The Great Ocean Walk, Victoria – Day 1

A grey start to Day 1 on the Great Ocean Walk
Gale force winds, anyone?

After thinking, dreaming and planning for so long, it was exciting to step out on our first real adventure for 2022. The wind buffeted us as we walked away from the protection of Apollo Bay township and the sand, whipped up off the beach, stinging our legs and arms. Loving the early morning views over the beach, the wind gusts hit out fully loaded (overloaded?) backpacks and we stepped sideways grappling with our hiking poles to remain upright.

Our Great Ocean Walk was underway!


Date: Saturday 19 March, 2022

From: Apollo Bay, Victoria

To: Blanket Bay

Day 1 Map - Source:

Official Distance: 21.6km

Actual Distance: 23.23km

Total: 23.23/103km

Time: 7h27m

Ascent: 511m

Descent: 547m

Weather: Very windy and overcast in the morning, and then bluest of blue skies

Stayed At: Blanket Bay Great Ocean Walk (GOW) campsite

General Comments:

  • The GOW guidebook lays out a walking itinerary in eight stages. Us being the optimists that we are, combined two stages for our Day 1. That was ambitious, but doable if you are relatively fit and pretty determined.
  • For someone who lives so far from the sea, it was an absolute joy walking close to the crashing waves. The first part of this path rock hops along the beach and around headlands. It pays to keep one wary eye on the waves and the other on the slippery and uneven surfaces underfoot.
  • About 5km into the walk, the Blow Hole provides an interesting challenge as you change from hiking to hand-over-hand rock climbing. This may not be enjoyable for those a little afraid of precarious positions or unwilling to reach across sizeable distances with turbulent waves below. Yes, all with a fully loaded backpack on your back. Take it slow and steady, and you should be fine.
  • The eroded rocks and cliffs were a myriad of colours and shapes. Balls and tubelike blocks of colour were revealed as the softer surrounding rocks weathered away. All that layered history telling the story of our Earth over thousands of years.
  • The path then takes you away from the water and the endless ups commence as you climb the first (of many, many, many) ridgelines. The bush is thick and fragrant with those Aussie bush smells, all with the accompaniment of the roaring ocean in the background. The husband and I quickly settled into a walking pattern. He led the ups and I led the downs. We each have our strengths. 😊
  • There is a picnic area and toilet at the Shelly Beach carpark. For water, you must wait until you arrive at Elliot Ridge GOW campground.
  • The second half of the walking day is completely different. The sound of the sea disappears until the very end of the day and is replaced by the sound of the breeze rustling through the tallest of trees and elegant tree ferns.
  • We caught up with a few day walkers, stage walkers, and passed a few others walking in the opposite direction, but on the whole, it was blissfully quiet and un-busy.
  • The path is very wide and clear, and for most of this stage, following a Vic Parks access road. You still have to be conscious of where you step due to tree roots and fallen branches. At one stage I heard a thump and turned to see the husband face down on the path pinned under the weight of his bakery-laden pack. Thankfully no injury was sustained to either the husband or bakery goods.
  • The descent into Blanket Bay was very steep and tough on weary legs, but highly welcome as it meant we were done for the day. There we met a couple (of similar age/stage of life) who were the only others walking end-to-end. It appears day walks and weekend walks are the most popular ways of completing the GOW.

Top Tips for this Section:

  • Tides: Before you leave Apollo Bay, pop into the very helpful Visitor Information Centre to obtain up-to-date information about low/high tide times. You will need this for the first part of this walk.
  • Booking: If you are walking on the weekend or during a holiday period, make sure you book your GOW campsite. There must have been 20 tents pitched at Blanket Bay by the time we arrived.
  • Footwear: The rocks in the first part of the stage are slippery and sharp. Footwear that has new tread and good grip is essential.
  • Bathing: It is possible to swim at Blanket Bay if you need to refresh. Take care in the strong currents. Alternatively, there is a small waterfall at the rear of the campsite and, with a bit of acrobatics, you can get to the fresh water for a bird bath.
  • Distances: We found that none of the distances for virtually the whole walk married up to my Garmin watch, the guidebook or the official Vic Parks signs. Take the listed distances as a suggestion only and be prepared to walk another kilometre or two.
  • Mobile Service: Mobile service varies from being patchy to non-existent.

Stay tuned for Day 2.

Into the woods at Blanket Bay - Day 1 of Great Ocean Walk

#travelinspo #greatoceanwalk #bucketlist #adventurebeforedementia #longdistancewalks #australianbush #victoria #bushwalks #greatoutdoors #twelveapostles #apollobay #coastalwalks.

