The Twelve Apostles and ruggedly beautiful southern Victorian coast are one of Australia’s most popular natural attractions; and rightfully so. There is so much that you can do while sightseeing in this beautiful region. We have already told you about the Great Ocean Drive and we recently featured The Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk in our series on the Great Walks of Australia. Now, we bring you details of the larger walk that encompasses the four day Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk known as The Great Ocean Walk or the Twelve Apostles Walk.
The Twelve Apostles Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Michael J Fromholtz – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46022256
The Great Ocean Walk Sign Photo Credit: GreatOceanWalk.info
Aire River Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By The original uploader was Jaimierodd at English Wikipedia – own photo, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24464120
The Great Ocean Walk Sign Photo Credit: TwelveApostlesLodgeWalk.com.au
The Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk is a shorter version of this larger walk and is one of nine Great Walks of Australia. During the Great Apostles Lodge Walk, you return to the lodge accommodations each of the 3 nights you are on the walk and the ground covered is quite a bit less featuring highlights near the Twelve Apostles. The nine Great Walks of Australia are:
About The Great Ocean Walk
Great Ocean Walk Lookout over the Twelve Apostles Photo Credit: Parkstay.vic.gov.au
Lighthouse at Cape Otway Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By csett86 (Christoph Settgast, Germany) – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1212185
The Great Ocean Walk encompasses the entire journey along the Great Ocean Road so it is a multi-day walk and you do not return to the same accommodations each night. Instead, it is a one way trip from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles. The itinerary calls for a 7 or 8 day trek. The distance along the rugged coastline is 104 km long from start to finish. The Great Ocean Walk is a self-guided tour and you can book camping and inn accommodations in advance.
Hiring a Car to get to The Twelve Apostles Walk
The Great Ocean Walk Map Photo Credit: GreatOceanWalk.com.au
Melbourne Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Hire a car in Melbourne to head out to the Great Ocean Road and where you plan on beginning your Great Ocean Walk adventure. Once you leave Melbourne, make your way southwest along the coastline of the Bass Strait to see the amazing sights. There are more than 20 different car rental locations in Melbourne, so finding one that is convenient for you is a breeze. When you are hiring a car, be sure to let your car rental agent know your plans so that they can recommend the best vehicle and give you route maps and safety tips for your road trip. Here are some previous posts about this area from our blog:
The Great Ocean Walk Itinerary
Twelve Apostles Photo Credit: Visit12Apostles.com.au
Camping on the Great Ocean Walk Photo Credit: Parkstay.vic.gov.au
Since the Great Ocean Walk (a.k.a. The Twelve Apostles Walk) is a self-guided walk; you can choose to customise the walk to your time frame, ability, and desires. It was actually designed so that walkers can take sections of the walk at a time. There are drive in campsites along the way, so you can choose to walk certain sections of the walk if an end-to-end walk isn’t in your agenda. Do your research if you are not an experienced and advanced level bushwalker. No matter the length of your walk, be sure to plan ahead, understand the fitness level requirements, have the right shoes and attire, plenty of drinking water, emergency supplies, and make sure that someone knows when you are expected back. Taking all the necessary safety precautions ensures that you will have the most enjoyable bushwalking holiday. It is also important to remember that you are a guest in nature and much of this land is a protected national park. Bring a bag with you to take your own rubbish away. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures. We have a suggested 7 day itinerary below to give you an idea of what you can do and where you can stay.
The Great Ocean Walk Day One
Shelly Beach Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Shelly Beach Picnic Stop Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Day one of the Great Ocean Walk is from the starting point in Apollo Bay to Shelly Beach. It is an 8.75 km walk that takes about 3 or 4 hours. It is a medium grade walk along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. You can make it a shorter, 4.7 km walk by using the Marengo caravan park and beginning there. Accommodations are available in Apollo Bay as well as campsites in Elliot Ridge or Blanket Bay.
The Great Ocean Walk Day Two
Otway National Park Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
For day two of the Great Ocean Walk, you will travel 20.5 km, which is an estimated 6 to 7 hours of walking from Shelly Beach to Parker Inlet. You will head inland through the Mountain Ash forest of Great Otway National Park and come back out on the coast at Blanket Bay. Keep on the lookout for wildlife in the forest like black wallaby, echidna, black cockatoo, and rosella. You can safely swim at Blanket Bay. You can camp at Blanket Bay or Parker Hill.
The Great Ocean Walk Day Three
Cape Otway Lighthouse Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Day three of the Great Ocean Walk takes you from Parker Inlet to the Aire River. This is a distance of 16.5 km and about 4 ½ to 5 hours of walking. You will see the rest of Cape Otway National Park and highlights along the way are Cape Otway Lighthouse, Rainbow Falls, and if you time it right, you can walk through Station Beach at Low Tide. The walk ends at the Aire River campsite.
The Great Ocean Walk Day Four
Aire River Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Castle Cove Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Day four of the Great Ocean Walk takes you from the Aire River to Johanna Beach. It is a 12.4 km walk and takes around 4 or 5 hours to complete. Highlights along the way include the spinifex forests, spectacular views from the rugged coastline, Castle Cove, and Dinosaur Cove. Take some time to explore Castle Cove and its towering cliffs plus the archaeological finds of dinosaur fossils found here. Ending the day at Johanna Beach, you can listen to the crashing waves and enjoy one of the most magnificent beach views in all of Australia here. You can camp at Johanna Beach.
The Great Ocean Walk Day Five
Johanna Beach Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Day five of the Great Ocean Walk begins the most difficult and challenging section of the entire walk. It covers 14 km and takes anywhere from 4 to 6 hours to complete. It may be a challenge, but the reward is great. As you walk past Johanna Beach, be on the lookout inland for the Eastern Grey Kangaroos that hang out in the grassy valleys. You will get to experience secluded, almost secretive Milanesia Beach. Walking through the rugged coastline, you will reach Ryans Den where you can camp for the night. The high sea cliffs here afford you views all the way back to Cape Otway and west clear to Cape Volley.
The Great Ocean Walk Day Six
Wreck Beach Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Gables Lookout Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
From Ryan’s Den, set out on the 5 to 6 hour walk for day six of the Great Ocean Walk. It is a distance of 14.4 km and covers many highlighted points along the way including Cape Volney, Point Reginald, Moonlight Head, The Gables Lookout (one of the highest sea cliffs in mainland Australia). This section is also the most challenging section of the entire Great Ocean Walk. If you have timed your walk during winter or spring, you might see the Southern Right Whales swimming just off the coast. Their migration season is from June through September. The last section of the walk depends on the tides. The high tide route is inland and if you reach this section during low tide, you can walk through Wreck Beach. The high tide and low tide route meet at Devil’s Kitchen.
The Great Ocean Walk Day Seven
The Twelve Apostles Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Thomas ENGUEHARD – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1954228
Princetown Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Gibson’s Steps Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The seventh and final day of the Great Ocean Walk covers the ground from Devil’s Kitchen to The Twelve Apostles. It is a distance of 15 km and takes about 4 to 6 hours to walk. After leaving Devil’s Kitchen, this is a new section of track along the jagged cliffs that take you to the wetlands of Princetown and then onto Gibson’s Steps and The Twelve Apostles. There is a Twelve Apostles viewing platform at Gibson’s Steps the final steps of The Great Ocean Walk are just beyond Gibson’s Steps Beach Carpark where you’ll find a cafe where you can toast and celebrate your completion of the Twelve Apostles Walk / The Great Ocean Walk.