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. Great Ocean Walk is achievable regardless of your fitness level. A support vehicle follows the group at all times, and there’s 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.
Day 1: Walk Blanket Bay to Cape Otway After meeting in Melbourne we start the three hour drive to Cape Otway, breaking the journey for coffee en route and picking up our lunch at Apollo Bay. Our first stop is a grove of old growth forest at Mait’s rest before we arrive at the Cape and the start of the Great Ocean walk. 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. At Parker’s inlet we meet our local guide who will be pointing out some of the unique features of the Cape Otway area and illuminating us on the human and natural history of the area. We’ll slow the pace right down as we get to hear some fascinating stories and are shown various natural features that make this area unique.
Leaving Parker Inlet we walk along the beach (tide permitting) to see some of the shipwreck relics in this area. 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 accommodation at the Cape Otway lighthouse. Enjoy walking around this historic precinct after other visitors have left and take in the tremendous views over the Southern Ocean and high sea cliffs at Cape Otway. Where the lighthouse is not available we will be using alternative accommodation in walkers cabins based at Cape Otway. Walking distance: approx. 9-10 km/ 4 hours guided walking. Includes: (L), (D) and Snack Stops.
Day 2: Walk Cape Otway to Castle Cove. 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 Cape Otway to Johanna Beach. If not staying at the lighthouse then we start with a tour of the station and it’s precincts in the morning. We then walk along a sandy track past the Pioneer cemetery and large sand dunes, eventually descending to wild 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 sheltered section of the track for an hour or so. 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. For those who are keen there is the option to continue on from Castle Cove, where 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 back to our accommodation to freshen up and relax before dinner. Walking distance: approx. 16.5 km walking (finish at castle cove) or 22.5 km (full itinerary)/ 5-7 hours. Includes (B), (L), (D) and Snack Stops.
Day 3: Walk Johanna Beach to Ryan’s Den/ 12 Apostles and return to Melbourne. Our last day’s walk is one of the wildest and most challenging sections of the entire track. Depending on the weather, tides and wishes of the group we may vary the itinerary this day to suit. 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 to moonlight head with breathtaking views all the way back to Cape Otway lighthouse.
The last section of trail from Ryan’s den to Moonlight head offers dramatic scenery but can be a demanding walk because of the roller coaster nature of the terrain on this section. The views back along the coast and over the high sea cliffs, bays and caves are truly amazing. There is also an option to finish earlier at Ryan’s Den and hike out to meet our transport and drive down the coast to see the famous Twelve Apostles and/ or walk along Wreck beach, dependent on tide movements and the wishes of the group. Wreck beach is a beautiful wild area contains the anchors of the Marie Gabrielle and the Fiji which foundered here in the late 1800’s. We stop at a restaurant for dinner (not included) which has amazing views over the Otways before we head back to Melbourne (arriving approx. 9.30pm). Walking distance: Approx. 10-14 km walking/ 5-7 hours. Includes (B), (L), (D) and Snack Stops.
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