64 thoughts on “The Great Ocean Walk, Victoria – Day 1

  1. Rich April 6, 2022 / 5:12 pm

    Fantastic! Wonderful to see the detail of the walk along this coastline? This brings back memories of my trip to the GOR in 2016, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:43 pm

      Hopefully I can show you some bits you may not have seen from the car. I was a bit surprised actually at the few car access points. Thanks for reading. Mel


  2. wetanddustyroads April 6, 2022 / 10:27 pm

    Gale force winds! You have certainly started your walk with a bang!
    But what lovely views (of both the ocean and bush) – LOVE your dinner and camping site. Looking forward to day 2 👣.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:45 pm

      Yes, the best of all worlds although the rehydrated dinner may not win any awards! You know what is like when you are hungry…EVERYTHING tastes good! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Boots on the Trail April 6, 2022 / 10:45 pm

    It must feel amazing to finally be off on your adventure! Looking forward to following your progress. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:46 pm

      It was equal parts nerve-wracking and exciting. This was our first hike/camp….what could possibly go wrong?? 🙂


  4. Toonsarah April 6, 2022 / 11:11 pm

    Not something I could or would ever contemplate doing, but all the more interesting for that! The stretch by the ocean sounds especially rewarding – and the dinner at the end of the day looks equally so 🙂 You certainly earned it!


    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:47 pm

      I am not afraid to admit that it was harder than I expected, and there was the odd time when I thought…”am I having fun yet?” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:48 pm

      Such an amazing part of Australia. It’s a tad cliched, but I am blessed to live in this country…


    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:49 pm

      Don’t worry – you will have plenty of adventures over your Spring and Summer that will make me equally jealous!


  5. Jen April 7, 2022 / 12:06 am

    Thank you for sharing these details notes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Heyjude April 7, 2022 / 3:39 am

    That’s quite a trek. I wouldn’t have fancied those rocks (or the ups and downs) but the wide track looks good! How did you get on with your dehydrated food? Is that the spag bol in the photos?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:52 pm

      Yep, that’s the infamous spag bol! When you are hungry, everything tastes good, but the pasta was still chewy. Back to the drawing board…or kitchen for further experimentation. 🙂


        • Life...One Big Adventure April 8, 2022 / 2:55 pm

          I am thinking may be too sharp and would puncture the vacuum seal?? Definitely will try ‘normal’ macaroni next time – not gluten free. All recipe advice gratefully received…


  7. restlessjo April 7, 2022 / 6:48 am

    Yay! You’re off and going already. Full of energy, Mel, and bakery goods? Sounds better than rehydrated stuff. Poor hubby! He’s supposed to do the ups.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:53 pm

      He took one for the team with this tumble and saved the bakery goods! Although I did notice him chomping down on a very flat bread roll a couple of days later. Ugh!


  8. Born to Travel April 7, 2022 / 12:05 pm

    This is such a wonderful walk. Loved reading about the start of your time on the GOW. We did it as a series of day walks back in March 2016 and 2018. Looking forward to reading more. Cheers, Mark

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 4:56 pm

      Yes Mark, I think day walks would be a very good option, although I loved the freedom of not having to be at a certain place, at a certain time to meet a shuttle or similar. No matter how you do it, just do it.


  9. Destinations Journey April 7, 2022 / 5:10 pm

    We’ve driven a small part, but never walked it. We once did 26km in a day and were pretty tired at the end. Beautiful views and photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 7, 2022 / 5:23 pm

      It is definitely walkable in single stages and there are plenty of shuttle companies who would help you do that. You still need to be prepared for the hills though. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Diana April 7, 2022 / 11:26 pm

    What a beautiful start! I can’t wait to follow along on the rest of this journey with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 8, 2022 / 2:50 pm

      We are off and running…or walking. Maybe I need to do a handstand like you do at each destination, although mine would look more like a crumpled mess of human on the ground! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. travelling_han April 8, 2022 / 12:48 am

    It looks absolutely perfect – wow those beaches and views. Stunning.


  12. Master of Something Yet April 9, 2022 / 10:06 am

    23km on day 1 is an epic effort, especially on a windy coastal day. Well done on a successful first day. You must have felt chuffed. You’ve got me chomping at the bit to start this walk! Photis are incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 10, 2022 / 2:59 pm

      Sending you a million positive thoughts for dry weather. We all seem to be having a run of dampness at the moment. I sure hope the Weather Gods smile on you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Master of Something Yet April 10, 2022 / 3:18 pm

        I got soaked on my first overnight hike and then last week when we expected rain the sun shone so I feel ready for anything. But the positive thoughts are very much appreciated! Clear weather would be infinitely nicer. (Although rain may deter some of the holiday crowds. 😉)

        Liked by 1 person

  13. The Travel Architect April 12, 2022 / 9:56 am

    Yay to adventure! I’m glad to see the extra distance between “official” and “actual” didn’t get you down. You gotta stay positive on treks like these, I would think. Still, I hope any future discrepancies are in your favor. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 13, 2022 / 1:57 pm

      It all seemed to work out in the end, which was a bit weird. It felt like we were walking extra k’s every day and yet, it was only just over 1k longer at the end of the whole walk. Time warp , or more like a distance warp, on the Great Ocean Walk! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Marsha April 14, 2022 / 7:50 am

    That looks like a lovely trip. It looks so green. Gorgeous photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure April 14, 2022 / 4:02 pm

      Thanks Marsha. Yes, it has been a very wet Summer here in Aus, so everything was unusually lush leading into our Autumn. The upside of soggy and grey skies, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha April 15, 2022 / 7:07 am

        You did have some sog, for sure. It seems that everything flooded. It did make for a beautiful fall, for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Alison April 26, 2022 / 11:09 pm

    I imagine you slept very well that first night, how did you manage to pull yourself up and start again! I will have to read on
    How fit you must be

    Liked by 1 person

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