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Self-Guided Walking : Asia & South Pacific

Australia: The Great Ocean Walk

Moderate Terrain: 6-10 Miles Daily

The wild coast of Australia’s state of Victoria has long been hidden from view, an unspoiled green ribbon of rolling hills sandwiched between the scenic Great Ocean Road and the tempestuous surf of the Southern Ocean. Today, walkers can experience the primitive and pristine beauty of this beautiful corner of Great Otway National Park, thanks to the recently completed Great Ocean Walk. Lace up your boots to explore almost 60 miles of untouched wilderness, choosing high trails over towering sea cliffs or beach hikes alongside crashing surf. From the charming village of Apollo Bay to the famed Twelve Apostles sea stacks, this is some of the most remote and remarkable terrain you’re ever likely to traverse. Using rustic, homestead-style lodgings in sparsely populated seaside towns as your base, you’ll hike through primeval manna gum forests where koalas linger high in the canopy and past wide grassland grazed by kangaroos. Trace heathland ablaze with vibrant wildflowers and lush wetlands where rivers and waterfalls meet the sea. Marvel at shipwrecked anchors cemented in beach sand and stroll through working farmlands. But perhaps the real beauty of hiking the undulating Great Ocean Walk is this: few people have walked it before you, and it is pure privilege to count yourself among the first to witness its magnificence.


Tour Highlights:
  • Pick your own route, as your daily path splits between beach walks and hilltop options, allowing you to choose your preferred vista for the day.
  • Spot wild kangaroos, koalas, peregrine falcons, kookaburras and more during strolls through wildlife reserves, as well as scenic wonders like waterfalls, shipwrecks, and the iconic “12 Apostles” sea stacks.
  • Stroll into town to enjoy the artsy shops, surfer charm, and renowned seafood of Apollo Bay from your conveniently located waterfront guest house.
  • Learn about Loch Ard Gorge during an afternoon walk with an experienced guide, who will speak about its geology, whale migration, maritime history, and much more.
Tour Only

8 days, 7 nights

FROM $3,798 USD

per person, double occupancy



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Why Walk With Us

  • Choose from 17 handcrafted Self-Guided Walking itineraries for 2017
  • Trust our expertise with 36+ years in active travel.
  • 24/7 support from a local representative.
  • Generous inclusions: luggage transfers, all breakfasts, some lunches and dinners.
  • Your departure is always guaranteed.
  • Detailed maps and easy-to-follow route notes ensure that you’ll easily find your way.
  • Past guests and referrals always save.

Itinerary & Accommodations

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Day 1

Transfer from Melbourne to Apollo Bay

Transfer down the scenic Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to the beach town of Apollo Bay. If you have time, start your adventure with an optional walk along the beach to Marriners Lookout, a breathtaking overlook.

Accommodation: Apollo Bay Guest House, Apollo Bay

Ideally located for easy exploration of Apollo Bay, the Apollo Bay Guest House is situated where the Barham River spills into the Southern Ocean. During your stay, enjoy sweeping views of the coast and keep your eyes open for estuary birdlife. An inviting deck provides the ideal spot to relax and gaze out to sea with coffee or a drink. Vast, generous windows let in the morning light and each finely adorned room is made to feel like home. This graciously appointed lodge is within walking distance of some of Apollo Bay’s 20 fine restaurants, whether you’re craving fresh seafood, pub fare or Italian. Apollo Bay’s Foreshore Reserve, a beachside haven of footpaths, is also nearby.

Day 2

Shelly Beach to Blanket Bay

Head to Shelly Beach Picnic Area, where you’ll follow an inland route to Great Otway National Park, passing through a forest cathedral of mountain ash trees. Keep an eye out for koalas as you continue to Blanket Bay, where you can cap your day with a swim.

Accommodation: Great Ocean Ecolodge, Cape Otway

Resting gently on the pristine grounds of the Conservation Ecology Center, the Great Ocean Ecolodge is embraced by bushland, lush eucalypt rainforests, remote beaches, and steep cliffs. Dedicated to the protection of ecological diversity through education and awareness, the lodge has earned the highest level of Ecotourism Certification. You will live under the lodge’s sustainability model during your stay, without sacrificing comfort. With only five bedrooms—each one appointed with crisp linens and timeless antiques—you’re ensured an intimate and personal experience during which you can learn from the Conservation Ecology Center team about their projects.

Day 3

Blanket Bay to Cape Otway Lightstation

Return to Blanket Bay this morning to continue tracing the Great Ocean Walk. Stop by the quiet haven of Parker Inlet to relax and swim. Then follow rock shelves and beaches along the water (tides permitting) to Cape Otway Lightstation, Australia’s oldest continually operating lighthouse.

Accommodation: Great Ocean Ecolodge, Cape Otway

Resting gently on the pristine grounds of the Conservation Ecology Center, the Great Ocean Ecolodge is embraced by bushland, lush eucalypt rainforests, remote beaches, and steep cliffs. Dedicated to the protection of ecological diversity through education and awareness, the lodge has earned the highest level of Ecotourism Certification. You will live under the lodge’s sustainability model during your stay, without sacrificing comfort. With only five bedrooms—each one appointed with crisp linens and timeless antiques—you’re ensured an intimate and personal experience during which you can learn from the Conservation Ecology Center team about their projects.

