Location

Departs Melbourne

Difficulty

3-4

Moderate

Length

8

Trip Cost

From $3050pp
twin share

Overview

  • Walk the best sections of the ‘Great Ocean Walk’ and ‘Great South West Walk’
  • Immerse yourself in the wild dramatic coastlines and history of the Shipwreck Coast
  • Informative guided walks with Aboriginal & local guides at Tower Hill, Lake Condah and the Great Ocean Walk
  • Explore historic fishing towns at Port Campbell and Port Fairy
  • Visit Cape Otway and Cape Nelson lighthouses, Wreck Beach and the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village
  • Visit Lake Condah’s 6,600 year-old fish traps and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Budj Bim
  • Discover a hidden grove of giant California Redwoods and an Otway’s forest waterfall
  • Guided walk of the ancient Tower Hill, an extinct volcano and wildlife reserve
  • Visit Australia’s only mainland gannet colony
  • Enjoy abundant wildlife including emus, kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, echidnas
  • Watch for migrating whales & fur seals at Cape Bridgewater

Our specially designed tour brings together highlights from two of Australia’s finest walks. We’ve combined the best of the outrageously beautiful Great Ocean Walk with the wild dramatic beauty of the Great South West Walk; a largely undiscovered gem of a hiking trail close to the South Australian border. We’ve never been more inspired and excited to introduce such a glorious piece of Victoria to our fellow hikers.

Specialist guided walks
The overwhelming variety of experiences along both these trails make it quite unique: abundant wildlife, shipwrecks, a UNESCO World Heritage landscape dating back tens-of-thousands of years, towering forests, huge sea cliffs, two lighthouses and a spectacularly eroded coastline bordered by beautiful countryside. As well as being accompanied by our highly experienced RAW Travel guides you’ll enjoy ‘walk and talks’ with local indigenous guides who provide both fascinating insights into the rich Aborginal cultures and traditions of this area. This truly is a walking tour that offers something for everyone.

Accommodation
We stay in carefully selected comfortable accommodation; the first two nights in a remote location at Moonlight Head where you have the opportunity to enjoy stunning ocean views, wake up to the sight of kangaroos feeding just outside your bedroom window, and appreciate the abundance of native birdlife, from bold laughing Kookaburras and petit Blue Wrens, to Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and cheeky Magpies. We stay overnight in tiny Port Campbell on the doorstep of the famous Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles.

Then a night in delightful Port Fairy, a wonderful seaside village famous for its folk festival, old stone buildings and wide-open streets lined with towering Norfolk pines. Port Fairy is situated close to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, an extinct volcano and wetland area which we visit on our way to Portland. Europeans first settled in Portland in 1834 and the town was originally earmarked as the capital before Port Phillip Bay became the preferred location; the Gunditjmara people are the traditional owners of the land where the town now stands. We stay three nights here in a beautifully restored Victorian style inn built in 1856. The hotel has been tastefully restored and boasts original heritage decor with all the comforts of modern luxury.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: OTWAYS FOREST & CALIFORNIA REDWOODS, WALK PARKER INLET TO CAPE OTWAY LIGHTSTATION (5KM/2 Hours)

Your day starts with a 7.30am pick up from the Melbourne Arts Centre, St Kilda Road in Melbourne. We stop for a picnic-style lunch in the Great Otway National Park surrounded by a spectacular forest of California Redwood trees and visit nearby Hopetoun Falls, one of the famous Otways forest waterfalls.

After lunch we drive to the coastal town of Apollo Bay and onwards to Cape Otway. We’ll walk from Parker Inlet to Cape Otway Lightstation, passing shipwreck remains and picturesque Seal Point and Crayfish Bay. Expect to see black wallaby, echidna, koala, black cockatoo, rosella and other wildlife along our route. If we’re short on time, we’ll drive directly to Cape Otway Lightstation to learn of the fascinating and often tragic histories of Cape Otway and its significance in Australia’s development. From here we transfer to our secluded bushland accommodation tucked away near Moonlight Head to enjoy stunning views and fabulous food to prepare us for a big walk the next day.

