You've likely heard of the Great Ocean Road, Australia's most famous coastal journey stretching 242 kilometres across windswept cliffs and rugged coastal views. Driving along it is one thing; however, we believe there's no better way to see the intense beauty this part of the world holds than to hike the Great Ocean Walk to the Twelve Apostles. The full track stretches 104 kilometres, yet it's possible to see the most stunning scenery on the last 46.5 kilometres from Castle Cove to the Twelve Apostles. As you wander through tall forests, high above crashing waves, alongside rugged shoreline and across remote beaches, you'll become attuned to the rhythm of nature and the constant hum of a busy life will melt away.
Planning a multi-day hike can be a daunting task, so let the professionals do the handwork and check out 'All You Need to Know About the Twelve Apostles and Great Ocean Walk' below.
Best time to hike the Great Ocean Walk to the Twelve Apostles
In true Australian fashion, the Great Ocean Walk can be enjoyed all year round. However, each season brings with it a unique charm and subtle differences in the surrounding landscapes.
Summer, December through February, is the busiest time of year on the trail. If you love hot weather and spending just as much time swimming as hiking, this is the season for you. Daytime temperatures hang around the mid-70's °F (mid-20's °C) and evenings are pleasantly in the mid-50's °F (mid-teens °C).
On either side of summer, temperatures are ideal for long days of hiking and evenings cosied up. Spring (September through November) brings with it brilliant wildflowers dotting the coastline. However, there tends to be more rain during the early spring months, so you'll want to bring layers. On the other end, Autumn showcases plenty of sunny days, and it's nearly guaranteed you'll catch incredible sunsets each night.
During the winter months (June through August), hiking the Great Ocean Walk is still possible. However, you'll want to be well-prepared for the wet gales blowing in from the Southern Ocean and large swells crashing into the shoreline.
Highlights of the Great Ocean Walk
1. Johanna Beach
Known for its impressive surf and home to the 1970 World Surfing Championships. Marks the midway point of the Great Ocean Walk.
2. Moonlight Head
Unique geological structures, sea caves, an active slip and vertical cliffs soaring 50 metres into the air are all showcased at Moonlight Head. A platform 90 metres above sea level provide expansive views of the Southern Ocean.
Photo courtesy of flickr.com
3. Wreck Beach
This dramatic stretch of coast has seen more than 300 ships come to grief, including the Marie Gabrielle and Fiji. Wandering the beach in search of their lost anchors is a must.
4. Twelve Apostles
The grand finale! Jutting up to 50 metres (160 feet) out of the sea, these limestone cliffs formed by millions of years of gradual erosion will no doubt drop your jaw in awe.
Where to stay during your Great Ocean Walk
Twelve Apostles Lodge
If you're one who enjoys their creature comforts and appreciates a hot shower and cold drink at the end of each night, the Twelve Apostles Lodge is calling your name. On Active Adventures 'Twelve Apostles' walk, you and your group will enjoy exclusive use of the lodge where local wines, home-cooked dinners and even foot spas await. Tuck into your king bedroom with a modern en suite, and wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day's hike.
Along the trail, you'll find seven hike-in campsites. The amenities are basic, but if you don't mind a bit of hard ground, the sweeping views and starlit skies are well worth the effort. As each campsite has very limited capacity, make sure to book well in advance.
What to bring on your Twelve Apostles and Great Ocean Walk
As the Victoria Coastline is known for unpredictable weather, you'll want to be prepared for sun, rain and wind at all times of the year. A few other must-haves include:
- Sturdy hiking shoes or boots with treaded soles
- Day pack big enough to fit a couple of layers, water, snacks and any other personal items you'd like to have on hand
- Swimsuit if you're planning on cooling off in the waters
- Rain gear
- An array of layers
- If you choose to join Active Adventures, we'll provide you with a detailed gear list upon booking
- If you choose to go unguided and stay in campsites, you'll need to carry your tent, sleeping bag and cooking gear
How fit do I need to be to hike the Great Ocean Walk?
The Great Ocean Walk is classified as a 'Grade 3' under the Australian Walking Track Grading System. This means you'll want a decent level of fitness and be happy walking for a good few hours at a time with a pack on. Due to the unpredictable weather, some portions of the track may be slippery, and you'll need to be comfortable walking on uneven terrain.
The full track stretches 104 kilometres, however, it's possible to see the most stunning scenery on the last 46.5 kilometres from Castle Cove to the Twelve Apostles.
The benefit of joining a guided trip is that you'll have guides who carry the lion's share of the gear. Without lugging around a tent and overnight pack, you can simply focus on the incredible views the Great Ocean Walk is known for. Plus, you're always welcome to go at your own pace. Whether you'd like to challenge yourself and get a few extra miles in, or prefer to take things slower - it's never a race.