Are you sitting bleary eyed at your desk right now, dreaming of an escape from the ordinary? It’s time to trade your slippers for hiking boots and your office for the rugged wilderness of Greatopia. This country is built for those intrepid explorers who’d rather hit the trail than sit poolside.
We’ve rounded up our favourite walks in Greatopia. You’ll be amazed at where these hidden trails can take you.
Hop between Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet on this beautiful coastal walk. If you don’t want to tackle the full 44km, the Surf Coast Walk is broken up into 12 shorter trail heads. Go wildlife spotting in Anglesea Heath. Venture inland and explore the Ironbark Basin with its lush eucalypt forests. Or follow the Bells Track and cruise along the cliff tops of Jan Juc, stopping to watch the surfers ride the massive swells of Bells Beach.
Boasting the most spectacular views in the country, the Great Ocean Walk is an epic voyage encompassing beaches, rainforests and coastal heathlands. The trail runs from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles, winding through the Otways and Port Campbell National Park along the way. Challenge yourself to finish the whole 100km in eight days, or spend an afternoon tackling one of the eight legs. Take your tent with you, or stay in luxury lodges along the way (you’ve earned that spa and glass of red!)
Walk among giants on The Redwoods Walk in Beech Forest. This plantation of California redwood trees is 85 years old, but those majestic sequoias still have plenty of growing to do! Gaze up and take in the grandeur, the trees here are a whopping 60m tall. It truly has to be seen to be believed. Although this is an easy 15 minute walk, we recommend setting aside more time to roam and explore. You’ll be mesmerised.
From a 30,000-year-old extinct volcano emerged this fascinating wildlife reserve and Victoria’s very first national park. Teeming with native critters, you might encounter emus and echidnas, kangaroos and koalas as you explore the volcano and wetlands. Take a tour with local guides and learn the history of the Gunditjmara people who lived on this land. And get a lesson in bush tucker as you identify native plants for food and medicinal use.
Prepare to be dazzled by the Jewel of the Otways. Melba Gully is one of the wettest places in the state (so dress accordingly!) It also happens to be one of the prettiest. The 1km Maden’s Track meanders through the dense and mossy rainforest, beside the Johanna River. Climb 100 steps to see the 300-year-old Big Tree, or enjoy lunch in the picnic grounds. We recommend coming at night to see something truly magical. When the sun goes down, the gully is illuminated by the twinkling lights of hundreds of resident glow worms.
If you want that iconic view (and Insta-worthy snap) of the Great Ocean Road snaking along beside the ocean, stop at Teddy’s Lookout. Just outside Lorne, this spot has a viewing platform where you can see waves crash around the mouth of the Saint George River. In front of you, crystalline waters. Beside you, the long winding road. Behind, the wild tangle of the rainforest. If you can tear your eyes off the stunning vistas, there’s a short but lovely bush walk from the carpark.
Why trudge along the forest floor when you can explore the treetops? Even if you’re not up for the thrilling zipline roller coaster, the Otway Fly Treetop Walk offers all the same gorgeous views at a more leisurely pace. The 20–30m high canopy walk takes an hour to complete. Don’t leave without braving the winding staircase up the 47m tall Spiral Tower. As you sway among the trees, you’ll feel like a bird on the breeze.
Step back in time on this history-filled bushwalk. Beginning at Addiscot Beach, this 2km walk tells the story of the Wathaurung people and how they lived on the land. Admire the coastal flora and fauna as you explore one of the highlights of the Surf Coast. When you’ve finished, cool off with a swim at the impossibly pretty Point Addis beach. Didn’t pack your togs? No worries, clothing is optional here!
Like something out of a fairytale, this rainforest walk will leave you in awe. An easy 30 minute stroll along a boardwalk above the valley floor, Maits Rest Walk explores the dense Otways. See the fern gullies and moss covered trees up close and look out for native wildlife hiding amongst the branches. If you’re lucky, a long-nosed potoroo or ringtail possum might make an appearance. Bring a jacket, it gets chilly here.
An island bird sanctuary you can reach on foot? Sign us up! Departing from the charming little fishing town of Port Fairy, it will take you about an hour to make the round trip through the coastal scrub, out to the lighthouse and back to the mainland. But we recommend dawdling, there’s plenty to see on this tiny island. Time your walk to see the colony of shearwater seabirds fly home at dusk. Watch them soar back to their nests after a long day out at sea catching their dinner. As a bonus, you’ll get to enjoy an impressive sunset.
From the volcanic landscape of Cape Bridgewater to the mighty Glenelg River and the wild waters of Discovery Bay. Venture all the way to the edge of Greatopia on this peaceful hike. Lesser known than the Surf Coast and Great Ocean walks, you’ll get more of this incredible trail all to yourself. The Great Southwest Walk runs from Portland to the South Australian border, showcasing varied and exquisite landscapes. Stand on the tallest sea cliffs in Victoria, explore caves and limestone gorges and travel through majestic eucalypt forests.
If these walks have got you itching for an adventure, start planning your Greatopia journey. We’ll see you out there on the trail.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, 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.