Great Ocean Walk
The Great Ocean Walk has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s best multi-day hikes. The trail takes you along a 104km ocean side trail through the Victorian coastline, starting in Apollo Bay and ending at the World famous Twelve Apostles. It’s a unique hike with an incredible variety of landscapes squeezed into a short distance taking in shipwrecks, sea cliffs, towering Mountain Ash trees, beautiful wild beaches and rugged scenery.
This area is unique as you can feel so remote however you are just out from earshot of one of the world’s most famous roads. It’s peaceful and wonderful and a completely different experience and environment to what you might know already of this area.
Great Ocean Walk
- Crashing waves and the many moods of the Southern Ocean
- A captivating immersion into the region’s seafaring history
- Making first footprints on a secluded beach
- Encounters with curious native wildlife; spying whales in winter
- World-famous limestone cliffs and spectacular natural wonders
- Picturesque coves and postcard-worthy inlets
- Estuaries brimming with birdlife and soaring eagles in the skies above
Great Ocean Walk - 8 day itinerary
Your walk starts from the Apollo Bay foreshore. You will walk along the roads and beaches until you reach the Marengo caravan park where you will be on track away from the cars and trucks. While walking from Marengo along the clifftops you will have to climb over a fence (there is a Style) and
continue your walk along until you come down to the beach. Here you will continue on with sections the vary between on beach and on the cliffs until
you come to Shelly Beach. From here you will walk to the Elliot River mouth and take a fairly steep ascent up the stairs to your campsite at Elliot ridge
where you are surrounded by towering eucalypts. You will gradually climb up through dry eucalypt forest to Windy Saddle, and then down through beautiful rainforests and large swamp lands with grass trees and paperbarks. After a kilometre boardwalk at the end, the trail opens up to reveal the golden sands and turquoise waters of stunning Sealers Cove. You will need to cross a river, best at low tide, before reaching the campsite at the southern end of the beach.
The walk from Elliot ridge down to Blanket Bay is a day where you are inland for all but the last few hundred metres. You will be walking through towering Eucalypts. The vast majority are Mountain Ash. While walking along pay close attention to the sounds of nature as you will hear kookaburras, black cockatoos, potentially see tiger snakes and the occasional wallaby. As you come into Blanket Bay area you will see a lovely sheltered bay that at low tide is a fantastic place for a swim and a relax
From Blanket Bay you will walk an inland track towards Parker Inlet. At the beginning please make sure to clean your boots at the boot cleaning station. Today there is a very good chance of seeing Koalas as you walk past the Manna Gums. As you will get into Parker Inlet there are two creeks/rivers to cross. From here you will walk up to Parker hill then take the track around the cliff tops until you reach the Cape Otway Lighthouse. Koalas have been known to frequent the camping area at the Cape Otway Campsite.
To start todays walk you will go past the Lighthouse cemetery. From here you will walk along the top of sand dunes, cliff tops and the beach. At the beginning of your day there is a chance for a slight deviation to check our Rainbow Falls (only attempt on a low or ebbing tide). These falls are spring fed and have some stunning colours shining through jus be careful as it can be very slippery. From here you can either walk along the beach or head back to the easier inland route. Towards the end of Station beach you will need to head inland to follow the track down into Aire River.
Today’s walk will take in some of the most stunning views around Castle Cove. This is a well-known place where the Great Ocean Road comes within metres of the cliff edge. Here you may if you’re lucky be able to see Peregrine Falcons. From Castle Cove you will stay on the cliff tops until you head down to Johanna Beach. While walking along the beach you will need to cross the Johanna River, usually an easy wading option however make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a rogue wave along this beach. At the Johanna camp ground there are flushing toilets. Use these before heading up the hill to the walk in only campsite. Amazing views from this campsite!
Starting out today look back over the valleys carved out by the Johanna river. The stunning country makes for great Kangaroo spotting. AS you walk out of your campsite you will be on an old coach track that takes you towards Melanesia Beach. You will if you keep your eyes peeled see one of the only old beach huts left. This is private so please respect the owners privacy. Today is some of the hardest walking along the whole trail with lots of ups, downs and arounds. S you walk out of your campsite you will be on an old coach track that takes you towards Melanesia Beach. You will if you keep your eyes peeled see one of the only old beach huts left. This is private so please respect the owners privacy. Today is some of the hardest walking along the whole trail with lots of ups, downs and arounds. old coach track that takes you towards Melanesia Beach. You will if you keep your eyes peeled see one of the only old beach huts left. This is private so please respect the owners privacy. Today is some of the hardest walking along the whole trail with lots of ups, downs and arounds.
