Finishing your hike with a view of the 12 Apostles is undoubtedly a stand out experience on the Great Ocean Walk, however there are many other highlights of the walk.
Popular features include the Cape Otway Lightstation (also known as the Cape Otway Lighthouse), Wreck beach, spotting wildlife including wallabies and koalas and the dramatically different scenery from the tall trees to the cliff top beach views.
We asked Great Ocean Walk hikers which were their favourite parts of the Great Ocean Walk and there was a general sentiment that the entire trail is worth doing for it's beautiful scenery which changes as you walk. However hikers told us if they had to choose, the walk between Cape Otway and Aire River has great views from cliff tops. There is also the bonus in this section of having the option to walk on Station Beach and down to Rainbow Falls if the tide permits. Other hikers said their favourite sections included Blanket Bay, Devil's Kitchen and Aire River to Johanna Beach. If planning on camping overnight, the Johanna Beach campsite is often the most mentioned as a favourite spot due to its views. Another Great Ocean Walker said if you are only going to do one section, Johanna Beach to the end of the walk has many spectacular highlights.
For those new to hiking and looking to ease your way into it, Elliot Ridge to Blanket Bay or Cape Otway to Aire River are some of the best sections of the walk to try.
There is no right or wrong way to plan your itinerary for the Great Ocean Walk. All hikers are different. Some people plan to hike approximately 10km per day and others choose to walk as far as 30kms in one day. If you are not in a hurry just to tick off the goal of finishing the walk, we recommend factoring in a little bit of extra time to go slow and enjoy your surroundings, spot wildlife and enjoy your time in nature (perhaps allowing for the odd detour and photo opportunity). We have heard of hikers who spent an 11 hour day hiking 27kms only to regret it later and wish they'd been able to slow down and enjoy their surroundings.
There are suggested time frames for completing the walk depending on your preferred pace/fitness level however the terrain can be challenging at times which is why the recommended kilometres per day often appear shorter than what you might have expected. There are also factors like mud to consider during Winter, Spring or periods of heavy rainfall. We recommend purchasing the official Great Ocean Walk visitor guide/map which gives detailed information about the trail.
Great Ocean Walk Sections & Distances
The Great Ocean Walk can generally be divided into eight walking sections, although many people choose to combine sections or alter the start and finish locations of each day's hike to match their ideal overall hiking time frame.
There are numerous variations of how you can complete your Great Ocean Walk in anywhere from 5 to 7 days. Below is an indication of how you might consider completing the walk in six one day hikes:
1. Apollo Bay to Blanket Bay
2. Blanket Bay to Cape Otway
3. Cape Otway to Castle Cove
4. Castle Cove to Milanesia Gate
5. Milanesia Gate to Gables carpark
6. Gables Carpark to the 12 Apostles
Great Ocean Walk hikers planning a day hike from the start of the trail will usually walk from Apollo Bay to Shelley Beach, Elliot Ridge or Blanket Bay. Although not as common, the more ambitious hikers will walk from Apollo Bay all the way to Cape Otway in one day.
The Great Ocean Walk is a one way 100km coastal hiking trail which starts in Apollo Bay and ends at the 12 Apostles in Victoria. The Great Ocean Walk is popular for day hikes or as a series of one day hikes. Alternatively, the entire Great Ocean Walk trail can be completed in 5, 6, 7 or 8 days depending on your fitness, pace and how much time you would like to spend enjoying wildlife spotting, detours and immersing yourself in the scenery.
Want to find out more? Read about Jaeya's solo Great Ocean Walk experience.
Ride With Us provide a transport shuttle service for the Great Ocean Walk for solo hikers, couples/pairs and small groups of up to 8 people. Transport operates 7 days a week by advance booking. One off transfers, multi day transport, food and water drops and luggage service available. Pick up and drop off locations include the Great Ocean Walk trail, train stations and airports, campgrounds, accommodation and your car. Plan your walk.
Join the Tips for Hiking The Great Ocean Walk Facebook Group.
I did the Great Ocean Walk April 29- May 4 of 2023 and it was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. I didn't know much about the trail until about a week before I did it. Seven days before I was supposed to fly to Melbourne I saw a post about it on social media and decided that the trail was something I had to do. I flew to Melbourne and rented gear and hit the trail for my first solo backpacking trip.
