Trail Notes – Great Ocean Walk, Vic
The Great Ocean Walk is abound with stunning coastal scenery – sandy coves and beaches, rugged rocky platforms, and iconic towering sandstone cliffs and apostles. The hike traverses some of the spectacular coastal scapes Victoria is renowned for, whilst winding in and out of coastal scrub and lush mountain ash rainforest.
Length: ~100km, taking 6-8 days on average to complete.
Camping: The hike is divided into 8 parts, each consisting of a suggested days walk. There are serviced campsites awaiting you at the end of each day, each with shelter, toilets, tank water, and picnic table. These campsites are listed below.
Map: The Great Ocean Walk Walk Victoria’s Icons booklet/map, by Parks Victoria (Scale 1:25,000). These can be purchased online or at info centres near the trailhead. More info online at the Parks Victoria website, here.
Distance to capital city: 200 km south-west Melbourne, ~3 hours drive.
Areas of interest: Great Otway National Park, Port Campbell National Park.
View our full collection of images from the Great Ocean Walk, here.
Alive with activity:
A breath of fresh ocean air trails through the forest. The understory is dense, there’s a thick collection of ferns a dark green in the afternoon, a chorus of fine sounds. The coastal eucalypts warp inland, relenting to the relentless battering each receives from the moment a seed escapes the soil and begins its journey upwards. On a quiet day the sound of variety of birds is heard, terns and oyster catchers on the shoreline, a silhouetted sea eagle glides above the canopy, wrens darting in and out of the understorey.
At night, owls are silently present throughout the landscape although a chance to spot with a torch at night, you might also be fortunate enough to see the flash of a potoroo or bandicoot racing off into the vegetation.
Highlight: Reaching the end of the penultimate day, hiking into Devils Kitchen through brilliant stringy bark forest, as yellow tailed black cockatoos shatter the afternoon quiet, calling to one another as a lone hiker strolls beneath them.
A forest, protected:
National Parks grant areas of land and water the chance to recuperate, to recover some of the biomass that humans have extracted or flattened. Stretching along most of the coast from Torquay to Port Campbell, our Great Otway National Park features a unique blend of habitats – moist foothill forests, with tall stands of mountain ash and messmate, temperate rainforest dense with tree ferns, already mentioned coastal scrub, and expanses of biodiverse heathland.
Much of the forest – in particular the tallest flowering trees in the world (the mountain ash) were removed by the forestry industry from colonising times onwards. Trees of the like we’ll never see in our lifetime – due to their 400+ year lifespan. Only a handful of original individuals of this truely humbling species exist in the region. The park gives them the protection they deserve.
Conservation of note: The regions spatial protection is particularly important for the conservation of the endangered Spot-tailed Quoll, Rufous Bristlebird, and Hooded Plover. When we’re hiking through them, leaving no trace is the least we can do.
The Great Ocean Walk, and the national, state and coastal Parks from where these photos were taken, is on the traditional lands of the Easter Maar people. I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of these lands and waters on which I was able to traverse, learn, and appreciate – and pay respect to the First Nations Peoples and their elders, past, present and future.