Great Ocean Walk
The Great Ocean Walk is a one-way, long-distance walk extending just over 110km. This once-in-a-lifetime hike will take you eight days.
Start at Apollo Bay, passing through Great Otway National Park and Port Campbell National Park on the way. You'll conclude your journey at the world-famous Twelve Apostles. Alternatively, you can sample sections on a range of short, day, and multi-day hikes.
The Great Ocean Walk shadows the iconic Great Ocean Road. Every day is different as those stunning coastal landscapes you see from your car window pass beneath your feet. The big skies and wild nature will astound you.
Discover the region’s diversity of plants, animals and scenery. Weave your way through tall forests, coastal heathlands and beside rocky shore platforms. Cross creeks and rivers and pass above wild-rocky shores and deserted beaches with panoramic views from windswept cliff-tops.
Walkers can stay at one of the dedicated campsites or find off-walk accommodation nearby with the comfort of hot showers and soft beds. There are seven small hike-in campsites, which must be booked prior to walking. Campgrounds are small and walking groups need to consider their noise and environmental impacts.
What might you see along the way:
- Koalas resting in the eucalypt trees.
- Cape Otway Lighthouse and its friendly guides ready to share stories of the Shipwreck Coast.
- Wreck Beach at low tide with its rusting shipwreck anchors from the Marie Gabrielle and Fiji.
- Rockpools at Blanket Bay and the pounding surf of Johanna Beach.
- Wet fern and rainforest gullies sheltered by the world’s tallest flowering plant.
- Remote and rarely visited places such as Station Beach, Milanesia Beach, Ryans Den, and Devils Kitchen.
- Winter migrations of Humpback and Southern Right Whales passing just off-shore.
- The high coastal cliffs of Moonlight Head.
The Great Ocean Walk offers a range of options for walkers with varying skill levels. Tackle the whole eight days, or experience it in shorter snippets. Choose from a variety of short, day and overnight hikes. You can experience the walk independently, use a licensed tour operator, or mix and match.
Look and listen carefully and you will be rewarded. The Great Ocean Walk offers many opportunities to view wildlife in its natural settings – on land and out to sea.
How to get there
Great Ocean Walk
Apollo Bay — the start of the Great Ocean Walk — is three hours' drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. If you have one vehicle we recommend that you park at the Twelve Apostles Carpark and get shuttled back to Apollo Bay to start your walk. If you don't have a vehicle, you can go with a Licensed Tour Operator or use one of the shuttle services.
We suggest the following shuttles:
Alternatively, use public transport. The V/Line bus stops at the Twelve Apostles Carpark, Princetown and Apollo Bay.
Explore the region
Need to know
Great Ocean Walk
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I have a campfire?
Campfires are NOT permitted within Great Ocean Walk hike-in campsites at any time.
The nearby car-based Blanket Bay Campground and Aire River West Campground permit campfires. Campfires are only permitted in the designated fireplaces and campers must bring their own firewood from outside the national park.
It is prohibited to light a campfire on a declared Total Fire Ban day in the South West Weather District, inside or outside tents, shelters or toilets. A portable gas stove is permitted to use for the sole purpose of meal preparation, providing it is in a stable position, in a 3m area cleared of flammable material. You have at least 10L of water immediately available and an adult must be present.
What if I cannot complete the walk?
To assist park staff to locate and contact people on the walk when emergencies occur and to ensure hiker safety, it is important that you inform Parks Victoria if you do not complete any section of your registered hike.
For your safety, and your role and responsibility in supporting efficient search and rescue, we recommend you register your trip intentions to aid emergency support should the need arise.
A Trip Intention Form is advised for any hikers undertaking walking/hiking overnight.
Where can I park my car?
No designated long-term parking exists for the Great Ocean Walk. It is strongly recommended that hikers use the shuttle services available.
There are unsecured public car parks on the foreshore between Apollo Bay and Marengo. No designated long-term parking exists in this area. Unsecured public parking exists in the Great Otway National Park at day-visitor car parks and camping areas.
