The Great Ocean Walk is arguably the most spectacular walking route in Australia, and it is Walk91’s entire reason for existing. Mark, one of our co-founders, worked with Parks Victoria on the creation of the Great Ocean Walk, meaning we have an incredible resource at hand as we create our various boutique Great Ocean Walk tours. One thing we’ve noticed since we founded Walk91 in the early 2000s is that while people have heard of the Great Ocean Walk, they sometimes don’t know enough about it to be able to choose the right walking holiday for them. This means that there’s a longer research phase. While this is perfectly normal for walking holidays, we want to make planning your next adventure as easy as possible, so we’ve made this short guide to help you figure out what type of experience you’re looking for.
Disclaimer: Everything Can be Customised
Before we start looking at trip duration, attractions, and everything else you need to make an informed decision, it’s important to emphasise that we can customise any of the pre-existing Great Ocean Walks we offer. We can shape the walk to suit you, whether you need it to be longer or shorter, or if you would like a rest day, or you have a specific accommodation in mind you would like us to use when building your trip.
How Long Should Your Trip Be?
The first thing to consider is your trip duration. There are probably two main factors that will help you figure out your ideal Great Ocean Walk duration: free time and physical fitness. While both of these factors are distinct, they also inform each other as people who aren’t as fit will need a trip with a longer duration, with more frequent stops along the way.
3-day Trips on the Great Ocean Walk
We have created two smaller 3-day walks — one at the start of the Great Ocean Walk and one at the end. If you have never embarked on any kind of walking trip before, then one of these options might be best as they allow you to try out Australia’s greatest walking route without worrying about injury or committing to a distance you simply can’t walk. But if you’d like a trip that’s even shorter than three days, we’ll be happy to arrange it for you.
Doing the Entire Great Ocean Walk in 5, 6, or 7 Days?
If you’re an adventurous soul who likes a challenge, you’ve probably already decided that you’re doing the entire 104km Great Ocean Walk. Good for you! Now that you know you’re doing the whole thing, you’ll need to figure out how quickly you’d like to run it. And this is where fitness and physical ability come in. As you’d expect, doing the Great Ocean Walk in just five days is pretty challenging, travelling as far as 26.5km on day one, with an average distance of 20.8km each day. If you spread things out just a little by adding one more day on (our 6-day Great Ocean Walk), the farthest you’ll walk in one day is 22km and the average daily walk is 17.33km per day. And if you opt for a 7-day Great Ocean Walk, you’ll average around 14.8km per day, making for a much more leisurely pace. People choose to visit this beautiful part of Victoria for different reasons, so we can’t tell you what you should look to get out of your experience; instead, think about whether it’s the challenge or the beautiful scenery that attracts you to the Great Ocean Walk. You’ll get the bragging rights of doing the entire route no matter what, so take a little time considering what else you’d like to get out of the experience.
The Extreme Option: 4-day Great Ocean Walk
If you’re all about challenge and pushing your body, then you may even opt for our rather extreme 4-day Great Ocean Walk. This is our biggest challenge and it’s not for the faint-hearted. If you are very fit and you’re looking for a big challenge then, this is the tour for you.
Highlights and Detours on Your Great Ocean Walk Itinerary
While the route through the Great Ocean Walk has been carefully created to offer walkers the best possible views and experiences along Victoria’s coastline, there are several wonderful little detours we recommend if you have the time and energy to seek them out. If you’re doing a 4- or 5-day walk, then you might not have time for a detour, but any other package (or custom tour) probably will have time for a few trips off the beaten track. Here are a few suggestions that you may like to add on to your itinerary:
The Gables Lookout stands atop one of the highest sea cliffs in Australia, offering some of the best views on the entire Great Ocean Walk.
Cape Otway Light Station is the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia, yet it is still in remarkable condition. This pristine white lighthouse looks out over the stretch of sea where the Southern Ocean meets the Bass Strait. This was one of the most dangerous sections of Australia’s coastline in the 1800s, necessitating the building of this remarkable lighthouse.
Walk to Wreck Beach in low tide to see the anchors of two wrecked ships: the Fiji and the Marie Gabrielle. This is a beautiful beach with a real story to tell, but make sure to check the tide before you venture down the 350 steps from the cliffs above.
The Twelve Apostles are clearly the most famous highlight of the Great Ocean Walk, but we still wanted to mention them here — just in case our readers didn’t realise that this incredible collection of ocean rock formations is found at one end of the Great Ocean Walk. Given the epic proportions of the 12 Apostles, this is where we usually like to finish our self-guided walking trips, but you can start out here instead, if you prefer.
There are, of course, far more highlights on the Great Ocean Walk, but we hope we’ve whetted your appetite and give you some solid advice regarding the length of your trip. We think people start out on their own Great Ocean Walk adventure from the second they start dreaming about it, which is why we’d be happy to answer any questions you have; so please get in touch if you’d like to know more!