Overnight: Moonlight Head
Meals: L, D

Day 2: MILANESIA BEACH TO MOONLIGHT HEAD (15KM/6 HOURS), WALK WITH LOCAL KOORI FAMILY MEMBER

We are blessed to be joined by our Aboriginal guide Richard Collopy for part of this walk. Richard specialises in interpreting the environment from an aboriginal perspective and offers a wealth of information about how the local flora and fauna have traditionally been used by Aboriginal Australians. Milanesia Beach is an isolated and hidden beach that receives few visitors and is all the more special for it. From here the walk follows spectacular high sea cliffs and passes Ryans Den with breathtaking views all the way back to Cape Otway. The scenery along this stretch of the Great Ocean Walk is stunning; the rocky cliffs, bays and caves are truly amazing – keep a lookout for Southern Right whales who migrate towards warmer waters between June and September.

Overnight: Moonlight Head
Meals: B, L, D

Day 3: Walk Wreck Beach to the Twelve Apostles (16km/7 hours)

We continue our walk from Wreck Beach where at low tide we can descend and see the anchors of two of the many shipwrecks that lie submerged along this coast (The Fiji and the Marie Gabrielle). Passing across Devils Kitchen the track hugs the wild coastal cliffs as we move towards the Gellibrand River estuary which is home to significant birdlife including the endangered Australasian Bittern and Royal Spoonbill.

As we embark on the final section of the walk we see our first tantalising glimpses of the Twelve Apostles before reaching the viewing platform near Gibson Steps. Tide permitting we can descend the stone staircase down the cliff face. You will be at the water’s edge, the crashing surf at your feet and towering cliffs behind you as you walk along the beach. This is a unique view of the amazing rock platforms of Gog and Magog which don’t actually form part of the Twelve Apostles, but are nonetheless impressive.

As we transfer to our accommodation in picturesque Port Campbell, we will catch our first glimpse of stunning Loch Ard Gorge. Here you can descend to the beach for an incredible photo opportunity or simply listen from above to the sound of waves crashing into the gorge.

Overnight: Port Campbell
Meals: B, L, D

Day 4: HIGHLIGHTS OF PORT CAMPBELL NATIONAL PARK AND WALK WITH LOCAL GUIDES AT TOWER HILL RESERVE (1.5 HOURS)

A stunning day as we follow the wild coastline and discover more spectacular coastal formations along the Great Ocean Road. We stop to explore the impressive London Bridge and The Grotto before making our way to the unique Tower Hill Reserve. The reserve sits in a large volcanic crater and is one of Victoria’s most significant geological formations. We can enjoy morning tea before our private 1.5 hour walk with a local guide to discover and better understand traditional Aboriginal lifestyles. We learn about the natural habitat of some of Australia’s most iconic animals as well as how to identify native plants for food and medicinal purposes. We should arrive in Port Fairy by 3pm so you can independently discover and enjoy this quaint town – you may want to take a short 5km walk to Griffiths Island to view the large Mutton-Bird breeding colony (September to April). But please stay on the trails as the birds nest in the sand.

Overnight: Port Fairy
Meals: B, L

Day 5: PORTLAND VIA WORLD HERITAGE LISTED BUDJ BIM / WALK ENCHANTED FOREST TO CAPE NELSON LIGHTHOUSE (7KM/2.5 HOURS)

Depart 8am for Portland via UNESCO World Heritage listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape site. The site is older than Egypt’s pyramids and the first site in Australia to be offered protection purely for its Aboriginal cultural importance; its aquaculture system dates back over 6,600 years and was used to harvest eels.

