Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op
This fish and chippery has a storied history filled with fisher friendships and wild weather tales. It was founded in 1948, when local fishers came together to carve out a market for their fresh catch. Today, some of the staff can trace their families’ involvement back 50 years.
The co-op is next to the last working fishing harbour on the Great Ocean Road, where about 30 or so fishers still bring their catches, and supplies fish and shellfish direct to restaurants and the public. Arrive early in the day to get a look at southern rock lobster as it’s offloaded from the boats. (The season typically runs from mid-November to mid-September.) Locals and travellers alike visit for seafood to cook at home, or paper-wrapped parcels of hot eats to eat in or take away.
Keep lunch simple with grilled butterfish, flathead or blue-eye trevalla, or go a signature half or whole southern rock lobster. Or maybe try a platter of scallops, squid and fish direct from Bass Strait, served with chips and salad. There’ll also be abalone on the menu (same seasonality as lobster) when the co-op opens its new restaurant. For the moment, dine at a handful of tables out front or on the deck overlooking the harbour. Otherwise, head down to the beach for a sandy sunset feast. Tenacious seagulls are guaranteed.
Fresh seafood is available from 9am to 5.30pm and the kitchen is open from 11am to 7pm.