Wildlife Wonders recommended list of things to do while you’re in the area including accommodation, food, family activities and other local attractions.
By: Toni Stevens, September 2021
Apollo Bay has been making headlines recently as Wotif’s 2021 Aussie Town of the Year (state winner and third nationally) and also winning bronze in the Small Town category at the Victorian Top Tourism Town awards, which was decided by popular vote.
It seems that our little slice of paradise is no longer a secret!!
Basing yourself in Apollo Bay means you can discover all the best of what the Great Ocean Road and the Otway Ranges have to offer in easy reach, from surf beaches and ice cream shops in Summer, to pumping waterfalls and cosy fireside accommodation in Winter.
Less than 3 hours from Melbourne, Apollo Bay puts in you in easy reach of everything from Bells Beach to the 12 Apostles along the coast, to the Forrest mountain bike trails and the hatted restaurant Brae in the hinterland – and of course Wildlife Wonders (more on that at the end).
Even after you’ve visited Wildlife Wonders, we do hope you will stay a little longer in the region as there is plenty more on offer.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in Apollo Bay and surrounds including accommodation and other local attractions.
If you’ve got more energy…
Visit the treetops at the Otway Fly
Once you’ve seen Otways from ground-level at Wildlife Wonders, why not experience it from the treetops at the Otway Fly? The hour drive from Wildlife Wonders via Lavers Hill gives you a real taste of the Otways – past the wetlands at Glenaire, glimpsing the Southern Ocean at Castle Cove, heading through lush farmland into the hills, before arriving in the tall, towering forest. At the Otway Fly you can soak up the breath-taking view of the rainforest from the Treetop Walk or soar through the leafy treetops on their Zipline tour. And don’t forget to check out the nearby Triplet Falls while you’re there.
Stay at the Big 4 Apollo Bay Pisces Holiday Park
If your ideal family holiday involves 1,001 ways to tire the kids out, this is the place for you. From an adventure-playground and pump-track, to heated swimming pool and indoor games room, look no further than Pisces Apollo Bay. Plus it’s only meters from the beach. Pick a cosy cabin, luxury villa, caravan, or campsite to enjoy the best Apollo Bay has to offer. Pisces Big 4 is also just 1.5km from the cafes and shops of the town via a bike and walking path.
Feast at Apollo Bay Bakery
Sure, the scallop pie is a classic, but at this bakery you’ll find everything you need for a day of hiking (ham salad roll), brunch (almond croissant + coffee), post-beach lunch (freshly baked rolls & loaves), a mid-road-trip pick-me-up (jam doughnut), or even dinner (take-home family-sized pie)! Really, this place is an institution, and no visit to Apollo Bay is complete without at least one trip to the Apollo Bay Bakery.
Stay at Marengo Caravan Park
Marengo Caravan Park enjoys full beach frontage and is adjacent to the Marengo Reef Marine Sanctuary with resident Seal Colony, ideal for swimming diving and snorkelling. Situated at the beginning of the Great Ocean Walk the park offers unlimited scope for formal bushwalking trails. You can even walk to Wildlife Wonders from the park, on a beautiful 3 km hike.
Want more to explore?
If hiking is your thing… start with Walk 91
Walk 91 takes all the stress out of hiking the iconic Great Ocean Walk, organising an itinerary to suit you. Choose walks ranging from 3 to 7 days, hike as a group or go solo, camp on the walk, or pick your own luxury accommodation with daily drop off and pickups. Before he founded Walk 91, Mark Kininmonth was one of the Park Rangers responsible for the creation of the Great Ocean Walk, so he really does have all the inside information to help you get the most out of your walk. And if you’re wondering about the name – the Great Ocean Walk used to be 91km long, but now it tips in at 104km if you hike end to end.
Experience Bimbi Park
Bimbi Park is a campground like no other. Nestled into the sand dunes behind the wild Station Beach under the manna gums, you have your choice of campsite, van, or even an off-grid eco-cabin. There is nature all around from koalas and wallabies to the resident chickens, horses and even goats. Hire an e-bike, play a round of mini golf, or tackle the rock-climbing wall. What more could you ask for!?
Stay your way with Holiday Great Ocean Road
Holiday houses; beach cottages and apartments; romantic getaways; family escapes; ocean views; wood fires; spas; pet friendly – really, is there anything Holiday Great Ocean Road don’t do!?!? Whatever it is you’re looking for in your next holiday, they can hook you up with one of over 60 properties from Aireys Inlet all the way to Port Campbell.
If it’s time to relax…
Visit the Brewhouse
Over 100 craft beers… need we say more? But we can. The Great Ocean Road Brewhouse offers indoor and outdoor dining, is dog friendly, has live music, and plenty of locally sourced food and drink options. Thirteen –local beers and two local ciders are available on tap, including the Prickly Moses “Spotted Ale”. Named after the elusive Tiger Quoll this beer has been developed in collaboration with the Conservation Ecology Centre to support environmental conservation and research across the Otways.
You can also do local beer, wine, and gin tastings, or tuck into a local cheese platter at their tasting room Tastes of the Region, located directly behind the Brewhouse.
Stay at Captains
Captains at the Bay is where we put people up when they come to visit. A contemporary Bed & Breakfast, with only twelve rooms, catering mostly for couples, you’ll get peace and quiet, privacy and great service, with the advantage of being strolling distance from the foreshore (150 metres), beach, restaurants, Visitor Information Centre and the shopping strip.
Stay at Dolphin Apartments
Luxury self-contained apartment accommodation by the sea, the Dolphin Apartments offer a haven by the beach with all the comforts of home. With 2 beds, 2 baths, spacious living, spa baths in all apartments and fantastic ocean views from the penthouses, you won’t want to leave. But if you do, you’re in a prime location to take advantage of all the attractions along the Great Ocean Road while staying in stylish and modern accommodation.
Or come back to Wildlife Wonders!
Every visit to Wildlife Wonders is different and you’ll discover something new every time, so make sure you come back.
At Wildlife Wonders you can:
- Immerse yourself in nature – taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the Otways on a guided tour.
- Take in the tranquil bushland setting from our Emu Café, cosy inside or in our sunny courtyard.
- Spot an elusive threatened species, like a Long-nosed Potoroo or Southern Brown Bandicoot.
- Bring the kids to a free animal talk on Saturday mornings – meeting emus, lizards & turtles.
- Take in the spectacular views of the Southern Ocean, and maybe spot a whale.
- Browse beautiful books, handmade toys, puzzles and homewares in our gift shop.
- Learn fascinating facts about the plants and animals of the Otways from your conservationist guide.
- Tick iconic Aussie wildlife sightings off your list – kangaroos (tick), koalas (tick), emus (tick).
- Attend a photography workshop, short-film screening, book club, or one of our many other regular activities.
- Contribute to environmental research and conservation in the Otways with every dollar spent.
We look forward to welcoming you soon!