LOCAL TIPS FROM THE FESTIVAL CREW
Nattie Murray – Volunteers & Galleries
Local Tip: The magical, mystical Californian Redwoods
Head west out of Apollo Bay down the Great Ocean Road and take a right hand turn to Beech Forest. Meander through the Otway Rainforest along a windy dirt road, a single lane river crossing, and you’re there. It’s like stepping into a fairytale. The area is incredibly quiet. The damp forest floor crunches underfoot with every step but aside from that, there is barely a whisper among the redwoods, except for the burbling water of the Aire River. There is very little sunlight here. The thick green forest canopy, which might as well be in the clouds for how high it is, blocks most natural light from reaching the floor. The effect is stunning. An endless twilight as hundreds of towering Californian redwoods reach skyward.
Roderick Poole – Festival Director
Local Tip: Mait’s Rest
If you want Old Otways, the primal, the ancient, the unspoilt, you can’t go past Mait’s Rest. It’s a jaw-dropping patch of rainforest containing some truly magnificent trees. It’s just off the Great Ocean Road, 10 minutes past Apollo Bay and really easy to find your way around. Far too many people just drive past, thinking only of those crumbling Apostles. Stop. Have a look around. Find some stillness. You won’t regret it.
Karlijn Sas – Small Venues Coordinator
Local Tip: Bent Nail
If you are on your way to Hello Coffee for a recovery session or other concert, please do stop by the Bent Nail on the way there. Prepare to be confused. I mean, amazed. You can buy everything there from antique ladies purses to engine oil. You will leave with something you didn’t know existed, let alone that you needed it. But now you know, you’ll need it badly.
I also recommend walking around the harbour and trying to spot Stumpy, Apollo Bay’s pet ray. The Apollo Bay harbour is inhabited by one of the largest type of stingray in the world, the Dasyatis Brevicaudata (or Smooth Stingray) and you can spot it right from the docks. The best place to spot him is near the public boat ramp and landing jetty, where the stingrays often hang out near the fish cleaning station. Stumpy is the ray with part of it’s tail missing.
Liz Waters – Small Venues Coordinator
Local Tip: Apollo Bay Fish Co-Op
Grab a big warm coat, scarf, gloves and hat, get down to the Fish Co-op and order up their best fresh fish and chips, then head up the Montrose Ave hill to the first right turn. There’s a seat there that offers the best panoramic views of our town and the surrounding coast. Feast on your fish and chips and the beauty of this wild world of ours!
Finglesin – Festival Creative
Local Tip: The ocean
Get into that ocean! Jump off the end of the pier, swim with the 6am crazies, take a surfing lesson, run in screaming in your undies! It might be cold but it’s the BEST medicine. The winter ground swell and light westerly winds turns our little bay into a glassy waterpark. Enjoy!
Libby Riches – Executive Producer
Local Tip: Moonlight Head
Visit Moonlight Head at low tide when the sea mist rolls in. 400 steps take you down the 50m cliffs to a pristine and desolate coastline. The anchors of the Marie Gabrielle and the Fiji can be found on the beach when the tide is low. With the cliffs behind you and the ocean in front of you it is possible to feel wild, alone and exposed to the elements. This is an off the beaten track adventure that is well worth the effort.
Rebekah Malherbe – Marketing Manager
Local Tip: Otway Herb Farm
The views as you drive up Wild Dog Road are rewards in themselves, and the Otway Herb farm (about 12km out of Apollo Bay) is no less a treat. Wander through this garden of culinary and medicinal herbs, rare and unique plants from around the world.
Pete Mawhinney – Content Manager
Local Tip: Hello Coffee
I feel like I shouldn’t be sharing this with you. This is our local haunt. I know, it’s the venue for our Sunday recovery sessions, so the secret is out already. But what that doesn’t tell you is that this is the place many of the locals meet and hangout. We love it. I always get my coffee beans there, they roast on site, and lunch is always tasty. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. Keep an eye out for the Ladybird books lying around on the tables. If you find one, put your device down and read some print material for a change. More fun than Facebook, by far. They’re a great time waster that you wont regret.
Bill Hurley Fraser – Marketing and Artist Liaison
Local Tip: Go Fishing!
Apollo Bay has a long history of fishing, thankfully you’re not allowed to catch the beautiful southern right whales anymore that pass by each winter but fishing in these areas can still be quite lucrative. Salmon, tuna, flathead, squid, trout and barracouta all frequent the surrounding areas. Make sure that you fish sustainably, the indigenous successfully fished these areas for thousands of years and there are still fish in these waters for that reason.
I’m not going to tell you ‘all the local spots’ but I’m sure if you get one of the right locals in the pub and shout them a beer they’ll be more than happy to direct you to where they’re biting, but regardless of that the biggest thrill of it all is getting out there amongst the elements in an unknown area and throwing in a line. Don’t forget a Fishing Licence, you can purchase one in person at the Apollo Bay Sports Store, Surf ‘n’ Fish or instantly online. Enjoy and let me know how you go.