Great Ocean Walk
The “Great Ocean Road and their 12 Apostles” are well known for many people all over the world.It is for sure a “must see” attraction while you are in Melbourne, Australia.West of Geelong starts the 243 km long “Great Ocean road” B100 all the way over Port Campbell to Allansford.
But did you know that you can actually hike a 104 km section along the coast.This trail with its beautiful panoramic views of the coast and wildshores goes parallel to the B100. Why should you walk 104 km when youcan drive it? Well, you will see spots along the trail which youcan’t access with a car.
The Great Ocean Walk starting from the Apollo Bay Visitor InformationCentre through the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parksending the the twelf Apostles close to Princetown.
The one way walk follows its way through forest, rocky shores and coastallands, crossing beach sections, creeks and rivers. You get greatpanoramic views from cliff-tops.
Here a quick look at a official map with the marked sections, walk-incamps and step on/off points.
Along the trail are only limited service and food supplies, you are in themiddle of nowhere. If you book a tour through one of the tourcompanies they will drop you off in selected points and pick you upat the end of a section hike and bring you back to youraccommodation, which you book with them as well. This way you don’thave to carry your clothes, because they will deliver it to the nexthotel where you stay in.
Here are some companies listed who do the drop off and pick up shuttleservice.
Of course, can you plan and go by your own. If you up for the wholeexperience you should hike the trail with your camping gear and stayat a camping ground on each end of a section.
I definitely recommend staying the nights at the trail, it’ s afantastic experience. On high season (Spring – Autumn) duringNovember – April can the trail get busy. So be aware that you planyour trip well ahead and book the camps early enough, before you willbe disappointed.
You have to book and pay your campsite online or by telephone with Parks Victoria, there are no other camping options available along the trail. With 30 AU$ per night per site is it not a cheap journey. Ifyou walk the full 104km between the walk-in campgrounds you will need8 days. Depending on ur fitness level you can skip a campsite if youwant. One section is around 10-15 km long, a skip would give you thena 22-28 km walk. Depending how often you skip a section you couldprobably do the hike in 5-6 days. If you don’t have the time andstill want to explore the trail for couple days, you can organize adrop off and pick up where ever you want. Maybe you know someone whodoes that for you, otherwise ask your hotel, book a pick up with oneof the travel companies or get a taxi to and off the trail. Alldepends of course on your comfort and budget.
I decided to walk the trail in 8 days from the start in Apollo Bay allthe way to the end to the 12 apostles. I finished with an extra nightin Princetown Recreation Reserve Camping. This is a good finish to relax andgives you warm showers and other service.
Food options are very limited along the walk. The Cape Otway Light station(entrance fee) has light meals and refreshments during opening hours.Whose who choose to not enter can purchase cold drinks and snacks atthe entrance. There is a small general store and also otherAccommodation in Princetown to by food. Apollo Bays has Supermarketsfor bigger shopping.
I got my whole food for one week in Apollo Bay. Food for a week can use a lotspace in your backpack, so it’s important to know what and how muchyou eat and then count every slice of bread or pack of noodles. Youshould pack lightweight and high protein food. Because the eye eatsalways with, make sure you don’t buy to much. Be aware when youhike during high season in high temperatures that food sweats andgets bad pretty quick. Then you should buy more dry food, likenoodles.
If you don’t want to miss fresh food, you should organize a food drop offon half way.
These tour operators listed above offer as well a food and water drop offalong the trail.
There are untreated rainfall water tanks available at all camp site. ParksVictoria do not guarantee rainwater availability.
All important information about the trail, campsites, services and SafetyInfos are given by the official information sheet here.
It’s important to know the safety info about the tides, beaches andun-bridges river crossings, especially during heavy weather.
This is the literary of my journey
Day 1Apollo Bay to Elliot River 10 kmDay 2Elliot River – skip Blanket Bay – Cape Otway 23 kmDay 3Cape Otway to Aire River 10 kmDay 4Aire River – Johanna Beach 14 kmDay 5Johanna Beach – Ryans Den 14 kmDay 6Ryans Den – Devils Kitchen 13 kmDay 7Devils Kitchen – Twelve Apostles 16 km – back to Princetown Recreation Reserve Camp +5 kmDay 8catch the V/Line Bus from Princetown around 10am
How to get there.
The trail is a one way walk only! So you will start at Apollo bay.Remember it can take up to 3-4 hours to get to Apollo bay fromMelbourne, then you will be already tired from driving around, but Istill got on the trail the same day and finished the first section onday 1.
You can travel to Apollo bay by ur own car or take a public train and busfrom Melbourne. There is a train from southern cross stationto Geelong. V/Line Bus Service has adirect line via Colac and the Princes Highway between Apollo Bay -Geelong and Melbourne.
Most of the people drive all the way to the 12 apostles and leave their carthere at the carpark. Then get a ride back to apollo bay with V/Linebus via the Great Ocean Road, stopping at Princetown and the TwelveApostles car park. . I left my car in Apollo bay and catched the busback at the end. Its your choice how you do it.
The public transport is not that busy there. On low season May-Oct., theservice operates only 3 days a week once a day. Check out theirwebsite for more information. The V/Line bus is definitely a cheapoption compared to other companies, especially when you travelingalone.