Port of Apollo Bay
The Port of Apollo Bay harbour is an important feature of both Apollo
Bay and the wider Colac Otway Shire community. The working 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.
Safety information for mariners
Call 0418 320 441 for up to date information regarding navigation or berthing.
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).
An Apollo Bay Primary Industry - Fishing
As a working port, the Port of Apollo Bay provides a platform enabling one of Colac Otway Shire's larger primary production employers. The harbour’s fishing industry alone generates about $6.5 million per year. The floating marina at the Port of Apollo Bay affords permanent berthing to 29 vessels, 12 of them commercial fishing boats. Another 17 vessels, mostly recreational, are moored in the harbour on swing moorings. There is also space for visiting fishing boats to berth alongside the wharf seasonally, as required. Tourism generates an economic benefit to the region through the use of harbour facilities and recreational opportunities. Recreational anglers are drawn to Apollo Bay for the love of fishing, which is made possible from the breakwater by those who prefer dry land. Those with boats are able to launch from the boat ramp, while some vessels are moored permanently. Visitors to the town are able to take advantage of charter boat tours from the harbour, to fish or simply to enjoy sightseeing.
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. Fishing is allowed within designated
areas of the wharf and breakwaters as long as you hold a current Victorian Recreational
Fishing Licence. https://vfa.vic.gov.au/recreational-fishing/fishing-licence
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. Sunrise viewed from the breakwater is truly spectacular, for those who are up early!
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. The Apollo Bay Sailing Club, is based at the port, with a clubhouse and storage space for trailered yachts. The club has an active membership of all age groups and runs a Summer race program every year.
Fishermen’s Co-Operative – The Fishermen's Co-Op was started at the harbour seventy years ago when local fishermen banded together to find markets for produce from Bass Strait - abalone, scallops, snapper, flake (gummy shark) and Apollo Bay's famous Southern Rock Lobster (crayfish). Fresh, local Bass Strait produce is available, straight from the fishing boats at the Fishermen’s Co-Op. You can also enjoy great fish and chips from the deck overlooking the harbour, one of the most scenic places in Victoria to enjoy fish and chips!
Port Management - Services and Operations
Colac Otway Shire has been responsible for the management, operations and maintenance of the Port of Apollo Bay since it assumed control from the Port of Geelong in 1995. Funding for port operations and maintenance is provided by the Department of Transport (Victoria), supplementing revenue generated from port fees. The Council’s harbour management team provides all maintenance and services at the port. Some of the major services provided and operations performed by the Port of Apollo Bay team include:
- Dredging – the harbour’s entrance and inner harbour areas are prone to significant sand silting. Dredge vessel 'Apollo' is used by the harbour management team regularly as required to maintain a sufficiently deep harbour entrance and internal channel, enabling continuous safe navigation of vessels.
- Navigational Aids - provision and maintenance of NAVAIDS (lead lights) to ensure safe navigation of vessels through the harbour entrance at night.
- Provision of marina berths and swing moorings via annual permit for long term in-water storage of vessels.
- Provision of short-term permits for use of temporary berths and moorings by visiting vessels.
- Maintenance of the boat ramp.
- Wharf maintenance – structural repairs and general maintenance to ensure the harbour remains safe, productive and progressive.
- Provision of slipway operations - the slipway is available for harbour users/vessel owners requiring out of water maintenance or marine survey inspections.
- 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.
The Safety and Environmental Management Plan (SEMP), prepared under Part 6A of the Port Management Act 1995 (Vic), provides the basis and direction of safety and environmental management at the Port of Apollo Bay. The SEMP document can be viewed or downloaded here:
Notices to Mariners
Notices to Mariners (NTM) for all Victorian waters including the Port of Apollo Bay can be found at the VRCA website below:
Port of Apollo Bay Consultative Committee (POABCC)
The POABCC is the primary user and community consultative forum of Colac Otway Shire for the Port of Apollo Bay. It is comprised of 11 members - 1 councillor, 2 council officers, 4 nominated representatives from stakeholder groups and 4 self nominated community members from fishing, boating and general interest in marine operations. The Committee meets 4 times per annum and operates under the POABCC Terms of Reference.
Terms of Reference available here: POABCC-Terms-of-Reference-August-2021.pdf(PDF, 517KB)
Minutes of meetings available here:
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 direct on (03) 5232 9475 or via Customer Assist at (03) 5232 9400.
For mariner's enquiries only, call 0418 320 441.