Short Walks on the Great Ocean Walk

The Great Ocean Road has always been a popular holiday destination, with construction starting over 100 years ago to promote tourism in the area.  The Great Ocean Walk, which opened approx 15 years ago, is now becoming as popular as the Great Ocean Road, and everyone here at Walk 91 is so pleased that our perfect corner of Victoria is getting the attention and praise it deserves so that we can share it with you!

People come from all over the world to walk along this breath-taking 104km coastal walking route, and as locals, we are so proud to live at the start of one of Australia’s most impressive beauty spots.

If you have the time and the leg muscles for it, you absolutely should try to walk the entire route — check out our entire tour of the Great Ocean Walk in 7 days if this appeals to you. However, another option that is becoming increasingly popular is to just walk short sections of the Great Ocean Walk, so that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

A person wearing a rain jacket and hat is hiking with trekking poles on a misty, green hillside overlooking a foggy coastline.

Walking to the Gables Lookout

Hiking time: 15 minutes

If you are not really a walker but want to enjoy a  wonderful view, a great place to start is this short walk, approximately 400m from the car park at the Gables to the lookout itself. The Gables Lookout stands above some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and the views in person are one hundred times better than all the incredible pictures you can find of it online. This very short stroll offers a huge payoff.  

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.

Walking to Cape Otway Light Station & Cemetery

Hiking time: 1 hour 30 minutes return

Stepping things up a little, this walking route begins in Cape Otway Light Station Carpark and well worth your time.  Built in 1848, this lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia so make sure you don’t miss it off of your ‘must do’ list. Looming over the sea where the Southern Ocean and Bass Strait collide, this part of Victoria’s coastline is incredibly dangerous; this is what necessitated the building of this beautiful lighthouse. For many people immigrating to Australia in the 1800s, Cape Otway Lighthouse was the first thing they saw of Australia and it meant they had almost finished their long, arduous journey. You will enjoy some of the highest cliffside views in Australia and it is interesting to make a respectful visit to the cemetery to read some of the stories of the great difficulties the Lighthouse keepers and their families had to endure.

A rusty anchor lies partially submerged in a shallow, rocky, and algae-covered shoreline with waves crashing in the background under a cloudy blue sky.

Walk to Wreck Beach in Low Tide

Hiking time: 2 hours

You can only walk on Wreck Beach at low tide, so make sure you check the tide and swells before you walk. This return journey is just over 2km from the Wreck Beach carpark, but the steep nature of the descent down the 350 steps makes it more challenging than the distance would imply. But, the effort is more than worth it when you consider the views from the beach. The views are gorgeous and you can seek out the anchors of two ships that were once wrecked here: the Fiji and the Marie Gabrielle. It’s not called Wreck Beach for nothing! If you plan to take this walk, keep track of the tides with a service like Tide Forecast.

A sign on a wooden boardwalk reads "Great Ocean Walk: Walk Victoria's Icons," with a coastal view of waves and cliffs in the background.

Hiking from Princetown to Glenample

Hiking time: 2 hours 30 minutes

The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks in the ocean just off the Great Ocean Walk, and they are perhaps the main attraction, which you cannot miss, along this famous walking route. It is extremely difficult to be underwhelmed at any point along Victoria’s entire stretch of coastline, but the Twelve Apostles is guaranteed to impress a little more than the rest. This hike from Princetown to the Glenample viewing platform offers great views of the 12 Apostles and the surrounding cliffs. There is also a strong chance you’ll spot dolphins and whales in the water here, so remember to glance out to the water now and then!

A person in a blue jacket and a hat sits on a bench overlooking a coastal landscape with lush vegetation and overcast skies.

Hiking from Milanesia Beach to Moonlight Head

Hiking time: 5 hours

Stepping up the gears to a walk that takes the better part of a day’s hike, the journey from Milanesia Beach to Moonlight Head is guaranteed to impress. Visiting the beautiful Milanesia Beach is a worthy trip in its own right, but this one-way walk helps show off the area even more. Start at Milanesia Gate and walk westward along the coast, enjoying the richly forested clifftops as you near Moonlight Head. This is a one-way walk as it would take 10 hours to do a return journey and it’s probably better to discover all of the views for the first time. This means that you will need to be dropped off or picked up at the start or end of your journey. Walk 91’s Great Ocean Walk Shuttle Service makes any logistics involved with this kind of trip as easy as possible to manage.

3-Day Tour of the Great Ocean Walk

Hiking time: 7 hours each day

The Twelve Apostles

Lastly, we’d like to offer an option for people who want to see a larger portion of the Great Ocean Walk but don’t have time for the entire 104km journey. This isn’t a short walk, by any means, but it’s a mid-point for people torn between short day trips and a week-long hiking adventure. Walk 91’s 12 Apostles Great Ocean Walk 3 Day Tour starts at Aire River, and journeys westward, along the coast, making it all the way to the Twelve Apostles at the end. Along this 3-day trip, you will see many of the places mentioned in this guide. Here are some of the main highlights on this trip:

–   Castle Cove

–   Johanna Beach

–   Milanesia Gate

–   Ryans Den

–   Moonlight Head

–   The Gables Lookout

–   Wreck Beach

–   Devil’s Kitchen

–   The Twelve Apostles

The advantage of taking a self-guided tour with Walk 91 is that we offer high-quality accommodation along your route and we transport your luggage to and from each location, allowing you to enjoy the walk unencumbered with your extra clothes, toiletries and other things you’ll never need while out hiking. If this hike appeals to you, or if you have any follow-up questions, please don’t hesitate to make an enquiry or get in touch. You’re only a few easy steps from planning your Great Ocean Walk!