The Great Ocean Walk is one of Auswalk’s most popular self-guided walking holidays. You will traverse some of Australia’s most dramatic coastline from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles through the Great Otway National Park. Breathtaking and deserted coastal landscapes, ancient Gondwana forests of Antarctic beech, Manna Gum and other eucalypts, shady wooded glades and heathland plateaus are the backdrop to a long distance walking track that will inspire, challenge and reward you.
There are ample opportunities to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. The kinds of animals you might spot range from kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and koalas to black cockatoos, sea eagles, wedge-tailed eagles, whales and dolphins.
There are plenty of days when the ocean’s azure sparkle looks spectacularly inviting, but when you witness the awesome power of the Southern Ocean’s eternal tidal assault, you’ll see why this coastline is known as the Shipwreck Coast. The combination of huge swells sweeping in from the Southern Ocean and sheer, towering cliff faces with limited land access or shelter proved treacherous to hundreds of ships during the area’s rich maritime heritage. You get to take a guided tour of the Cape Otway Lighthouse which helped ships bound for Port Phillip navigate through the narrow entrance to Bass Strait.
The walking terrain is varied following cliff tops, wide forest tracks, rough trails, beach traverses including Wreck Beach, shaded forest canopy It’s mostly relatively easy going, flat stretches, some steady, challenging climbs and long downhill descents.
We’ve mapped a point-to-point walk to maximize the highlights, staying in different accommodation on the route. On some days you might walk in and out from your accommodation, on others there is a short road transfer to/and from each day’s walking. This means more variety, less backtracking and time spent in a vehicle and more time to relax at the end of the day enjoying the accommodation we’ve chosen for you. You’ll walk an average of 15-16 km each day, with some optional side walks for those wanting to extend themselves. We include accommodation and most meals so you’ll know each day ends in a comfortable bed and the best food and wine available, grown and sourced locally wherever possible. Each day we move your luggage ahead for you to the next accommodation. All you need to carry is a daypack with what you need for the day.
We provide comprehensive walk notes for you. It’s easy to find the way on this track but with our notes you’ll also receive lots of information to help you better appreciate the flora, fauna, history and geology you’re experiencing along the route. With over 20 years experience operating in the area, our trip notes are current and detailed, but nature is constantly evolving, so we welcome feedback from observant walkers!
You don’t have to arrive early in the morning on your first day. Arriving anytime from mid afternoon, we include accommodation for you in Apollo Bay the night prior to your walk so that you can start the walking feeling refreshed, having had a great breakfast and a picnic lunch in your day pack, all ready to go.
We look after you at the end of the walk too by including a final night’s accommodation in Port Campbell. This means you can go and celebrate your achievement without having to worry about travelling back to Melbourne in the evening.
Starts in Apollo Bay, a sea-side town about 3 hours SW of Melbourne. There are daily train/coach services from Melbourne. Finishes with a transfer back to your car in Apollo Bay or to Camperdown for public transport connections back to Melbourne.
45% easy, 35% moderate, 20% more challenging. 15-21km (5-6.5 hours) walking each day. Bush tracks, short stretches of sandy beach, forests, undulating terrain and some long days.
For more detailed information including daily walk distances and times please download our Fact Sheet below.
B&Bs, an award winning eco lodge and comfortable motel
8 day itinerary: 7 nights accommodation, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, entry to Cape Otway lightstation, luggage transfers, vehicle transfers required for the itinerary, National Park fees, insulated lunch bag, maps, map case & info pack.
Alcohol, meals not listed in itinerary, drinks with meals (except tea/coffee and juice with breakfast).
December through February is usually warm to hot with excellent swimming weather. Book well in advance for January due to the summer school holidays.
March through May is usually cooler, with long sunny days, perfect for walking. The winter months (June to August) are cool and sometimes stormy, providing exhilarating walking along the beaches. In winter the hills are covered with pink heath, Victoria’s floral emblem. September and November are usually cool to warm and this is when most of the colourful wildflowers appear.
See the Bureau of Meteorology’s information about average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.
The area is noted for Great Ocean Road / Geelong wines, freshly caught seafood and fresh berries
Starts in Apollo Bay, on the Great Ocean Road, any time after 2pm. Optional afternoon walk to Marriners Lookout for panoramic views over the ocean and Apollo Bay village.
