length

7 Days

difficulty

Moderate

trip cost

From $3350 pp

Icons / stylised / time Created with Sketch.

length

7 Days

Icons / stylised / difficulty Created with Sketch.

difficulty

Moderate

Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

From $3350 pp

Guided Trip

our walk expert

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Accommodation
  • On the Trail
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • Private group tour
  • Exclusive Guide
  • Similar Walks

Overview

Great Ocean Walk & Beyond

Our specially designed trip 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.

The overwhelming variety of experiences along both these trails make it quite unique: abundant wildlife, shipwrecks & a maritime museum, a guided tour of BudJ Bim with Indigenous Rangers (a UNESCO World Heritage landscape dating back thousands of years), and visits to Port Fairy and Portland two of Victoria’s earliest European settlements. You walk in a landscape of vast forests, huge sea cliffs, two lighthouses and a spectacularly dramatic coastline bordered by beautiful countryside. We explore early settler and Shipwreck Coast history with two different guided talks and walks with local experts at Cape Otway and Cape Nelson, plus visit the fabulously isolated Wreck Beach.

This truly is a walking tour that offers something for everyone.

This trip is available for private groups on demand – no scheduled dates for open trips.

Rob Blackburn  |  Regional Victoria Winter 2019

Highlights

Get Ready For

  • Walk spectacular sections of the Great Ocean Walk and Great South West walk
  • Explore  Lake Condah’s 6,600 year-old fish traps with an Indigenous guide
  • Walk the Volcanic reserve of Tower Hill with an Indigenous guide
  • Cape Otway and Cape Nelson lighthouse visits
  • Wreck Beach and the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village
  • Explore historic fishing towns at Port Campbell, Portland and Port Fairy
Great South west walk accommodation

Accommodation

carefully selected

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; one night in a Historic Inn at charming Port Fairy while at Portland we’ll have two nights here in a beautifully restored guesthouse; one of Victoria’s oldest built in 1853. The hotel has been tastefully restored and boasts original heritage decor and a beautiful garden.

Great Ocean Walk - Hero shoot

On the Trail

The experience

The Great Ocean walk and Great South West Walk are winding tracks which follow the contours around the coastal headlands. There are a variety of track conditions with some hilly sections, on occasions you will walk down to isolated beaches and across soft sand and then walk up the other side over steps on a well-marked track that has been constructed and managed with your safety in mind. Some sections involve walking on exposed sections of coast or through forested areas where the track is firm underfoot, while others can be muddy depending on the recent weather conditions.You can expect to walk between 4 and 6 hours each day with regular stops to take in the natural beauty, and for snacks and lunch.

Itinerary

Daily Details

Important info

All daily distances are approximate and the 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.

Day 1: OTWAYS FOREST & MAITS REST; WALK PARKER INLET TO CAPE OTWAY LIGHTSTATION (5.5KM, 2.5 HOURS)

Your day starts with a 7.30am pick up from the Melbourne Arts Centre, St Kilda Road, in Melbourne. We stop for a morning tea and briefing in the Great Otway National Park and have a quick stop at teh coastal town of Apollo Bay. Afterwards we explore the temperate rainforest of Maits Rest, a pocket of rainforest that harks back to the Gondwanan era. We take a short walk through this stunning, lush rainforest on a boardwalk track that loops through thick tree ferns and towering Mountain Ash, and cool streams. There are plenty of seats along the walk to sit and take lunch as you appreciate this special environment.

Afterwards we drive onwards to Cape Otway and meet up with our lighthouse historian who’ll walk with us this afternoon. We’ll walk from the beautiful Parker Inlet along the coast to Cape Otway Lightstation, picking our way over tidal rockshelves, passing shipwreck remains and then an easy trail from picturesque Point Franklin and Crayfish Bay. Expect to see Koalas, black wallaby, echidna,  black cockatoo, rosella and other wildlife along our route. We’ll stop at  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 tomorrow.

Overnight: Moonlight Head

Meals: L, D

Day 2: MILANESIA BEACH TO MOONLIGHT HEAD (10.5KM, 5 HOURS)

Today’s walk is a wild one and more challenging because of the hilly terrain and the consistent trail roller coasters, up and down. Milanesia Beach is an isolated and hidden beach that receives few visitors and is all the more special for it. From Milanesia 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 provide a wonderful backdrop. Because the walking today is quite hilly, there is an option to shorten the walk by walking out at Ryan’s Den (6km).

