The Great Ocean Road region attracts literally millions of visitors every year, but only a small percentage of those people undertake the Great Ocean Walk, one of the most iconic long-distance walks in Australia. In some ways it’s a pity that so many miss the important part of the experience. People in the know come from all over the world to hike and enjoy the incredible views of this remote, rugged coastline, journey through the natural beauty of the region, and witness Australian wildlife in its natural habitats.

You will begin your adventure in the quaint seaside village of Apollo Bay. From there you will walk along a coastline rich in history and learn about why so many anchors litter the beaches to this day. Along your 104km trek, you will visit picturesque waterfalls, hidden coves, and the lush forest paths of the Great Otway National Park, all the way to the grand Twelve Apostles. You will be able to dip your toes in the beautiful azure waters and take a rest at the top of massive cliffs. If you keep your eyes peeled you will be able to spot kangaroos munching in the pastures, black swamp wallabies hopping around, reptiles skittering across the path, or even a koala taking a nap high in a tree. You may also hear the song of the Kookaburra or be able to sneak a peek at the elusive echidna.

Great Ocean Walk

Self-guided

Walk the entire 104km Great Ocean Walk track along dramatic coastlines from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles.

Self-guided 8 Days From $2795 Moderate What's Included

Great Ocean Walk

BACK
What's Included
  • 8 day pack free walking holiday
  • Great Ocean walk end to end & return transfer to Apollo Bay.
  • 7 nights’ accommodation with ensuites
  • Cooked breakfasts, two-course dinners and substantial Walkers Lunches
  • We shift you along the track from accommodation to accommodation to limit time in a vehicle, creating much more time to relax and enjoy the region
  • Bag transfers and 24/7 support with our Auswalk’s driver and local partner network on the ground
  • National Park admission
  • Auswalk guide pack including notes, maps, map case, insulated lunch bag and container

Private: Great Ocean Walk Highlights

Self-guided

Experience all the highlights of the iconic track from Cape Otway Lighthouse to 12 Apostles. Walk along remote Wreck & Johanna Beaches, plus a private tour of Loch Ard Gorge.

Self-guided 5 Days From $1955 Easy to Moderate What's Included

Private: Great Ocean Walk Highlights

BACK
What's Included
  • Five day pack free walking holiday
  • The highlights of the Great Ocean Walk
  • Four nights’ accommodation with ensuites
  • Daily breakfasts, two-course a la carte dinners (most nights) and substantial walkers lunches
  • Luggage transport and vehicle transfers
  • We shift you along the track from accommodation to accommodation to limit time in a vehicle, creating much more time to relax and enjoy the region
  • National Park admission
  • Enjoy worry-free navigation with Auswalk’s comprehensive track notes, maps, map case, insulated lunch bag & info pack
  • 24/7 support from Auswalk’s transfer company and representatives on the ground

Great Ocean Walk Long Weekend

Group-guided

Stunning views as you progress along the track. Castle Cove, the Gables, Wreck & Station Beaches. Enormous limestone cliffs and sea stacks.

Group-guided 4 Days From $1695 Easy to Moderate What's Included

Great Ocean Walk Long Weekend

BACK
What's Included
  • Genuine all inclusive pack free walking holiday
  • 2 engaging, knowledgeable and experienced guides
  • 3 nights’ comfortable accommodation
  • We shift you along the track from accommodation to accommodation to limit time in a vehicle, creating more time to relax and enjoy the region
  • Daily meals including cooked breakfasts, walkers lunches, two course dinners and track snacks
  • All transport from Melbourne, including luggage transport
  • Tour of lighthouse, indigenous and shipwreck historian talks and walks
  • National park admission
  • Auswalk guide pack including notes, maps, map case & insulated lunch bag

Great Ocean Walk

Group-guided

Walk from end to end along dramatic coastlines, from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles. Traverse massive sea cliffs, giant Mountain Ash forest & remarkable pristine beaches.

Group-guided 6 Days From $2395 Moderate What's Included

Great Ocean Walk

BACK
What's Included
  • Genuine all inclusive pack free Great Ocean Walk walking holiday
  • Two engaging, knowledgeable and experienced guides
  • Five nights’ comfortable ensuite accommodation
  • We shift you along the track from accommodation to accommodation to limit time in a vehicle, creating more time to relax and enjoy the region
  • Daily meals including cooked breakfasts, walkers lunches, two-course dinners and track snacks
  • Luggage transport
  • Cameo local historians and indigenous guides/talks
  • Tour of lighthouse
  • National park admission
  • Auswalk guide pack including notes, maps & lunch bag

OVERVIEW

Auswalk will provide you with all the comforts you need to have a splendid walk and relaxing experience. You can choose either a self-guided or group-guided walking holiday. You will stay in our favourite accommodations, taste the delicious fresh produce of the region. You get to traverse the trails with nothing more than a light day pack, and we will take care of the rest.

Auswalk provides two self-guided and two guided walking holidays for your pleasure. Effectively Auswalk provides a lot more as they can customize any of their walks to suit, adding more or taking away days to suit each walker’s specialised needs.

READ MORE

history

For thousands of years, the original inhabitants of this land that now features the Great Ocean Walk were the Gadubanud Aboriginal tribe. The plateaus and coastlines were their home long before European settlers arrived. It’s believed that the Gadubanud tribe lived an abundant life here, with the rich environment providing plenty of food and shelter. There has been evidence found that the Gadabanuds hunted not only on land but with bark canoes along the rivers, lakes, estuaries, and even along the coastlines.

It wasn’t until 1846 that the Gadubanud were no longer able to avoid the incoming European settlers. Two previous attempts had been made by the Europeans to penetrate the thick rainforest, and finally, they succeeded at making contact with the tribe. Later that same year, a European surveying team was sent into the rainforest and subsequently were murdered by the Gadubanud tribe, although no reason is known as to why this happened.

