One of the best ways to shed any stress, to feel grounded and to get in touch with the abundant nature of the Great Ocean Road again, is by walking. Meander, hike or stroll your way through one or many of the plethora of walking tracks and trails, ranging from a short loop to an 8-day hike. To get you started, here are some of the classics as well as our shorter, local picks.
Medium difficulty | 5km
Starting just past the Bridgewater Bay Cafe at the carpark, this walk will take you around 2.5hrs return. Walking over steep inclines, along stunning coastal cliffs and back to the shore, you will find yourself at the viewing platform above the seal colony. You can also reach the seal viewing platform from the Cape Bridgewater Blowholes carpark, which will incorporate the Petrified Forest and the Blowholes – well worth the 12km round trip!
Family friendly | Dog friendly | 2km
The dog friendly Koorie Cultural Trail at Point Addis is a fairly easy 2km bush walk (with only a couple of steeper inclines) with breathtaking views over the cliff and onto the expanse of the seemingly endless ocean below. Make a morning of it and stop to take in the information signposted which teaches how the Indigenous Wathaurung people lived with the land. This is a walk that will bring you closer to nature, and if you’re quiet, you might even spot one of the local echidnas.
The Nature Trail 1.5k circuit / The Ironbark Gorge Track 2.2 km circuit / The Currawong Falls Track 12 km (no dogs)
All Family friendly / Check signs for which tracks are dog friendly
We all know Aireys Inlet from its distinctive Split Point Lighthouse, but did you know there are some stunning walks behind Aireys? From Distillery Creek Picnic Area on Bambra Road, there are 3 different walks. You will find yourself peacefully winding through the Ironbarks and other eucalypt trees amongst the array of birdlife above. Check the signs if you’re with your furry friend, as only one of these tracks is dog friendly.
Family friendly / 15 minute stroll or 3.6km
You may have driven past the turn off to Sheoak Falls numerous times on your way to your next spot – but not this time! Now is the time to make the turn, pull up in the carpark and do the easy walk through to Sheoak Falls. You’ll immediately lose the sound of cars passing and be immersed in the silence on the quiet walk down to the roaring waterfall. With such easy access, Sheoak Falls really is a stunning stop. For a longer and more challenging hike though, you could park your car at Sheoak Picnic Area and walk the 3.6km trail.
Family friendly | 40 mins each way
From the back of Bimbi Park in Cape Otway, you can follow the sign posted path to the secluded Station Beach. Station Beach is quiet with a wide expanse that makes you feel like you’re at the end of the earth. As you emerge from the path over the sandy dunes, your jaw will drop as you encounter the roaring ocean below. If the tide is right, you can walk along the beach to Rainbow Falls, or just sit on the giant, sea sculpted rock on the sandy shore at the end of the path and watch the ocean for a while before starting the walk back.
Family friendly / 6.5km one-way
If you can’t commit to the whole 8 days of the Great Ocean Walk, this first leg will give you a good sneak peek at what this stunning walk has to offer. Officially starting at the Apollo Bay Visitor Information Centre, you can also start from the back of the Marengo Holiday Park where it is signposted and easy to follow. This stunning walk will have you hiking over sandy beaches, up over huge rocks, and through lush rainforest.
Dog friendly / Family friendly / 20 mins each way 5.5km trail
Take the easy 20 minute walk between Wye River and Separation Creek know as Paddy’s Path. The 5.5 km trail linking the two locations winds through bushland above the iconic Great Ocean Road and features amazing views along the way. You may even spot a whale in the cooler months! The path follows the route of a timber tramway that was transporting timber from Separation Creek to the original jetty at Wye River in 1905.
Family friendly | 3.8km return
Get a unique view of the 12 Apostles with this Discovery Walk. The walk traverses cliff top and dense low coastal heath, offering an abundance of wildlife and unobstructed viewing east to Sentinel Rock and of course the 12 Apostles. Local tip – try this walk at dusk or dawn for not only stunning views, but a better chance at spotting some of the local wildlife.
Wheelchair friendly / Dog friendly / Family friendly / 5.3km one way
Stroll out along the Breakwater wall with the Southern Ocean on your right and the tranquil waters of Lady Bay to your left. The promenade path makes for an easy stroll, or if you want to soak in the ocean vibes, you can walk along the sand – there’s even a playground along the way for the kids. This walk ends at the Logan’s Beach Whale Viewing Platform, so if the season is right (July – September), it’s the perfect place to take a break and try to spot a whale while you’re at it. If you do see a whale, don’t forget to let us know!
8 day hike or pick one leg| No dogs | Family friendly | 100km in full
For the hearty adventurer, this walk is one to tick off the bucket list with 8 days of stunning views and hike-in camping. For the adventurer who appreciates a bit more comfort though, there are so many ways to complete this walk but still enjoy a hot shower and comfy bed at the end of each day, it all depends on you. If you’ve got a family in tow, try one of the sections of the walk which will give you a taste.
2 day hike or pick a leg | Dog friendly |Family friendly | 44km in full
The Surf Coast Walk spans from Torquay, winding its way through Anglesea before finishing in Aireys Inlet (technically the western most point of the Surf Coast Walk is the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club just past Aireys Inlet), but you can do this work in any direction and in any way you choose. Whether you’re a nature lover or trail runner, this walk has you covered. You will be guided along easy paths (also suited to riding your bike), over cliffs and through eucalypt forests. This walk is broken up into 12 shorter legs you can do on their own, depending on what sort of adventure you’re looking for. If you’re doing the hike in full, there are camping options in Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, or of course, many options for something a bit more luxurious.
250km loop in full or pick a leg / Family friendly and dog friendly depending on the section
The Great South West Walk begins and ends at the Maritime Discovery and Visitor Information Centre in Portland and covers an area from Portland through to Nelson. In full, this walk is a 250km loop, but just like the Great Ocean Walk, it’s broken down into shorter legs or even day walks.
The 250km trek weaves its way through Portland, Cape Bridgewater and Nelson, across the capes of Discovery Bay and trailing the Glenelg River.
This walk truly is a world-class experience, with views of rugged cliffs, sublime bays, tranquil forests, pristine river and an array of wildlife and flora.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.