Before you get started

What can you expect from this walk?

Walk image

Self guided inn-to-inn

Highlights:

  • Self guided 8 day itinerary (includes 6 days walking)
  • Long distances on fairly easy terrain
  • Walk beside the picturesque Lower Glenelg River
  • Stroll along remote sandy beaches where you’re unlikely to see anyone else
  • Hike the stunning Three Capes section of the Great South West Walk
  • Lots of wildlife including kangaroos, echidnas, koalas, emus & seals
  • You can shorten the walking sections & incorporate rest days into the itinerary

Overview:

Auswalk’s Great South West Walk is an INN-to-INN accommodated walking holiday. You walk from one delightful accommodation to the next. We move your luggage for you while you are out walking. This holiday is Self-Guided. Note that we also offer a group guided trip on a similar itinerary.

This has got to be Victoria’s best kept secret – a 250km continuous loop track that includes dramatic coastlines, the joy of walking beside a meandering river and remote bushland full of wildlife, bird and native flowers. This walk is promoted as a “Symphony in Four Movements” which are depicted beautifully in this magnificent video of the walk.

Walk image

More on what you'll see

The first stage is the Cobboboonee Forest containing the headwaters of the Surry and Fitzroy Rivers. Expect to see kangaroos bounding across the track and be delighted by the shrieks of rare red-tailed black cockatoos.

Next comes the peaceful Glenelg River, a haven for walkers, fishermen and canoeists. The river widens as it nears the coast and then carves its way through a spectacular limestone gorge.

Onto the pristine sandy beaches and rocky outcrops of Discovery Bay Coastal Park and freshwater lakes that offer great swimming. Up and over Mt Richmond, a small peak boasting about 450 different species of plants.

The grand finale is the Three Capes and Bays section where the track hugs the cliff top all the way. These rugged, wave-bashed headlands are perfect for whale spotting in season and the colony of Australian fur seals at Cape Bridgewater is there year-round. The coast offers blow holes, a “Petrified Forest” and an “Enchanted Walk” where vines of bower spinach are decoratively draped over limestone boulders and twisted moonah trees.

This holiday only covers the main highlights of this tack. The Great South West Walk is 250km in total. If you would like to walk the entire track have a look at our 13 day self guided holiday.

Let's dive into

More Details

Location

This trip starts and finishes in Portland. It’s a 5 hour drive from Melbourne. If you prefer, you can fly to Portland from either Melbourne or Adelaide. There are also public transport services from Melbourne – contact us for more details.

Grading

70% easy, 20% moderate and 10% more challenging. 20-25km (5.5-7 hours) walking each day. Long distances on easy terrain with almost no hills. If you choose to do the entire track, there are a few beach sections that can be quite challenging at high tide.

For more detailed information including daily walk distances and times please download our Fact Sheet below.

Accommodation

B&Bs and cottages. Note that, due to the remoteness of the area, there are only three suitable accommodation places en route – Portland, Nelson and Bridgewater Bay. We will arrange for you to be transported to/from the next section of track as required. Also, note that there are shared bathrooms in Nelson, but we’re sure you’ll love the place – it’s delightful, charming & historic.

What’s included

7 nights accommodation, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 3 dinners, luggage transfers, vehicle transfers required for the itinerary,National Park fees, insulated lunch bag, maps, map case & info pack.

What’s not included

Alcohol, meals not listed in itinerary, drinks with meals (except tea/coffee and juice with breakfast).

The best time to go

This walk can be done any time of the year except for the winter months of June, July and August. September to April is the pick of the year for walking. Sea breezes usually keep the temperatures comfortable in summer although there can be period of quite hot weather, especially during February.

Warning about tide times – choose your start date carefully!

This walking holiday includes some sections of beach walking, so you need to take into account the tide times when choosing a starting date. 0.7 metres is the maximum tide height you would want. The most likely times for problems to arise are:

Day 4 (only the morning, after that you leave the beach on a track)
Day 6 (the middle of the day will cause the greatest problem)

Check the tide charts online: Go to the Bureau of Meteorology and select your location as Portland and go from there. We can assist in the office if you are having trouble understanding the charts.

