What is the best time to do the walk?
That’s a hard one! After all you are in Victoria where on any given day you can experience all seasons. Having said that, most walkers seem to prefer from Spring through to Autumn. ( September to May) June of course has some very special, crisp, fine days where you’ll probably have the walk to yourself but then again it could also be cold and wet. You are in nature’s hands.
Is it dangerous?
The obvious answer to this is No. However, as with everything you need to keep your wits about you and be careful. At times the Southern Ocean can dish up huge seas and this may make walking along the beach access areas a bit tricky. You should also be aware of tides if you intend to cross any rivers. There are 3 river crossings on the track; Elliot, Parker and Johanna. Usually all will be fine but it is a good idea to try and cross on low tide.
During hot weather always keep an eye open for Joe Blakes. ( snakes )
Where can I find current weather warnings?
The best place to find up to date weather warnings is from the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology. The page automatically refreshes whenever a warning is issued. If you are walking during the fire season or when there may be extreme weather conditions you are well advised to check this site prior to departure.
Where can I find info about bushfires?
If you intend to do the Great Ocean Walk during the summer months it is imperative that you keep aware of any current bushfire warnings.
How strenuous is the walk?
That all depends on how fit you are and whether you are camping on track or staying in accommodation close by. If you are camping on track and walking independently you will have to take a goodly sized backpack to get you through the 7 night trek. So, you’ll need to be pretty fit. If you are on a guided walk you’ll most probably have less to carry and even less again if you are staying off track. The walk itself varies from easy to difficult. Please see the table below for the difficulty grading for each section of the walk.
|Sections of the walk||Approx distance||Approx time||Grade|
|Apollo Bay to Elliot Ridge||10 km||3.5 hrs||Medium|
|Elliot Ridge to Blanket Bay||12 km||4.5 hrs||Easy|
|Blanket Bay to Cape Otway||11 km||3.5 hrs||Easy to Medium|
|Cape Otway to Aire River||10 km||3 hrs||Medium|
|Aire River to Johanna||14 km||5 hrs||Medium|
|Johanna to Ryan’s Den||14 km||5 hrs||Medium to Hard|
|Ryan’s Den to Devil’s Kitchen||13 kms||5 hrs||Medium to Hard|
|Devil’s Kitchen to 12 Apostles||16 kms||5 hrs||Easy to Medium|
Do I need to wear special hiking shoes?
First and foremost, thongs are off the menu. I suppose we should also add general sports shoes and runners. What you should be wearing is a solid walking shoe with ankle support. The last thing you need is a sprained ankle half way through your walk.
Is there a transport shuttle service available?
Yes. There are various shuttle services available. Most are locally based and offer a professional and reasonably priced package. They’ll pick you up from your accommodation in the morning, drop you off at point A, pick you up at point B and drop you back again at your accommodation. They can also transport luggage if need be. They are very flexible – get in touch and have a chat.
Is it possible to buy food along the way?
No, there are no shops on the Great Ocean Walk. If you are camping on track you will need to bring all your own food. Cans are better than bottles. They are lighter and crush down. You can get a meal at Cape Otway Lightstation but fees apply for entry. There is nowhere on the walk that you can dispose of your rubbish. You have to carry it with you all the way.
If you are staying off track in private accommodation there are of course many options. Having your meals delivered is always a nice option after you’ve been walking all day.
Is there mobile coverage on the walk?
Mobile coverage is at best intermittent along the Great Ocean Walk. Try the high points where there is no tall trees in the vicinity. Most walkers have some success at Blanket Bay Beach area, Station Beach high-tide route, Johanna campsite, Ryans Den campsite, Moonlight Head and Devils Kitchen campsite ocean-view areas.
Only Telstra reception is available.
Please Note: All mobile telephone users, including international, can connect to the Police, Ambulance or CFA on 000 or another emergency mobile network by dialling 112 and dialling HELP.
Where can I park my car?
There are quite a few places along the Great Ocean Walk where you can park your car. Public parking in the Great Otway National Park is available at these car parks: Shelly Beach, Blanket Bay, Parker Hill, Cape Otway, Aire River, Johanna Beach, Milanesia Beach Access ( at the gate ), Moonlight Head, The Gables Lookout and Wreck Beach. No long-term parking is provided in the Apollo Bay and Marengo area, but cars can be parked in the foreshore car parks between Apollo Bay and Marengo.
The red dots on the map below ( courtesy of visitgreatoceanroad.org.au ) show where these spots are.
What are the GOW camp site facilities like?
The campsites are in fantastic locations but they only have very basic facilities. There is a toilet for each campground, ( some of the loos have great views ) a shelter with a bench, seating and two or three walls. There are also tables near some of the campsites. There are no showers at the campgrounds.
Where are the visitor information centres?
There are two visitor information centres for the Great Ocean Walk. The first is in Apollo Bay at the start of the walk and the second is in Port Campbell just after the end of the walk.
Apollo Bay: 100 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay, Victoria 3233
Phone: +61 3 5237 6529
Port Campbell: 26 Morris Street, Port Campbell, Victoria
Phone: 1300 137 255
Questions and Answers
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