For me, one of the coolest parts of the experience was reaching the first part of the trail in the bush past Apollo bay. It felt like I had truly made it on the trail and like I was going to accomplish something important. I made it to Elliot ridge campground feeling confident about the rest of the hike and happy to meet other hikers at the campground. Everyone was super friendly and was happy to chat about their plans for the hike and advice for the rest of the trail. I felt safe and happy in the forest and excited for what the next day would bring.
Day 2 and 3 were long and the very muddy and technical trail from Elliot Ridge to Blanket Bay was tedious. I decided to combine some of the hiking and hike from Elliot to Cape Otway. I have never been so excited to see a cafe in my life and the walk from the cafe to the campground felt much farther than the sign saying 500m suggested. The long days of hiking were totally worth it though. I saw beautiful forests and amazing views of the ocean. I think the end of the third day was one of my favorite moments on the trail and I would recommend to everyone to stay at Johanna beach. I’ll admit that I hate walking on sand and the two kilometer walk along Johanna beach is no exception. It felt weird to be on the beach all by myself, unable to see the end of the beach and nervous about whether I was in the right spot. But making it to the end of the beach was beautiful. The ocean was wild and when I finally reached the campground I was treated to a beautiful view of the beach that I had been on.
The next day I decided not to combine the two parts of the trail which I was very thankful for. I hiked to Ryan’s Den and had an excellent time. I spent a long time at Ryan’s Den which I really enjoyed. There is a platform with a beautiful view of the path ahead that was very peaceful. This was the first campsite that I was all alone at, it was so quiet that I felt a little weird. It gave me time to reflect on the trail and to call some of my family. I was in my tent very early though, the rain had started and I wanted to stay dry and cozy. The night was long and I was woken up several times to the wind and rain, hoping that my tent would keep me dry and wishing the morning would come faster. When I woke up I was in a predicament. I checked my phone and there was a wind warning for the area that I was in but there was no way for me to get off the trail except hiking to the end. I decided to press on cautiously.
My fifth day was tedious with a steep descent to a creek crossing and a lot of elevation gain and loss. The trail was very muddy too which made me scared to fall and injure myself. I made it to Devil’s Kitchen without any incidents though which was nice and met a group of women who were doing the trail in different sections. They had stopped for lunch and gave me some encouragement before heading out. Devil’s Kitchen was beautiful, the nicest view from a toilet I have ever seen. I spent my afternoon at the lookout and reading all the notes written on the shelter, they made me laugh and feel less lonely. It was cool to picture how many other people had been where I was. They had survived and so would I.
The last day was bittersweet. I had my first view of the Twelve Apostles 15 kilometers away and it was cool to see where I was hiking too. I walked slowly towards the end, wanting to savor every moment I had on the trail until I was done. I was proud of what I had accomplished when I made it to the end. I felt like I had truly earned the beautiful view at the end of the trail.
If I were to do the trail again, there isn't much that I would do differently. I really enjoyed doing it solo, I felt safe on the trail and saw enough people to remain sane. Although I would love to experience it with someone else. My advice would be to take your time, there is so much beauty along the trail. My favorite campsites that I stayed at were Johanna beach and Devil’s Kitchen but Blanket Bay was beautiful too. I loved the Great Ocean Walk, it is an experience that I will never forget and I would love the opportunity to do it again.
Great Ocean Walk experience and photos by Jaeya Hough. Share your own Great Ocean Walk adventure with us and be rewarded; Find out how.
Ride With Us provide a transport shuttle service for the Great Ocean Walk for solo hikers, couples/pairs and small groups of up to 8 people. Transport operates 7 days a week by advance booking. One off transfers, multi day transport and luggage service available. Pick up and drop off locations include the Great Ocean Walk trail, train stations and airports, campgrounds, accommodation and your car.
Join the Tips for Hiking The Great Ocean Walk Facebook Group.
We know many hikers love being able to share their experience with others so we are giving you the opportunity to share your experience with those who are researching the Great Ocean Walk and in return we will give you a $50 Prezzee gift card to spend on anything of your choosing from over 490 Australian retailers, restaurants and service providers.
