Apollo Bay Foreshore Walk
Gravel footpath from Marengo through to Wild Dog Beach taking in the interesting wooden sculpture trail along the Apollo Bay Foreshore. Brochure available from the Visitor Information Centre.
Lazing on the beach
Apollo Bay has about 4 km of main beach. There are large open areas and sunny spots protected by sand dunes. There is a patrolled section of beach for swimming and lots of places to surf, sail or fish. Something for everyone.
Marengo loop of The Great Ocean Walk
This odyssey of 90 kms starts at the southern end of Marengo beach. You can walk the first 3 or 4 kms along a series of beautiful coves and points on a mixture of good gravel path and small beaches. There are lots of rock pools and great ocean and hills views along this section
A walk for those wanting a workout. About 1.5 kms north along the beach or Great Ocean Road, then a steep climb of another 1.5 km on the road to the lookout track. The reward is a breathtaking panorama to the eastern horizon. This is a popular launch point for paragliders and provides a superb backdrop for a picnic.
North from Apollo Bay along The Great Ocean Road
Apollo Bay sits about half way along The Great Ocean Road, so it is the perfect base from which to explore the road, all the wonderful beaches and the rainforest hinterland. Scenes along The Great Ocean Road that many people see on advertisements and in magazines is the section between Apollo Bay and Lorne. Peppered with fine beaches and sheer escarpments, and with streams plunging through ancient gorges to the sea, the hidden beauty of this area can be missed because the drive is so awe inspiring. About 40 minutes drive from Apollo Bay towards Lorne and a moderate 1km walk to Sheoak Falls, or an 8km trek to Kalimna Falls in the same area. Short walks are a great way to taste the vast hinterland rainforest and its meeting with the sea.
This annual mountain bike event takes competitors over about 200 kms of trails from Apollo Bay through the Otway ranges to Forest. While this is an experience only for the committed, sections of the course are open year round and provide opportunities for great rides.
Paradise Picnic Reserve
Take a 10 minute drive inland from Apollo Bay along the Barham River valley road to the fern gullies of Paradise. Great spot for a picnic
The Great Ocean Walk
The Great Ocean Walk is an odyssey of 90 kms that starts at Apollo Bay and runs almost to the 12 Apostles. You can sample the differing aspects of the walk by taking short walks designed in loops.
Shelly Beach circuit walk is a 10 minute drive south of Apollo Bay. It is an easy walk of 45 minutes mixing fern gullies with some wonderful ocean and beach outlooks.
The Otway Lighthouse cemetery and lookout walk is a 20 minute drive from Shelly beach. It's an easy 40 minute walk taking in the cliffs of Cape Otway.
The Aire River Escarpment Lookout walk is about 30 minutes further south and shows a very different side of the coast. This medium difficulty walk of 2 hours takes you along the Aire River Estuary and wetlands, into sand dunes and the beach.
The Gable Lookout Walk is an hour's drive from Apollo Bay. It is an easy 20 minute walk to the lookout platform built out from the cliffs; one of the most spectacular outlooks anywhere on the Shipwreck Coast.
Wreck Beach walk is near Moonlight Head and by far the toughest of the short walks. Descending over 300 steps to the beach, your reward is the anchors of shipwrecks embedded in the reefs.
The Saturday Market
Nobody is quite sure when the market started, but for decades local artisans have displayed a wonderful mix of wares every Saturday morning through the year. Wandering among the stalls goes very well with coffee at the many streetside cafes
The Twelve Apostles
About 1.5 hours drive from Apollo Bay is the spectacular 'Shipwreck Coast', so named for the loss of ships and life in the 1800's before the construction of lighthouses on Cape Otway, King Island and the west coast of Tasmania. Climb the Cape Otway lighthouse for a first glimpse of the southern ocean. Visit Johanna beach to see big waves up close (this beach is used as an alternative on the world surf championships when Bells beach conditions are unsuitable). Stop at Moonlight Head for a panoramic spread of ocean, sky, and forest. Climb down to Wreck Beach where the anchors of the shipwrecks Marie Gabrielle and Fiji remain embedded in the reef and visible at low tide. The photos are from Gavin Hansford.
The Twelve Apostles stretch out along the coast beyond Moonlight Head in the Port Campbell National Park. These sandstone stacks are forever changing under the relentless assault of sea and wind.
The last lives lost in shipwreck were passengers and crew of the sailing ship Loch Ard. The ship gives its name to the gorge where the sole survivors, a young crewman and an eighteen year old woman passenger, washed ashore and climbed to safety.
Their story and the history of the shipwreck coast is graphically presented at the Visitor Information Centre. Helicopter flights are located behind the centre and offer a breathtaking perspective of the coast, the work of waves on new apostles, and a sense of what it must have been like to come up on this coast in a ship off course.
After all that excitement you will need a break. Port Campbell has a good range of lunch options, before driving on through Peterborough to the magnificent Bay of Islands.
Return to Apollo Bay on the Ocean Road or loop inland through the lakes district of Colac and back to Apollo Bay through the Otways Forest.
Walk north on the beach
you can walk to Skenes Creek (5 km) or an easier distance to Wild Dog Creek (2.5 km). You will almost always encounter people fishing from the beach in the Wild Dog Creek area. The stories are pretty entertaining.
Walk south on the beach
This can be a stroll to the harbour and the fisherman's co-operative for crayfish (0.75 km), or a much longer walk taking in the golf course, Barham River Estuary and Marengo Beach with its reef marine sanctuary (3 km). The harbour can be very entertaining in the evening when local seals vie with frustrated people fishing from the harbour wall.
South on The Great Ocean Road
Set aside a day for driving a loop from Apollo Bay on The Great Ocean Road to Lavers Hill, then inland to Tanybryn and back to Apollo Bay. Your first stop is about 10 minutes drive from Apollo Bay. Maits Rest is a 30 minute mixture of board walk and gravel paths along a valley floor in part of the ancient rainforest. Giant myrtle beeches rise through the mists and create a canopy for the amazing array of tree ferns and moss on the forest floor.
Cape Otway Lightstation
A 20 minute drive takes you to the Cape Otway Lightstation. The lighthouse was built in the 1850's in response to significant loss of life in shipwrecks along the southern coast. Climbing to the light deck provides a panoramic view of ocean and coast, and there are nearby walks along the coast. There is a cafe serving snacks and meals all day.
The next hour's drive is through tall eucalyptus forest and more open rolling hills. The road crosses the Aire River and follows its extensive coastal wetlands. About 8km further along turn off The Great Ocean Road to Johanna Beach, sometimes host to world championship surfing competitions and always a great beach walk.
Otway Fly Treetop Adventure
Spend a couple of hours at the famous Otway Fly Treetop Walk. There is over 600 metres of elevated walkways interspersed with towers and arms extending to the forest. Since late in 2010 a new adventure is available, provided you set aside an extra 3 hours or more. The Zip Line tour involves traversing from one platform to another connected by tree platforms called ‘cloud stations’, and attached to a steel cable suspended up to 30 meters above the forest floor. A bistro serves light meals all day.
The road along the ridge of the Otways provides access to waterfalls like Triplet Falls.
Take a picnic to the Aire river near Beech Forest and see giant Californian Redwoods and other surprises.
The trip through the rainforest ends on a high note, with about 10 kms of spectacular forest outlooks over steep valleys and ridges. The 20 minute return journey to Apollo Bay offers several panoramic ocean views.
The image is of Hopetoun Falls near Beech Forest.