In August 1846, a retaliatory expedition was sent from Melbourne to avenge the European settlers who had been murdered; joining them was another Aboriginal tribe, the Gunditjmara. Seven people from the Gadubanud tribe were killed, now known as the Blanket Bay Massacre. Today, the Gunditjmara people are the traditional custodians of these lands, and some can still trace their ancestry back to the original Gadubanuds.

In 1974, the idea of the Great Ocean Walk was created with the hope of forming a unique coastal experience for travellers and as a way to protect the habitat that it passed through. It wasn’t until 1994 that the local community came together, over a few bottles of port, to develop the Great Ocean Walk into a feasible concept. Over the next 20 years, the community worked together with environmental agencies and the Australian government to build this walk. Finally, in 2006, the idea came to fruition when Parks Victoria launched the Great Ocean Walk which is now 104km long after a few extensions since it was opened to the public.

Shipwreck Coast Background
Early Explorer Matthew Flinders once said, “I have seldom seen a more fearful section of coastline.” He was referring to Shipwreck Coast along the Great Ocean Walk. There are few places in the world where you will be able to find as many shipwrecks as along this coastline.

The ‘Eye of the Needle’ is the reason behind this deadly coastline, a narrow gap between Cape Otway and King Island. Many ships dared to risk threading this needle after spending long months upon the open ocean. It appears wide enough, at 80km wide, but even wizened sailors forgot or ignored that the mighty force of the Southern Ocean is forced through this passage, causing massive swells onto a continental shelf that is quite shallow. It was because of this that Cape Otway Lightstation was commissioned.

Johanna, Milanesia, Wreck Beach, and Loch Ard Gorge are all named after famous wrecks, and you can still see evidence of the wrecks on the beaches today. Evidence includes anchors either buried in the sand or memorialised in rock, but occasionally you will catch a glimpse of something more.

Surf Coast Background
The Great Ocean Walk is naturally linked to the Surf Coast region, a region that offers more than just beautiful landscapes; the landscape itself provides a platform for the magnificent and daring sport of surfing. There are dozens of beaches along the Great Ocean Road known as some of the best in Australia where elite surfers come to test their skills.

Bells Beach is world-renowned for its two main breaks, the Bowl and Rincon. Every Easter, at Bells Beach, the Rip Curl Pro is held where only the best of the best come to compete. Another major surf spot, which can be seen along your walking holiday, is Johanna Beach. Johanna Beach has a huge beach break which contribute to the steeply sloping ocean floor as well as the many reefs around Castle Cove. On rare occasions on really big swells you’ll find big wave surfers at Port Campbell, at the end of the walk, surfing swells up to 10 metres.

The surf coast is a playground for surfers, from beginner to pro, so keep an eye out for those colourful boards bopping along the waves.

Flora & Fauna

One would never assume that a landscape so close to the shore would have rich and diverse wildlife, but if you are willing to look carefully, then you will certainly find a magnificent habitat on both land and sea.

Once you start your walking holiday along the Great Ocean Walk, you will begin to see how diverse the habitat truly is. There are vast grasslands, thick wetlands, and of course the beaches! Numerous species of trees call the rainforest here their home. To name just a few; the famous eucalyptus the Mountain Ash the tallest flowering plant in the world, the scaly myrtle beech, and of course the tall Australian blackwoods. Vivid colours are on display in the Anglesea Heath. Among the wildflowers, you will find the blue coloured smoke bush, the red and yellow bush peas, and the reddish pink of the common heath. Furthermore, with 79 different species of orchid species present, this makes the Great Ocean Walk one of the most orchid-rich sites in all of Australia.

Australia is famous for its kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. All of these adorable animals can be found along the Great Ocean Walk; it would be surprising if you didn’t see one! Mobs of kangaroos will be found munching on grass in pastures, and make sure to keep an eye out to see if they have a special passenger in their pouch! You will discover koalas usually high in the trees taking a nap, and those black swamp wallabies will regularly be hopping away before you can get your camera out.

Along the trail, you will see little scratch marks where the dirt has been dug up; this is the sign of the echidnas searching for its favourite snack, ants! Usually, you will find them after dusk, but if it is not too hot, then you catch them on the trail. Approach them carefully because at the first sign of danger they will curl up in a spiky ball.

Reptiles and amphibians also take advantage of the surrounding wetlands. The tiger snake is a common site to see with its black body with bright yellow stripes. If you happen to see one, stay still. They are not aggressive and will simply slither off unless provoked. The croaking of the pobblebonk frog, the Victorian smooth froglet, and the little brown tree frog will fill the air, and you may even see one if you look closely.

The birds that inhabit the Great Ocean Walk are extremely diverse! You may catch a glimpse of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, hear the song of the Kookaburra (which sounds like laughter), and if you venture out at sunset near the Twelve Apostles, then you might be able to see some little penguins waddling along.

As the seasons change, some wildlife will migrate to or through the area. If you are willing to brave the winter, then you may be able to catch a glimpse of the whales passing through the area. Also, in April and October, thousands of mutton birds will nest on Muttonbird Island. You can observe them from unique viewing platforms nearby.

Local Cuisine

The majority of your meals will be located at your lovely accommodations during your walking holiday; we have planned some scrumptious meals for you that will have your palate singing! There will be the opportunity to try the local cuisine in Apollo Bay at the beginning and end of your holiday. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Casalingo

Explore a well-kept secret local Italian restaurant that doesn’t scream ‘tourist.’ Hidden down a side street, Casalingo is a quiet yet sleek restaurant that produces the best hand rolled gourmet pasta and pizzas in town!

Sandy Feet Café

Do you want something extra healthy and delicious to kick off your walking holiday? Sandy Feet Café has a side selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also grab something tasty for the road at their health food store.

Great Ocean Road Brewhouse

Live music, local wine, and the #1 craft beer on the Great Ocean Road are what gives this brewhouse its fame. Great Ocean Road Brewhouse boasts over 100 of the best craft beers available! Add on the family-friendly bistro that has hearty and delicious meals, and you will be stuffed to the brim.

