It has been way too long between adventures AND blog posts. Covid19 clipped my wings so severely last year that I simply had to stay home in lockdown and I completely lost my blogging mojo.
I have now decided that 2022 is going to be a year of domestic adventures and my Year of ‘Yes’. There has been far too much ‘No’ over the past two years (‘No, you can’t do that – No, you can’t leave home – No, your plan has been cancelled’) and that has to change.
So, it is Yes to adventure, Yes to positivity and Yes to new challenges.
Both large and mini-adventures are in the wind, and in the short-term one of the mini ones is a stroll, or more like a clamber, along the Great Ocean Walk trail.
Grab your backpack and your tent, we are off again AT LAST!
What is the Great Ocean Walk (GOW)?
The GOW is a 103km walk hugging the coastline and mirroring the vehicular scenic route that is the Great Ocean Road. Located on the southern coastline of one of our southern states, Victoria, it starts at Apollo Bay and ambles along the coastline to the official end at the Twelve Apostles Visitor Information Centre. Of course, there is nothing stopping you walking in either direction, however we are going to take the traditional East-to-West route.
What are the Stages and Distances?
There is no limit to the length of time you can take or where to stop and start your stroll. We are aiming for:
Day 1: Apollo Bay to Blanket Bay – 21.6km
Day 2: Blanket Bay to Aire River – 20km
Day 3: Aire River to Johanna Beach – 13.6km
Day 4: Johanna Beach to Ryan’s Den – 13.6km
Day 5: Ryan’s Den to Devil’s Kitchen – 13.4km
Day 6: Devil’s Kitchen to Twelve Apostles back to Princetown – 21.2km
As an alternative, there are plenty of options to tackle this path as day-walks only if you can arrange shuttle transport. Numerous commercial operators are based in the local region who would, no doubt, be happy to assist with this.
Where to Stay?
Being the fearless adventurers, or completely deluded individuals, that we are, we are walking the distance unsupported. This means camping in the dedicated GOW campsites. These sites are owned and operated by Parks Victoria and must be booked in advance to secure your spot. Each tent site is $17.10 per night.
The GOW campsites have a small shelter, a long-drop toilet and water tank. In some locations there are also public campsites, but apparently the GOW sites are located in more scenic areas and are more private. I will let you know what we find and whether we are still talking to each other! This will be our first hike relying on tent accommodation! Interesting times ahead…
What to Take?
Basically, everything you will need for the 5 nights/6 days. Apparently, there is a café at the Cape Otway Lighthouse, however its opening hours can be a little sporadic. I so hope it is open as no doubt I will be desperate for a ‘real’ coffee and food that is more than ‘just add boiling water’.
Timing & Weather
Being located on the southern coast of Australia, I am expecting the weather to be changeable and we will be packing for all conditions. We are planning a start date in mid-March, so we could have everything from heat waves to torrential rain.
Please send us all your fine-weather vibes and prayers. I know it just has to be endured, but if I can avoid walking in the rain, I will.
Getting There & Getting Away
From the Twelve Apostles, a bus service operates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (double check its schedule before you travel, just to make sure) which will connect you back to Apollo Bay. It is around $11.00 per person and takes 1.25hrs. Alternatively leave your car at the Princetown Camping Ground & Reserve for $5 per night. We will do that the day before the start of our walk, bus to Apollo Bay and on our last day walk to the Twelve Apostles and walk back to Princetown to collect the car.
Waymarking & Information Resources
According to my research, the path is well-marked/signposted and I guess, all we will really need to do is to keep the ocean on our left.
Maps of the walk are available from Vic Parks or grab a copy of the guide book researched and written by Julie Mundy and Debra Heyes. It is really comprehensive and was only released in December 2021, so is current. It can be ordered here.
The Vic Parks website is also good for general overview information and you can book your campsites online.
Needless to say, YouTube has a tonne of stunning clips and the landscape is both breath-taking and inspiring.
While the whole walk will be a new challenge for us as it is our first extended independent walk, we will also need to learn about tides. Living four hours from the ocean, we don’t normally need to stay up to date with tides and moon phases etc. Apparently, some of the path crosses beaches and rocky headlands, and we need to be aware of how to do that safely.
I am so excited!
What adventures have you planned for 2022?
What: The Great Ocean Walk follows the coastline NOT adjacent to the road. People have looked at me with horrified faces when I first mention our hiking plans as apparently the road is heavily trafficked and dangerous.
Where: 196km South West of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
When: Early Autumn 2022.
Why: To alleviate desperation for adventure of any type! Just get me out of the house!
How: Drive to the area and deposit your car or fly to Melbourne and then catch the train to Geelong and bus to Apollo Bay.
Who: Myself and my Better Half.
Related Posts: For a little insight into other, much larger adventures I have planned this year, read about West Australia’s Bibbulmun Track.
Related Blogs: For a great summary of the path including links to her YouTube clips, check out Elisha’s blog.
Read About it: For tonnes of great information and inspiring photos, grab your own copy of the Great Ocean Walk Guidebook. Available from Book Depository
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