Otway Fly & Treetop Walk and Wickens Delicatessen & Provedore

Posted on March 20, 2013

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No visit to Apollo Bay would be complete without a venture towards the lush greenery that is the Otway Ranges. I love the long winding drive from the coast up to the forest. The driving experience was enhanced with my zippy little manual but even if you’re not in the driving seat, it feels so serene watching the scenery flash by. Then when you’re done with sitting in a car for an hour the so, it’s time to get up and do a trek (or 2) and visit the Otway Fly & Treetop Walk of course! Adult entry is $24 per person, but you can save a little and buy tickets in advance at the Apollo Bay information centre for $20. The canopy walk is only 600m long, but it’s quite nice to be amongst the treetops and there is a fair walk from the entrance to the start of the canopy anyway. For the more adventurous of you, you could even opt to abseil from the canopy walk down to the forest floor or do a zip line tour too.

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When you tire from your journey from the Otways, there’s always food nearby such as the Otway NouriShed (Corner Colac and Lavers Hill Roads, Ferguson VIC), or you could  make your way back to Apollo Bay for some seaside dining. After a tiring morning of walks and such, we chose to dine at a sweet and very chic looking cafe/deli along the esplanade by the name of Wickens Delicatessen & Provedore (1/135-137 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay VIC).

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The space has a light and beachy feel to it. Along the left, the menu is sprawled all over the white wall and running along the right wall is a blue patterned wallpaper. Seating is in the front half of the shop with the kitchen, counter and deli area towards the back. The menu is fairly small, mostly just brunch and lunch items pre-made and reheated as needed. By the time we ventured out for our late lunch, this menu was smaller still.

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There is no table service, but we found the service to be pretty efficient and friendly. For drinks both a hot coffee ($4) and iced coffee (~$6) were sampled, and both got the tick of approval – it almost felt like being transported back to Melbourne.

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Seriously, check out how good their latte looks! Hard to believe it came out of the country isn’t it? And yes, it was as good as it looked. (Sorry if a bit of my Melbournite coffee snobbery came through, but country Victorians you must admit that good coffee isn’t as easy to find in regional areas as it is in central Melbourne!)

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The beef and cauliflower pie with side salad (priced about the mid teens) looked pretty decent, but lacked flavour. I also found the combination of ingredients a tad strange, it’s not a very usual pairing for a pie filling and I don’t really think it worked particularly well in this case. It wasn’t bad, just pretty average.

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The chicken wrap (again priced in the low to mid teens) was more successful. 3 out of 4 of us ordered this for our meal and we were all satisfied. Not too much to explain there; pieces of chicken schnitzel, rocket and cheese wrapped in flat bread and toasted. It was pretty tasty and filling, but then again with this order, what could really go wrong?

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Drinks aside, we found Wickens to be overpriced. But I get that, it is in a tourist zone where prices for things tend to have a slight premium attached to it. The lack of competition and smaller pool of potential customers necessitate the higher prices. Generally, the lunch items we tried were reasonable without being too memorable. Wickens seems to have so much potential, it was just a pity we arrived at an odd time and thus had less menu choice. Overall, in line with its online reviews, I have mixed feelings about Wickens. On the one hand, I find it a touch overpriced. On the other, I think it is probably one of the better dining options along the main strip. At the very least, it has good coffee and the menu extends beyond the usual fast food options beachside dining is more renown for. I think it’s well worth giving Wickens a chance, and I intend to give them another go if and when I’m in town again.

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