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Getaway to Apollo Bay this winter A summer destination that’s also cool in winter. If your’e one of those people who hate the three S's of summer -sand, surf, and sweltering temperatures - then a winter visit to one of the Great Ocean Roads better known summer resorts might be exactly what your’e looking for. Apollo Bay has been a predominantly a summer resort town and until recent years the town virtually shut up shop over winter, but as more visitors discover the attractions of this part of the coast, Apollo Bay is now attracting visitors during the winter months. There has also been a shift in culture in recent years , where previously most Australians only went on holidays during summer and the idea of holidaying during winter was a foreign concept, today things are different and there is a growing recognition that some things are best visited when the temperature are cooler. The following are a few of Apollo Bays winter attractions
The major tourist attraction in (or close to) Apollo Bay is the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia. Cape Otway Light Station.
The Light Station is open to the public and is run as a historic attraction with a small restaurant and some accommodation
The Otway Fly is a privately operated attraction which is a series of towers and walkways suspended in a small section of rainforest.
Apart from a relaxing holiday beside the beach, Apollo Bays other attraction revolves around the natural beauty of the Otways rain forest, in particular the many waterfalls in the region. The most significant of these are
Triplet Falls – Beech Forest
A moderate 1 hour return loop walk. Located 20 minutes east of Lavers Hill, this magnificent waterfall is reached via the Lavers Hill-Beech Forest Road. A 1.8 kilometre return walk takes in the falls, three broad cascades set in a ferny rainforest of stately Myrtle Beech trees. Toilets and picnic tables.
Beauchamp Falls – Beech Forest
Moderate 1 hour return walk from the picnic area. The walk passes through magnificent mountain ash forests, with large myrtle beech, blackwood and thick ferns. The track becomes steep before opening to the spectacle of the falls crashing over a ledge into a large pool. Dogs on lead. Located off the Aire Valley Road from Beech Forest Road.
Hopetoun Falls – Beech Forest
Viewing platform at the car park offers a view of the roaring water as it pounds into the Aire River. Alternatively take a 30-minute return moderate walk to the falls. The path is steep to the valley floor where it passes through a glade of tree ferns to the foot of the falls. The Aire Valley is a short distance south, offering a beautiful area with a backdrop of towering Californian Redwoods. Located 26 kilometres east of Lavers Hill off Aire Valley Road.
The predominant culture in Apollo Bay is probably best described as “Negative Gearing Culture” Up until the 1980’s Apollo Bay was a quiet little, out of the way tourist town that attracted reasonable numbers of tourists over the summer holidays and virtually closed up shop for the winter, but with the introduction of a taxation scheme to allow investment housing to claim generous taxation deductions, housing building suddenly surged. In Apollo Bay it generated a boom in Holiday homes as the land was cheap and many Melbourne investors took the opportunity to build a holiday house and use it for a few weeks themselves and then let it for the rest of the year, and for a decade or so Apollo Bay went through a real estate boom. Because of the difficulty in servicing and cleaning a typical three bedroom holiday home for one or two night stays, the standard minimum rental period for home in Apollo Bay became 7 days and this is pretty much still the same today and so for most of the holiday season there are large numbers of visitors who leave their suburban homes (in Melbourne) and spend a week in Apollo Bay
In 1846 the schooner “Apollo” took shelter from a storm in a deserted and unnamed bay on the Victorian South West coast. Captain Loutit, the captain of the Apollo named the bay, Apollo bay, however the name wasn’t used. Captain Loutit obviously commented about the vast forest surrounding the bay and it wasn’t too long before a timber industry was established and by the 1850’s there was a small settlement extracting magnificent Blue Gum and Mountain Ash timber from the surrounding area. In 1848 the government built a light house at Cape Otway, just 20 kilometres away and this helped in opening up the area. In 1853 the new settlement was named Middleton although there was population of over 200 there were no land titles and the residents were virtually camping on crown land. In 1875 a survey was conducted and a legitimate township was established with a school and post office being built in 1880. At this time the name was changed from Middleton to Krambruk and in 1898 the township was again renamed, this time to Apollo Bay. It took until the late 1920’s and the opening of the Great Ocean Road before a proper road connection was constructed before this the main connection to the outside world was via a weekly boat service or via a very arduous coach trip on rough tracks between Apollo Bay and Birregurra
Apollo Bay sits right on the edge of the Otway Ranges, a small hilly region which could be best described as little more than a few wrinkles in the earths crust. More significantly the region is covered with a cool climate rain forest and despite extensive logging in the past century, the rain forest is this more or less intact. The area around Apollo Bay has been cleared, however if you drive a a few kilometres of the town you are back into rain forest
With a local population of about 1500 and probably about the same number of tourists, Apollo bay is large enough to support a couple of pubs and cinema and a dozen or so restaurants. The main pub aptly named the Apollo Bay hotel dominates the main street and is the central entertainment venue over summer with live bands a few times per week. The Surf Club and Golf Club occasionally have live entertainment but not on a regular basis..
Located close to the centre of town and beach with Modern Eco friendly design and stylish and comfortable rooms, the Sandpiper Motel provides stylish and comfortable accommodation at a reasonable prices and is situated about 200 metres from the beach and close to the centre of Apollo Bay
The International is an easy stroll to Apollo Bay's best restaurants and entertainment. The suites and rooms are fully air conditioned, with queen size beds, crisp white linen, satellite TV, and plenty of space. Deluxe Suites have twin spa baths. Outdoor swimming pool with heated spa, bar-b-cue, guest laundry, and ample off street parking.
The Beachfront Motel & Cottages - Architect designed motel and cottages opposite beach. Ideal for overnight, weekend or holiday. All rooms have separate kitchens, ground floor, undercover parking, guests laundry, BBQ, beach, close to shops and restaurants (100m).
11 Fully Furnished apartments with all the comforts of home including, Air-Conditioning, 42" Plasma TV in the Lounge, and a 19' LCD in the Master Bedroom, DVD Player, Hi-Fi , huge gourmet kitchen, King Sized beds, spacious ensuite with Spa Bath, and also a fully equipped laundry. Off-Street Parking Included.
Apollo Bay has no rail or air services but has a good coach service that runs from Geelong with four services per day during weekdays and two coache services on weekends. The trip takes about 2 and a half hours from the Geelong station and stops at all the major towns along the road. There is a also a coach service that runs from Warrnambool, three times per week ( Monday-Wednesday-Friday) and it links up with the midday Geelong coach providing a complete Geelong to Warrnambool (or vice versa) service along the Great Ocean Road.
Most visitors to Apollo bay arrive by car and even those without transport find getting around the township quite easy as the township is quite small, so there isn’t much demand for public transport in the town, but there is one taxi service operating in Apollo Bay and they provide services extending to the surrounding towns. Booking this service well in advance is recommended .
Tours there are a number of touring companies operating from Apollo Bay including fishing and scenic charters which operate from the Apollo Bay marina, these are fairly expensive with a typical two hour trip costing about $100 per person. For land based tours there are mountain bike tours in the Otways and Platypus tours on Lake Elizabeth, pricing again is not cheap with Platypus tours costing $85 per person. But by far the most expensive are the Great Ocean Road walking tours which typically cost around $1200 per person for a four day (three nights) tour, and you do all the walking.