- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Water Sports
Great Ocean Road stretches to the west of Melbourne and is one of the world's most beautiful tourist trails, with magnificent, breathtaking views of a surfer's paradise - the Pacific Ocean. For me, it's a must during a holiday in Australia.
The little harbour town of Apollo Bay (named after the bay) was, in my opinion, nothing to write home about - a few shopping streets, cafes, a couple of decent restaurants - but the town is fine for a stopover along the coastal road.
At the same time, Apollo Bay is one of the closest towns to the Twelve Apostles, the highlight of a trip along Great Ocean Road, which comprises of nine (not twelve) limestone rock formations that dot the coast.
If you are looking for accommodation in Apollo Bay, I recommend the Surfside Backpackers. I am not a big fan of youth hostels, especially after experiencing the impersonal hostels of Sydney, but I loved this place. A large garden facing the sea, hammocks and a small white house. The owner is very hospitable. The interior decor is very cosy and straight out of the 1970s: vinyl records in the lounge, a big yellow sofa and a kitchen that reminds me of my grandmother's. Everything there makes you feel at home.
I enjoyed the peace of Apollo Bay, after encountering the throng of tourists in Lorne. This is a discreet town; there are statues and wooden benches in the small garden facing the sea. But the interest of the place is to be found in its surroundings. It is the starting point to discover Great Otway National Park, where waterfalls, lush nature and wildlife await you.
For those who love hiking, I advise you to walk part of the Great Ocean Walk (except if it has been raining, because the trail gets muddy and difficult). Shelly Beach is 4.4 km away. The starting point for the walk is to be found at the edge of the city, in the direction of Marengo. You go past some beautiful homes, followed by fields of sheep, and then climb the hills along the coast. On the way, I came across an echidna, which is a sort of big, shy hedgehog, a few wallabies and a dead snake (fortunately). The landscapes are worth it.
So there is a great deal of wildlife in the area. On the road to Cape Otway and on the one between Apollo Bay and Lorne, signposts advise you to beware of the koalas. Through the car window, I tried to catch a glimpse of them in the eucalyptus trees, but I didn't have any luck. And then, in the middle of the national park, I saw five cars stopped by the roadside. I also stopped out of curiosity. First, I heard noises, which reminded of the grunts made by pigs. So I started to look about for a farm, without thinking of looking up. But I did like the others and looked up to see where the grunts were coming from: dozens of koalas, including mothers with their babies, were having their meal. This was one of the best moments of my trip to Australia, just as I was giving up hope of seeing them in the wild.