La Bimba

La Bimba offers the option of fine dining while being environmentally friendly. Partnering with local farmers, fisherman, and vineyards allow this classy restaurant to provide you with the freshest products to create a sumptuous meal.

ACCOMMODATION

Chris’s Beacon Point

Overlooking Bass Strait is Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant and Villas. It has been over 40 years since the original Chris’s Restaurant, a quaint restaurant in a small fishing village, was opened. Four decades have transformed Chris’s Restaurant into a top tourist destination where you cannot only get a delicious meal but where you can spend the night in a contemporary style apartment with dazzling views of the sea.

Aire Valley Kitchen and Guest House

Situated just west of Apollo Bay, Aire Valley Kitchen and Guest House overlooks both the Great Otway National Park and the Aire River Wildlife Reserve. This charming accommodation prides itself on providing the best possible service to the point where each evening, their in-house restaurant picks fresh vegetables and herbs from their very own garden.

Apollo Bay Guest House

Located right next to the beach with only a short walk to local shops, restaurants, and cafes, Apollo Bay Guest House is the perfect place to rest after a long day. Enjoy the spectacular ocean views while sipping tea from your deck or kick back and watch a movie in your French Provincial style room.

Great Ocean Ecolodge

Are you interested in eco-tourism? The Great Ocean Ecolodge was created by the Conservation Ecology Centre, and all profits go to wildlife conservation. The Ecolodge itself is solar-powered and focuses on being ecologically responsible. Being “green” adds to your journey with dining supplied with organic ingredients from their gardens, a library with field guides, guided dusk walks with dedicated ecologists and nature sitting right outside your door.

Great Ocean Walk Retreat & Farmstay

Enjoy a relaxing and eco-friendly stay at the Great Ocean Walk Retreat & Farmstay. This farm by the sea carefully created each room to make the perfect destination for any traveller. Take in the stunning views of the countryside from your spacious and light-filled rooms.

The Cape Otway Lightstation Guesthouse

There is no better way than to get up close and personal with the ocean than by staying at possibly Australia’s most crucial light station. Spend the night in the Lightkeeper’s Cottage, the Lightstation Lodge, or a Lightstation Studio. The Southern Ocean will be lapping against your doorstep, and you will fall asleep to its rhythmic motion.

Southern Anchorage Retreat

Embrace the magic of Moonlight Head at Southern Anchorage Retreat. Nestled into the heart of the bushland with the beach just minutes away, you can rest peacefully at this quaint retreat. Spoil your sore muscles with a dip in the jacuzzi, hunt for sea glass along the shore, or take the time to bird watch. You will leave rejuvenated and ready for the next leg of your walking holiday.

Transport

Transport from Melbourne and on the track:

During your walking holiday, walkers only wear lightweight daypacks. We will shuttle your luggage between your accommodations seamlessly as you walk to your next destination and have it waiting for you by the time that you arrive.

 

Guided-Tours

If you have chosen our guided walking holiday, then transport to and from Melbourne is included within your holiday package. We will pick you up in Melbourne and transfer you to Apollo Bay in one of our comfortable minibuses.

By Public Transport

For self guided walks we highly suggest taking public transportation to and from Melbourne instead of trying to find a place to leave your car during your walking holiday. To get from Melbourne to the start of your destination in Apollo Bay, you will need to take a combination of train and bus. You will begin your journey from Southern Cross Railway Station in Melbourne. Every 30 minutes, a train will leave towards Geelong for about $5-$8. This train will take you about one hour. Next, you will transfer from the Railway area to the Bus area in Geelong Station. The bus leaving to the Visitor Information Centre in Apollo Bay only three times a day, so make sure that you have a spot. It should cost around $10 and take about 2.5-3 hours.

By Car

If you prefer to drive to Apollo Bay from CBD Melbourne, take the freeway over Westgate bridge and drive out past Geelong.  Follow the M1 and signs to the Great Ocean Road. Once you on the famous road it’s straight sailing all the way to Apollo Bay.

climate/weather

The Great Ocean Walk has consistently pleasant weather year-round; the region as a whole is more temperate than the rest of Victoria. Warmer winters and cooler summers make it an enjoyable spot to get away to all year long. Keep in mind that each season provides a different aspect to your walking holiday, as well, although each new landscape of the walk will offer a different kind of environment.

Overall, the average temperature along the Great Ocean Walk ranges from 22°C to 6°C. In the summer (December to February) there will be little rainfall and higher temperatures. Sunny days make for pleasant walking weather and gorgeous pictures.

In the spring (September to November) there is an increase in rainfall, especially farther north. This rainfall makes for a fabulous time to explore the waterfalls in the area because of the higher and faster water levels. In addition, the walk has an abundance of greenery and colourful flowers in bloom.

Lastly, even winter has something to offer. Even though the temperatures are lower and the rainfall is at its highest, this is when the whale migration occurs. Grab a pair of binoculars and you may get to see these colossal beauties making their way along the coast.

climate graph for the Great Ocean Walk

Source; BOM

Terrain

Your walking holiday has a variety of terrain that will make for a spectacular walking holiday. The Great Ocean Walk is well graded and relatively easy to negotiate. Every section of your walking holiday will be a little bit different.

Day 2, 4, 5 and 6 are moderately challenging where you will walk up to lookouts, across ridges, and down onto the beaches. Day 3 is mostly flat; you will have an easy day of walking to get out any of the tiredness from the day before. Your last day of walking ranges from moderate to challenging, this is the point where you will hike up to the 12 apostles!

Overall, the terrain will provide you with a rewarding challenge without being unbearable or too strenuous. You will get to see all the different flora and fauna that the Great Ocean Walk has to offer. For more information, please see our flora and fauna section.

when to walk

Right now is always the perfect time to take a walking holiday! With the Great Ocean Road only 2.5 hours away from Melbourne, it is the perfect holiday without the trouble of long-distance travel.