Today’s walk while short in terms of KM’s is one of the more challenging and a good level of fitness is required. You will walk past the aptly named Moonlight head which was named by none other then Mathew Flinders. After walking past the Gables depending on the tide you may be able to walk along Wreck beach which is very approtaly named as in the right conditions you may see the anchors of two wrecked ships. If it is a high or incoming tide you will have to take the high track. At the right time of year you may even see Southern Right Whales from Gables lookout.
What a day to finish an amazing walk by walking through some very unique areas of our coast. You will get to walk out of the bush and into the wetlands around Princetown before continuing onto cliffs that tower over the beaches and Bass Strait below. As you walk along the cliff tops you will be treated to stunning views finishing with a great lookout to take a well earned photo of Gog and Mogog before walking down to the 12 Apostles Visitors centre
Great Ocean Walk
This popular coastal town is the gateway to Victoria’s stunning Great Ocean Walk. Get ready for a walk of ever-changing landscapes, from giant rainforests and deserted wild beaches to rocky cliffs and coastal heathlands.
The secluded and postcard-worthy Parker Inlet on the Great Ocean Walk offers amazing geology and wildlife. Two lookouts along the way provide wonderful views into the estuary
and over the ocean.
This is the southern tip of Victoria’s western coast, where the Southern Ocean collides with Bass Strait. To get here you’ll need to walk through the magical towering forests of mountain ash that characterise the Great Otway National Park. Perched on towering sea cliffs, the Cape Otway Lightstation is Australia’s oldest and most important lighthouse.
After walking along the cliff tops through heathland and forests you’ll emerge onto the broad expanse of beautiful Johanna Beach – one of Australia’s best beaches for views and surf. The walk from here to Ryan’s Den is one of the wildest and most challenging sections of the Great Ocean Walk.
The challenging descent to Wreck Beach brings you to the anchors of the shipwrecks Marie Gabrielle (1870) and Fiji (1890), embedded in the reef and visible at low tide. These are a real highlight of the Great Ocean Walk. Watch out for large waves!
This famous collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park is the end of the wild and wonderful Great Ocean Walk. Descend the stone staircase of the Gibson Steps for unique views of Gog and Magog.
On the trail
The Great Ocean Walk is extremely varied, with soft sand, cliff tops, eucalyptus forest, river estuaries and tall rainforest. The trail is a real mix of walking. You will encounter vehicle tracks, sandy beaches, steep man made stairways, sand dunes, board walks, hard cliff tops and small river crossings. The track gets progressively more challenging as you move westwards, going from “mild to wild” as you get to the remote headlands near Ryan’s Den and Moonlight head.
- Our detailed guide to hiking the Great Ocean walk – contains all the essential information you need to know in advance
- 8 days worth of food for your adventure; breakfast, lunch and dinner each day – delivered straight to your home
- Our own range of lightweight, highly nutritious meals that are locally sourced, delicious and easy to carry & cook ( freeze dried and dehydrated)
- Our ‘state of the art’ Navigation app to guide you on the track; showing huts, campsites and all points of Interest along the way
- Delivery to your door* of our ‘Adventure in a box’ food parcel
- Our ‘Get fit for hiking’ e-guide for backpacking adventures
- 10% GST included
* Additional $35 delivery charge for locations in NT, WA and Northern Queensland
- Bookings for your campsites & overnight hiking permit – required
- Transfers or transport to trailhead at Apollo bay or return from 12 Apostles
- No camping or other equipment is included
Our essential information guides give you everything you need to know – and none of the information you don’t – to prepare well for one of these hikes. We cover off all transport and transfers with contacts, full equipment lists tailored to each walk, and safety factors to consider that can be unique to each track. We give you the information you need to know about water and where the best accommodation is before and after your trip, plus overviews of Aboriginal & European history and wildlife you can expect to encounter.
It saves countless hours of trawling through websites, guidebooks and forums to get to the essential information you need to know, so you don’t forget to factor in anything for your adventure.
Finding your way
Our unique RAW Travel walking app has been designed to help you navigate easily on the trail. Simply download your map with the link we send you and you’ll be able to follow your route with ease, showing your location in real time without any internet connection needed. The app has many great features; it shows you weather forecasts localised for each of your overnight stops, detailed information on each campsite/ hut and what facilities are available there so you don’t need to carry our trail guide. There are important reminders, safety information, videos and emergency contact information for your route. It also has a unique audio feature that can tell you about places and points of interest as you approach them on the trail.
Need to Know
This walk is generally moderate but has some more challenging walking as you progress towards the sea cliffs after Johanna beach, the mid-point of the walk. It is accessible to hikers of reasonable fitness who can carry an overnight pack and walk for upto 5-6 hours a day.
RAW Travel has a detailed guide specifically for multi-day walk training, you will receive this as part of your booking.