All you need to do is:
We chose Prezzee so you have the flexibility to buy what you want with your gift card. Prezzee gift cards can be used at over 490 Australian stores including Mountain Designs, Macpac, BCF, Woolworths, Ampol, Coles, Apple, Kmart, Amazon, GooglePlay, BP, Myer, JB Hi Fi, Bunnings, Target, Netflix, Endota, Webjet, Rebel, David Jones, Spotify, The Good Guys, Country Road, Peter Alexander, Witchery, Seed, Dymocks, Review and much more. You can find out more about Prezzee here.
Terms of entry to be eligible for a $50 gift card:
Conditions of Entry:
By sending an email with the above information to email@example.com you authorise Ride With Us to post your written submission and accompanying photos and videos on the Ride With Us website and the Ride With Us social media channels which includes but is not limited to Facebook and Instagram. Ride With Us will include your name and date or month of hike unless you advise otherwise. If you do not want your surname published with your post, please advise in your email submission. Posts which do not comply with the above requested terms of entry will not be eligible to receive a gift card. Ride With Us reserves the right to post at any date now or in the future and reserves the right not to post any submissions. Entries must not refer to or promote businesses other than if you booked with Ride With Us. Emailing your submission through does not automatically guarantee your submission will be posted on the Ride With Us website or social media channels. Do not make a submission if you do not agree with these terms and conditions.
Recently Sandra Timmins from Ride With Us spoke to Geoff Edlund from Weekend Notes about the many things to do when visiting Port Campbell, on the Great Ocean Road.
Sandra talked to Geoff about the taxi, tour and bike hire services on offer from Port Campbell. Tours can be local to Port Campbell and take in the iconic sights including The 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge or you might like to venture inland and explore some of the hidden gems of the region.
The Great Ocean Walk is a 100km hiking trail traversing from Apollo Bay and ending at The 12 Apostles. The trail has views to die for. Imagine dramatic coastlines where many shipwrecks lay, beautiful beaches, rolling hills and plenty of bushland to experience.
Sandra was excited to share the news with Geoff that a new 12 Apostles Bicycle Trail is almost complete which joins with the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail. Sandra said "a new trail will extend from Timboon to Port Campbell, with the option to stayover on the coast for the night - creating more of a holiday experience".
Read more about what to do and where to stay in Port Campbell on Weekend Notes.
Two bridges were recently replaced on the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail which is now open again from Camperdown to Timboon.
Timber bridges 11 and 12, located on the trail between Glenfyne and Timboon have been replaced with steel bridges with higher rails to accommodate horse riders and are weight rated for the committee to be able to maintain the trail. The two original bridges were initially built by volunteers in the nineties and made of timber. There are still three timber bridges which the rail trail committee are working towards having replaced in the future.
The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail is pet friendly and is available for walking, cycling, ebikes and horse riders, however because of weight limits on the three bridges which need replacement, no horses are permitted between Merrett's Road and Bridge 15, about 1 km north of the Timboon Trestle Bridge. Motorbikes and trail bikes are also not permitted on the trail.
The trail meanders its way through forest and grazing paddocks and passes by historic railway trestle bridges. A lesser known regional Victorian rail trail, the trail is a hidden gem and makes for a very peaceful ride.
Feeling peckish along the way? Stop in Cobden at the Cobden Golf Club for a bite to eat in the bistro (you'll be riding right through the middle of the golf course) or detour into the main street for a pub meal at Thommo's or a quick bite to eat at one of the cafes or the local bakery. If you have more time on your hands, stroll through the op shops and locally owned clothes, gifts, homewares, lolly and sewing stores.
When you reach Timboon, reward yourself with lunch at Timboon Railway Shed Distillery or a local cafe then enjoy an ice cream at the famous Timboon Fine Ice cream(ery). Wander the shops for more lollies, gifts, clothes and homewares.
The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail now also connects to the Twelve Apostles Trail at Timboon. Some sections are still in progress however once complete, the trail will take cyclists right to the coast at Port Campbell. Please check weather conditions and updates about the current status of the Twelve Apostles Trail before commencing your ride.
The wonderful thing about rail trails is we get to see parts of Australia which are inaccessible by car. The peaceful and almost hidden locations are often seemingly undiscovered, and at times you will rarely pass another trail user. This is true for the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail which is located in the Great Ocean Road hinterland region in Southwest Victoria.
The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail takes bike riders and hikers from Camperdown to Naroghid then approximately 30 kilometres along the rail trail through dairy farms to Timboon which is renowned for its farm gate produce and locally made gourmet fare. The rail trail also joins up with the newly constructed 20 kilometre 12 Apostles Trail which is a bicycle, walking and running path from the Great Ocean Road hinterland town of Timboon to the coast at Port Campbell.