Regional food and wine

The coast is noted for its fabulous fresh fish and the area produces a lot of dairy products.

The Itinerary

Let's Review

Day 1

Starts in Portland any time after 2pm. No walking scheduled for today, but best to allow some time to explore the town area and foreshore.

Accommodation: Portland

Day 2

Today you’ll hike the picturesque Glenelg River section of the Great South West Walk, hiking from Moleside Creek to Sapling Creek.

Accommodation: Nelson

Day 3

A real highlight today as you progress through the Glenelg River Gorge and continue to follow the river all the way into the settlement of Nelson.

Accommodation: Nelson

Day 4

To the beach today. You’ll spend the morning following the sandy beach of Discovery Bay. For the afternoon, the track heads inland parallel to the coast, to emerge at a huge freshwater lake.

Accommodation: Nelson

Day 5

Begin the Three Capes Section of track today. Highlights include the Blowholes, the Petrified Forest and a seal colony. The track hugs the cliff the entire way and photo opportunities abound. Walk in to your accommodation at Bridgewater Bay.

Accommodation: Bridgewater Bay

Day 6

From Bridgewater Bay the route continues via the beach then cliff top track to Cape Nelson Lighthouse. There’s a cafe here to reward yourself at the end of the hike.

Accommodation: Bridgewater Bay

Day 7

The finale continues from Cape Nelson all the way into Portland. Highlights include Yellow Rock, Cape Sir William Grant, an endangered Australasian gannet colony, and the Portland Battery. Back to the B&B in Portland where you can brag about your achievements!

Accommodation: Portland

Day 8

Finish after breakfast.

Enjoy a Flawless Experience

Traveller’s Tales

Anne Aldrich – November 2016, Great South West Walk Highlights

Accommodation and food were excellent. Great hosts.
Highly recommend this trip.
It is great to get away from the pressures of daily life and get outdoors – and then be treated with luxury at the end of the day.

Leonie Savige – November 2016, Great South West Walk Highlights

My sister-in-law and I completed the Auswalk 8 day self-guided Great South West Walk on Tuesday. Tucked away on the Victorian/SA coastal border, this beautiful walk is like a well-kept secret. Spectacular cliffs, quiet forest, deserted beaches, clear lakes, abundant wildlife and stately river. Photos advertising this walk do not represent a rare highlight or two. The scenery constantly changes and is consistently magnificent. Auswalk are friendly to deal with and very well organized. We could tell there are years of experience behind the planning of our walk. Our comfortable accommodations at Portland, Nelson and Bridgewater Bay each had their own unique charm. The owners have longstanding relationships with Auswalk and that knowledge and experience shows. The meals throughout were great. When you are walking you especially look forward to what is in that insulated lunch-bag! The included breakfasts and dinners were delicious and generous. Happy memories of perfectly roasted chicken, delicious lasagna, sugary topped sticky-date-pudding,Thai chicken wrap, perfectly poached eggs…..I love good food and this food did not disappoint. The walk notes and kit were excellent. This is a great way of having a comfortable hiking holiday with someone else doing the planning. You really do unwind. Life becomes simple. Rest, Eat, Walk (with beautiful scenery all around you), Rest, Eat, Sleep. All the hard stuff has been done by Auswalk. Many thanks to Brett, Tash, Maja, Amy, Angela and Marie at Auswalk for a wonderful experience.

Carol Meuleman – October 2016, Great South West Walk

I have just returned from the 8 day Great South West Walk.
Scenery was fantastic. We saw kangaroos, emus, echidnas, a frill necked lizard and gannets.
I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Nature does that to you!

Great South West Walk Highlights

Select a departure

$ 1995 per person twin/double share
$ 375 Single Supplement (private room)

Recommend this walk to a friend

Join our walking community

It looks like you're enjoying our website.
Sign up to receive our latest news, offers, advice and more via email!

You have Successfully Subscribed!