Day 1: Apollo Bay to Shelley Beach / Elliot Ridge

GOW Day 1 map

The walk officially starts by the Visitor Centre in Apollo Bay – ignore the sign that says 91km as it’s now 104Km! The trail winds out through the town to the beach-side suburb of Marengo, named by a passing French explorer. Marengo is home to a colony of Australian Fur Seals who hang out on rocks in the bay.

At several points along The Great Ocean Walk you have the choice of walking along the beaches or rock platforms at low tide or following the inland trail. Look out for the posts with the yellow triangle flag markers that indicate where to enter and exit the beach sections. Miss them and you’ll have to backtrack!

At Marengo Caravan Park there is the option to walk around the rock platform and beaches or follow the trail through the Park and along sandy foreshore and boardwalks.

Continuing onwards the  countryside becomes more rural farmland. The trail continues up a small hill with a stile to climb over a fence. There are good views along the coast from a conveniently placed rest bench, followed by a steep descent past The Blowhole.

The area after Three Creeks Beach can get a bit boggy after rain so be prepared with appropriate footwear.

The trail initially enters low forest initially, then just above Shelly beach starts to climb into the higher forests of the Great Otway National Park. There is a junction on the trail that leads left down to Shelly Beach or right to the car park at Shelly Beach picnic area.

You also have the option to continue on from Shelly Beach Carpark, down to the Elliot River mouth and a fairly steep climb up the Elliot River Track to reach the Elliot Ridge Great Ocean Walk Campsite.

If you wanted a big day’s walk you could continue on to Blanket Bay, a further 11.8km.

Great Ocean Walk

Shelly beach Approaching Three Creeks beach


Walking distance: 8.75km to Shelly Beach Car Park; 9.75km to Elliot Ridge GOW Campsite (3-4hrs walking)

Accommodation: Apollo Bay

Campsite: Elliot Ridge GOW Campsite; Blanket Bay GOW or Drive-in Campsites

Nearest Food: Apollo Bay