If you are seeking an adventure and want to explore the grandeur of Australia’s coastline, the Great Ocean Walk is the place to go. This 200-kilometer-long trail provides hikers and environment enthusiasts with breathtaking views, rich fauna, and challenging terrain.
The Great Ocean Walk’s coastline scenery makes it a fantastic must-see trip. This classic trail in Victoria offers amazing panoramic views of the Southern Ocean, stunning coastal cliffs, and ancient rainforests. The Great Ocean Walk, with its various flora and fauna, provides a memorable experience for nature lovers and hikers alike.
In this article, we’ll look into the specifics of this incredible trail, find why it’s become one of Australia’s most popular outdoor activities, and provide some details on the GOW.
The Great Ocean Walk runs for approximately 104 kilometers along Victoria’s scenic coastline, beginning at Apollo Bay and terminating at the Twelve Apostles tourist center near Port Campbell. The twelve-section trail offers day treks and multi-day expeditions, allowing tourists to tailor their experience to their interests and fitness levels. There is a route ideal for everyone, whether you are a seasoned hiker or just beginning out.
The opportunity to see the beautiful Twelve Apostles is one of the Great Ocean Walk’s main delights. These limestone stacks, produced by the constant erosion of the shoreline, stand tall against the Southern Ocean’s pounding surf. It’s a sight that will leave you speechless at nature’s raw strength and beauty. Although the route officially terminates at the Twelve Apostles visitor center, many visitors choose to continue their journey and see other attractions such as Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, and the Bay of Martyrs.
Aside from the famed Twelve Apostles, the Great Ocean Walk is peppered with many other breathtaking monuments. Hikers will pass through gorgeous communities like Apollo Bay and Port Campbell, where they may rest, refuel, and learn about the local culture. You’ll pass by stunning cliffs, clean sandy beaches, calm estuaries, and spectacular waterfalls along the way. This region’s natural splendor is unrivaled, and each portion of the trail has its own distinct charm and surprises.
Aside from the stunning environment, the Great Ocean Walk offers several opportunities for wildlife encounters. Keep a look out for native Australian wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, and numerous bird species. If you’re lucky, you might even see a southern right whale or dolphins frolicking in the ocean. The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has worked hard to maintain and safeguard the local ecology, making it an excellent habitat for these endangered species.
The sensation of seclusion and immersion in nature that the Great Ocean Walk provides is one of the pleasures for many trekkers. Its few lodging alternatives along the path ensure that you can completely detach from the stresses of everyday life and reconnect with the peacefulness of the natural environment. The feeling of waking up to the sound of breaking waves and the aroma of eucalyptus in the air is absolutely unique, whether you opt to camp under the stars or stay in one of the surrounding towns.
It should be noted that the Great Ocean Walk necessitates some amount of fitness and preparedness. While some sections are reasonably easy and acceptable for all fitness levels, others need a moderate degree of fitness due to challenging ascents and descents. This excursion requires proper hiking boots, sufficient water, and appropriate gear. To navigate the path, it’s best to bring a map or a GPS device, as cell phone connection might be spotty in some parts.
Ways to Get There
If you’re coming from somewhere other than Australia, you’ll want to fly into and out of Melbourne. Remember that many countries (including Canada and the United States) will require an e-visa, which can be easily obtained online. Double-checking admission regulations before embarking on any international trip is usually a good idea.
The Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre, the specific ending point for the Great Ocean Walk, is a 21⁄2 to 3-hour drive from Melbourne. If you have a car, leave it there (to be returned at the end of your excursion) and take a shuttle to start your hike. The official website of the Great Ocean Walk includes several links to tour and transportation businesses.
Details on the Great Ocean Walk
When to Go: Weather and Season
Although the GOW is available all year, spring (late Sept to late Nov) and fall (early March to mid-May) are the most popular times to visit because storms and heat (and bushfires) are avoided. Spring is the best time to see wildflower blooming, and October has the most consistent weather; moderate temperatures (and fewer crowds) are also frequent throughout the summer. No matter when you go, be prepared for any weather—after all, Victoria’s coastline region is known for having “four seasons in a day.” Because of the wide range of weather, a waterproof tent and multiple layers of clothes are required regardless of the season.
Where to Stay: Camping and Other Accommodations
The majority of Great Ocean Walk visitors will stay in the hike-in campsites along the walk. Every campsite contains a three-walled shelter, pit toilets, and rainwater tanks. Keep in mind that no wild camping is permitted, and all campsites must be reserved in advance.
If you prefer a more civilized experience—or maybe you want to break up a week of camping with one night inside—you can find lodging in guesthouses, motels, and hostels along the road. If you opt to do so, remember that it will add length to your journey. On the other hand, multiple tour organizations can offer varying amounts of assistance, including shuttles to and from off-trail lodging.
