13 Family Friendly Things to do in Apollo Bay
The coastal town of Apollo Bay is blessed with both worlds – the Great Otway National Park, and the rugged coastline of The Great Ocean Road. Whether you want to go hiking in the picturesque Otway Ranges, photograph the iconic 12 Apostles, admire the thriving wildlife, or just relax on the beach, there are so many things to do in Apollo Bay that you are guaranteed to have fun with the whole family. Situated 2.5 hours drive from Melbourne, Apollo Bay offers something for everyone. Check out our accommodation recommendations below too.
Things to do in Apollo Bay with Kids
Here are some fun things to do in Apollo Bay with kids of all ages!
1. Spot the Shipwreck from The Marriners Lookout
Situated on the outskirts of Apollo Bay, The Marriners Lookout is a beautiful viewpoint which offers incredible vistas of the town, harbour and shore. From the car park it’s only a 10-minute walk to the most beautiful panoramic views including the chance to witness the historic SS Casino. Depending on the tide, it’s possible to catch a glimpse of the shipwreck which met its fate in the shallow waters of Apollo Bay in 1932. As tip, Marriners Lookout is also a popular launch point for hang gliders – witnessing them take off is one of the most unforgettable things to do in Apollo Bay.
2. Take an E-Bike Tour at Bimbi Park
Just under half an hour from Apollo Bay into the Otway Ranges is Bimbi Park which offer E-Bike tours taking you to popular viewing points in the national park. If you can ride a bike, you can ride the E-Bikes, they are basically the same, but without the extra effort getting up the hills, so they are great for all fitness levels. For young children, you (or your guide) can pull them behind in one of the little carts.
Bimbi Park is a great day trip from Apollo Bay if you are staying on the coast, but it is also a great place to stay too as it is a popular holiday park famous for “sleeping under the Koalas”. There are camping sites, camping pods for those who don’t want to put up a tent, and different types of cabins including the brand new off the grid solar powered cabins.
Read More about Bimbi Park HERE
3. Visit the Great Ocean Road Icons
One of the most famous things to do in Apollo Bay is to admire the icons of the Great Ocean Road – the Twelve Apostles. At only 1 hour 25-minute drive away, Apollo Bay provides the perfect base to visit the Australian landmark before the tour busses. Although due to erosion, there are only eight of the Apostles left, no visit to Apollo Bay would be complete without witnessing these natural giants in real life.
After you catch the spectacular views at sunrise, head just 5 minutes further along the Great Ocean Road to the historic Loch Ard Gorge. Equally impressive yet often overshadowed by the fame of the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge is named after the Loch Ard shipwreck. Carved by the ocean over millions of years, it offers an unforgettable geography lesson and the most magnificent backdrop for family photos. Visitors can take the stairs down to the beach and admire the gorge from below or stick to the platform and capture it from above.
4. Go high at the Otway Fly – The World’s Highest Treetop Walk
Just under an hour drive from Apollo Bay will lead you to the world’s highest Treetop Walk elevated 25 metres high above the rainforest. Children under 3 are free and prams and strollers are welcome on the Treetop Walk.
The fun at Otway Fly doesn’t stop there, however. Alongside the 600-metre long treetop walkways, there is an adrenaline pumping Zip Line Tour for those who are game which offers the most unique views of the flourishing flora and fauna.
Best of all, unlike other things to do in Apollo Bay which are weather dependent the zip line tours and treetop walk, operate in rain, hail or shine! Family tickets are available and if you book through KLOOK you will get an additional discount.
5. Check Out the Cape Otway Lightstation
A short drive from Apollo Bay will take you to Cape Otway Lightstation which is the oldest lighthouse on mainland Australia and one of the Great Ocean Road’s Iconic stops. Built In 1848 the Cape Otway Lighthouse is perched 90mtrs above the waters of Bass Straight. Take a walk around and enjoy the surrounding views, or if you are game, take a walk to the top!
6. Go Wildlife spotting at Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
Maits Rest is suitable for all ages and abilities as you take the winding boardwalk through centuries-old trees and stunning fern gardens. Not only does the boardwalk protect the fragile ecosystem of the area but offers unique views across the forest. If you’re lucky, you may make a few friends on route as koalas, swamp wallabies, possums and kangaroos are common in the area. Maits Rest is a 20-minute drive from Apollo Bay, and at only 800m (around 30 minutes return) it is ideal for little ones and grown-ups alike.
7. Enjoy the Catch of The Day
After a morning of hiking, biking or adventure, you will have worked up an appetite which is ideal for one of the most famous things to do in Apollo Bay – trying the catch of the day! The area is renowned for its seafood with a dish to suit any budget. From the family favourite fish and chips on the beach to the famous scallop pie at Apollo Bay Bakery there is something to suit anyone.