We’ll walk as guests on Gunditjmara country and join a 2.5 hour guided tour to experience the landscape, history and 60,000+ year-old culture through the eyes of one of their expert Indigenous guides. We’ll arrive in Portland for lunch at around 12-midday before checking into our hotel. We commence walking a small section of the Great South West Walk around 13.30 beginning at the Enchanted Forest and finishing on the dramatic wind-blown craggy cliffs of Cape Nelson Lighthouse.

Overnight: Portland
Meals: B, L, D

Day 6: MURRELLS BEACH TRACK TO CAPE BRIDGEWATER (15KM/5 HOURS)

A lovely day that begins with a short walk from Murrells Beach Rd along the cliff-top track through a pretty grove of coastal Tea Trees. We emerge at the top of a stairway that drops onto white sandy Bridgewater beach which we will follow for most of the day. The shore is alive with bird-life including Pied Oystercatchers, Sandpipers, Hooded Plovers, Terns and Pacific gulls; there are shells galore to admire and name. The mostly pristine beach is subject to small patches of debris bought in by strong tides and coastal storms, so bring a bag if you’d like to beach-comb for litter along the way.

We pass an interesting age-old rocky outcrop standing sentinel like as you pass – you can feel it reaching back in time. The sand can be a little soft in places but the walking is pleasant, it’s possible to take off your shoes and enjoy ‘grounding’ with the earth. Closer to Cape Bridgewater the trail diverts inland through low coastal scrub along easy trails, it’s a nice change and a good spot to enjoy a snack in tucked away seclusion. We emerge again onto the hard flat wide open spaces of Shelly beach for a glorious final walk along Bridgewater Bay before ending the day with our exclusive Cape Nelson Lighthouse dinner.

Overnight Portland
Meals: B, L, D

Day 7: CAPE BRIDGEWATER TO BRIDGEWATER LAKES (18KM/6 HOURS)

We finish our last day of walking with an astounding display of natural beauty and diversity. Enjoy sensational cliff-top walking, two large seal colonies, a surreal petrified forest, ocean blowholes, kangaroos, pristine lakes, remote rugged coastline and ancient limestone caves!

Our climb out of Cape Bridgewater takes us to some of the highest coastal cliffs in Victoria (130m) past two seal colonies; Australian and New Zealand Fur Seals who interestingly do not mingle even though they live in close proximity to each other. With several viewing platforms you can take advantage of the magnificent uninterrupted views over deep-blue water to the horizon. Look back over the perfect crescent-shaped beach of Bridgewater Bay sitting on the rim of a long extinct volcano, reminding us we walk upon million-year-old landscapes. We follow easy trails along a rugged coastline where it seems you never put your camera away – the views are glorious!

Hopefully, we will encounter a mob of kangaroos who usually keep a close eye on things, then pass the aptly named ‘Perilous Parapet’ before arriving at a moonscape of petrified trees. Here we will break for lunch, allowing you time to enjoy the views and explore this fascinating area. The walk after lunch is just as remarkable so have your cameras ready to capture the juggernaut of waves as they crash onto the rocks below. We finish the day with a gentle walk through sandhills to Bridgewater Lakes where we can climb to the mouth of Tarragal Caves and enjoy a final fantastic view over this amazing country.

Overnight: Portland
Meals: B, L, D

Day 8: MORNING VISIT TO GANNET COLONY, RETURN DRIVE TO MELBOURNE

This morning we’ll visit Australia’s only mainland gannet colony at Point Danger Coastal Reserve just a few kilometres from Portland. These striking birds can have a wingspan of up to 2-metres and dive fully submerged into the ocean in search of prey. We’ll stop for breaks en-route to Melbourne to arrive back by late afternoon.

Meals: B

IMPORTANT NOTE

All daily distances are approximate and itinerary is subject to change. RAW Travel reserves the right to make necessary itinerary changes based on local conditions, group safety, extreme weather or unforeseen difficulties with local suppliers due to COVID-19 effects.