Each season offers a different set of opportunities for travellers. Do you enjoy walking in the cooler air, or do you prefer the hot summer? Are there specific animals that you want to witness on your travels? Taking all of these into account will provide you with an idea for the time of year that best fits your desires.

Take a look at our climate and weather information page as well as our flora and fauna page to learn more about what the Great Ocean Road will look like for your walking holiday.

walking fitness levels

To get the best experience out of your walking holiday, we recommend that you have some walking experience. This trip is moderate in difficulty; you will experience mostly flat terrain with the occasional short section of steep hills. Relevantly easy to negotiate, walkers will average about 18km per day. There are also opportunities available for walkers to challenge themselves by increasing their walking distance and difficulty. If you maintain a moderate or active healthy lifestyle, then this walk will be perfect for you!

walking essentials

As with any journey, it is essential to be prepared for your walking holiday. While we will be transporting your luggage from accommodation to accommodation, you will still be carrying a lightweight day pack with you. Here is what we suggest that you carry with you each day:

  • Walking notes, a map, and a map case
  • Picnic lunch packed in an insulated container (when supplied)
  • Quality waterproof jacket with a hood
  • Warm jumper or jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sunscreen (at least 15+)
  • 1 to 2 litres of water
  • First aid kit
  • Toilet paper
  • Some money
  • Mobile phone (please note that reception is not available in all walk areas)
  • Personal insect repellent, band-aids, and a small container of salt mixed with rice grains
  • Personal necessities (example: required medication)

Now that we have the essentials packed, it is time to think of those additional items that may be worth packing along with you. These may include and are not limited to:

  • Waterproof over-trousers
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera (with an extra battery or sim cards)
  • Binoculars
  • Notebook and pen
  • Matches
  • Small torch
  • Walking stick
  • Thermos (for hot drinks)
  • Additional snacks

locations

Apollo Bay

You will begin and end your walking holiday in the charming seaside village, Apollo Bay. This quaint village has all you will need to get you in the spirit of your walking holiday; it’s a perfect point for relaxation after you have completed your journey. Take a stroll down the beach, go surfing, and enjoy a tasty seafood meal and a delectable glass of wine at a local restaurant.

Marinier's Lookout

Located on private property, the landowners of this fantastic lookout have decided to share with the public. Dazzling views of Apollo Bay and as far east as Cape Patton can be seen. It’s perfect for a picnic; if you’re lucky, you might just see paragliders take off!

Crayfish Bay

An optional side-trip that you can choose to take on your walking holiday is out to Crayfish Bay. It used to house some small fishing shacks, but those were removed for the creation of the Otway National Park. This side trip is a lovely place to journey to at low tide on a sunny day. Picture time! It is also magnificent to visit during a storm; the churning waves and whipping winds are perfect for those seeking adventure.

Cape Otway Light Station

Built in 1848, the Cape Otway Lightstation was created to try and prevent the massive, deadly toll that this coast wrought on unassuming ships. When European settlers from England first began sweeping into the area, they found themselves “threading the needle” between Cape Otway and King Island to save time, but it quickly led to the loss of hundreds of lives. In 1994, this testament of strength became a tourist attraction where you can walk the grounds, tour the light station, and attend an informative talk on the history of the light station and the area.

Great Otway National Park

The Otways National Park will allow you to immerse yourself in one of the best rainforests that Australia has to offer. Breathe in the crisp, clean air as you observe the abundant flora and fauna that this region has to offer. Walk in the shade of the massive Mountain Ash trees and the giant tree ferns while keeping a lookout for exotic wildlife. You never know what critter may be high up in the trees or skittering along the path!

Station Beach

Incredible rock ledges with the beauty of Rainbow Falls in the distance, this and the massive swell close up is what makes Station Beach special. This beach is not one of the most frequented by tourists; actually no one but the walkers, it will be quiet and private, the perfect way to take in the scenery without all the fanfare of massive crowds.

Rainbow Falls

An optional side-trip available on your walking holiday is to Rainbow Falls. Located on the southern end of the remote Station Beach, you will be able to access the falls only if the tide is low. Crisp, clean spring water meets the ocean in a dazzling display of colour, giving the falls their name. This is an excellent side-trip if you are willing to extend your walking time on the walk.

Castle Cove

Castle Cove is famous for its surf and towering cliffs. Look for the peregrine falcons nesting high in the cliffs and take a leisurely stroll down this gorgeous beach. If the tide is low and the ocean is calm, you can access a hidden lagoon right around the corner. Caution: There may be unexpected large waves and ocean-rips present.

Johanna

Named after a schooner that wrecked at the mouth of the Johanna River in 1843, Johanna is a gorgeous rural farming settlement with much to offer. Johanna combines rolling hills, lush rainforest, and an epic surf beach to create what you’d think would be a hotspot for tourism. Thankfully it is still very quiet as most visitors only want to see the Apostles. The serenity of this spot only adds to its appeal. Combined with  the discovery of dinosaur fossils near Castle Cove and the history of the Cape Otway Lightstation, and every traveller will surely find something interesting.

Milanesia Beach

Not many people get out to this remote location because it is one of the more difficult sections of the Great Ocean Walk to access. This hidden gem boasts rolling farmlands and spectacular cliffs that will lead you to an epic view over Milanesia Beach. Enjoy the peacefulness of the area by taking a moment to rest and soak up the impressive forest and scenery. Fun fact: Dinosaur fossils were discovered at Milanesia Beach! Put on your investigator’s hat because you may find the next one!

The Gables Lookout

Take a short, almost magical walk through the casuarina trees up to The Gables Lookout. The Gables Lookout is perched on the top of one of the highest sea cliffs in mainland Australia. You will be able to view Moonlight Head in the distance and the hypnotic lapping waters below. This is the perfect spot for birdwatching! Plus, if you come from June to September, then you may witness the whale migration and see one of these impressive creatures as they pass by.

