Great Ocean Walk Tours

Walk the entire 104 km Great Ocean Walk, one of Australia’s most iconic trails, over seven days with Inspiration Outdoors on this guided walking tour. $2,355pp – 7 days ex Melbourne, moderate terrain, 104km

We make an end to end walk on Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Walk achievable and enjoyable on this 7-day tour with 6 days of walking. Walking through spectacular tall forests, coastal heathlands, wild rocky shores, river estuaries and windswept cliff-tops presenting amazing coastal views. Nature truly unfolds around every bend. Carry only a day pack as you enjoy the amazing sights of one of Australia’s greatest multi-day walks.

We complete this Great Ocean Walk tour as a series of day walks, returning to comfortable accommodation each night.  By not camping or carry a heavy pack, our tour allows people with a moderate level of fitness to complete the walk. Preparation will make the experience all the more enjoyable. Excellent home-made food, comfortable lodge style accommodation and knowledgeable guides will complement your trip.

Join Inspiration Outdoors on a Great Ocean Walk tour this year and tick this amazing walk off your bucket list.

Tour Length:
7 days (start and finish in Melbourne)
Distance walked:
104 km
Difficulty:
Moderate to challenging; See FAQ
Dates:
29. Oct – 4. Nov 2017
19 – 25. Nov 2017
27. Mar – 2. Apr 2018
16 – 22. Apr 2018
27. Sep – 3. Oct 2018
4 – 10. Oct 2018
See the PDF file for printing

Highlights of this walk

Complete one of the world’s great coastal walks with Inspiration Outdoors on a seven-day tour with six days of walking. The Great Ocean Walk meanders 104 km between Apollo Bay and the world famous 12 Apostles, sometimes along the beach, sometimes along cliff-tops, sometimes through tall forests, but nearly always with a view of the wonderful Great Ocean Road coastline.

Walking Tour Itinerary

A guide will accompany you each day as you walk between 8 and 23 km. There’s no easy days on the Great Ocean Walk; but, with a moderate level of fitness, they are all enjoyable! There are some steep sections, and a bit of beach walking, which can be challenging, so we recommend training.

Each day we will resume the walk from where we finished the previous day. Please note that on some days there are options to walk half a day; and you are always welcome to take a day off. The itinerary may alter depending on local conditions and weather.

Day 1: Drive from Melbourne. Walk Apollo Bay to Shelly Beach

Day 1: Drive from Melbourne. Walk Apollo Bay to Shelly Beach

8 km

We depart Melbourne CBD at 8am, heading for the spectacular Great Ocean Road and Apollo Bay – the start of the Great Ocean Walk. Enjoy the first of many fresh picnic lunches for the week, get to know your walking companions and see if you can spot some Australian Fur Seals out on the rocks.

The walk today is relatively easy with  some short sections of beach walking and a few hills. Keep an eye out for Koalas near Shelly beach!

Note, as we walk on the first afternoon, please wear your hiking clothes on the bus and bring your day pack ready to go. After our walk the bus will meet us at Shelly Beach carpark and we will drive to Cape Otway Lightstation.

Day 2: Shelly Beach to Parker Hill

Day 2: Shelly Beach to Parker Hill

21 km

Today the walk starts off by heading away from the coast and into towering forest of Mountain Ash, a characteristic feature of this part of the Great Otway National Park.

There are a few hills to negotiate before re-joining the coast at Blanket Bay. Blanket Bay is one of the few safe swimming locations along the walk.

After a picnic lunch at Blanket Bay the track then meanders along cliff tops and through coastal forests to Parker Inlet. Look out for black wallabies, echidnas, black cockatoos and other wildlife along the way. We end out walk at the top of Parker Hill.

Day 3: Parker Hill to Castle Cove

Day 3: Parker Hill to Castle Cove

23 km

Our path this morning will take us inland through manna gums towards the Cape Otway Lightstation. Keep an eye out for more Koalas along this section.

From the Lighthouse the track winds its way through wind sculpted landscapes of sand dunes, coastal scrubland and magnificent calcified cliffs. As we come closer to Aire River Valley we will get some fantastic views down to the estuary where the Aire River meets the Southern Ocean and Glenaire Beach.

