At first glance, the west coast of Victoria doesn't seem terribly inviting for a walking trip. It can be cold, windy, rainy, scorchingly hot, bushfire-prone. But what it lacks in stable weather, it more than makes up for in wildness and, since January last year, a trail that hugs one of the most dramatic coastlines in Australia.
Just how much it sticks to the coast is surprising, actually. It makes you realise how often the so-called Great Ocean Road veers from the sea. Don't get me wrong, I love the Great Ocean Road's forest drives, new-car-ad curves and coastal towns, and where it follows the shape of the coast, it is truly great. It's just that the Great Ocean Walk gives you more coast-hugging time.
Option 1: Hike the entire 91-kilometre trail independently from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles (all walkers are asked to walk in an east-west direction); that'll take you up to eight days,
carrying food, drinking water and camping gear, and staying overnight in designated camp sites.
Option 2: One of the great things about the walk is that it has been designed as a step-on, step-off trail, conveniently split into day-walk-sized pieces, with plenty of road access along its length. Because of this you can walk as much or as little of it as you like. The easiest sections are closest to Apollo Bay and the terrain gets more demanding the further west you go.
Option 3: Take a three to six-day guided walking trip. A support vehicle drops you at the section of the trail you wish to walk each morning, with a packed lunch and an experienced guide, and at the end of the day you are picked up and transferred to your guesthouse near Johanna Beach for a hot shower, a hearty meal, a glass of wine in front of the open fire and, most importantly, a comfy bed.
For more information see article in The Sydney Morning Herald