Wreck Beach

350 stairs descend to Wreck Beach where you will be reminded as to why this coast used to be deadly to unsuspecting ships. You can see the anchors of the Marie Gabrielle and the Fiji still holding a vigil of their once powerful ships that were defeated by this mighty coast.

The Twelve Apostles

The extreme force that is Mother Nature created these massive pillars. Long ago, these limestone stacks or pillars were connected with the main cliffs along the beach. Over the years, wind and waves slowly chipped away at the rock until the Twelve Apostles were created. Not actually 12 pillars, but 8 (so far) stand at 45-metres tall. Their impressive display gathers the attention of tourists from around the world. You can learn from the informative displays along the boardwalk, climb down the Gibson Steps to the beach, and embrace the dynamic atmosphere of a beach well loved by humans and nature. Make sure to take the time to visit the Grotto, the Arch, the London Bridge, and the Bay of Islands! If you happen to come at dawn or dusk, you may also catch the sight of our favourite tuxedo-donning birds, penguins, making their way down the beach!

Lorne

This village is bursting at the seams with incredible things to offer. Ten waterfalls just a few minutes away, lovely parks, and gorgeous beaches make up the outskirts of Lorne with restaurants and a spirited art community making up its centre. You can visit Qdos Arts to see their continually changing exhibit, the Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre for all the local history, and if you happen to come at the right time, then you can witness the Falls Music Festival and the Lorne Festival of The Performing Arts. Plus, if you come during May to September, then you will have a great opportunity for whale watching!

non-walking activites

The Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre

Did you know that the Great Ocean Road is considered the world’s largest war memorial? In 1919, over 3000 Australian soldiers returned to Australia and began the construction of the Great Ocean Road. In the Lorne Visitor Centre, you can explore the Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre’s permanent exhibition. Learn about the toils faced by the soldiers through interpretive displays to truly understand the significance of this massive road.

Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch

Join countless others in taking a picture of the most photographed location on the Great Ocean Road, the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch. This arch was constructed to acknowledge the challenges faced by the persistent workers who created this road for us all. It is a phenomenal location to add a well-known landmark to your Instagram or to just stroll along.

Spas and Wellbeing

What better way to relax after a long day of walking than at a spa? Massages, oils, and soothing aromas will add a blissful end to an already fantastic day. Enjoy getting pampered at one of the many luxurious spas and wellness centres featured along the Great Ocean Road. Some of our favourites are Endota Spa, Seahorse Natural Therapies, and Apollo Bay Natural Health and Wellbeing.

Golfing

Play a round of golf before or after your walking holiday. The Great Ocean Road boasts fantastic golf courses and clubhouses. The Sands, located in Torquay, hosts the annual PGA Tour event Surf Coast Knockout. More courses in the area such as Anglesea, Warrnambool, and Port Fairy sport well-manicured greens, natural sand traps, and the resident kangaroos acting as unofficial greenskeepers. This is a must do excursion for any golf lover.

Surfing

The Great Ocean Road boasts the Surf Coast, one of the best destinations for surfing in the region. Bells Beach hosts the Rip Curl Pro competition each Easter where the worlds best surfers come to take on the challenge. There are many beaches along the Great Ocean Road where you can grab a surfing lesson from a company that will teach you the basics with a kind and patient attitude, so that you can get the most from the experience.

Art Galleries

The Great Ocean Road is home to a plethora of artists and galleries that will make any art connoisseur happy. Marvel at the extraordinary craftsmanship at the Warrnambool Art Gallery or take home a local piece from the Whale Bone Gallery. A piece of art is the perfect reminder of your walking holiday that you can hang on the wall to view every day!

Shopping

You can’t go home from your walking holiday without a souvenir for either yourself or someone else! Lucky for you, the Great Ocean Road has a variety of stores from specialty shops to local markets that will please everyone. Boutiques, galleries, and souvenirs shops hold local crafts, produce, art, clothing and more. If you are big into surfing, head down to Surf Label Haven. Pick up the latest gear before heading out to catch some waves.

Festivals

The Great Ocean Road is home to many fabulous festivals throughout the year. Sing along at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Anglesea Music Festival, or the Falls Festival to get your groove on. Enjoy the creation of sublime art at the Lorne Festival of Performing Arts or the Sculpture Festival. Delight in the flavours of the region with the Toast to the Coast Food and Wine Festival or the Apollo Bay Seafood Festival. There is even a festival dedicated just for kids! With something for everyone, you will walk away with your heart a bit lighter.

Overview

OVERVIEW

Auswalk will provide you with all the comforts you need to have a splendid walk and relaxing experience. You can choose either a self-guided or group-guided walking holiday. You will stay in our favourite accommodations, taste the delicious fresh produce of the region. You get to traverse the trails with nothing more than a light day pack, and we will take care of the rest.

Auswalk provides two self-guided and two guided walking holidays for your pleasure. Effectively Auswalk provides a lot more as they can customize any of their walks to suit, adding more or taking away days to suit each walker’s specialised needs.

READ MORE
History

History

For thousands of years, the original inhabitants of this land that now features the Great Ocean Walk were the Gadubanud Aboriginal tribe. The plateaus and coastlines were their home long before European settlers arrived. It’s believed that the Gadubanud tribe lived an abundant life here, with the rich environment providing plenty of food and shelter. There has been evidence found that the Gadabanuds hunted not only on land but with bark canoes along the rivers, lakes, estuaries, and even along the coastlines.

It wasn’t until 1846 that the Gadubanud were no longer able to avoid the incoming European settlers. Two previous attempts had been made by the Europeans to penetrate the thick rainforest, and finally, they succeeded at making contact with the tribe. Later that same year, a European surveying team was sent into the rainforest and subsequently were murdered by the Gadubanud tribe, although no reason is known as to why this happened.