The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail is a treelined compacted earth track, taking hikers through the middle of dairy farms, past relics of the old railway trestle bridges and over the historic Timboon Trestle bridge. A peaceful walk through a combination of flat grazing country and rolling hills, the trail has varying difficulties depending on which section of the trail you choose to walk. During wet weather some sections of the trail can be muddy or slippery at times. Nobby bike tyres or hiking boots are recommended in Winter, Spring and after rain.
Camperdown to Naroghid
Due to parts of the old railway line being used as farmland, the section of trail between Camperdown to Naroghid requires riders to ride along country roads without a footpath however the remainder of the trail from Naroghid to Timboon is a scenic off-road ride. To avoid the roads, it is recommended you start your ride from Naroghid or another section of the trail rather than Camperdown.
Naroghid to Cobden
There is a rail trail car park on Cross Forest Road at Naroghid where the off-road section of the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail starts. This is a good place to start your ride. From here the trail is mostly flat, travelling in between dairy farms with an easy, almost unnoticeable descent into Cobden. Once you arrive at Cobden, the trail goes through the middle of the Cobden Golf Course, past the relics of an old rail bridge. The Cobden Golf Club is available for riders to stop in for a toilet break, drink and a bistro or bar meal. Alternatively, ride or walk 1km into Curdie Street, Cobden’s main street for a variety of options from a sandwich to a sit down or take away hot meal.
When you are ready to continue on, there is a short detour from the rail trail at the end of the golf course to rejoin the trail. Walk along McKenzie Street towards the CFA building, along Neylon Street to Grayland Street, then rejoin the trail on Grayland Street behind Hewitt & Whitty.
Cobden to Glenfyne
This 11km part of the trail is fairly flat and runs alongside farms, often running adjacent to or weaving across the Cobden-Warrnambool Road. There are a few major road crossings along this section of the trail, so watch for vehicles travelling at speed and please cross with care. On either side of the Cobden-Warrnambool Road at Glenfyne there are large shelters and the Glenfyne Public Hall has under cover picnic area, BBQ facilities and parking available.
Glenfyne to Timboon
From Glenfyne, the walk is 12km to reach Timboon. This section of the trail is undulating and weaves through remnants of the old railway line and past historic trestle bridges. The trail drops you right into the heart of Timboon where you will find ice cream, whisky, a lolly shop, gift shops and a selection of lunch options. There is parking on the site of the old railway station, now the home of the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery and Ride With Us bike hire shed.
The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail officially ends here however the new 20 kilometre 12 Apostles Trail is a bike and walking path which joins Timboon to the coast at Port Campbell. Stop in at Schulz Organic Dairy and Café as you make your way along the scenic trail, towards the iconic 12 Apostles. The 12 Apostles Trail currently ends in Port Campbell at the Port Campbell town lookout. Bike riders can ride along the road into the town centre and walkers can wander down the steps into town. The final section of Port Campbell section of the trail is currently under construction.
Most of the trail is tree-lined and so access the trail is closed on high wind and code red fire danger days. Please check weather conditions before setting off on your ride or hike.
Ride With Us has ebikes, mountain bikes and children's bikes available for hire as well as a two seater tow along child trailer, a dog seat and pet trailer for hire.
A shuttle service and bicycle transport is available along all sections of the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail, the 12 Apostles Trail and to or from your accommodation, public transport or other preferred location. The shuttle service is available with or without bike hire from Ride With Us and walkers are also welcome. Maximum eight people and nine bikes per trip. Please book transfers in advance to ensure availability. Transport for larger groups is available by prior arrangement. Pets welcome.
For bookings of 1 to 4 people Ride With Us will provide a comfortable sedan or van. For bookings of 5 to 8 people they will provide transport in a comfortable van and can bring a luggage trailer for packs and camping/hiking gear. Large group transfers of up to 42 people are also available upon enquiry.
Visit ridewithus.com.au/bike-hire to find out more about bicycle hire and bicycle transport or for more details about the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail.
Ride With Us
Experience the Timboon and the 12 Apostles region with Ride With Us, see the icons of the Great Ocean Road. We provide transport services throughout the region including taxi and shuttle services, bike hire and more.