At roughly the halfway point on The Great Ocean Road, this charming seaside town is a great place to stop- whether it be for a holiday, a few nights, or just for a bite to eat on a Great Ocean Road trip. Visitors are always pleasantly surprised at the sheer number of things to do in Apollo Bay Australia.
The town plays host to a number of vibrant events and festivals, has unique local dining options, and is surrounded by some of Australia’s best scenery.
Apollo Bay History
Apollo Bay was given its name by Captain Loutit in 1845 after his trading vessel. Around that time the area was frequented by sailors, whalers, sealers and timber cutters who began coming to the area in the early 1800s.
However, settlers didn’t begin building their homesteads in the Apollo Bay area until 1849 – four years after the town was founded.
Apollo Bay Location
The coastal town of Apollo Bay VIC is 197 kilometres southwest of Melbourne along the famed Great Ocean Road. The drive from Melbourne to Apollo Bay takes about 2 and a half hours with no stops.
For those not driving The Great Ocean Road, there isn’t a direct train from Melbourne to Apollo Bay instead, take the train from Melbourne to Geelong where you be able to hop on the connecting bus.
Things to Do in Apollo Bay Australia
There are lots of exciting things to do in Apollo Bay Victoria. If you are visiting this seaside town don’t miss the following.
The Great Ocean Walk
Officially starting in Apollo Bay, and ending at the 12 Apostles, the famous Great Ocean Walk is a fantastic way for avid hikers to see the stunning coastline.
Over 100kms in length, the trail generally takes around 8 days to complete from end to end.
The walk to the peak of Mariners Lookout is quite steep but relatively easy. Since it is only located about a 10-minute walk from the carpark which is located on the outskirts of town.
When you reach the peak of Mariners Lookout you will be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of the town, ocean, and countryside.
Don’t forget your camera to capture the sunset. Many people come with a picnic or drink at that time of day. Otherwise, it is a popular jumping-off spot for hang gliders. So, grab your gear if this is your sport or just enjoy the free show.
Apollo Bay Beach
Apollo Bay VIC is fronted by a beautiful 3km long sandy beach. The golden sand beach is fairly flat and protected by dunes.
Apollo Bay Beach has smaller waves which make it suitable for new surfers, as well as a playground and toilets.
Anchor Memorial & Apollo Bay War Memorial
The steamship, SS Casino sank in Apollo Bay on the 10th July 1932, killing the Captain and 9 crewmen. 50 years later, on the 10th of July 1982, the Anchor memorial was erected close Apollo Bay beach to commemorate the event.
Close to the Anchor of SS Casino, you will find the Apollo Bay War Memorial which was erected by the residents of Apollo Bay in 1922 to commemorate those who were killed in service in the First World War.
Apollo Bay Museum
Learn about the local history of Apollo Bay VIC from its indigenous roots to maritime history. You will find relics from shipwrecks and information about the growth of the fishing and logging industries. The museum is open from 2 pm to 5 pm on weekends and public holidays.
Apollo Bay Harbour
The Apollo Bay Harbour is always a hive of activity. It is the home of a number of commercial fishing boats which support the local economy and are the livelihood of nearly 100 people.
Visitors and locals often crowd around Apollo Bay Harbor watching as the fleets of fishermen come into the harbor with their catches.
At low tide, marine life can often be spotted for the Harbors docks. These include jellyfish, stingrays, and a variety of fish. If you would like to try your hand at catching them and you hold a Victorian recreational fishing license there are designated areas to fish within the breakwater walls of the Apollo Bay Harbor.
Other draws of the Apollo Bay Harbor include the harbor’s beach which is great if you are traveling with small children since it is protected by breakwater walls.
If you have your own boat or water vessel, there is a public boat ramp and landing jetty. While you are out past the harbor you might even spot Southern Right Whales which frequent the area in the winter months.
Apollo Bay Farmers Market
If you happen to be visiting Apollo Bay on the third Sunday of the month then make your way to the Scout Hut. The Apollo Bay Farmers hosts local business vendors hawking out handmade goods and local produce.
Apollo Bay Fishing and Adventure Tours
Sunset cruises, deep-sea shark fishing, family fishing adventures, and seal colony cruises are just some of the boat charter experiences you can find with Apollo Bay Fishing and Adventure tours.
Pre-booking is essential with prices ranging from $30 to $220. Visit their website for more details and ideas of Apollo Bay things to do.
Apollo Bay may be small but it’s shops pack a punch. You can easily spend an afternoon browsing Apollo Bays darling boutiques, bakeries, outfitters, souvenirs and clothing shops.
Apollo Bay Surf and Kayak
Apollo Bay Surf and Kayak is the town’s adventure central. They offer surf lessons, kayak tours to see the area’s resident seal colony, and Great Ocean Walk shuttles and multi-day trips.
They also offer a whole heap of rentals. They have mountain bikes, surfboards, snorkel gear, and stand up paddleboard rentals.
Apollo Bay Golf Club
If you’re looking to get in a round of golf on your holiday then you’re in luck. Apollo Bay Golf Club is a well maintained 9 hole course with stunning ocean views close to Apollo Bay beach. All-day golf is approximately $25.
Apollo Bay’s Retro Cinema
This retro 180 seater cinema space is located in the Main Hall of the Mechanics Institute – the local community center. Movies show at 3 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the school holidays. Keep an eye on the website for listings.
Apollo Bay Festivals and Events
Apollo Bay plays host to thriving festivals and events throughout the year. You’ll rub shoulders with locals and holidaymakers alike at these Apollo Bay events.
This vibrant festival was first held in Apollo Bay in 2017 as a way to embrace the beauty and rawness of winter along the Southern Ocean.
The annual Winter Wild Festival is one of the most popular Apollo Bay events. It falls over four weekends throughout the winter. Each weekend is dedicated to an element: water, air, fire, or earth.
With the culmination of the festival being the lighting of a large bonfire. Festival-goers can expect a full and varied program of music, arts, workshops, and self-discovery.
Apollo Bay Seafood Festival
Head down to the harbor around the middle of February and you will be greeted by the Apollo Bay Seafood Festival. You can sample fresh seafood, mingle around the market and celebrate the local fishing community over this immersive three-day event.
Great Ocean Road Running Festival
Once called the Apollo Bay Marathon, The Great Ocean Road Running Festival takes place in mid-May. Over time it has evolved and grown to accommodate all abilities and age groups.
The Town of Apollo Bay hosts a range of activities and events alongside the Great Ocean Road Running Festival including the Kite Festival, where every child running in an event gets a free kite.