There are a number of outdoor gear hire companies in Melbourne who can help outfit you with equipment for the Great Ocean walk, full details and contacts are provided in our information guide.
If you are travelling to Victoria with the main purpose of hiking the Great Ocean Walk, we recommend you fly into Melbourne, get a bus to Apollo Bay, do the walk, get a taxi from the Twelve Apostles to Apollo Bay or the bus via Colac back to Melbourne and fly home from there.
Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia service Victoria, with the main airports located at Melbourne and Avalon (closer to Geelong then Melbourne).
If you are driving, you can leave your car at Apollo Bay while you are walking the track. No designated long-term parking facilities are provided. Advise police of your intent to leave a vehicle for an extended period of time beyond one day.
All this information & the relevant contacts are contained in the essential information guide you receive after booking , along with many other details such as recommended local accommodation.
Independent adventures place you at the centre of the experience, giving you the confidence to be a self-reliant walker on the trail. We take care of the research needed and give you all the essential information relating to the trip ( a task that seasoned walkers can tell you often takes many hours to get the correct information) so you can be thoroughly prepared and confident that you have everything you need for your adventure. We give you all the contacts & details to nearby transportation, accommodation and hire services, highlight any risks to be aware of and how to mitigate them.
The food prep is a major hassle of many hikers trips and we solve that for you. We prepare all the food that you need for your trip, all pre-measured and dehydrated / freeze dried to take away the weight but keep the freshness. Our meals are reviewed by Nutritionists to provide the right daily nutrition and energy for your demands of the walk. And our ingredients are prepared from the best local ingredients here on the Mornington Peninsula, cooked to order and freeze dried fresh – not sitting on a shelf for years at a time!
Once you arrive at the trail it’s all over to you the adventure begins! You are free and independent to create your own experience the way you want it. We provide you with an app to help you navigate in real time on the trail and give you the campsite locations and points of interest but you are completely autonomous & self – supporting on the walk. These trips are best suited to people who relish that sense of liberation and freedom that comes with being self-reliant and don’t need the back up of a leader or group travel. Independent Adventures are different from our other self – guided walking trips as there are no briefings, transfers or local support from RAW Travel staff. It’s just you and nature out on the trail!
The Great Ocean walk is generally considered safe for solo walkers but it can be quite isolated in sections and there are hazards to be aware of. The trail is well marked for its entire length and there are campsites to head to each evening, so there is no reason to deter solo walkers providing you follow local safety warnings.
There are hike-in campsites at seven locations along the walk including Elliott Ridge, Blanket Bay, Cape Otway, Aire River, Johanna Beach, Ryans Den and Devils Kitchen. Some of them are in spectacular locations such as Johanne beach and Devil’s Kitchen.
All hiking campsites must be pre-booked. Make sure you have a record of your booking on your phone (or carry printed copies).
Campsites range in quality, size and design – from lush grass to purpose built. Some sites have very hard ground, so you’ll need steel pegs (they don’t easily bend) and a mallet hammer.
There is no electricity, lighting or running water. Here’s what you’ll find:
- Rainwater tank (untreated water)
- Composting drop toilets (no toilet paper provided)
- Shelters for hikers (in some but not all campsites)
There is detailed information on campsites in our app which you receive a link to before your trip.
The security of carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) to activate in the event of a life-threatening emergency, you can hire them through companies based in Melbourne.
Our itineraries are based on staying in tents at designated campgrounds. All this information for hire gear & the relevant contacts are contained in the essential information guide you receive after booking, along with many other details such as recommended local accommodation.
If you prefer to walk this trip as a shorter itinerary with longer daily distances we can accommodate that as well. Below is an example of how a 6 day trip would look with daily distances:
Day 1: Apollo Bay to Blanket Bay. 22km
Day 2: Blanket Bay and camp at Aire River. Distance 21km
Day 3: Walk from Aire River and camp at Johanna Beach. Distance 14km
Day 4: Johanna Beach to Ryan’s Den 14.2km
Day 5: Ryan’s Den to Devil’s Kitchen. Distance 14.4km.
Day 6: Devil’s Kitchen to 12 Apostles 15.1km
Contact our staff for a quote on the above reduced itinerary.
Social and environmental
All our adventures are fully carbon offset so that you know your travel has minimal impacts. Hiking itself is a low impact activity but we offset the cost of all our office operations and food production as well, so you can be satisfied that you have chosen a form of travel that is both good for you and good for the planet. Each year we also plant trees on behalf of every customer who has travelled with us, aiming to build towards a carbon positive effect with our operations.
As a B-Corp a focus on local community is an important part of who we are. We are committed to buying locally and source our produce from growers here on the Mornington Peninsula. We care about people in our community and for every meal pack you buy with us we donate a meal to a homeless support charity, to spread some love and share good food with those who need it most.
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