Food and water
The Great Ocean Walk has almost no natural water sources. This will require some planning for people accustomed to mountain streams—you’ll want to load up each morning at the campsite and replenish at any spots you stop at throughout the day (tour operators also give water drops). Each campsite includes rainwater tanks dependent on rainfall. Still, it’s vital to remember that Parks Victoria does not guarantee water anywhere (you can place a call the park in time to receive up-to-date information on the status of each tank). Also, because the rainwater is untreated, you’ll need to clean it with a filter or purifier before drinking it.
A few eateries and small grocery stores are along the trail, most notably in Apollo Bay (the trail’s beginning), Cape Otway, Lavers Hill, Princetown, and Port Campbell (the trail’s end). However, food supplies are extremely limited, and we do not recommend relying too heavily on these stores and eateries (especially those in the midst of the path). Eight days of food is a lot to carry, so many hikers will plan resupplies along the way, whether with the help of a tour operator or on their own (it’s vital always to use sealed containers to keep animals out of your stockpile).
Map and Navigation
The Great Ocean Walk is well-marked with signposts throughout the way, although a detailed map is still recommended. Both the GOW Information Guide & Official Map (1:25,000) and the GOW Official Walker’s Maps Booklet will be helpful. If you decide to use your phone for navigation (we recommend Hiking Project, Gaia, and Topo Maps), remember that mobile phone coverage is inconsistent along the trail. An international phone is preferable because it can search for any provider; however, Telstra has the strongest signal if you must choose a local carrier. Regardless of your coverage, you should download your maps to your phone before you go.
Most hikers will not even attempt swimming along the Great Ocean Walk because the ocean is uninviting, and the surf is dangerous, with powerful currents and rips. If a salt-water dip sounds attractive, consider the following advice from the official website of Great Ocean Walks: Beaches around the Great Ocean Walk are frequently remote, with no or limited mobile phone service or access to rescue vehicles. You could die if you swim on unpatrolled beaches. In other words, save your ocean dips for somewhere else.
The Great Ocean Walk is an easy-to-moderate hike. The path is easy to follow and nicely graded (just a few portions with very steep slopes), and plenty of campgrounds to maintain your daily mileage between 6 and 9.5 miles. That so, don’t underestimate the strain that eight days of hiking can place on your body, especially if you’ve never done it before. It also helps that the trail’s position allows you to easily prearrange replenishment sites, which means you don’t have to carry the weight of a week’s worth of food on your back.
There’s a (very small) possibility you’ll spot a snake if you hike the Great Ocean Walk during the summer. The three primary snake species in this region of Australia are the White-Lipped Snake (not particularly hazardous), the Lowland Copperhead (somewhat more dangerous), and the Tiger Snake (extremely dangerous). It’s crucial to remember that snakes dislike people, so if you try to avoid them, they’ll try to avoid you. If you are bitten, the most vital thing you can do is leave immediately and seek professional care right away (there are several theories on managing venom, but I am not qualified to say which is the most effective). However, you should not avoid doing the Great Ocean Walk because you are afraid of snakes. Snake bites on the trail are rare, and avoiding snakes can go a long way toward avoiding harm.
During dry and hot weather, the bluffs along the Great Ocean Walk are at significant risk of conflagration. Before you start your hike, it is recommended that you stop by the visitor center to obtain an update on current conditions and learn what to do if you encounter a fire. There are helpful apps for getting updates on fires or other problems along the way, but remember that you’ll need mobile coverage (which was inconsistent) to receive this information. Campfires are not permitted at any of the Great Ocean Walk’s hike-in campsites (some car-camping spots allow them, but you must supply your firewood).
When traveling beaches, hikers must be cautious of tides and swell, especially at Wreck Beach (which is impassable at high tide). The Bureau of Meteorology’s marine portal for the Australian Government shows tide times for Port Campbell (near the Twelve Apostles) and Apollo Bay. Still, precise beach information requires some guesswork (there is a two-hour tide difference between Apollo Bay and the Twelve Apostles). It is recommended to use WillyWeather because it is easier to use because you can look up individual beaches for tide and swell information. Please remember that there are numerous beaches called “Wreck Beach,” so choose the one in Victoria.
Finally, the Great Ocean Walk is a must-see site that highlights the greatest of Australia’s coastal vistas. It provides a one-of-a-kind experience for nature lovers and adventurers, with its breathtaking landscapes, unique flora and wildlife, and chances for cultural and historical discovery. This legendary trail will leave you with lifelong memories and a profound appreciation for the majesty of our natural world, whether you are looking for an exciting multi-day hike or a relaxed day trip. So put on your hiking boots, gather your belongings, and prepare for an incredible excursion along the Great Ocean Walk.
It is advised to study well in advance the educational instructions that you will be given at least six weeks before the start date of your walk. Self-guided tours need to meet with your fellow walkers before the walk so that you are all familiar with the route, terrain, emergency sites, and other specifics. It is recommended to undergo some for a few weeks to stay fit, healthy and have enough rest.
Remember that over packing might make your luggage heavy, so pick a comfortable backpack for walking and trekking. Each day, all non-essential walking items can be brought separately to the end of your journey.