Port of Apollo Bay
The Apollo Bay harbour is an important feature of both Apollo
Bay and the wider Colac Otway Shire community. The working harbour and port is
part of Apollo Bay’s identity, generating economic benefits for both the town
and region, while helping draw thousands of tourists to the stunning coastal
hamlet each year.
About the port
In 1952 workers redeveloped a pier that stretched out into
the bay, helping set the foundation for what the harbour has become today. Further
improvements, including a $1.6 million upgrade of the old timber marina with a floating
marina pontoon system, has boosted economic opportunities, safety and access
for all users. Today the harbour is home to a local fishing industry and
commercial fleet which employs more than 70 people and boasts 16 boats,
including trawlers, crayfish and charter boats.
The port is enclosed by two large breakwaters. The harbour
contains a main wharf with marina berths, which fishermen and boat users lease
for an annual fee, while a causeway enables boat access.
The area enclosed by the breakwater contains a sandstone
reef. This makes much of the harbour floor shallow and visible at low tide, so
it’s common to spot sealife such as fish, stingrays and jellyfish. The public
has access to the wharf and breakwaters extending around the bay, making it
possible for people to get up close to the harbour’s sea life. This access also
allows participation in recreational activities such as walking and fishing
(see more information below about things to do in the harbour).
Recreational options at the
Visitors to Apollo Bay have many options when it comes to
enjoying the port's facilities.
Fishing – It’s
rare not to see someone dangling a line off the wharf or breakwater, such is
the popularity of fishing within the harbour. You can fish within designated
areas of the wharf and breakwaters as long as you have a Victorian recreational
sightseeing – The harbour is often abuzz with activity, particularly over
the summer months. You can see fishing trawlers returning with their catch,
vessels chartering tourists, and people fishing, swimming or simply enjoying a
walk on the wharf. The view looking back over Apollo Bay with its surrounding
hills in the background is amazing.
Swimming – A
small beach lies within the harbour, protected within the breakwater walls to
make it an ideal spot for families with small children.
– The harbour has a public boat ramp and landing jetty for boat users to enjoy
time on the bay. Boat licenses are required and Victorian boating rules apply.
Fishermen’s Co-Operative – You can buy crayfish straight out of Apollo
Bay’s waters at the fishermen’s co-op, along with a fresh selection of fish,
lobster, crayfish, squid, prawns and scallops available. The co-op also does
great fish and chips overlooking the harbour.
Economic benefits of the
As a working port, the harbour provides an economic value to
Apollo Bay and the Colac Otway Shire region. The harbour’s fishing industry alone
generates about $6.5 million a year, making it one of the Shire’s larger
primary industry employers.
Tourism generates an economic benefit through the use of
harbour facilities and recreational opportunities. Anglers spend money in the
region to pursue their love of fishing, while boat owners and users pay fees
for mooring their crafts at the marina. Tourists take advantage of charter boat
tours from the harbour to enjoy our region from the ocean, while the fishermen’s
co-op has fresh seafood or fish and chips for hungry visitors.
Managing the port
Colac Otway Shire Council manages the port on behalf of
Victoria’s Department of Transport. The Council’s harbour management team
comprises a team leader and three assistants, all attached to the Council’s
infrastructure and services department. Some of the tasks involved in managing
the harbour include:
- Dredging – the harbour’s entrance and inner
harbour areas are prone to significant sand silting so the harbour management
team schedules dredging when required to clear sand away for boats, ensuring
harbour activities can continue.
- Wharf repairs – structural repairs and general
maintenance is often required for safety purposes and to ensure the harbour
remains a productive and progressive port.
- Pest control – controlling invasive kelp and
other sea life from infesting the harbour is a top priority of harbour
management, as economic and recreational impacts can be significant.
Permits and applications
For Port of Apollo Bay permits and applications, follow this link.
For further information about Port of Apollo Bay, get in
touch with the Council’s port management team on (03) 5232 9400.
For mariner's enquiries only, call 0418 320 441.