From Aire River we head inland for a bit, climbing up and around the next headland before rejoining the coastal track, with sweeping views of the rugged coastline. We end our day at Castle Cove lookout, surrounded by towering cliffs which have high archaeological significance.

Day 4 Castle Cove to Milanesia Beach

Day 4 Castle Cove to Milanesia Beach

17 km

A very varied day today, as we walk from Castle Cove along cliff tops, through heath-lands and forests, occasionally emerging to give breathtaking views along the extensive coast. Beautiful expanses of grass trees and, in spring, wonderful wildflower displays. You may be lucky to see Peregrine Falcons along this section.

Eventually the path emerges onto Johanna Beach, where we walk along one of Australia’s best beaches with superb views and enormous crashing surf. From Johanna Beach the path heads through rolling hills inland, where you can expect to see Eastern Grey Kangaroos, towards Milanesia Gate.

Day 5: Milanesia Beach to the Gables

Day 5: Milanesia Beach to the Gables

16 km

The first highlight today is Milanesia Beach, which is one of those secret beaches not many people get to. The track then cuts through and alternates between farmland and isolated beach and sea cliffs with a roller coaster of ups and downs to reach Ryan’s Den. From here you’ll have breathtaking views all the way back to Cape Otway and west to Cape Volney.

From Ryan’s Den the trail then continues through coastal forests over Cape Volney towards Moonlight Head. After a steep climb up to Moonlight Head the track dips down into a valley which will lead us to The Gables Lookout. The Gables lookout is perched on one of the highest sea cliffs in mainland Australia, where will end today’s walk.

Day 6: Gables to Gibson Steps

Day 6: Gables to Gibson Steps

19 km

Today we will continue our walk from The Gables through a grove of casuarina trees to Wreck Beach. Here, at low tide, you can see the anchors of two of the many shipwrecks that lie submerged along this coast. The high tide route will take us to Devils Kitchen, where we will then follow the trail that hugs the wild coastal cliffs towards Princetown.

The wetlands around Princetown support a wide variety of bird life, where we will cross the Gellibrand River on a trestle bridge to embark on one of our last sections to the 12 Apostles. A pleasant walk through coastal scrub and escarpment will start to reveal stunning views of the looming Apostles. We will end our walk today at Gibson’s steps, taking in the eastern Apostles from sea level for a unique perspective.

Day 7: Gibson Steps to 12 Apostles. Drive to Melbourne

Day 7: Gibson Steps to 12 Apostles. Drive to Melbourne

2 km

This morning we take the short walk from Gibson steps to the Twelve Apostles visitor centre – the end of the Great Ocean Walk!

Here you’ll have time to wander the boardwalks and viewing platforms before the rush of the crowds. Included in your tour is a 15 minute helicopter flight to see the spectacular coastline and the 12 Apostles from the air.

After stopping in at the fabulous Loch Ard Gorge for morning tea we will head in to the quaint coastal town of Port Campbell for a look around. Pick up some take-away lunch (own expense) before we make our way back to Melbourne, arriving by late afternoon.

Details about accommodation, what to bring, transportation, food, etc.
Details about accommodation, what to bring, transportation, food, etc. See the PDF file for printing

Accommodation

For the Great Ocean Walk, we stay at the Cape Otway Light-station for 3 nights then the Clifton Beach Lodge for 3 nights. We stay at two locations to ensure shorter drives to the start of the walks as we go along. This will also allow you to feel at home and only have to repack once between locations.

At the Cape Otway Lightstation we spread out over two heritage buildings – the Head Light-keeper’s House and Manager’s House. You won’t find a better location along the Great Ocean Walk than this stunning cliff-top position, with perfect sun-set views over the Southern Ocean.

At Clifton Beach Lodge we spread out over a number of one and two bedroom cottages. Clifton Beach Lodge is a secluded country property offering panoramic views of the Gellibrand River Estuary. Cottages are basic but comfortable and clean. 

At both of our locations we will come together in one of the houses for breakfast and dinner each day.

Accommodation is allocated on a double or twin share basis. If you are a solo traveller we will room you with another solo traveller of the same sex. Limited single supplements are available at an additional charge. Please ask for details and availability if interested.

What to bring

We will send you a full list of what to bring when you book. You don’t need much apart from clothes, a nice comfortable day pack and other personal effects.

