerse yourself in local culture and take part in exciting activities like kayaking, fishing, horse riding or camping along with discovering some of life’s simple pleasures. Explore what makes Marengo unlike any other region within its idyllic Victorian surroundings.
Where is Marengo Victoria?
Marengo Victoria is located in the east of the state of Victoria, Australia. It’s situated around a two-hour drive from Melbourne and can be reached by taking either State Highway 1 or the Princes Motorway.
Located near the Great Ocean Road, the town of Marengo Victoria is perhaps most famous for the Marengo reef marine sanctuary. It is located on the Southern coast, and nestled comfortably between Apollo Bay and Cape Otway allowing visitors to visit both tourist hotspots but stay in relative peace.
Things to Do in Marengo
Marengo Victoria is the ideal destination for those seeking to escape city life and explore nature’s untouched beauty. Visitors will also have no shortage of unique experiences and attractions to try out such as exploring the picturesque walking tracks that lead through lush forests and mountain landscapes or simply soaking up some sun while taking in panoramic views of the area.
Marengo Reef Marine Sanctuary
Marengo Reef Marine Sanctuary is one of the most spectacular and pristine marine environments in Victoria, boasting incredible clear blue waters and an abundance of sea life. This protected area is home to a variety of rare species including the weedy seadragon, blue-ringed octopus, and Australian sea lion.
The sanctuary is less than 50 metres offshore and covers an area of 200 hectares and includes two large reefs where snorkeling and diving can be done to observe its vibrant marine life such as tropical fish, schools of Zebra Fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. A wide variety of hard corals also inhabit the area along with sponges, echinoderms, crustaceans, polychaetes, squids, and other fascinating creatures.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to observe some endangered species that are known to frequent the waters around the Marengo reef marine sanctuary.
Seals at the Marine Sanctuary
There is a large resident seal colony at that lives within the marine sanctuary. You can see them swimming around or lounging on one of the area’s rocky outcrops. To see them up close you can also take a kayak tour to the seal colony.
On this 90-minute tour you will paddle out to the seal colony with qualified staff who will instruct you on how to use the kayaks and ocean safety. Once there they will discuss the lifestyle of the seals and provide insight into their behaviours. At the colony there is over 150 seals and in many cases they will swim over to the kayaks for an up close encounter.
Marker Beacon Lookout
Marker Beacon Lookout is a scenic spot located within minutes of most accomodation facilities in Marengo. It offers a short walk and views out to the Southern Ocean, making it the perfect spot for a local place to watch the sunset.
It is also part of the Great Ocean Walk. You can continue up the path a little further to explore more of the trail but keep in mind that it is not a loop. Otherwise, take the path east and you will find yourself in Apollo Bay after walking for approximately 30 minutes.
Go on a Guided Wildlife Tour
The Great Ocean Road is known for being home to some of the country’s most iconic wildlife. See the most famous animals in Australia up close in the wild on a wildlife tour. On this tour in Marengo, a conservationist will guide you through the nature reserve and you’ll get an opportunity to see and learn about the behaviours of koalas, emus, kangaroos and wallabies, as well as the local fauna.
This provider offer afternoon tours (at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm most days) and one at dusk. At dusk the animals are most active and after your walk, your group will share a board of local cheese and produce accompanied by local beer or wine. During the afternoon tours refreshments are not included, however you are welcome to buy them yourself from the Emu Cafe on site.
Marengo Nature Reserve Park
Marengo Nature Reserve Park is located on the outskirts of Marengo Victoria, along the Apollo Bay airstrip. It is a stunning natural area for visitors to explore. The reserve covers an area of approximately 25 hectares and is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna.
The park contains wetlands and eucalyptus Woodlands, containing six species of eucalyptus, with views of the mountain ranges out towards Apollo Bay. If you are lucky you might even catch a glimpse of animals in the park such as the eastern grey kangaroo, brushtail possum and echidnas. There are also numerous species of birds which can be seen nesting in the park’s trees during summer months.
There are a few trails which criss cross the park including a 30-minute loop along the firebreak Track. Here, you’ll find locals walking their dogs and meandering through the protected area of the Marengo Nature Reserve Park.
Shelly Beach is located just west of Marengo inside the Elliot River – Addis Bay Coastal Reserve. It is a nice secluded beach located approximately 1 kilometre from the Shelly Beach carpark, where you will find a picnic area and toilets. The walk to the beach is through the Otway rainforest, where you can sometimes spot koalas hanging out in the trees.
Down at the beach you can wade out into the sea or, depending on the tide, explore the tidal pools which pop up. You’ll find many star fish and crabs within the pools, and a beautiful mosaic of rock formations.
There are other parks and trails which connect the beach to the Great Ocean Walk or the Elliot Ridge Hike in Campsite. If you have time, we recommend exploring these connecting tracks through some of Victoria’s most wild parks.
Explore Apollo Bay
Marengo is located within minutes of Apollo Bay, so while you are visiting Marengo make sure you take advantage of all that the larger town next door has to offer. Take a stroll down the main street and browse through all the souvenir shops and cafes, or if you are there on a Sunday enjoy visiting the popular Apollo Bay market.
You can also take a drive out to Cape Otway Lightstation, lounge on the beach or hike up to the famous Mariners Lookout point. There are plenty of things to see and do in Apollo Bay, so make sure you give yourself enough time to explore it all. See our full list of things to do in Apollo Bay here.
Hotels and Places to Stay in Marengo Victoria
Marengo Victoria is surrounded by a variety of accommodation options, so visitors can find the perfect place to suit their needs. From luxury holiday rentals to budget friendly motels and caravan parks, there’s something for everyone. These are our favourites.
This property offers three styles of cozy apartments in heart of Marengo. Surrounded by gardens and nestled into nature, the owners aim to make the units as environmentally friendly as possible. You’ll find it a short drive from Apollo Bay or within walking distance of the beach.
This open concept 3-bedroom house in the Australian bush is a spacious yet cozy. It is perfect those who want to spend time outdoors as it has a big deck with a dining table. The is lots of thoughtful touches which make this house feel like a home away from home such as ample crockery and an indoor fireplace.
This motel offers clean and crisp accommodations. Choose from a double, twin or quad room with a kitchenette. All guests can take advantage of the pool and outdoor lounge areas. If you are a wildlife lover, you’ll be excited to see the parrots which frequent to the property.
This one of a kind holiday home is architecturally beautiful. It features large floor to ceiling windows, modern decor and beautiful views. It is perfect for large groups, as it has can accommodate up to 8 people, has a pool table and ample lounge areas.
Choose from a one, two or four bedroom apartment when staying at this property. Located nearby to the beach, many of the rooms have great ocean views and terraces to enjoy. It offers a clean, comfortable place stay making it ideal for a jumping off point to enjoy the surrounding areas.
Marengo is a great place to step away from the hustle and bustle of city life and spend time with family, friends or simply take time to unwind. It is often overlooked on Great Ocean Road adventures. However, with its stunning natural beauty, unique activities, and abundant wildlife opportunities it will be sure to provide visitors with unforgettable experiences that won’t soon be forgotten.