Dates

From May 8th to October 1st 2020 our special offer of $1 deposit applies to new bookings made in this period for website trips*. $1 is all you will pay in 2020 for trips departing in 2021.

From January 1st 2021 we will invoice you the remainder of the standard deposit ($499*) and the remaining balance payment at the standard 2 months before departure. All your arrangements will be fully confirmed then, as per usual. The $1 deposit offer does not apply to private groups or significant tailormade trip requests, please speak to one of our consultants if you have any questions.

If Government restrictions don’t allow for any travel in your chosen destination at that time (when the balance is due at 60 days prior to departure) then we will either postpone your trip or allow you to transfer to another destination and trip that has availability instead.

*Note - the standard deposit for Peru Lodge trips is $1000.

Start date
03 Oct 2020
End date
10 Oct 2020
Price
$3050
Availability
Available
Start date
08 Dec 2020
End date
15 Dec 2020
Price
$3050
Availability
Available

Inclusions

  • 2 nights accommodation at secluded Moonlight Head
  • 1 night accommodation in picturesquePort Campbell
  • 1 night accommodation in charming Port Fairy
  • 3 nights 4-star accommodation in historic Portland
  • All meals (excluding dinner on Day 4 in Port Fairy)
  • Return transfers to/from Melbourne
  • Refreshment stops during walks
  • Experienced hiking guide
  • ‘Walk and talks’ by local Aboriginal guides on Great Ocean Walk and Lake Condah
  • Tour of UNESCO World Heritage listed Budj Bim
  • Tower Hill Reserve guided walk (2.5 hours)
  • Driver and support vehicle for duration of tour
  • Exclusive RAW Travel Cape Nelson Lighthouse dinner
  • National Park fees
  • Full carbon offset for your trip and an Australian tree planted on your behalf

Not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Alcoholic beverages (not included in your package, but can be put on tab and settled with staff at the end of your stay)
  • Single supplement ($1015 extra) – please enquire; limited single rooms available

Map & Guide

Reviews

Debbie McKay, Toowoomba (QLD) – March 2019
Seven enthusiastic and friendly walkers with two knowledgeable, wise and fun guides (Eric and Katie) in the midst of amazing scenery, fauna and flora across 6 days and 100+ km (Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles) – the recipe for a wonderful and memorable walk. The tracks are well formed and user-friendly. Photo opportunities at every turn. Helpful that the accommodation was comfortable (including Bimbi Park where you really do get to see koalas up close in the wild) and food excellent. If a bit of ‘creature comfort’ at the end of a long day of intermediate walking appeals, you’ll love this walk with RAW Travel.

Kenneth Blake, South Yarra (VIC) – April 2019
RAW Travel has again delivered an experience beyond my expectations. Friendly guides. Well organised and managed. Great food and accommodation. I’m looking forward to more walking adventures with RAW.

Nadia Baker, Hunters Hill (NSW) – October 2018
An extremely well-organised trek to a beautiful part of our country. Everything was laid on and so well planned. All we had to think about was walking! The guide (Eric) and support crew (Lee) were very experienced, helpful and very funny which added to the ambience of an already amazing group of travelling partners. Just a fabulous trip. Cannot speak more highly of RAW. Thank you.

Robyn Gallagher, Macgregor (ACT) – October 2017
We had five strong women on this trip and the two RAW lads dealt with us with great patience and good humour. The accommodation at Bimbi Park was fantastic. This was probably the best coastal walk I have done.

Janet Anderson, ACT – May 2017
The whole experience was great. We were well looked after by the RAW Travel team of Eric, Warren and Lee. The walk and the weather were challenging at times. It was good having a small group and we all got on very well. I would thoroughly recommend this guided walk to anyone who loves walking. What a beautiful part of Australia, so lucky to have walked it.