Overnight: Moonlight Head

Meals: B, L, D

Dependent on tide movements the 2km walk at Wreck Beach may be substituted at the end of this day. 

Day 3: WALK THE GABLES & WRECK BEACH (4km, 2.5 hours); PRINCETOWN TO THE TWELVE APOSTLES (6.5KM, 2 HOURS)

This morning we’ll start at the Gables lookout and the old cemetery. We walk to our favourite section of the Great Ocean walk at Wreck Beach where at low tide (this access is tide dependent)  we can descend the 366 steps and see the anchors of two of the many shipwrecks that lie submerged along this coast (The Fiji and the Marie Gabrielle). After exploring the coast to the Devils Kitchen we return on the same track to our vehicle and transfer to Princetown for the last leg of the Great Ocean Walk.

As we embark on the final section of the Great Ocean Walk along sandy track and boardwalks 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 faces at Gibson’s steps. 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 with its tragic Shipwreck tale. We stop here to explore the boardwalks and 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. We stay right on the waterfront so you can have a great sunset on the beach and cove.

Overnight: Port Campbell

Meals: B, L, D

Day 4: PORT CAMPBELL NATIONAL PARK & TOWER HILL RESERVE (2 HOURS); PORT FAIRY WALK (5km)

Today is 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). Please stay on the trails as the birds nest in the sand.

Overnight: Port Fairy

Meals: B, L

Day 5: PORTLAND VIA BUDJ BIM; WALK ENCHANTED FOREST TO CAPE NELSON LIGHTHOUSE (7KM, 2.5 HOURS)

We’ll depart at 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 noon before checking into our hotel. We commence walking a small section of the Great South West Walk around 1.30pm 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: CAPE BRIDGEWATER WALK (12KM, 4.5 HOURS); POINT DANGER GANNET COLONY

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 before we meet our bus at Amos road and finish the walk.

That evening we visit the only mainland gannet colony in Australia, perched on the cliffs at Point Danger and observe these birds up close, hearing the remarkable story of this colony from a local birding enthusiast. These striking birds can have a wingspan of up to 2m and dive fully submerged into the ocean in search of prey.

Overnight: Portland

Meals: B, L, D

Day 7: FLAGSTAFF HILL MUSEUM; RETURN TO MELBOURNE

On our return journey, we will call into the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, home to fabulous relics that have been salvaged from shipwrecks. There is also a replica of 1850’s Warrnambool Port to walk around and grab tea in a period teashop. We’ll stop for breaks en-route to Melbourne to arrive back by late afternoon.

Meals: B

Inclusions

What's included?

Included
  • 2 nights accommodation at secluded Moonlight Head
  • 1 night accommodation in picturesque Port Campbell
  • 1 night accommodation in charming Port Fairy
  • 2 nights accommodation in historic Portland
  • All meals (excluding dinner on day 4 in Port Fairy, lunch on last day)
  • Return transfers to/from Melbourne
  • Refreshment stops during walks
  • Experienced hiking guide
  • Tour of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Budj Bim with Indigenous Guides
  • Tower Hill Reserve guided walk (2.5 hours)
  • Driver and support vehicle for the duration of the 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
  • 10% GST
Excluded
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Single supplement – please enquire; limited single rooms available
group - gow and beyond

Private group tour

With friends and family

This trip can be run as your own private tour! Get a group of friends or family together and share a memorable pack-free adventure. Private tours are the perfect way to celebrate special events and special people. And they are so much fun! Contact us to get started. It’s that’s easy.

Great-Ocean-Walk-Destination-Guide-Cover

Exclusive Guide

Exclusive Guide

Discover Australia’s best coastal walk! Our comprehensive destination guide is bursting with inspiration, travel essentials, practical advice and more to help you prepare for a memorable journey along this breathtaking trail.

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TRIP date selection

when would you like to travel?

Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed

dates
availability
price
single occupancy
dates
04/11/2022 - 10/11/2022
availability
Sold Out
price
$3,150
single occupancy
$635

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