What to bring and how to prepare for your Great Ocean Walk

A successful walk is a well-planned walk! 

Planning is a big part of your Great Ocean Walk holiday, and whilst Walk91 can guide you through everything you need to know and do all the planning for you, you may also want to go it alone. No matter how you want to tackle the Great Ocean Walk the points below are helpful to remember.

What should we bring on our Great Ocean Walk?

Your gear list obviously depends on if you are planning to camp or stay in accommodation close to the trail. The packing list below offers a few ideas of what you might like to bring with you on your walk. But remember, if you decide to book one of our self-guided packages such as our 7 Day Walk, items such as an EPIRB, Great Ocean Walk maps and notes, sticks or poles, and an emergency phone are some of the items waiting here for you to collect at your private walk briefing. If you plan on camping you will need to bring all your gear with you, but we do have some items available for hire.

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

Packing List

Bring protective & comfortable clothing with you.

We would recommend bringing clothing you can layer, starting with:

  • A warm lightweight weatherproof jacket preferably with a hood but one that folds up and fits in your bag easily is a good choice. In winter a heavier warmer rain jacket is useful as the wind can be really cold here, but you do warm up once you get moving! Also in winter, a jacket that covers your hips helps to keep the rain off a little.
  • Waterproof ‘over’ trousers are also handy if you are walking in winter and can be tucked into gaiters if you choose to wear them.
  • For most of the year, we recommend bringing trousers that dry quickly in the sun (or that will dry quickly and easily at your accommodation overnight). The trousers that zip off at the knee are great to double up as shorts if you have them and are handy if it is cold and wet one day, and hot the next. Remember, we often get four seasons in once day down here!
  • A warm jumper/fleece is a must in your pack. If you haven’t bought one before, try bringing along a ‘walking brand’ sweater as they are designed to dry quickly and are lightweight and warm. They also use some great natural fibers which are really nice and comfortable to wear.
  • Clothes that you can layer for warmth are always the best choice and a long sleeve shirt with a collar is perfect to protect from the sun and wind.
  • Swimming costume/bathers are handy too if you want to pop in for a swim in the designated swimming areas. Ask at your private walk briefing (included in your Walk 91 Great Ocean Walk package) where it is safe to swim and always read the Park Victoria signs and instructions on the official map…..if it says ‘no swimming’, don’t even think about it!

Other important items to remember when planning:

  • Always bring a hat with a brim to protect you from hot sun, or from the rain. If you bring a hat with a brim you can usually fit any size fly net on it, and in the really hot months you will grow to love your fly net! The flies can be a real pain some days.
  •  Sunglasses are great to protect your eyes from bright sun and remember to bring any prescription glasses with you. We don’t have anywhere to buy a spare pair of glasses here in the bay!
  • Gaiters can be a bit uncomfortable but they can be worth wearing in the rain to help keep the mud off your pants and can offer protection in summer against insets, but we must admit that not a lot of our walkers wear them. In general, the tracks are well cleared on the Great Ocean Walk and you are not thrashing through bushes or walking through long grass – as long as you follow the signage.

Look after your feet and they will look after you!

Many a walk has been spoilt by walking in ill-fitting or inappropriate shoes! If you get blisters every step can be a misery (and very boring for the person who has chosen to walk with you!) So, make sure the right footwear is the top of your list.

  • Sturdy walking boots which you have worn in are a must-have and in summer and winter this is always the best option for walking long distances.
  • A spare pair of shoes in case of blisters however is a good idea and in summer runners can be nice to wear along the beach to give your feet a break from heavy boots. However, sandals are not recommended as the sand can get hot and your feet can get sunburnt (and you have to watch out for insects). It’s also a very good idea to bring comfortable shoes to wear at the accommodation to give your boots a chance to dry out if they get wet and muddy and to give your feet a rest.
  • It is a great idea to invest in a few pairs of good quality socks that are specially designed for hiking, and remember to bring a spare pair in case they get wet in the rain or at the river crossings.
  • This leads us to the hand towel!  This can be handy to carry in your day pack so that you can dry your feet after you have passed the river crossings or you can use it to dust sand off your feet if you do decide to go barefoot on the beach! (Our accommodation hosts provide bath towels/bedding at all of the accommodations we offer, but they would prefer it if you brought your own small towel for use on the walk). Even a tea towel is a good idea. Something light to carry and absorbant is the key!

That concludes our quick recommendation list, but you also might want to consider bringing a small medical kit with a blister pack, insect bite cream, insect repellant and remember to bring any medication you might need with you. There is only one chemist here in town and they are often closed at weekends. But, don’t worry, if you book a walk with us we will email you a gear list so that you are well prepared!

And, if you would like some more information on our walks or have any questions please just feel free to contact us!

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