A guide will accompany you each day as you walk between 9 and 20 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
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 our accommodation in Apollo Bay.
Day 2: Shelly Beach to Parker Inlet
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 relaxing 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 Inlet to Aire River
Our path this morning will take us inland through manna gums towards Cape Otway. The trail then heads back to the coast and we pass Crayfish Bay with it’s magnificent turquoise water. As we get closer to Cape Otway we begin to see glimpses of the lighthouse in the distance.
From Cape Otway 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.
Day 4 Aire River to Milanesia Track
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 then hit Castle Cove lookout, surrounded by towering cliffs which have high archaeological significance.
From here we head along cliff tops, through heath-lands and forests, occasionally emerging to breathtaking views along the extensive coast. There are 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 Track.
Day 5: Milanesia Track to Moonlight Head
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. We finish today with a steep but rewarding climb up to Moonlight Head.
Day 6: Moonlight Head to Gibson Steps
Starting from 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.
From The Gables the trail heads 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. Due to safety reasons, we will however take the high tide route to Devils Kitchen. From Devils Kitchen the trail hugs and meanders along the wild coastal cliffs, nicely protected by beautiful coastal heath, all the way to 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 just before Gibson steps.
Day 7: Gibson Steps to 12 Apostles. Drive to Melbourne
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.
We head to Loch Ard Gorge for morning tea, before taking the inland route back to Melbourne. Pick up some take-away lunch (own expense) on the way and we will arrive back in the city by late afternoon.