8. Let The Kids Run Wild at The Foreshore Reserve
Apollo Bay has a range of different cafes and restaurants. If it is a nice day, take a picnic or grab some fish n chips, and head to the foreshore reserve where there are picnic tables and lots of greenery if you have a picnic blanket. Relax after lunch while the kids play on the adventure playground, which includes a flying fox, and then walk through to the beach for an afternoon swim.
9. Relax On The Beach At Mounts Bay
The beach at Apollo Bay is gorgeous, but due to its location, Apollo Bay’s main beach can get incredibly busy in the Summer months. If you want to avoid the crowds, head round the corner to Mounts Bay which is equally pristine and a perfect picnic spot for the entire family. Although Mounts Bay is a beautiful beach for a stroll, it is not patrolled so stay vigilant with little ones near the ocean. Parking is available behind the dunes at Point Bunbury.
10. Kayak with Fur Seals or explore the rockpools at Marengo Reef Marine Sanctuary
For a rewarding walk, head from Mounts Bay 20 minutes along the beach (or path) to Marengo Reef Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary is one of the best-kept secrets of the Great Ocean Road and one of the best things to do in Apollo Bay.
This is because in high tide, the reef is home to a large fur seal colony and a kayak tour operates from the shore to the seals. The kayak tour is suitable for children over the age of 12 and can be booked online. It costs $75 for 1.5-hour tour (including kayak, wetsuit, helmet and instruction.)
In low tide, Marengo Reef Marine Sanctuary is equally as impressive. This is thanks to the rocky beach which offers an abundance of rock pools popular with families who are keen to view the crabs, crustaceans and sea life who call Marengo Reef home.
11. Stop for a treat at Sweet View – The Great Ocean Road Lolly Shop
A guaranteed favourite with kids and adults alike is a stop in by Sweet View, a family-run confectionery shop in Apollo Bay. Not only do they offer traditional English sweets but Australian lollies, gourmet chocolate and even slushies, hot chocolate and locally roasted coffee. Kids will love their milkshake range which offers over 15 flavours!
They cater to all diets including gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and vegan treats ensuring there is something for everyone. Don’t forget to take a family snap with the latest addition to the Sweet View team – Kenny the Kangaroo. The chainsaw carved creation towers an impressive 1.6 metres high!
12. Admire glittering glow worms at Melba Gully
A visit to Melba Gully is one of the best things to do in Apollo Bay but will need to be saved for the evening to be enjoyed fully. As the sun sets, head 50 minutes West to Melba Gully. From the picnic ground car park, take the short walk through an easy gravel track, and you will be rewarded with hundreds of glittering glow worms, creating the most majestic experience through the forest.
Although it’s advised to bring a torch to illuminate your way, never point the torch directly at the glow worms as this will ruin their glow. As a tip, there are guide rails beside the best viewing areas, but generally, look towards soil banks or any overhanging ledges along Melba Gully, and you will find clusters of these star-like twinkles.
13. Enjoy the Adventure of Great Ocean Road Walk
For the adventurous, and those with older children, instead of enjoying the Great Ocean Road by car, you can embrace it on foot via the Great Ocean Road Walk. With a variety of itineraries available depending on your fitness and experience, you can opt for parts of the track or the entire eight-day adventure.
Regardless of the option, you choose the walk begins in Apollo Bay. If you make the full trail, the grand finale is the iconic Twelve Apostles. You will venture through lush forest, enjoy crowd-free beaches and the most spectacular cliff-top views. Their website details the various walk options but ensure that whichever one you choose, you travel East to West to maximise the best views and gradient for an unforgettable walk.
Where to stay in Apollo Bay for Families
There are various different accommodation options in Apollo Bay depending on your family. We have previously stayed in a couple of places that we recommend for families.
- The Big 4 Holiday Park is a 5min drive from the centre of Apollo Bay and directly across from the beach. We stayed in a 2 bedroom cabin and it was great. The park has a heated swimming pool. (small but decent if the beach is too cold to swim), and a huge adventure playground which includes a bike/scooter track, flying fox, and water play.
- There is also the Apollo Bay Holiday Park more close to the centre, which we haven’t stayed at but have heard great reviews.
- If you would like to mix it up and stay in the forest for a few nights, we recommend Bimbi Park which is under 30mins from Apollo Bay. As we mentioned above, they have a range of accommodation options. We stayed in the solar cabins off the grid which offer a king sized bed, plus bunks for the kids, a small kitchen, lounge area, and a balcony looking out to the forest. You also have your own camp fire out the front of the cabin. If you would rather camp there are plenty of sites available. Read our full review here.
Things to do in Apollo Bay
Hopefully our guide of things to do in Apollo Bay has inspired an adventure or two that the entire family can enjoy. From tasty treats to rewarding hikes, this seaside town is an unmissable stop on the Great Ocean Road.
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