Great South West Walk

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Great South West Walk Camping

The Great South West Walk is an epic showcase of the natural beauty of far west Victoria. Meander through tranquil forests of the Cobboboonee, enter the limestone gorge of the Glenelg River and the long, lonely coast of Discovery Bay. Hike the epic 250 kilometres in one go or sample chunks of it as part of a day walk.
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The Great South West Walk winds through the diverse landscapes of Lower Glenelg National Park, Discovery Bay Coastal Park, Cobboboonee National Park and Cape Nelson State Park. Starting from the township of Portland in south west Victoria, the walk takes you on an unforgettable journey across rugged cliffs carved by the Southern Ocean, over remote beaches, past ancient, pristine lakes and through majestic, tall forest.

The walk is maintained through a partnership between volunteers from Friends of the Great South West Walk and Parks Victoria.

Memorable features include the highest seacliffs in Victoria, blowholes, Petrified Forest, and seal colony at Cape Bridgwater, historic Cape Nelson Lighthouse, Princess Margaret Rose Caves, Aboriginal heritage places and the beautiful seaside village of Nelson, where the Glenelg River meets the sea. Along the way you’ll discover a diverse variety of plants and wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, Blue and Southern Right Whales, and a huge variety of native birds, including the Australasian Gannet.

The Great South West Walk can be explored through shorter or overnight hikes, or the more adventurous can tackle the entire 250 kilometre, 12-day circular walk. If you prefer to return to a comfortable bed in the evening, there are many easily accessible, short loop walks from many locations that are part of this trail. Either way, you are destined to experience some of Australia's most beautiful natural scenery and wildlife.

There are also many other opportunities to engage in other activities, such as canoe journeys along the Glenelg River, along this walk.

Prepare and plan for your walk by booking your campsite before you arrive.

Find out more information about the Great South West Walk at greatsouthwestwalk.com

Things to do in the area

 
A woman playfully splashing a friend in another canoe with her paddle on the Glenelg River

Glenelg River Canoe Trail

The Glenelg River offers excellent opportunities for flat water canoeing over the 75kms from Dartmoor to its mouth near Nelson. For much of its distance the river flows through the Lower Glenelg National Park, enabling enthusiasts to observe wildlife in its natural environment.
Father and son bird watching on boardwalk

Bird watching

From bushland to wetlands and everything in between, parks provide habitat to an abundance of common and rare bird species. Go for a wander and see how many you can spot.
Two friends fish off the back a boat on a misty morning on Lake Eildon.

Fishing

In quiet lakes and gently flowing rivers, in the pounding surf or in the depths beneath your boat – the waters of Victoria’s parks and reserves offer some prize catches.

How to get there

Great South West Walk Camping

The Great South West Walk commences and finishes at the Portland Maritime Discovery and Visitor Information Centre in south-west Victoria. Portland is 350km from Melbourne and 540km from Adelaide. 

Sites

Need to know

Great South West Walk Camping

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.

  • Cobboboonee National Park

    Surry Ridge Campsites Closed (Temporarily)

    As a temporary measure for public safety, protection of environmental values and to maintain visitor experience, campsites at Surry Ridge visitor site are closed due to no toilet facility on site.

    The visitor site remains open for day use including picnic tables and short walks.  Nearby public toilets are located in the townships of Portland and Heywood.

    Nearby campsites in Cobboboonee National Park include Jackass Fern Gully Campground and Wrights Campground which are open and available for use.


  • Lower Glenelg National Park

    This park has been impacted by recent significant weather events

    This park has been impacted by significant flood and/or storm events and some areas may be closed or restricted. Check the Storm and Flood Affected Parks page for the most up to date information on this location.

    Visitor Saftey - Glenelg River Fluctuating River Height

    Please be aware, the water level in the Glenelg River is currently fluctuating regularly due to seasonal conditions including rainfall events, tidal movements and ocean conditions.  Higher than normal water levels can cause some jetties and boat ramps to be inundated with water.
     
    Visitor Safety is priority - Do not enter an inundated jetty or boat ramp, as conditions are likely to be very slippery and there could be damage to the structure not easily observed. 
     
    Park Rangers are regularly monitoring conditions.  If a jetty or boat ramp is expected to be inundated for an extended period, the visitor asset may be closed for public safety until such time the asset can be deemed safe for use.  Please observe warning and closure signs where erected.

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Sites

    Cape Nelson Lighthouse temporarily closed

    Cape Nelson Lighthouse will temporarily close from Monday 14 November until further notice to enable refurbishment works of the Lighthouse station. Please note the accommodation and café will remain open for trading during this period, and a new access route has been implemented for the Great Southwest Walk through the Reserve and State Park to allow access to Isabella's Café. Additional wayfinding has been installed and the track assessed to ensure public safety.

  • Discovery Bay Coastal Park

    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 Discovery Bay Coastal Park this includes:
     
    • Rock platform near blowholes carpark at Cape Bridgewater
     
    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 

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A woman with a large hiking pack takes in the view from Blanket Bay Campground.

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Two friends walk along the track south of Redmans Bluff with views of the Serra Range in the background on central section 3 of the GPT

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