Food

All meals are included, with the exception of lunch on the last day, when you can pick up something in Port Campbell on the way home.

Breakfast comprises cereals, fruit, yoghurt, toast, juice, tea and freshly brewed coffee.

Each day your guide will carry tea, coffee and a home-made cake for your morning tea. Fruit is also available.

On some days lunch is self-made from fresh breads, salads and meats. On other days, where there is vehicle access to the track, the bus will bring us a tasty and nutritious picnic lunch.

Enjoy pre-dinner nibbles with fellow guests each evening while your guides prepare a delicious two course meal for dinner.

Feel free to bring alcohol and additional snacks e.g. muesli bars, nuts, chocolate etc. There will be time for you to purchase additional alcohol and supplies during the week.

Please let us know of any dietary requirements before you book. We can happily adapt our menu to accommodate most dietary needs. Assistance is appreciated with clearing away and washing up.

Transport

An air-conditioned coaster bus will take us from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Walk and back; and to and from the track each day. As the transport from Melbourne is provided at no additional charge, discounts cannot be offered to those who choose to make their own way there.

This walk includes

icon-meals
All meals, homemade from the best ingredients

We pride ourselves on providing you with fresh, wholesome food. Enjoy healthy breakfasts, delicious home-made morning teas, fresh picnic and packed lunches, fruit and hearty two course dinners each day.

All Transport ex Melbourne

Watch the scenery glide by from the comfort of our air conditioned vehicle.

Emergency support

Wilderness first aid trained guides carry radios, satellite phones and a full first aid kit so you can walk without worry.

Excellent itinerary and planning

Drawn from 14 years experience.

icon-tour-guide
Two fun and professional Inspiration Outdoors guides

We’ll feed you, tell you stories, help you achieve the walks safely and make sure everything goes to plan so that you don’t have to worry about a thing

Great Ocean Walk FAQs

Where does the tour start from?

This tour starts from the National Gallery of Victoria on St Kilda road. It is very central and easy to get to.

Posted in: Great Ocean Walk FAQs

How challenging is this walk?

The Great Ocean walk certainly has it’s challenges but we would class it as a moderate walk. There are hills, beach stretches and some short rocky sections, but all in all, the terrain is mostly moderate with moderate length walks.

Posted in: Great Ocean Walk FAQs

Where should I stay in Melbourne?

We recommend the Victoria Hotel, which was clean (though a bit old), in a great location and affordable.
From there you can walk to the pick up point in about 5 minutes.

Posted in: Great Ocean Walk FAQs

About Walking Tours In General

How hard are the walks?

The difficulty of the walks ranges from tour to tour, from easy to challenging. We design all of our walking tours to be achievable for those with a moderate level of fitness. We do recommend doing some training before most tours, because physical activity is always more enjoyable if you are physically prepared. We will send you information about how to train when you book.

When on tour we find that a positive mental attitude is most important and that if you focus on the scenery, the company and the moment, and not on the kilometres, then you find yourself reaching your destination with little problem. You can always have a day or sometimes an afternoon off to relax if you feel like it. If you have any concerns about your fitness or ability to complete a walk, give us a call on (08) 6219 5164 and we can talk you through it.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General

Do I have to twin-share accommodation?

Our tour prices are based on rooms being twin share (two single beds in one room) or double (one double/queen bed in a room, shared by a couple). If you are travelling alone, we will give you a room with someone of the same sex. Sometimes, depending on the accommodation, it is possible to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have a room to yourself – please ask us if this option is available when you book.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General

Will I hold up the group if I’m a slow walker?

We find a lot of people who haven’t been on a walking tour before worry about this, but it’s rarely an issue. We keep a comfortable steady pace with plenty of opportunities to rest and take in the scenery along the way. Usually the group will spread out over a couple of hundred metres as we walk.

Normal walking pace on a formed surface like a road or footpath is around 4.5 – 6 km per hour and we tend to average just over 3 km per hour on bush tracks. It’s not a stroll but it’s not a brisk walk either. If you feel you may be slower than this, try some longer training walks to increase your walking fitness.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General

What is the average age of Inspiration Outdoors’ guests?

About 80% of our walkers are aged between 45 – 75. Our youngest guest has been about 35 and our oldest was 82. We get a roughly 60/40 female to male split.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General, Day Walk FAQs

What’s the food like? Can you cater for my dietary needs?

