How Should You Explore the Great Ocean Walk | Walk91

Chances are you’ve clicked through to this blog because you’re interested in the Great Ocean Walk and you’re trying to plan the best trip for you. Well, Walk91 would like to help to give you more information so that you can make an informed decision. It can be hard to know how to start planning, but it is well worth the effort once you hit the trail and start walking. And remember, if you are finding it a bit stressful planning your walk and would like us to organise a perfect custom-made walk for you, we can certainly do this – no problem. We recommend looking at the options on our website to get a feel of the walking distances and how many days suit you and what suits your budget. Then if you need any changes implemented such as a rest day, or different walking legs for example, we can do this for you. Please feel free to contact us.

A rusted anchor partially submerged in tidal pools at a rocky beach, with waves crashing in the background.

Introduction to the Great Ocean Walk

The Great Ocean Walk is an incredible walking route along Victoria’s southwest coast, covering 104km. This route was originally 91km — thus our name — but the trail has been realigned and improved over the years. The origin of the Great Ocean Walk is also the origin of Walk91 as one of our co-founders, Mark Kininmonth was part of the Parks Victoria team who helped build the route. Mark knew he was part of something special, but he didn’t realise it would become, arguably, the most iconic walking trail in Australia.

Two people hold a "Great Ocean Walk 91KM" sign. They stand on large, wooden curved benches, with a banner reading "Great Ocean Walk, Begin your walk at Apollo Bay" in front of them.

This stretch of Victoria’s coastline was chosen for its epic cliffs and unforgettable beauty; along the way, you’ll pass through the Great Otway National Park and the Port Campbell National Park. Other must-do’s include the Cape Otway Lighthouse, Johanna Beach, Wreck Beach, Rainbow Falls, and the Twelve Apostles — to name only a few of the highlights. This is a rich and diverse walking route, with different ways to explore it. And this is the main topic of this guide: how should you explore the Great Ocean Walk?

A person in a blue shirt stands on a grassy ledge overlooking a coastal beach with clear blue water and waves under a partly cloudy sky.

The Different Kinds of Great Ocean Walk Tour

There are so many different ways to experience the Great Ocean Walk, and the main thing we want here at Walk91 is for people to find the perfect experience for themselves and their group. There is a lot of information out there, but probably the main thing to consider first is how far you feel you can walk comfortably.

For an idea of walking legs please refer to this page for an idea of what might suit you.

However, this is how the walk is broken up by Parks Victoria:

Apollo Bay – Elliot Ridge Campground 10km (can’t drive in)

Elliot Ridge – Blanket Bay 12km

Blanket Bay – Cape Otway 11km

Cape Otway – Aire River 10km

Aire River – Johanna Beach 14km

Johanna Beach – Ryans Den 14km (can’t drive in)

Ryans Den – Devils Kitchen 13km (can’t drive in)

Devils Kitchen – Twelve Apostles Car Park 16km

Independent Great Ocean Walk vs Planned Tour Package

At the simplest level, you can walk the Great Ocean Walk trail independently or with a company like us at Walk91. If you do the walk on your own, you’ll need to plan accommodation at the end of each day, organise shuttles (as there is no accommodation on the actual trail), work out your food each night, and carry your luggage or organise for it to be moved for you. It is entirely doable, and the logistics and challenge of it might prove very satisfying for you, but for some walkers, it is a lot of work. 

Four people stand in front of a white van branded with "Walk 91" and "Great Ocean Walk." They are outdoors with a backdrop of a small hill and houses.

If you opt for one of our planned packages, such as our 6-day or 7-day Great Ocean Walk Package, then we will plan all of this for you, including comfortable accommodation, food, any lifts you might need, your itinerary along the way, and we’ll even collect and drop off your luggage at each accommodation, allowing you to walk unburdened each day. We also provide an EPIRB (emergency beacon) so that you can deploy it in the unlikely event of an emergency. We are also on standby the whole time you are walking in case you need us.

If you would like to walk the trail independently, most people who are happy to carry everything on their back often choose to camp on the trail. If you think this option is for you, you have to book the sites well in advance. Not all of the campsites are accessible by car, and you need to organise transport from the 12 Apostles at the end of the trail. There is usually a public transport option on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so you can double-check this on the v-line website.

For more information on camping read on.

A white van is parked on a dirt path beside a winding forest road lined with tall trees and eucalyptus. The van has text promoting the Great Ocean Walk.

Full Great Ocean Walk or Only a Partial Great Ocean Walk

It’s also important to consider whether you’d like to trek the entire Great Ocean Walk or if you’d prefer to only walk a portion of it. The walk is split us into the Wild Side and the Mild Side of the track. To understand this better, please refer to here for more details. This link explains what your options are if you think that the full 104km is too much for you.

The best option is to just walk half of it, for example, opting for our 3-day First Half of the Great Ocean Walk and then coming back and walking our 3-day Second Half of the Great Ocean Walk  -(culminating at the Twelve Apostles). The Hike the Cape Walk is a little easier than the 12 Apostles Walk but we can tailor make both options to suit you if you need us to. Choosing one of our smaller packages allows you to get all of the benefits of walking with Walk91, but you don’t have to commit the time (or the steps) to the full 6- or 7-day walk.

Rocky shoreline with ocean waves crashing and water cascading over rocks under a clear blue sky.

Why Take a Custom Tour of the Great Ocean Walk?

Lastly, we’ve come to custom-made tours. Our Custom Tours of the Great Ocean Walk are designed to fit you perfectly. We can design the entire experience around your group’s specific needs. 

A custom tour is a perfect option if you’d like to do the walk over more days than you’ll find on our advertised package options, taking the experience low and slow, making the absolute most out of it. If you have any specific needs that go beyond most standard services, we can include them as part of our custom tours. For example, you may like a rest day halfway through the walk or additional accommodation in Apollo Bay before or after your walk.

A white lighthouse stands on a grassy hill overlooking the ocean, with a fenced pathway leading up to it. A map and a plaque are in the foreground. Trees and bushes surround the area.

So, whether you choose to experience the Great Ocean Walk — whether with Walk91 or not — we hope this guide has helped you decide on the right kind of experience for you. If you have any questions whatsoever, please get in touch. Your Great Ocean Walk could be only a few clicks away!