Accommodation: Apollo Bay
Leave the tourists behind as you walk along the coast away from Apollo Bay. The track hugs the coast at first before heading inland through tall eucalypt forest and patches of rainforest. This is an excellent day in which to spot black wallabies along the trail.
The walking finishes at delightful Blanket Bay – an ideal place for a swim.
Accommodation: Cape Otway
From Blanket Bay the track contours through coastal forests and along the cliff tops to Parker Inlet – a picture-postcard setting and definitely one of our favourite places! An optional side-trip to Crayfish Bay is also a highlight.
The track continues through Manna gum forests that are home to large numbers of koalas, eventually emerging at Cape Otway Lightstation. The afternoon is free to explore the lighthouse, museum and displays or spend time at the eco lodge.
Accommodation: Cape Otway
On to Station Beach and an optional short trek to pretty Rainbow Falls where a spring cascades down to the rocky coastal platforms below. The track then continues through the wind sculpted sand dunes and along the cliff tops to the Aire River estuary and wetlands. Stunning coastal scenery awaits you on the route to Castle Cove.
Accommodation: Castle Cove / Aire Valley
Today’s section has some of the most spectacular coastal views of the entire track. It’s also a great day for wildflowers with colourful heathlands and numerous grass trees. In the winter months there are native orchids and masses of pink heath – Victoria’s floral emblem. Another highlight is the long, white, sandy expanse of Johanna Beach.
Accommodation: Castle Cove / Aire Valley
Milanesia Beach is one of those secret beaches not many people get to and what a special place it is! From here the track continues along the cliff tops and you can see all the way back to Cape Otway lighthouse. High sea cliffs, breathtaking views and coastal forests lead you to Moonlight Head.
Accommodation: Princetown area
The first highlight today is The Gables Lookout, perched on one of the highest sea cliffs in mainland Australia. This is a superb spot for whale watching between June and September. Continue through a grove of casuarinas to Wreck Beach where the remains of two shipwrecks can be inspected.
Today’s walk finishes at the impressive 12 Apostles, a group of limestone sea stacks that are constantly changing.
Accommodation: Port Campbell
After breakfast you will be transported back to Apollo Bay (if you arrived by car) or to Camperdown for public transport connections.
The trip was very well organized & went very smoothly.
Scotty, our driver was very personable & knowledgeable and it was nice to see his smiling face at the trailhead whenever he was scheduled to pick us up or drop us off.
Staying at Aire Valley Guesthouse and at Southern Anchorage was a treat and the walk overall was incredible.
The variety, the scenery, the wildlife, and the tips in the guide were all excellent.
Well done Auswalks. You delivered everything you promised.
Scott was fantastic and extremely flexible and accommodating with pickup times. Give him a pat on the back!!
Accommodation at all places was exceptional. At the Ecolodge we shared the dinner table with Americans and Europeans (lots of fun) and had a lovely comfortable stay.
The food was top shelf. Equally so with Susie at Aire Valley. Southern Anchorage and Portside Motel very attentive also.
Josie gave us a lift down the street to dinner so we didn’t get wet! Your people seem very happy with your company and how you treat them.
Showed in the way we were treated. Well done!!
All the peopke with Aus Walk were fantastic.
Friendly, happy and helpful. Everything went according to plan.
Drop offs pick ups , luggage transfers etc.
I really enjoyed the variety of landscapes that we encountered along the way.
The scenery was magnificent . I will thoroughly recommend your Company to all my friends. Thanks.
I think the walk was fantastic.
Everything was seamless – notes were accurate and thorough; transport was perfect – always on time and super nice obliging people; accommodation ranged from the normal but completely fine motel rooms to gorgeous boutique places like the Ecolodge and Aire Valley Guesthouse and Southern Anchorage; food was delicious and way way more than enough for us although others might like to eat that much; hosts were friendly and super genial; talk at Ecolodge informative and a great bonus; the walk itself beyond superlatives and the weather was pretty damn perfect except for gale force winds and torrential rain all of day 1.
We are already planning our next walk with you guys. Thanks for everything.