In August 1846, a retaliatory expedition was sent from Melbourne to avenge the European settlers who had been murdered; joining them was another Aboriginal tribe, the Gunditjmara. Seven people from the Gadubanud tribe were killed, now known as the Blanket Bay Massacre. Today, the Gunditjmara people are the traditional custodians of these lands, and some can still trace their ancestry back to the original Gadubanuds.

In 1974, the idea of the Great Ocean Walk was created with the hope of forming a unique coastal experience for travellers and as a way to protect the habitat that it passed through. It wasn’t until 1994 that the local community came together, over a few bottles of port, to develop the Great Ocean Walk into a feasible concept. Over the next 20 years, the community worked together with environmental agencies and the Australian government to build this walk. Finally, in 2006, the idea came to fruition when Parks Victoria launched the Great Ocean Walk which is now 104km long after a few extensions since it was opened to the public.

Shipwreck Coast Background
Early Explorer Matthew Flinders once said, “I have seldom seen a more fearful section of coastline.” He was referring to Shipwreck Coast along the Great Ocean Walk. There are few places in the world where you will be able to find as many shipwrecks as along this coastline.

The ‘Eye of the Needle’ is the reason behind this deadly coastline, a narrow gap between Cape Otway and King Island. Many ships dared to risk threading this needle after spending long months upon the open ocean. It appears wide enough, at 80km wide, but even wizened sailors forgot or ignored that the mighty force of the Southern Ocean is forced through this passage, causing massive swells onto a continental shelf that is quite shallow. It was because of this that Cape Otway Lightstation was commissioned.

Johanna, Milanesia, Wreck Beach, and Loch Ard Gorge are all named after famous wrecks, and you can still see evidence of the wrecks on the beaches today. Evidence includes anchors either buried in the sand or memorialised in rock, but occasionally you will catch a glimpse of something more.

Surf Coast Background
The Great Ocean Walk is naturally linked to the Surf Coast region, a region that offers more than just beautiful landscapes; the landscape itself provides a platform for the magnificent and daring sport of surfing. There are dozens of beaches along the Great Ocean Road known as some of the best in Australia where elite surfers come to test their skills.

Bells Beach is world-renowned for its two main breaks, the Bowl and Rincon. Every Easter, at Bells Beach, the Rip Curl Pro is held where only the best of the best come to compete. Another major surf spot, which can be seen along your walking holiday, is Johanna Beach. Johanna Beach has a huge beach break which contribute to the steeply sloping ocean floor as well as the many reefs around Castle Cove. On rare occasions on really big swells you’ll find big wave surfers at Port Campbell, at the end of the walk, surfing swells up to 10 metres.

The surf coast is a playground for surfers, from beginner to pro, so keep an eye out for those colourful boards bopping along the waves.

Flora & Fauna

Flora & Fauna

One would never assume that a landscape so close to the shore would have rich and diverse wildlife, but if you are willing to look carefully, then you will certainly find a magnificent habitat on both land and sea.

Once you start your walking holiday along the Great Ocean Walk, you will begin to see how diverse the habitat truly is. There are vast grasslands, thick wetlands, and of course the beaches! Numerous species of trees call the rainforest here their home. To name just a few; the famous eucalyptus the Mountain Ash the tallest flowering plant in the world, the scaly myrtle beech, and of course the tall Australian blackwoods. Vivid colours are on display in the Anglesea Heath. Among the wildflowers, you will find the blue coloured smoke bush, the red and yellow bush peas, and the reddish pink of the common heath. Furthermore, with 79 different species of orchid species present, this makes the Great Ocean Walk one of the most orchid-rich sites in all of Australia.

Australia is famous for its kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. All of these adorable animals can be found along the Great Ocean Walk; it would be surprising if you didn’t see one! Mobs of kangaroos will be found munching on grass in pastures, and make sure to keep an eye out to see if they have a special passenger in their pouch! You will discover koalas usually high in the trees taking a nap, and those black swamp wallabies will regularly be hopping away before you can get your camera out.

Along the trail, you will see little scratch marks where the dirt has been dug up; this is the sign of the echidnas searching for its favourite snack, ants! Usually, you will find them after dusk, but if it is not too hot, then you catch them on the trail. Approach them carefully because at the first sign of danger they will curl up in a spiky ball.

Reptiles and amphibians also take advantage of the surrounding wetlands. The tiger snake is a common site to see with its black body with bright yellow stripes. If you happen to see one, stay still. They are not aggressive and will simply slither off unless provoked. The croaking of the pobblebonk frog, the Victorian smooth froglet, and the little brown tree frog will fill the air, and you may even see one if you look closely.

The birds that inhabit the Great Ocean Walk are extremely diverse! You may catch a glimpse of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, hear the song of the Kookaburra (which sounds like laughter), and if you venture out at sunset near the Twelve Apostles, then you might be able to see some little penguins waddling along.

As the seasons change, some wildlife will migrate to or through the area. If you are willing to brave the winter, then you may be able to catch a glimpse of the whales passing through the area. Also, in April and October, thousands of mutton birds will nest on Muttonbird Island. You can observe them from unique viewing platforms nearby.

Local Cuisine

Local Cuisine

The majority of your meals will be located at your lovely accommodations during your walking holiday; we have planned some scrumptious meals for you that will have your palate singing! There will be the opportunity to try the local cuisine in Apollo Bay at the beginning and end of your holiday. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Casalingo

Explore a well-kept secret local Italian restaurant that doesn’t scream ‘tourist.’ Hidden down a side street, Casalingo is a quiet yet sleek restaurant that produces the best hand rolled gourmet pasta and pizzas in town!

Sandy Feet Café

Do you want something extra healthy and delicious to kick off your walking holiday? Sandy Feet Café has a side selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also grab something tasty for the road at their health food store.

Great Ocean Road Brewhouse

Live music, local wine, and the #1 craft beer on the Great Ocean Road are what gives this brewhouse its fame. Great Ocean Road Brewhouse boasts over 100 of the best craft beers available! Add on the family-friendly bistro that has hearty and delicious meals, and you will be stuffed to the brim.