Day 4

Cape Otway Lightstation to Castle Cove Lookout

Continue walking along a wild stretch of Station Beach dotted with the nests of hooded plovers, before enjoying a short optional detour to Rainbow Falls. Pass through the tranquil Aire River estuary and wetlands on your way to the lookout over Castle Cove, a stunning beach surrounded by soaring cliffs where dinosaur fossils have been unearthed.

Accommodation: Aire Valley Guest House, Hordern Vale

With spectacular views of the Aire River Wildlife Reserve, the self-sufficient Aire Valley Guest House is nestled in the hills near Great Otway National Park. The homestead upon which it sits dates to the 1890s and even today the house exudes Old World charm. Each room boasts a lovely French door that opens to a wide verandah, where you may start each day with breakfast. The centerpiece of the guest house is its kitchen, which has earned national recognition for its “paddock to plate” approach to cuisine. You will enjoy a two-course meal here nightly, with produce freshly picked from the gardens.

Day 5

Castle Cove Lookout to Milanesia Beach

Today’s hike leads you to some of the most spectacular ocean vistas in Australia. From Castle Cove, trace the cliff tops through heathlands and forests, passing magnificent expanses of manna gums on your way to the white sands of Johanna Beach. Soak up the iconic area’s natural beauty before walking up the Johanna River a short ways to swim. Conclude the day’s journey by venturing on to Milanesia Beach.

Accommodation: Aire Valley Guest House, Hordern Vale

With spectacular views of the Aire River Wildlife Reserve, the self-sufficient Aire Valley Guest House is nestled in the hills near Great Otway National Park. The homestead upon which it sits dates to the 1890s and even today the house exudes Old World charm. Each room boasts a lovely French door that opens to a wide verandah, where you may start each day with breakfast. The centerpiece of the guest house is its kitchen, which has earned national recognition for its “paddock to plate” approach to cuisine. You will enjoy a two-course meal here nightly, with produce freshly picked from the gardens.

Day 6

Milanesia Beach to Parker Access Track

Your path today begins at Milanesia Beach, crossing creeks and following wooden steps and dirt tracks, with many scenic views of rocky coast along the way. After a break at Ryan’s Den campground, traverse the rolling pristine wilderness and coastal forest of Cape Volley, past the rich archaeological sites of the Gadabanud people, who to this day cherish their cultural relics you’ll see.

Accommodation: Southern Anchorage Retreat, Wattle Hill

Nestled amidst tranquil bushland, the Southern Anchorage Retreat puts the stunning beauty of coastal Victoria right outside your door. Andrew and Maria Devlin are your gracious hosts and they’ll show you to one of their five charming cottages or guest rooms on the grounds, occasionally visited by kangaroos, kookaburras, and native parrots. Intimate and rustic, each conveys the outdoor spirit of the bush with amenities that ensure a relaxing stay. Enjoy a two-course home-cooked dinner in the privacy of your cottage, and you can prepare your breakfast in the full kitchen with fresh eggs from the property.

Day 7

Loch Ard Gorge Guided Tour

Follow a newly established section of trail to the Gables Lookout, perched atop one of Australia’s highest sea cliffs—keep an eye out for whales as you go. Continue onto Wreck Beach where, if the tide is low, you can peer out to two shipwrecks from the 1890s. Enjoy a guided walk at Loch Ard Gorge with your host at your next accommodations.

Accommodation: Portside Motel, Port Campbell

Your hosts, John and Josie, welcome you to the Portside Motel. Simple, yet comfortable, this relaxed motel is just 800 feet from the town center of Port Campbell, where an array of restaurants, cafés, and shops line an oceanside avenue. A swimming beach is also a short walk away, as is the Port Campbell Discovery Walk. After a day of walking, a private veranda off of each room lets you drink in the ocean air and tranquil gardens add serenity to your stay; you just might feel as if you never left the Great Ocean Walk trails with the natural world right outside your door.

Day 8

Gellibrand Bridge to the Twelve Apostles

Complete your journey with a walk to the Twelve Apostles, a remarkable group of limestone sea stacks hugging the coast. At the Twelve Apostles Visitor Center, you can follow an interpretive trail along boardwalks and enjoy spectacular views of the famous rock formations. After, transfer to the Camperdown train station for connections onward.

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Dates & Prices

Seasonal Tour Pricing

2017 Dates Number of Travelers
2 3 4 5 6 Single Supplement
Solo Surcharge
Jan 1 - Jan 31 $4,098 $4,098 $4,098 $4,098 $4,098 $975 $390
Feb 1 - Dec 15 $3,798 $3,798 $3,798 $3,798 $3,798 $735 $390
Dec 16 - Dec 31 $4,098 $4,098 $4,098 $4,098 $4,098 $975 $390
This tour is available daily, on request, from January 1 to May 31, 2017 and September through December 31, 2017. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy.

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