What to Expect on the Great Ocean Walk | Walk91

Wondering what to expect on the Great Ocean Walk? As local experts who have helped thousands of walkers to enjoy this stretch of coastline, we’re happy to share some insights and answer some common questions we get from potential walkers. Whether you’ve done plenty of multi-day hikes or this would be your very first adventure, at Walk91 we facilitate and coordinate all the details so you can confidently and safely navigate this beautiful trail.

You can take a look at our full 7-day Self-Guided Great Ocean Walk itinerary to see what it would be like to do the entire route at a leisurely pace. Alternatively, you might prefer hiking just one section of the trail. Take a look at our 3-day Self-Guided Cape Hike that covers about half of the Great Ocean Walk.

For a practical guide to make sure you feel fully prepared, be sure to review our 5 Useful Tips & Tricks For Hiking The Great Ocean Walk.

Now, let’s get into what you can expect along the Great Ocean Walk……

How hard is the Great Ocean Walk?

The Great Ocean Walk ranges in difficulty, with the first section starting from Apollo Bay being on the easier side and excellent for beginners. There are some moderate to difficult sections along the trail, with several short, steep hills and gradients to conquer. 

We do recommend a general level of fitness to be able to comfortably complete the walk. Doing some training in advance will help you to enjoy this adventure, rather than it being a daily challenging exertion.

What are the Great Ocean Walk trails like?

The trails of the Great Ocean Walk are well-maintained with markers en route. You can expect quite a variety of trails along the Great Ocean Walk. There are some smooth walking trails without too much gradient that are great for beginners. There are also walks along sandy beaches, but you’ll need to check the tides and be ready for steps down to and back up from those beautiful beaches.

There are sections of the trail with switchbacks and stone steps up steep gradients, as well as trails cutting through the eucalyptus forest and along farmland. The variety makes the entirety of the Great Ocean Walk exciting and enjoyable. 

If you walk the entire trail, the Great Ocean Walk will typically take between 4 and 7 days to complete. This can, of course, vary depending on your fitness level and your overall walking speed. If you’d prefer to take many more stops en route to sit and enjoy the views, then it could certainly take you a bit longer. 

You could also opt to do part of the route on a shorter trip. We have several options for 3-day Great Ocean Walk trails if you’d prefer that type of holiday! Whichever length and pace of hike you prefer, we would be happy to accommodate you. Take a look at our various Great Ocean Walk itineraries for inspiration.

What are the views like along the Great Ocean Walk?

For much of the Great Ocean Walk, you will enjoy stunning ocean vistas to bask in that beautiful sea breeze and endless horizon. But the trail also varies quite a bit, to keep it more interesting! 

You’ll walk through Great Otway National Park for quite some time. During this section of the Great Ocean Walk, you’ll enjoy wooded walks and trails cut through high bush. While the views along this section aren’t sprawling vistas, they do focus your attention on your immediate surroundings and the natural beauty around you. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife!

View of a hilly landscape with a meandering river, surrounded by green vegetation and trees under a clear blue sky. A person in a white hat is partially visible on the right.

Are the Great Ocean Walk trails crowded?

During most of the year, the trails of the Great Ocean Walk are not typically crowded at all. The route is designed to only be walked in one direction (east to west), which actually makes this an incredibly peaceful trail. With little chance of bumping into other walkers along the way, you might just feel like you have the whole walk to yourself! 

However, during the peak summer months, trails and campsites can be at their busiest, so do plan ahead and expect to see other hikers along the Walk.

A person sits outside a lit yellow tent near the coastline during evening, organizing items from a backpack placed nearby.

What kind of wildlife might we see on the Great Ocean Walk?

The stretch of the Great Ocean Walk that cuts through the Great Otway National Park offers ample opportunities to spot local fauna. You might just see koalas in the wild, as well as Eastern grey kangaroos, wallabies, and echidnas. You might even be lucky enough to see a spotted tiger quoll!

A close-up of a quoll with its mouth open, showing teeth. The quoll has brown fur with white spots and is set against a background of green foliage.

You will most certainly be surrounded by birdlife and their chirps and songs! Keep an eye out for king parrots, rufous bristle birds, singing honeyeaters, crimson rosellas, gang gang cockatoos, yellow tailed black cockatoos, wedge-tailed eagles, and white-bellied sea-eagles. You might also spot crested terns, sooty oystercatchers, and even penguins. You might even see a seal resting on one of the walk’s isolated beaches.

If you’re doing the Great Ocean Walk between June and September, keep watch for dolphins or migrating whales.

If you have more questions about the Great Ocean Walk, you can start with our very handy FAQ page to get some answers. If there’s anything else we can answer for you, please feel free to contact us. We love to help walkers get ready for this epic adventure!