Parking may be available at Princetown Recreation Reserve for hikers completing the 'end' of the walk. You should confirm with the Princetown Recreation Reserve caretaker (call 0429 985 176) BEFORE parking there. This is relatively secure parking and walkers can drop their packs off at their cars here before continuing the final 5km to end at the Twelve Apostles.
Great Otway and Port Campbell National Park carparks are open to the public at all times. Please note:
- The Twelve Apostles carpark is not patrolled after hours.
- Hikers leave their vehicles in these areas at their own risk.
- Please remember to remove valuables and lock your vehicle.
- It is NOT recommended that visitors use Gibson Steps carpark for overnight parking. (very small, no facilities)
Your car safety remains your responsibility. Be sure to advise police if you intend to leave a vehicle for any length of time beyond one day.
Is there drinking water available along the walk?
There are rainwater tanks at the Great Ocean Walk hike-in campgrounds, which collect untreated rainfall water. Due to the remote nature of the campsites, Parks Victoria cannot guarantee rainwater availability at each campsite.
It is anticipated that Great Ocean Walk campsite rain water tank levels are currently at adequate levels for use by hikers. If they drop below serviceable volumes, our Ranger team will provide advice in the change of conditions section of this page.
Hikers are responsible for their own water requirements. Tank-rainwater, when present, can be treated in several ways such as filtering and boiling or adding sterilisation tablets. Hikers should carry extra water in warm weather.
There are a number of licensed tour operators who provide options to have water dropped off or delivered ahead of your hike.
Can I purchase food along the way?
It is recommended you carry enough food for the walk as options for purchasing food are very limited. You may be able to purchase food from the following locations:
- The historic Cape Otway Lightstation precinct café serves light meals and refreshments during business hours. Entry fees apply.
- The Lightstation entry station sells cold drinks and snacks to visitors choosing not to enter the historic area.
- Apollo Bay has supermarkets for comprehensive shopping needs and nearby villages are located at Lavers Hill and Princetown and Bimbi Park on Cape Otway.
Parks Victoria’s licensed tour operators can provide a food and water drop-off service
What should I bring?
Whether you are planning a multi-day hike or an afternoon walk, it is important to plan in advance. Coastal weather can change quickly and be unpredictable in all seasons. Be prepared for strong winds, heavy rain; as well as hot or cold weather throughout the year.
- Protective clothing such as a jumper, weatherproof jacket, hat and sunscreen.
- Sturdy footwear with a good tread.
- First Aid Kit — for blisters, sunburn, stings and bites (especially if you have extreme reactions/allergies).
- A large waterproof bag – may be useful for keeping gear dry inside your pack when crossing rivers.
- A portable radio (not mobile phone/internet access) for immediate access to Emergency broadcasting and updates (e.g. fire and storm warnings and updates) including ABC Local Radio.
- Food and Water — Carry food, water, water treatment methods, and equipment for up to 15km per day if you are walking unsupported. Alternatively, you may consider linking your walk to nearby accommodation and service providers. Water is untreated rainwater and not guaranteed to be available at campgrounds.
- Leave no trace — please ensure that you carry all your rubbish out with you. Do not deposit rubbish into the composting toilets as this stops the systems from working and staff then have to physically remove your rubbish by hand.
Is there mobile phone and internet coverage on the walk?
Mobile coverage is intermittent along the Great Ocean Walk. Generally, Telstra mobile coverage can be found at high points where there is little overhanging vegetation.
Known mobile phone reception areas (Telstra only) include; Blanket Bay beach area, above Station Beach, Johanna Beach, Milanesia Beach at creek crossing, Ryans Den campground, Moonlight Head and Devils Kitchen campground ocean-view areas.
Can I swim along the Great Ocean Walk?Beaches along the track not patrolled by lifesavers, therefore swimming is not recommended. For information on patrolled swimming beaches, contact the Apollo Bay or Port Campbell Visitor Information Centres.
Where can I book a tour to complete the walk?
One of the best ways to experience the Great Ocean Walk is with a Licensed Tour Operator. Booking a Licensed Tour Operator gives you the confidence they are insured and comply with park regulations and best of all, they do all the hard work for you by planning and preparing your visit so you can enjoy your nature-based adventure to the fullest.
