To find a walk that gives you the wow like the Great Ocean Walk (GOW) does is such a gem. This incredible walk takes you through some varied and dramatic scenery. This 105km trek in Victoria, Australia, takes you through two national Parks, Great Otway and Port Campbell, tall forests, rain forests, wetlands, secluded beaches with dramatic history, spectacular cliff sides and coastal heath-land. I can almost guarantee you will see some native animals and birds, including the gorgeous koalas, black wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos. If you are fortunate enough you will see echidnas and red necked wallabies. Do keep your eyes peeled for the Wedged-tailed Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Crimson Rosella’s, King Parrots and much more. I have heard you can be really lucky to even see some Little Fairy Penguins. If that doesn’t inspire you enough the cliffs with the dramatic rugged coast with its treacherous history of shipwreck should. The treat at the end this incredible walk is when you walk up over the rise and see ahead the iconic 12 Apostles! (Only 7 left).
The GOW officially opened back in January 2006. So it is a relative young walk, though the history of the area you walk is not so young. This tail takes you into the Gadabanuds people’s traditional land. For thousands of years this place is a place for their ceremonies, hunting and gathering and feasting. It is such a rich area for food with great diversity in plant and animal life. Parks Victoria have being working closely with the Gadabanuds people in the preservation and restoration of the area and significant sites. This is very notable as you walk along the well marked track and find sections are Boardwalked for these reasons.
More history along the way you will find will be the many shipwrecks that have happened over the years. You will discover that every beach and headland along this section has been affected by a shipwreck, massacre, drownings and rescues. This becomes even more evident when you step onto Wreck beach and see the anchors still there. You also have the Cape Otway Lighthouse and its history to explore. So as you can see this is not just a walk this is a walk through some phenomenal history.
There are many ways you can do this walk. It is set up for a step on step off and is linked to the Famous Great Ocean Road. There are campsites along the way for those who would like to do the camping option, you can also organise to stay in B&B’s and even there are companies that will organise everything for you, including pick up and drop off on the trail, accommodation, food, maps, everything you just show up and walk. You can just do sections of the trail if you are not wanting to do the whole walk or even do a day walk as well. The walk can be done end to end comfortably in six days but there is no reason why you can’t take longer.
Our itinerary- this is what we walked and is only a suggestion and approx km’s. We also stayed in various B&B’s.
- Day 1. Apollo Bay – Blanket Bay. 24km’s.
- Day 2. Blanket Bay – Cape Otway Light Station. 10.5km’s. Time spent exploring the Cape Otway Lighthouse and surrounds. Well worth the time.
- Day 3. Cape Otway – Castle Cove. 15.6km’s. Add an extra 1.6km’s if you choose to walk down to the Rainbow Falls.
- Day 4. Castle Cove – Milanesia Gate. 16km’s.
- Day 5. Milanesia Gate – The Gables. 16kms.
- Day 6. The Gables – The Twelve Apostles. 19km’s.
Camping: You are only allowed to camp in designated camping areas and you must register to camp and there are fees that apply. This is to ensure the minimal impact on the environment. To register with Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or go to www.greatoceanwalk.com.au and obtain an overnight application campsite form and guidelines. They do request that you register at least two weeks in advance. All hikers must walk in an east to west direction and only stay for one night in each campsite, unless otherwise do being approved by Parks Victoria. You must carry all your own food and water. There are No shops. This is however water tanks at the campsites but do be aware this is untreated water so have your provisions for treatment. Only light fires in the designated fire pits and carry all your rubbish out.
Campsites are as follows –
- Elliot Ridge campsite – 9.8km’s
- Blanket Bay campsite – 12km’s
- Cape Otway campsite –10.5 km’s
- Aire River campsite – 9.6 km’s
- Johanna Beach campsite – 13.8 km’s
- Ryans Den campsite – 13.8 km’s
- Devils Kitchen campsite – 12.8km’s
- Gibson Steps -14.8km’s.
Maps. This can be ordered from Parks Victoria. www.parkweb.vic.gov.au
For more information on this hike check out
- Great Ocean Walk www.greatoceanwalk.com.au
- Parks Victoria www.parkweb.vic.gov.au
- Walk 91 www.walk91.com.au
- Information centre Apollo Bay 1300 689 297