Apollo Bay is the main place where people stop for lunch when on a Great Ocean Road day trip or otherwise it’s popular for overnight stays as it’s about half way along the Great Ocean Road.
It’s a very relaxed typical coastal tourist town. During the middle of the place has thousands of tourists eating at the dozens of cafes and restaurants that stretch along the main street that runs parallel with the Apollo Bay Beach.
Going straight to Apollo Bay from Melbourne can be achieved within around 3 hours, although if heading along the Great Ocean Road from Torquay (the very start), it’s about 90 kilometers and the drive is world class!
Apollo Bay is right at the end of the first part of the Great Ocean Road: the Surf Coast. Driving west out of Apollo Bay takes you into the incredible Otways rain forest before then making it to the Shipwreck Coast where you’ll find the 12 Apostles.
History of Apollo Bay
The gold rush in Ballarat started in the 1851, which brought thousands of ship loads of prospectors from Europe and China into Port Phillip Bay arriving at Melbourne.
It took about three months for ships to sail to Melbourne from England. As the ships made it just past the notorious Shipwreck Coast, they’d then dock at Apollo Bay to avoid storms or for supplies and repairs before another day or so of sailing to get to Melbourne.
Several years before the gold rush, still in the 1840’s, a large ship named The Apollo was avoiding a storm and pulled into this large bay. While The Apollo was stopped in the bay, crew members chopped down some large Eucalyptus trees from a forest behind the beach and repaired some damaged areas of the ship.
During the early years of the gold rush, sailors would remember the story of The Apollo and keep this bay in their thoughts if they needed to find some protection from a storm or make ship repairs. Eventually a settlement formed here and when they were looking for an official name, it only made sense to dedicate it to the mighty Apollo: Apollo Bay.