Change of Conditions
Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.
Twelve Apostles (Port Campbell National Park)
Saddle Lookout - access changeFrom mid-September 2021 there will be no access to the Saddle and Castle Rock viewing areas while a new lookout is being built.
Visitors can continue to enjoy the other lookouts, boardwalks and visitor areas at the Twelve Apostles and the other spectacular visitor sites in the Port Campbell National Park.For more information https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/western-victoria/saddle-lookout
Notices Affecting Multiple Parks
Seasonal road closures 2023
Seasonal road closures 2023
Loch Ard Gorge (Port Campbell National Park)
Loch Ard Gorge beach access closureBeach access is closed due to dangerous cliff movement near the Upper Lookout, which could cause a collapse.
Geotechnical specialists have assessed the site and we will work with a contractor to make the steps safe again.
We aim to re-open access to Loch Ard Gorge in spring 2023.Other walks in this area remain open.
Aire River East Campground (Aire River Heritage River, Great Otway National Park)
Aire River East campground Temporary closureAire River east campground is temporarily closed due to wet conditions making the area unsuitable for camping.
Great Otway National Park
Delayneys Track Closed
Delayneys Track is closed until further notice.
Lifejackets Required For Rock Fishers from March 1, 2022A two-year trial of new laws that require rock fishers to wear a lifejacket at high-risk locations will commence on 1 March 2022.
This factsheet includes maps of the affected areas.Fines apply if you don’t wear a lifejacket at these sites.To find out more, visit Victorian Fisheries Authority
- Artillery Rocks, west of Lorne
- The rock platform opposite Sheoak Falls, south of Lorne
Notices Affecting Multiple Sites
Erskine Falls Lower Lookout ClosedErskine Falls lower lookout is closed until further notice. Access to the base of the waterfall is no longer open due to unsafe conditions. Erskine Falls can be viewed from the top lookout which looks across to the top of the falls. Straw Falls is also inaccessible from the Erskine Falls carpark due to this closure. Erskine Falls walking track is still open from the Lorne township up to the base of Erskine Falls.
Great Ocean Walk - Wet and Muddy conditionsAs a result of ongoing rain in the Great Otway National Park over autumn and through winter 2023, conditions of the track on the day 1 and day 2 sections of the Great Ocean Walk are advised to be very wet and muddy.The Elliot Road section of walk is particularly unfavourable, and heavy conditions are anticipated to be ongoing until late Spring 2023.South West District Weather forecast
Attachments: GOW May 2023 (540KB)
Sharps Campground (Great Otway National Park)
Sharps Campground Permanently ClosedDue to environmental and safety risks, Sharps campground will be permanently closed from Thursday 22nd December 2022.For more information please see attached fact sheet.
Cora Lynn Campground (Great Otway National Park)
Cora Lynn Campground ClosedDue to environmental and safety risks, Cora Lynn campground is permanently closed.
Blanket Bay - Bush RatsFollowing the success of our fox and feral cat management programmes population numbers of Rattus fuscipes have grown again in the Blanket Bay campground area of the Great Otway National Park.The combination of less predators and conducive weather conditions has allowed a population to return that campers at Blanket Bay should be cautious of.The Bush rat has some specific features that can help you distinguish it from similar rats.· It has pointed head and rounded ears.· Its tail is smaller than the rat's body.· Another key feature is their front teeth - they are chisel-shaped with hard yellow enamel.These native rodents are known to scavenge on campers’ food, gnawing through tents to get to uncontained foodstuffs.Native bush Rats are protected wildlife in the National Park and may form part of your camping experience while camping at Blanket Bay.
Attachments: Native vs Non-Native FS (779KB)
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk (Great Otway National Park)
Maits Rest Carpark- bus accessMaits Rest Carpark is suitable for small coaster buses only. Large buses or coaches are advised to use Melba Gully walk track near Lavers Hill.
Melba Gully Day Visitor Area (Great Otway National Park)
Melba Gully - Large bus accessMelba Gully Walk Track and picnic area is accessible for large coaches. Toilet facilities are available on site