We serve simple, nutritious and delicious food on tour, using fresh and local ingredients as much as possible. Of course, if you like, you can indulge in some less nutritious treats as well – you’re on holiday after all and Emily bakes a mean cake. Breakfast, home-made morning tea, lunch, fresh fruit, pre-dinner nibbles and a two course evening meal are all included. We are happy to adapt our menu to suit many dietary needs including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets – please ask when you book.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General

Are your walking tours just for “bushwalkers”?

Our walks are for anyone who enjoys walking and nature – bushwalkers or not. Our walks are conducted in safe, supportive and fun environments and you don’t need specialised equipment or experience to undertake them. We give you information about what you will need to bring and how you should prepare for each tour and we’re always here to answer any questions or concerns.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General, Day Walk FAQs

Do I have to walk every day on tour?

Of course not – it’s your holiday and you should do what you feel! Relax at the accommodation, come for a drive, get dropped off in town or go for a stroll of your own. On some days there is also the opportunity to walk for part of the day. This last option depends on whether there is vehicle access to the track.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General

What do I have to carry when I walk?

Very little. A water bladder or bottles, a rain jacket, some personal first aid supplies and, on some days, lunch. You will probably want a camera as well. We return to accommodation each evening so there is no need to carry a large backpack.

Posted in: About Walking Tours In General

Beautiful walks in the daytime, relax with fellow walkers each evening

As much as this walk is a fantastic outdoor experience, it’s also a social experience, giving you a chance to enjoy the companionship and support of like-minded people.

Enjoy a cuppa with a slice of home-made cake for morning tea and a fresh healthy lunch, surrounded by nature. Every day is finished off by a delicious and nutritious dinner together with the group.

What people have said

I took my first IO tour in 2001 and, over thirteen years, an annual trip in good company has become a much valued and eagerly anticipated part of my life. “Recreation beyond expectation” is not some glib corporate claim but a reality, consistently and professionally delivered which has encouraged me to go to places which would otherwise have seemed out of reach. High professionalism with a very human face.

Patrick Guiton, 2014

I book and rebook again and again because I just love travelling with this young, hard working, enthusiastic couple. We all know what a competitive world this travel business is, but it isn’t for me any longer. I am more than happy that I have found “Inspiration Outdoors.”

Mary, Kalbarri 2014

Pricing

$2,355 twin share. $2,755 private room.

$350 deposit at time of booking

Money-Back Guarantee

Our number one priority at Inspiration Outdoors is to ensure our guests have a great experience on EVERY tour.

We can't guarantee the weather, bush fires or events beyond our control, but we do guarantee that:
– your guides are professional, friendly and hard working.
– your itinerary is well organised and thought out.
– the particulars of your tour (accommodation, transport, food etc) are as described on the website and in the tour notes.

We stand behind our guarantees. If you come on a tour with Inspiration Outdoors and we do not fulfil these promises, we will give you your money back.

Ask about this tour:

If you would like to book this tour, or just want to learn a bit more about it, please fill in the enquiry form below and we will get back to you to confirm availability or to answer your questions.

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Other ways to get in touch

What happens after I book?

After you have paid a deposit and filled in a registration form, we will send you any extra information you may need, including a list of what to bring and how best to prepare for the tour.

Payment in full is required at least six weeks prior to the tour (bookings can still be made within six weeks of tour start date if there are places available). We will email or call you to remind you when this is due.

Finally, we will contact you prior to your tour to confirm pick-up times and locations. If you have any questions or concerns at all before or after you have booked, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can go through them with you.

What are my payment options?

Payment can be made by:

  • Direct deposit
  • Cheque
  • Credit card

Can I cancel my booking?

We hope that you do not need to cancel your booking. However, if you do, our cancellation fee, based on the notice given prior to the departure date, is:

  • More than 12 weeks: $50 administration fee
  • 6 to 12 weeks: loss of deposit
  • 4 to 6 weeks: 25% of full tour cost
  • 2 to 4 weeks: 50% of full tour cost
  • less than 2 weeks: 100% of full tour cost, no refund

If you have any concerns about cancelling, please take out travel insurance covering this contingency. This policy will be adhered to despite the most compelling and compassionate circumstances.