Short and Day Walks

Return again and again and build your own Great Ocean Walk experiences. Several half-day walks explore the tall forests of the 'tamer side' or for the more experienced hiker, the remoter, steep and isolated coves of the 'wild side' in the sections closer to the Twelve Apostles.

Short Walks

Less than 3 hours in length, ranging in difficulty and all are accessible from established visitor car parks.

Lighthouse Cemetery and Lookout Walk – 800m, walk grade easy

The gravel path leads walkers from the carpark out through beard heath to a hilltop lookout. You will be rewarded with views across to the lighthouse, and the ocean. Visit the historic cemetery which bears witness to the realities of lives lost at sea and the harsh isolation of early light station life. Fee applies for Cape Otway Lightstation entry.

Orange location icon Start: Cape Otway Lightstation carpark

Orange location icon End: Cemetery

Marengo to Shelly Beach – 4.4kms, walk grade medium

A mixture of rocky foreshore, wind swept hilltop views and tall shady forest. The exposed, and aptly named, Bald Hill traverses on and off the beach through the sheltered forest to picturesque Shelly Beach and up to the picnic area. Take the coastal route at low tide and during calm seas.

Orange location icon Start: Marengo caravan park

Orange location icon End: Shelly Beach picnic area

Shelly Beach Walk – 900m loop, walk grade medium

This is one of the best short walks on the Great Ocean Walk. The track will take you through fern gullies, coastal scrub, to Shelly Beach.

Orange location icon Start: Shelly Beach picnic area

Orange location icon End: Shelly Beach picnic area

Princetown to the Twelve Apostles – 7.0kms, walk grade medium

The walk begins near the Gellibrand River Bridge. You will traverse cliff-tops and undulating heath-clad dunes as the distinctive rock stacks begin to reveal themselves. Continue past Gibson Steps Beach (which is not accessible at high tide) to end at the iconic Twelve Apostles kiosk and carpark facility.

Orange location icon Start: Princetown Recreation Reserve

Orange location icon End: Twelve Apostles kiosk and carpark facility

The Gables Lookout – 400m, walk grade easy

This easy return walk travels through a Casuarina tree grove to a spectacular clifftop lookout. Enjoy views over the ocean and the reefs surrounding Moonlight Head. This is one of the highest sea cliffs on mainland Australia. Keep a close eye out for seabirds, or whales from June to September.

Orange location icon Start: The Gable carpark

Orange location icon End: The Gable Lookout

Wreck Beach – 350m, walk grade medium/hard

This difficult but rewarding walk descends over 350 steps to Wreck Beach. At low tide the walk takes you to the anchors of the Marie Gabrielle and the Fiji – haunting reminders of the treacherous nature of the sea. Make this walk at low tide only and beware of large sea swells.

Orange location icon Start: Wreck Beach Carpark

Orange location icon End: Wreck Beach Carpark

Day Walks

Day walks are up to 6 hours in length. All walks start from the main visitor areas and the distance and terrain make these longer walks more challenging and requiring preparation for safety and enjoyment.

Aire River to Johanna Beach Day Visitor area –12.5 km, walk grade medium/hard

This is a long but satisfying walk through diverse terrain to beautiful Johanna Beach. Pass through heathland with spring wildflowers and experience awesome sea views. Watch above for Sea Eagles soaring overhead. Johanna River is an unbridged beach crossing, so carefully assess before wading across following heavy rains.

Orange location icon Start: Aire River Visitor Area (information shelter)

Orange location icon End: Johanna Beach Day Visitor Area.

Cape Otway to Aire River – 10kms, walk grade medium

Explore the lightstation before you set out. The walk to Aire River carves its way through a wind-sculpted landscape of sand dunes, coastal scrubland and calcified cliffs. Along the way Station Beach (and Rainbow Falls) is side trip well worth taking. Rainbow Falls is spring-fed water trickling down through algae to the rock platform below. The Falls are a 3-kilometre return journey from where you first enter Station Beach at Decision Point 8. When you return from Rainbow Falls, exit Station Beach at either Decision Point 8 where you first entered the beach, or further towards Aire River at Decision Point 8B, which will take you back onto the main GOW route. Continue along to the Aire escarpment lookout, before descending down to the beautiful Aire River Campground.

