Day Walks & Short Hikes

If you don’t have time to walk the full length of the Great Ocean Walk trail you can definitely still walk some of the best parts.

Below is a list of great short walks so you can get a taste of the beauty of the Great Ocean Walk and which may even entice you to do the whole trail next time you are in the area.

For some, you will need to be aware of local tide times. You can use this “widget” (to the right), or click Apollo Bay Tide information for more detailed information.

  • Station Beach
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Aire River
  • Parker Inlet
  • Eastern Grey Kangaroo
  • Cape Otway Light Station
  • Rock formation at Elliot River
  • Elliot Falls
  • Elliot River Mouth

Short Walks

Shelley Beach Circuit – 2.4km Return

This is a great introductory to the Great Ocean Walk trail and is rated as one of the best short walks the area has to offer. This walk starts and finishes at the Shelley Beach picnic area. You will experience it all on this short walk with fern gullies, coastal scrub, beach walking and rocky platforms. Once past Elliot River make sure you keep an eye out for Kolas that make the blue gums their home. the nocturnal possum, yellow bellied Glider, has also been seen in this area.

Time: 45min to 1 hour
Start: Shelley Beach Picnic Area
Difficulty: Introductory

Considerations: Beach walking on this circuit should only be done during low tide.

Light-station Cemetery and Lookout – 2.8km Return

This is an easy but enjoyable walk through coast beard-heath which is a small coastal shrub with small white flowers. Once you reach the lookout you will get beautiful  views of the ocean, telegraph station and back across to the Cape Otway Lightstation. The Cemetery is the resting place of some courageous explorers and shipwreck victims.

Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Start: Cape Otway Light-Station Carpark
Difficulty: Introductory

Considerations: Please note if you plan to enter fees do apply for entry into the Cape Otway Light-Station

Aire River Escarpment Lookout – 4.2km Return

Aire River estuary is where the calm water of the river meets the crashing waves of the ocean at Glenaire beach. Get great views from the lookout of the Hordenvale Wetlands and the ocean. Here you could possibly see some kangaroos and wallabies hiding in the scrub.

Time: 2 – 2.5 hours
Start: Aire River Bridge
Difficulty: Moderate

The Gables Lookout – 800m Return

This easy walk is well worth your while. The lookout provides spectacular views over the ocean, reefs and around Moonlight Head. If you are a keen whale watcher, keep a lookout during June to September and you might just be lucky!

Time: 20mins
Start: The Gable Car-park
Difficulty: Introductory

Wreck Beach Walk – 2.1km Return

This is a very satisfying walk, with a 350 step decent to Wreck Beach this walk takes you to the anchors of the Marie Gabrielle and the Fiji. There are high tide and low tide track options for this walk as parts of the beach walking are impassable during high tide.

Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Start: Wreck Beach
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Considerations: Beach walking on this walk can only be done during low tide.

Day Walks

Marengo to Shelly Beach – 4.7km One-way

Following low cliff tops with views over the ocean this walk will traverse on and off the beach and through sheltered forest en route to the striking Shelley Beach.

Time: 2 – 2 .5 hours
Start: Marengo caravan park
Finish: Shelley Beach picnic area
Difficulty: Moderate

Considerations: Beach walking on this walk should be done during low tide.

DAY WALKS (Continued….)

Blanket Bay to Parker Inlet – 4.5km One-way

You get a piece of everything along this walk. Coastal forest, grass trees, gully walking and a lovely downhill section to Parker Inlet. There are two lookouts along the track that provide beautiful views and once you reach Parker Inlet we suggest you allow for extra time to explore the wildlife and geology.

Time: 2 – 2.5 hours
Start: Blanket Bay camp ground
Finish: Parker Inlet
Difficulty: Moderate

Considerations: This walk includes a river crossing at Parker Inlet so be prepared to take off your shoes or risk getting them wet! Always carefully asses the river before wading across.

Cape Otway to Aire River – 9.3km One-way

This diverse walk cuts its way through wind sculptured sand dunes, coastal scrub and calcified cliffs. Along this walk you can choose to complete a side trip to Rainbow Falls (additional 3kkm return). Rainbow falls is a picturesque waterfall which is spring-fed and at the right time of day gives off an array of beautiful colours. To reach Aire River you can either walk along Station Beach (low tide only) or along the inland route.

Time: 4 – 5 hours
Start: Cape Otway
Finish: Aire River
Difficulty: Moderate

Considerations: Beach walking on this hike should be done during low tide.

Aire River to Johanna Beach – 13km One-way

This longer but rewarding walk will take you through diverse landscape to the famous and stunning Johanna Beach. Experience fabulous ocean views and in spring the wild flowers should be out in all their glory. Lookout for the Peregrine Falcons flying high in the sky.

Time: 5 – 6 hours
Start: Aire River information shelter
Finish: Johanna Beach camp ground
Difficulty: Moderate

Considerations: Beach walking on this hike should be done during low tide and there is a river crossing at Johanna beach that is unbridged.

Milanesia Beach to Moonlight Head – 10.4km One-way

The route for this walk starts on Milanesia Beach and involves a steep climb to the cliff tops where you will get spectacular views. The walk continues along the forested cliff tops and finishes at Moonlight Head.

Time: 4 – 5 hours
Start: Milanesia Creek
Finish: Moonlight Head
Difficulty: Moderate

Considerations: Beach walking on this hike should only be done during low tide and you will need to wade across the mouth of Milanesia Creek to the beach.

Princetown to Glenample – 6km One-way

This walk will see you getting magnificent views of the Twelve Apostles. You will walk along cliff tops and through coastal scrubland to Glenample. Keep an eye out in the National Marine Park below for migrating whales and pods of dolphins. In near by farmland you may also see Kangaroos grazing.

Time: 2 – 2.5 hours
Start: Princetown recreation reserve
Finish: Glenample
Difficulty: Moderate