Our Great Ocean walk is unique in its inclusion of local experts, imparting their wisdom of the area's history and environment, making your experience complete. You'll join a local Historian who'll walk with you and share his fascinating knowledge of the area's human and natural history from shipwrecks to Bushtucker. One evening you'll join a qualified naturalist who takes you on a dusk walk to see the areas resident wildlife, a real highlight of the weekend and you'll be sure to learn some surprising new knowledge about these creatures.
We only operate small groups and have chosen what we consider the best sections of the track to showcase the wonderfully diverse scenery and habitats. We'll show you a walk of real contrasts from the secluded Parker River inlet to wild Station Beach and the magnificent sea cliffs at remote Milanesia. The walk progresses from "mild" to "wild" walking as we head further west towards the 12 Apostles.
Despite the wild surroundings, you won't be "roughing it". The exercise is rewarded with some good old-fashioned pampering at our luxurious, four-star accommodation and sumptuous feasts each evening served in the "great hall", overlooking wild kangaroos and the Otway ranges. You won't be returning at night to "just another hotel room", as the Eco - lodge is for it's exclusive nature based experience and facilities, as well as being wonderfully comfortable.
Our Great Ocean Walk is achievable regardless of your fitness level. There are pull out points and so there is no pressure to walk the entire way - you only walk as much as you'd like to. You can return to the accommodation should you wish or walk extra distance, and you'll only need to carry a day pack. Great Ocean Walk is an inspiring journey that immerses you in natural beauty, with a warm bed and great food at the end of each day.
Day 1: Parker's Inlet to Cape Otway. Includes: (L), (D). Drive to Blanket Bay where we start walking our first section of the Great Ocean walk trail to Parker Inlet. The track meanders along the cliff tops and through coastal forests to the quiet haven of Parker’s Inlet. Expect to see Black Wallabies, Echidnas, Black Cockatoos, Rosellas and other wildlife along our route. Leaving Parker Inlet we have an optional hike to Crayfish Bay, before continuing along the track through manna gum forests. The walk emerges from the forest and into open terrain along the coast to the Cape Otway light house, which is Australia’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse. It was built in 1848 and marks the entrance to the Bass Straits.
A local expert will reveal some of the remarkable stories of ship wreck along this wild coastline. We will then be transferred by minibus to our secluded accommodation at the edge of the Cape Otway National Park. Not only do you get great views of the Otway Ranges but you will also be able to watch the antics of the wild Kangaroo’s as they play in the meadows outside. After enjoying a wholesome dinner there will be opportunity to have a guided dusk tour to learn more about the Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s, Koalas and other wildlife that inhabits this area. Walking distance: approx. 13 km/ 4 hours walking.
Day 2: Cape Otway to Castle Cove. Includes: (B), (L), (D). After a hearty local breakfast we will have an early start as we have a good day’s walk ahead of us along the magnificent stretch of coast from Station Beach to Johanna Beach. We walk through fields and sand dunes and descend to Station Beach, where we walk along a spectacular stretch of coastline with pounding surf. We then ascend back up to the escarpment overlooking the beach and walk along a narrow coastal path overlooking Station beach. The path winds along the cliff tops and then wind sculpted sand dunes before descending to the beautiful Aire River estuary and surrounding wetlands. After stopping for refreshments and snacks at Aire River we head inland for a while climbing up and around the next point. The route takes us through spinifex forests and then continues along the coastal path with sweeping views of the rugged coastline. Expect some ups and downs with a little climbing before we get to our next break at Castle Cove.
Located on a spectacular bend of the Great Ocean Road at Glenaire, Castle Cove is a beautiful beach surrounded with towering cliffs which have high archaeological significance, as dinosaur fossils have been found here. Continuing on from Castle Cove we encounter some of the most spectacular coastal views of the entire walk. The track winds its way along the cliff tops, through heathland and forests, occasionally emerging to give breathtaking and extensive views along the coast. The forest here is an interesting mixture of with grass trees and manna gums. Eventually we emerge onto the broad expanse of Johanna Beach. We finish the day by walking along this beautiful beach which must rate as one of the best in Australia for its views and crashing surf. We transfer to the comforts of our lodge to freshen up and relax before dinner. Then reward yourself with sumptuous local dishes and a choice of superb wines in a very tranquil and peaceful natural environment. Walking distance: approx. 16.5 km walking/ 5-6 hours.
Day 3: Johanna Beach to Ryan's Den/ 12 Apostles. Includes: (B), (L), (D). Our last day’s walk is one of the wildest and most challenging sections of the entire track. We walk in from the Great Ocean Road to join the track at a point where it cuts inland before returning to the coast and one of the walk’s highlights. Milanesia Beach is an isolated and hidden beach that receives few visitors and is all the more special for it. From here the trail continues along the high sea cliffs cliff to Cape Volney with breathtaking views all the way back to Cape Otway lighthouse. Groups in September may be lucky enough to see the Southern Right Whales which frequent this coast in the winter months. We finish at Ryan’s Den and hike out to meet our transport and drive down the coast to see the famous Twelve Apostles or Wreck beach, dependent on tide movements and the wishes of the group. We stop at a restaurant for dinner which has amazing views over the Otways before we head back to Melbourne (approx. 8.30pm). Walking distance: Approx. 14 km walking/ 4-5 hours.
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