Orange location icon Start: Cape Otway Carpark

Orange location icon End: Aire River Visitor Area

A map of the Great Ocean Walk

More Great Ocean Walk Experiences

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.
Two female hikers pose for a camera at the end of the Great Ocean Walk

Licensed tour operators

Local knowledge can make all the difference when planning for a spectacular hiking experience. Great Ocean Walk tour operators offer a range of services for walkers, including guided tours, transport, camping equipment hire and food provision.
A woman with a large hike pack stands on a rock next to the ocean

Hike for 1–3 nights

If you don't wish to tackle the whole Great Ocean Walk, you can experience it in shorter snippets. Get a taste of the Great Ocean Walk on these 1-3 night itineraries.
Two female hikers follow the Great Ocean Walk trail down to Wreck Beach

Hike for 4–6 nights

Have a little longer to taste the Great Ocean Walk? Choose from these itineraries to plan your hiking adventure according to how much time you have.
Six friends sit on a boardwalk that has Great Ocean Walk written on it. Their backs are to the camera and the Twelve Apostles are in front of them

Hike the whole 8 days

Create your own unique experience and discover the nature of Australia as you walk beneath tall trees, across rock seashore platforms, along deserted beaches and soak in breathtaking cliff-top vistas.

How to get there

Short and Day Walks


Visitor Centre

Explore the region

Chairs surround a firepit with cabins surrounded by trees in the background

Off-walk accommodation

If you're looking for a little more luxury in nature, consider the wide range of accommodation options along the Great Ocean Road. Enjoy the extra comfort of a soft bed, hot shower, or even a spa.
A woman sits on the beach, behind her is boats on the ocean and hills in the distance

Towns and Villages

Each with their own history, culture and highlights, towns & villages along the Great Ocean Road have plenty of unique experiences. Read more and discover which regions suit you.
Four friends with tasting paddles do cheers

Eat and Drink

Discover where the popular bars, breweries, cafes, restaurants and wineries are around the Great Ocean Road region. Regardless of your dining preference, there is a venue for everyone!
A koala sits in a tree beside a Visitor Information sign on a tin building

Visitor Information Centres

Discover where & how to contact Visitor Information Centres along the Great Ocean Road. Each have local experts ready to ensure you make the most of your journey to the region.

Need to know

Short and Day Walks

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 change

    From 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.

    Changed traffic and visitor access

    Visitors to the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge precinct over summer are encouraged to plan ahead, with increased traffic expected and temporarily reduced access to some visitor spots.

    Changes to speed limits and parking arrangements are in place to safely manage peak period visitation along this section of the Great Ocean Road.

    With construction of new visitor facilities in the area, and holiday crowds, visitors are encouraged to check park conditions and arrive early.

    For more information:  

  • Loch Ard Gorge (Port Campbell National Park)

    Reduced access to Loch Ard Gorge visitor areas

    Loch Ard Gorge beach access closed
    Beach 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 continue to work through the permits required to protect the significant cultural and environmental values of Loch Ard before we start work to restore access to the beach. 
    This work is complex and will take time. Parks Victoria will provide updates and indicative timelines once we have further information.
    Closed walking tracks and reduced carparking - The Blowhole, Thunder Cave, Sherbrook River
    Construction of a new lookout at The Blowhole will commence in January 2024, creating a stunning new visitor attraction for the Loch Ard Gorge precinct. The project is expected to take 12 months, subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions.

    To ensure public safety during construction, access to some tracks and areas around The Blowhole will be closed, including no access to Thunder Cave and Sherbrook River. There will also be a reduction in the number of carparking spaces available for the public at the Loch Ard Gorge precinct, and no parking near Sherbrook River. Turning circles will also be restricted due to the construction works. Caravans and other long vehicles will be required to park in the Loch Ard Gorge car park.  

  • Great Otway National Park

    Bird Track and Kennett-Wye Jeep Track Closed Due to Landslip

    Bird Track and Kennett-Wye Jeep Track are closed for public safety due to a landslip undermining part of the track. Repairs are planned and due to be completed in early 2024. 

    Garvey Track Closed due to road repairs

    Garvey Track is closed from the Sheoak Picnic Ground to Sharps Track to allow for repairs to stabilise and road works to be undertaken.

    Delayneys Track Closed

    Delayneys Track is closed until further notice.

    Curtis Track is closed.

    Curtis Track is closed due to unsafe conditions.

    Lifejackets Required For Rock Fishers from March 1, 2022

    A two-year trial of new laws that require rock fishers to wear a lifejacket at high-risk locations will commence on 1 March 2022.
    For Great Otway National Park this includes:
    • Artillery Rocks, west of Lorne
    • The rock platform opposite Sheoak Falls, south of Lorne

    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 

  • Other issues

    Sharps Campground permanently closed

    Permanently closed due to environmental and safety risks. 

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Sites

    Please take your rubbish home

    Reminder to campers and visitors to please take your rubbish home. Please do not put rubbish in toilets. Visitors have been placing rubbish in the pit toilets making human waste removal difficult. Parks appreciates your assistance in looking after the Park.

  • Maits Rest Rainforest Walk (Great Otway National Park)

    Maits Rest Carpark- bus access

    Maits 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 access

    Melba Gully Walk Track and picnic area is accessible for large coaches. Toilet facilities are available on site

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A group of four hikers walk along the beach at Discovery Bay as part of the Great South West Walk

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