Dog Friendly Holiday: Apollo Bay, VIC

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We all need a break from time to time. I know myself how hard it is to work a whole year straight, sometimes I’ve worked a few years in a row without doing anything else except wake up, tend animals, work, eat, sleep, repeat! 😓
There’s nothing like getting out there and changing up the routine by going away for a little while. Even just a few days to refresh the mind.
Oh, wait! Yes, there is! Getting to go away with your pup!

In search of the perfect weekend away, not too far to drive, dog friendly, with something to do, I found a great little place in Skenes Creek which is just 15mins to Apollo Bay. It was one of the best mini holidays I’ve ever been on. And yep, we went in winter.


It didn’t take as much searching as I thought it would to find a place to stay with pup. AirBnb was my search engine choice as I felt it was the most reputable. Always check in what way exactly the place is dog-friendly and ensure it suits you and your dog. We were lucky enough to find a place with a fireplace so Stretch was super happy to stay in the unfamiliar surroundings – by the fire of course. We had a huge range of DVD’s to watch at night and were happy to hang out inside once it was dark.

Things to Consider

Just because dogs are allowed doesn’t necessarily mean that the accommodation has thought about your dog.
1. Is there a fenced yard?
2. Is there somewhere comfortable for pup to sleep?
– If your dog sleeps inside, are they allowed inside? If not, you might have to look elsewhere to avoid confusing pup. After all, they may have slept inside their whole life!
3. Is your dog destructive?
– If your dog is a chewer just know that you’ll be paying for any damage and could risk getting a poor review yourself depending on how you’ve booked. Not only that, but you may want to go back there someday!
4. If you plan on doing some things without pup, will they be comfortable being left alone in an unfamiliar place?
– Some dogs will be fine, some dogs might not. This is where crate training comes in handy!
5. Have you brought ample food and supplies so pup feels at home?
– Toys, blankets, food, treats maybe their bed or something they love from home.

Dog-Friendly Places to Visit

There are actually lot’s of things to do in and around Apollo Bay with your dog! We didn’t even get a chance to do everything we could have.

Most beaches we came across were completely dog friendly year-round with Christmas holidays being the only exception. Just check the signs before heading onto the beach.

Apollo Bay, Beach – The sand at this beach was clean and firm which made it easy to walk on with shoes as it was winter so I wasn’t keen on wetting my feet haha! The waves although rough were incredible to look at, I would consider keeping pup in the shallows though. 😅
The beach area is huge too so you have plenty of opportunities to create your own space or meet other people and their dogs. The locals loved Stretch (our dog) despite him not wanting anything to do with anyone! 😂 Walking from one end to the other took about 2hours with a few stops in between to take in the scenery and have a sniff around.
Petticoat Creek Beach – This beach is a short drive or a 10-15min walk from where we stayed at Skenes Creek and is dog friendly year-round.

Nature Walks/Hikes
There are some crazy beautiful places in the Ottways and surroundings.

Beauchamp Falls – Starting from Beauchamp Reserve. Distance: 1.5kms. Time: 1hr return. Difficulty: Moderate

Stevenson Falls – Starting from Stevensons Falls Reserve. Distance: 1.5km. Time: 1hr return. Difficulty: Easy
This was a beautiful walk. You get a mixture of secluded forestry, natural pathways and wide-open space lined with red gums. It is an easy enough walk for any dog until the last 500m which takes you up to the waterfall. Yes, that’s right, you will actually get to see a magnificent waterfall at the end of this walk! 😍
To complete the last 500m, there is a steel grate bridge with holes wide enough for pups feet to potentially fall through! Carrying is required.

Dandos Campground – Via Lardner Track, near Gellibrand River. 
Great Ocean Walk – From Marengo to GONP boundary near Three Creeks Crossing. You can join in on some of this walk from Apollo Bay as the track passes through the main beach and town.

Food, Glorious Food!

Fisherman’s Co-Op – Outdoor picnic-style seating looking out over the pier. Most of the fish served at this friendly fish ‘n’ chip shop is caught locally. So you can watch the fisherman going in and out of the bay and returning (hopefully) with your lunch! Dog’s are of course welcome to sit with you on either the balcony overlooking the bay or at their picnic tables on the fake grass. Both lovely spots.

Apollo Bay, Fisherman’s Co-Op

Great Ocean Road Brewhouse – Cannot believe I didn’t get a chance to go here! Most dog friendly locations are dog friendly because they allow pup to sit outside with you, this place, however, has a dog friendly beer garden which also serves doggy beer! Non-alcoholic of course and purely aesthetic. 😎 Oh and not to mention your dog can join you in the tasting house next door and have his picture taken on the wall of fame! (Seriously, why did I not go here!)
Situated in the main shopping strip, the Brewhouse overlooks the foreshore and has ample pool tables to keep you entertained.

I highly recommend visiting Apollo Bay with your dog during winter. Obviously, most activities were weather permitting and we were lucky that it didn’t rain while we were there and were able to go out to the beach, hiking, eat at cafes and wander around the town. At night, when the temperature dropped, we kept warm by the fireplace. A great, relaxing and yet still adventurous weekend away.

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