La Bimba

La Bimba offers the option of fine dining while being environmentally friendly. Partnering with local farmers, fisherman, and vineyards allow this classy restaurant to provide you with the freshest products to create a sumptuous meal.

ACCOMMODATION

ACCOMMODATION

Chris’s Beacon Point

Overlooking Bass Strait is Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant and Villas. It has been over 40 years since the original Chris’s Restaurant, a quaint restaurant in a small fishing village, was opened. Four decades have transformed Chris’s Restaurant into a top tourist destination where you cannot only get a delicious meal but where you can spend the night in a contemporary style apartment with dazzling views of the sea.

Aire Valley Kitchen and Guest House

Situated just west of Apollo Bay, Aire Valley Kitchen and Guest House overlooks both the Great Otway National Park and the Aire River Wildlife Reserve. This charming accommodation prides itself on providing the best possible service to the point where each evening, their in-house restaurant picks fresh vegetables and herbs from their very own garden.

Apollo Bay Guest House

Located right next to the beach with only a short walk to local shops, restaurants, and cafes, Apollo Bay Guest House is the perfect place to rest after a long day. Enjoy the spectacular ocean views while sipping tea from your deck or kick back and watch a movie in your French Provincial style room.

Great Ocean Ecolodge

Are you interested in eco-tourism? The Great Ocean Ecolodge was created by the Conservation Ecology Centre, and all profits go to wildlife conservation. The Ecolodge itself is solar-powered and focuses on being ecologically responsible. Being “green” adds to your journey with dining supplied with organic ingredients from their gardens, a library with field guides, guided dusk walks with dedicated ecologists and nature sitting right outside your door.

Great Ocean Walk Retreat & Farmstay

Enjoy a relaxing and eco-friendly stay at the Great Ocean Walk Retreat & Farmstay. This farm by the sea carefully created each room to make the perfect destination for any traveller. Take in the stunning views of the countryside from your spacious and light-filled rooms.

The Cape Otway Lightstation Guesthouse

There is no better way than to get up close and personal with the ocean than by staying at possibly Australia’s most crucial light station. Spend the night in the Lightkeeper’s Cottage, the Lightstation Lodge, or a Lightstation Studio. The Southern Ocean will be lapping against your doorstep, and you will fall asleep to its rhythmic motion.

Southern Anchorage Retreat

Embrace the magic of Moonlight Head at Southern Anchorage Retreat. Nestled into the heart of the bushland with the beach just minutes away, you can rest peacefully at this quaint retreat. Spoil your sore muscles with a dip in the jacuzzi, hunt for sea glass along the shore, or take the time to bird watch. You will leave rejuvenated and ready for the next leg of your walking holiday.

Transport

Transport

Transport from Melbourne and on the track:

During your walking holiday, walkers only wear lightweight daypacks. We will shuttle your luggage between your accommodations seamlessly as you walk to your next destination and have it waiting for you by the time that you arrive.

 

1. Guided-Tours

If you have chosen our guided walking holiday, then transport to and from Melbourne is included within your holiday package. We will pick you up in Melbourne and transfer you to Apollo Bay in one of our comfortable minibuses.

2. By Public Transport

For self guided walks we highly suggest taking public transportation to and from Melbourne instead of trying to find a place to leave your car during your walking holiday. To get from Melbourne to the start of your destination in Apollo Bay, you will need to take a combination of train and bus. You will begin your journey from Southern Cross Railway Station in Melbourne. Every 30 minutes, a train will leave towards Geelong for about $5-$8. This train will take you about one hour. Next, you will transfer from the Railway area to the Bus area in Geelong Station. The bus leaving to the Visitor Information Centre in Apollo Bay only three times a day, so make sure that you have a spot. It should cost around $10 and take about 2.5-3 hours.

3. By Car

If you prefer to drive to Apollo Bay from CBD Melbourne, take the freeway over Westgate bridge and drive out past Geelong.  Follow the M1 and signs to the Great Ocean Road. Once you on the famous road it’s straight sailing all the way to Apollo Bay.

climate/weather

climate/weather

The Great Ocean Walk has consistently pleasant weather year-round; the region as a whole is more temperate than the rest of Victoria. Warmer winters and cooler summers make it an enjoyable spot to get away to all year long. Keep in mind that each season provides a different aspect to your walking holiday, as well, although each new landscape of the walk will offer a different kind of environment.

Overall, the average temperature along the Great Ocean Walk ranges from 22°C to 6°C. In the summer (December to February) there will be little rainfall and higher temperatures. Sunny days make for pleasant walking weather and gorgeous pictures.

In the spring (September to November) there is an increase in rainfall, especially farther north. This rainfall makes for a fabulous time to explore the waterfalls in the area because of the higher and faster water levels. In addition, the walk has an abundance of greenery and colourful flowers in bloom.

Lastly, even winter has something to offer. Even though the temperatures are lower and the rainfall is at its highest, this is when the whale migration occurs. Grab a pair of binoculars and you may get to see these colossal beauties making their way along the coast.

climate graph for the Great Ocean Walk

Source; BOM

Terrain

Terrain

Your walking holiday has a variety of terrain that will make for a spectacular walking holiday. The Great Ocean Walk is well graded and relatively easy to negotiate. Every section of your walking holiday will be a little bit different.

Day 2, 4, 5 and 6 are moderately challenging where you will walk up to lookouts, across ridges, and down onto the beaches. Day 3 is mostly flat; you will have an easy day of walking to get out any of the tiredness from the day before. Your last day of walking ranges from moderate to challenging, this is the point where you will hike up to the 12 apostles!

Overall, the terrain will provide you with a rewarding challenge without being unbearable or too strenuous. You will get to see all the different flora and fauna that the Great Ocean Walk has to offer. For more information, please see our flora and fauna section.

when to walk

when to walk

Right now is always the perfect time to take a walking holiday! With the Great Ocean Road only 2.5 hours away from Melbourne, it is the perfect holiday without the trouble of long-distance travel.

