Wildlife Wonders’ recommended list of things to do while you’re in the area including food, family activities and other local attractions.
By: Toni Stevens, updated December 2023
Apollo Bay made headlines a little while back as Wotif’s Aussie Town of the Year, so 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.
If you’re up for adventure…
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.
Take your wildlife spotting to the ocean with Apollo Bay Surf & Kayak
Take your adventures to the ocean with surf lessons or make it a day of wildlife and compliment your Wildlife Wonders tour with a Guided Seal Kayak Tour from Apollo Bay Surf & Kayak. This group tour takes you on a kayaking adventure to the seal colony just off Marengo where you will be instructed by qualified guides and learn more about these fun mammals. This one is fun for the whole family (so long as your kids are 12 or over). It’s also a way to get a different view of the Apollo Bay coastline!
If hiking is your thing, you can’t get better than the Great Ocean Walk
Mark at 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.
Prefer to do the walk yourself? Check out The Great Ocean Walk website for stacks of on track and off track information.
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.
Visit the Great Ocean Road 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.
Chris’s is a Great Ocean Road institution, a go-to for locals on special occasions, as well as a destination-restaurant for gourmet travellers.
The Beacon Point Restaurant, which opened in 1979, showcases the fabulous freshly caught seafood of the ‘Bay’ along with Chris’s trademark Mediterranean cooking with a Greek accent.
Or come back to Wildlife Wonders!
Every visit to Wildlife Wonders is different and you’ll discover something new each time. We also have different tours on offer.
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!