The Great Ocean Walk is on the list of 'must do' nature hikes for many hikers and backpackers. It passes through both Great Otway National Park and Port Campbell National Park, and overlooks two Marine Parks; Marengo Reef, and 12 Apostles Marine Park.
This world renowned walk starts at Apollo Bay and stretches a challenging 104km to Glenample Homestead, near the famous 12 apostles.
The only way to 'see it all'
As anyone who has travelled the great ocean road would know, the trip between Apollo Bay and Princetown is almost entirely inland, so the Great Ocean Walk gives travellers the opportunity to see this entire section of coastline, which is not possible by car.
Discover your own hidden piece of the Great Ocean Road
Some of my favourite spots along the walk are Blanket Bay & Point Franklin for their beauty & sense of remoteness, Cape Otway for the impressive lighthouse and history, Aire River & Glenaire Beach for the childhood camping memories & stunning scenery, and Moonlight Head & Wreck Beach for the intricate rock patterns and photogenic Ship Anchors. You'll have your favourite places too, but you'll have to start walking to find them!
So are there 8 sections or 9?
You may find some conflicting information out there regarding the various sections of the Great Ocean Walk. Allow me to set the record straight.
The walk is divided into 8 official sections with each stage terminating at one of 7 hike-in campsites. Each site has tent pads, toilets, shelters, rainwater tanks (untreated) and camp tables.
Some guides do however show 9 sections, and the reason for this is that they divide the walk into 9 separate individual walks that do not necessarily terminate at one of the hike-in campsites. For example Ryan's Den Campsite is not a natural terminating section and you need to walk several kilometres to access it from the Great Ocean Road (and the track is not marked well).
Because of this, some guides split the two stages from Johanna Beach to Devils Kitchen into 3 stages, terminating at Milanesia Beach, Moonlight Head and Devils Kitchen, allowing vehicle access near each point.
I will be providing information based on an 8 stage walk, with a page dedicated to each section, however, notes will be provided for those wanting to tackle individual sections.
Much of the great ocean walk is along beaches that are impassable at high tide or when the seas are rough. Also there are some creeks and rivers which are unbridged, so be prepared to get your feet wet after heavy rain! In some cases there are 'decision points' which allow for an inland or detour route during unfavourable conditions. Always check the latest weather and tide information before tackling any section of the walk.
In the summer months, you may come across snakes during your walk, so wearing 'gaiters' to protect your lower legs should be considered.
Note: There are planned upgrades to the walk in the near future, particularly at the western end, so as always, make sure you have the most up to date stage information from Parks Victoria before proceeding (PH: 131 963)
Great Ocean Walk Planning:
If you intend on using the hike-in campsites then a camping permit is required from Parks Victoria. Parks Victoria requests hikers to register at least 2 weeks in advance. In peak season (summer) It is advisable to arrange your permits early to avoid disappointment.