Port of Apollo Bay

Apollo-Bay-Harbour-Aerial

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 port

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 fishing license.

Walking and 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.

Recreational boating – 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.

Apollo Bay 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 port

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.