Each season offers a different set of opportunities for travellers. Do you enjoy walking in the cooler air, or do you prefer the hot summer? Are there specific animals that you want to witness on your travels? Taking all of these into account will provide you with an idea for the time of year that best fits your desires.

Take a look at our climate and weather information page as well as our flora and fauna page to learn more about what the Great Ocean Road will look like for your walking holiday.

walking fitness levels

walking fitness levels

To get the best experience out of your walking holiday, we recommend that you have some walking experience. This trip is moderate in difficulty; you will experience mostly flat terrain with the occasional short section of steep hills. Relevantly easy to negotiate, walkers will average about 18km per day. There are also opportunities available for walkers to challenge themselves by increasing their walking distance and difficulty. If you maintain a moderate or active healthy lifestyle, then this walk will be perfect for you!

walking essentials

walking essentials

As with any journey, it is essential to be prepared for your walking holiday. While we will be transporting your luggage from accommodation to accommodation, you will still be carrying a lightweight day pack with you. Here is what we suggest that you carry with you each day:

  • Walking notes, a map, and a map case
  • Picnic lunch packed in an insulated container (when supplied)
  • Quality waterproof jacket with a hood
  • Warm jumper or jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sunscreen (at least 15+)
  • 1 to 2 litres of water
  • First aid kit
  • Toilet paper
  • Some money
  • Mobile phone (please note that reception is not available in all walk areas)
  • Personal insect repellent, band-aids, and a small container of salt mixed with rice grains
  • Personal necessities (example: required medication)

Now that we have the essentials packed, it is time to think of those additional items that may be worth packing along with you. These may include and are not limited to:

  • Waterproof over-trousers
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera (with an extra battery or sim cards)
  • Binoculars
  • Notebook and pen
  • Matches
  • Small torch
  • Walking stick
  • Thermos (for hot drinks)
  • Additional snacks
locations

locations

non-walking activites

non-walking activites

The Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre

Did you know that the Great Ocean Road is considered the world’s largest war memorial? In 1919, over 3000 Australian soldiers returned to Australia and began the construction of the Great Ocean Road. In the Lorne Visitor Centre, you can explore the Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre’s permanent exhibition. Learn about the toils faced by the soldiers through interpretive displays to truly understand the significance of this massive road.

Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch

Join countless others in taking a picture of the most photographed location on the Great Ocean Road, the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch. This arch was constructed to acknowledge the challenges faced by the persistent workers who created this road for us all. It is a phenomenal location to add a well-known landmark to your Instagram or to just stroll along.

Spas and Wellbeing

What better way to relax after a long day of walking than at a spa? Massages, oils, and soothing aromas will add a blissful end to an already fantastic day. Enjoy getting pampered at one of the many luxurious spas and wellness centres featured along the Great Ocean Road. Some of our favourites are Endota Spa, Seahorse Natural Therapies, and Apollo Bay Natural Health and Wellbeing.

Golfing

Play a round of golf before or after your walking holiday. The Great Ocean Road boasts fantastic golf courses and clubhouses. The Sands, located in Torquay, hosts the annual PGA Tour event Surf Coast Knockout. More courses in the area such as Anglesea, Warrnambool, and Port Fairy sport well-manicured greens, natural sand traps, and the resident kangaroos acting as unofficial greenskeepers. This is a must do excursion for any golf lover.

Surfing

The Great Ocean Road boasts the Surf Coast, one of the best destinations for surfing in the region. Bells Beach hosts the Rip Curl Pro competition each Easter where the worlds best surfers come to take on the challenge. There are many beaches along the Great Ocean Road where you can grab a surfing lesson from a company that will teach you the basics with a kind and patient attitude, so that you can get the most from the experience.

Art Galleries

The Great Ocean Road is home to a plethora of artists and galleries that will make any art connoisseur happy. Marvel at the extraordinary craftsmanship at the Warrnambool Art Gallery or take home a local piece from the Whale Bone Gallery. A piece of art is the perfect reminder of your walking holiday that you can hang on the wall to view every day!

Shopping

You can’t go home from your walking holiday without a souvenir for either yourself or someone else! Lucky for you, the Great Ocean Road has a variety of stores from specialty shops to local markets that will please everyone. Boutiques, galleries, and souvenirs shops hold local crafts, produce, art, clothing and more. If you are big into surfing, head down to Surf Label Haven. Pick up the latest gear before heading out to catch some waves.

Festivals

The Great Ocean Road is home to many fabulous festivals throughout the year. Sing along at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Anglesea Music Festival, or the Falls Festival to get your groove on. Enjoy the creation of sublime art at the Lorne Festival of Performing Arts or the Sculpture Festival. Delight in the flavours of the region with the Toast to the Coast Food and Wine Festival or the Apollo Bay Seafood Festival. There is even a festival dedicated just for kids! With something for everyone, you will walk away with your heart a bit lighter.

blog

October 2, 2019

The Cotswolds | England’s Living History

Read More
August 16, 2019

Walk the walk, for Biodiversity

Read More
August 13, 2019

Slow Travel – lessons from a man with a whip

Read More
July 2, 2019

How to Become a Dual Pilgrim, and More Importantly, Why…?

Read More
June 14, 2019

Amazing Places to See Aboriginal Rock Art in Australia

Read More
June 3, 2019

Wild Animals of the Larapinta Trail

Read More
June 3, 2019

How to Get Fit For a Walking Holiday

Read More
May 14, 2019

5 Best Walks in The Blue Mountains

Read More
May 7, 2019

Photography Tips for Non-Photographers

Read More
May 7, 2019

The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail

Read More

ENQUIRE NOW

If you’re looking for further information on any of our walking holidays please fill out the enquiry form and we’ll be in touch.

Get in touch