Gerald Vassallo, Canberra – March 2017
On my first ever long walk I was guided and supported by Eric and Lee from RAW Travel who made it into such an interesting and achievable walk. We were well looked after both physically and for catering. No request was too trivial or demanding to be considered. I didn’t want the walk to finish and am looking forward to my next walk with RAW Travel in Japan later this year. Very impressed.

Matthew Meredith, Gold Coast – March 2017
Just completed a 110km hike along the Great Ocean Road with Eric from RAW Travel. Highly recommend both the route and the itinerary. Both Eric and Lee from RAW Travel provided expertise beyond our expectations. Excellent historic and cultural insights provided by local speakers Mark and Richard. A must-do trip for all travellers seeking a little adventure.

Bronwyn Kosman, ACT – March 2017
We loved the fabulous scenery, the trees, the beaches, the birds and, in our case, the perfect weather! All complemented by super tasty food and wonderful hosts, especially Robyn and Deco.

Janice Baker, Perth – October 2016
Very comfortable and safe way to complete the Great Ocean Walk. No big packs to lug around! The Great Ocean Walk is a beautiful experience. I felt challenged by parts of the walk and felt good about my result – grateful that I trained prior!

Alison Millar Price, WA – October 2016
This was the second time I’ve used RAW Travel and it won’t be the last! I have found the organisation of my trips, the promptness to respond to enquiries, communication, care and attention to detail impeccable. I have recommended RAW Travel to friends who have taken up the suggestion, and would have no hesitation in recommending them again and again. They must daeal with hundreds of people at any one time, but they have the skill to make you feel as if you are their most important client at the time you are communicating with them. This makes one feel special and important. They bend over backwards to fit in with what you want and have fantastic advice when needed.

Michael Young, Perth – October 2016
The Great Ocean Walk was a unique opportunity to experience nature at its best along this ancient coastline. In addition to the magic flora and fauna were the stories and relics of shipwrecks and Indigenous culture. Accomodation at Bimbi Park was very comfortable and the food tasty and healthy. The Loch Ard in Pt Stephens was also very comfortable. Our guide Eric was fantastic: his skills and experience along with his easy going demeanour made him popular with the whole group. Our driver, Darren, on his first trip on the Great Ocean Walk, was excellent with his passion for nature and photography a nice extra.

Margaret Ryan, NSW – October 2016
The scenery and wildlife were spectacular and we were well supported in every way for our sometimes quite challenging 7 day walk. I felt we didn’t miss a thing due to our passionate and very experienced guide from RAW Travel. Eric, many thanks for showing us the best of everything this walk has to offer. Thanks for the informative talks and showing us the most scenic lookouts and beaches. Your organisation was exceptional with great food, enjoyable activities on our ‘day off’ and our great accommodation at Bimbi Park and Port Campbell. Frank’s (at Bimbi Park) cooking was another highlight. Thank you too to Darren who contributed so much more to the walk than just driving the van. What a terrific photographer who was happy to share many photographic tips as well as taking lots of amazing photos during the trip. Eric and Darren and our 7 other adventurers made the trip lots of fun.

Lile, NSW – November 2015
The RAW Travel Great Ocean Walk End to End was one of the best walking experiences I’ve had!

Kathy Austin, NSW – October 2014
Fabulous scenery, good accommodation, great food, great group of people, well organised, a once in a life time experience.

What our Clients Say

Wise and fun guides. Amazing scenery, fauna and flora. The tracks are well formed and user-friendly. Photo opportunities at every turn.

Debbie McKay, QLD – March 2019

RAW Travel has again delivered an experience beyond my expectations. Friendly guides. Well organised and managed. Great food and accommodation. I'm looking forward to more walking adventures with RAW.

Kenneth Blake, VIC – April 2019

An extremely well-organised trek to a beautiful part of our country. All we had to think about was walking! The guide and crew were very experienced and helpful. Cannot speak more highly of RAW!

Nadia Baker, Hunters Hill (NSW) – October 2018

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Trip Expert

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Trip Grading

This trip is rated as Moderate