Halal food road tour on the Great Ocean Road
The best bet for halal foodies making the Great Ocean Road journey.
The Great Ocean Road Running Festival is an annual event that takes place along one part of the famed Great Ocean Road in the state of Victoria in Australia. The longest race in the running festival, the 60km Ultra Marathon, starts in the seaside town of Lorne and ends in Apollo Bay, where all the race categories end. Starting in 2005, the event has been one of the most important running events on the calendars of marathon runners, bringing in participants from around the world. If you’re considering joining the run, usually held in May during the last days of Australia’s autumn, where do you go for halal food on the Great Ocean Road? Read on to find our halal food options for Muslims here.
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Stretching from the surf town of Torquay all the way until Allansford for 240 kilometres, it would take you about 3.5 hours to drive the entire length of the Great Ocean Road. Fortunately, it’s not just any road, for it passes through many well-established towns that offer food and lodging, including Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell - the nearest point to the famous Twelve Apostles limestone stacks.
About a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne and 20 minutes away from Torquay, Anglesea is a town that seems sparse, with houses far and few between. However, something in the air – or maybe the soil or water – makes it a point of attention for organic and vegan food. A few years ago, travelling to Apollo Bay for The Great Ocean Road Running Festival, we stopped at McGain’s Nursery & Organic Foodstore for some delicious vegetarian meals. However, McGain’s has closed now, but we’re glad to find out that just next door is GROW Anglesea, where the food is mostly vegan except for some dairy and the odd egg here and there, so it’s perfect for those with halal dietary requirements. What’s more, they also have gluten-free options.
If you need your non-vegan protein after your drive here, we recommend the avocado on sourdough sandwich with poached egg (AUD$19), or the GROW Breakfast special with eggs on sourdough toast with marinated mushrooms, roast tomatoes and avocado (AUD$19.50), which also comes in a vegan option with the eggs swapped out with smoked tofu.
For those missing fast food, get the vegan burgers that come in a few options, including the jackfruit burger with homemade BBQ sauce (AUD$15.50), falafel burger on brioche roll (AUD$16.50) and the vegan soy burger (AUD$16.50). Meanwhile, you can also purchase packed healthful food such as gluten-free bread and biscuits from GROW, for the road or for later when you get the munchies at your hotel.
Address: 11 Inverlochy St, Anglesea, Victoria, 3230, Australia
Lorne Fish & Chips, Lorne
When you’re travelling in an area where there isn’t a big Muslim community, the default is usually to look for seafood. Well, if you’re staying in Lorne or nearby on the Great Ocean Road, then you’ll be happy to know that Lorne Fish & Chips restaurant doesn’t serve just the fried fish and fries, but also halal kebabs and burgers! Plus, they have gluten-free options as well. Burgers start at AUD$9.50 for an Angus beef burger, while kebabs start at AUD$14.90.
Lorne is about an hour’s drive from Apollo Bay. So, if you’re staying in Apollo Bay, make this a pit stop on your way there. You’ll also want to allocate plenty of time if you’re driving from Melbourne (about a 3-hour drive) as it gets dark quite early during autumn, and believe me; you’ll be stopping a lot along the way to take photos of the breathtaking view or at certain monuments along the way.
Address: 42 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
Masala Bay Indian Restaurant, Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay is where you’ll most probably land in if you’re taking part in or visiting the Great Ocean Road Run Festival. Not only is the festival centred here, but this is also the starting point of the Great Ocean Walk, where you can follow the walking trail that takes you through the Otway National Park up to Glenample Homestead. During our previous trip to Apollo Bay, the go-to halal restaurant was Iluka Motel Restaurant, but it, too, seems to have closed, most probably due to the global events happening circa 2020-2022. This time around, thankfully, there’s Masala Bay, an Indian food restaurant offering halal dishes.
If you’ve been missing chicken biryani (AUD$26), this is the place to get it in Apollo Bay. Unless you’re aiming for the beef or lamb vindaloo (from AUD25.90), of course. Also recommended are some seafood dishes like the salt and pepper squid (AUD$18.90) and vegan samosa (AUD$14.90) as your side dishes.
Address: 2A/155 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay, 3233, Australia
Best Western Motel, Apollo Bay
However, if you feel like cooking your own meals when staying in Apollo Bay, the Best Western Motel Apollo Bay, which is very close to the finish line and site of the Great Ocean Road Running Festival, has an in-room cooking hob and microwave oven in the one- and two-bedroom apartments. This amenity is available in the physically challenged room as well. Pots and pans are provided, too. For fresh seafood to cook, get it from Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-op, just a ten-minute’s walk away.
Address: 2 Moore Street, Apollo Bay, 3233 Australia
Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-Op, Apollo Bay
Finally, if it’s delicious seafood you’re looking for, the Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-op is your best bet. They serve only seafood here and you can request for any alcohol ingredients (if any) to be left out of the cooking. Since Apollo Bay is the home of the Southern Rock Lobster, the half-lobster with chips is a must (about AUD$55, based on daily market price). For families, the Seafood Platter For 2 (AUD$60) has something for the whole family to munch on, including fish fillet, tiger prawns, calamari and scallops, served with fries and salad, as an add-on dish.
Address: 2, Breakwater Rd, Apollo Bay, Victoria 3233, Australia
From Apollo Bay on your last day there, if you’re not planning to traverse the whole Great Ocean Road, you can make your way to Otway to enjoy the countryside of the region. We recommend visiting the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures for some flying fox or walking the hanging bridge to take in the beauty of Australia’s forests before driving back to Melbourne.