Getting to the GREAT OCEAN walk (GREAT OCEAN ROAD WALK)
Apollo Bay is 195 kms south west of Melbourne (about 3 hours driving) and 43 kms south west of Lorne (about 40 minutes driving along one of the most scenic stretches of the Great Ocean Road). The nearest commercial airport is Avalon (for Jetstar flights) and Melbourne’s main airport, Tullamarine.
Apollo Bay is also serviced by rail (V/Line) from Melbourne’s Southern Cross station (formerly known as Spencer Street Station) to Geelong, then a connecting bus to Apollo Bay. Travel time is an hour to Geelong by train and about 2.5 hours on the bus from Geelong.
The Great Ocean Walk finishes at Gibsons Steps / the Twelve Apostle from where you can either continue to Port Campbell for an overnight stay or backtrack to Princetown. For hikers who require public transport back to Apollo Bay, there is a V/Line bus service to Apollo Bay via the Great Ocean Road, stopping at Port Campbell , Princetown and the Twelve Apostles Car park. Alternatively, if you are heading directly to Melbourne or Geelong, V/Line services also head inland via Colac and the Princess Highway. Similarly, this service is available for those travelling further west along the Victorian coastline.
Contact Christian’s Bus Co to book your trip on (03) 5562 9432.
Most people tour along the Great Ocean Road by car. If travelling from Melbourne take the Princes Freeway to Geelong then the Great Ocean Road (B100) for the scenic drive along the coast to Apollo Bay ( about 2.5 – 3 hours) Or for an alternative route through the magnificent Otway forests, take the Princes Highway to Winchelsea then turn off to Forrest.
An attractive alternative from Melbourne is to drive to Sorrento on the other side of Port Phillip bay and take the ferry across to Queenscliff. Though you’ll need more time up your sleeve for this option about 4.5 – 5 hours. For timetables, costs and other details of the ferry crossing, have a look at the Queenscliff-Sorrento Car & Passenger Ferry Service website.
Transfers along the GREAT OCEAN walk (GREAT OCEAN ROAD WALK)
Options depend on whether you are doing this as a group with several vehicles or a couple of people with just one vehicle. Being a linear rather than a circular walk, utilising two vehicles in a “car shuffle” will provide the most flexible and cheapest transport options. A car shuffle is a good way to provide transport to and from the start and end of the walk independent of transport timetables. Hikers can for example drive to the end of the walk with both vehicles, drop one off, and then return to the start of the walk in the other vehicle. If you have only one or no vehicles, you may have to use a shuttle service provider.
If hikers are utilising their own vehicle, it’s recommended that you leave this vehicle at the end of your walk first and get shuttled back to where you will be starting your walk. This gives you the convenience of walking towards your vehicle to your final destination; and avoiding possible glitches such as missing pick-up times arranged with transport providers because of lateness on your last day. Mobile telephone coverage is not reliable along the walk ( Telstra 3G covers about 85% of the walk) which may make changing agreed pick up times problematic.
Recommended shuttle servicesGreat Ocean Walk (Great Ocean Road Walk) – Walkers transfers:
Speak to Lee Bryant on 0458 909 347 e: email@example.com
As mobile phone service is difficult in this area please also email if you cannot reach Lee by phone then you can also contact him on the following address with your plans and dates. It is recommended that if you want a quote you email through an outline of your plans and Lee can then advise you on what works best: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Timboon Taxi Ph: 0438 407777
Self guided (& guided) walk packages take away the worries of having to work out your own transfers and times. Operators provide you with notes & pick up based on their estimates of your walking distances, plus you have back up in the case of an emergency or injury which might curtail your day’s walking. Most self guided walks will include an emergency device to carry on your walk, book suitable accommodation and have meals options.
Where to park your car?
Public parking in the Great Otway National Park is available at the following car parks: Shelly Beach, Blanket Bay, Parker Hill, Cape Otway, Aire River East and West, Johanna Beach, Milanesia Beach Access, Moonlight Head, The Gables Lookout, and Wreck Beach. No designated long-term parking is provided in the Apollo Bay and Marengo area, but vehicles can be parked in the foreshore car parks between Apollo Bay and
Vehicles can be parked at the Princetown Recreation Reserve for hikers completing the “end” of the walk. This camping reserve is managed by a caretaker, providing relatively secure parking (ph: 0429 985176). Walkers usually drop their heavy packs off at their cars as they hike past the Reserve, before continuing on for 6 km to complete the end of the Great Ocean Walk, and returning to their vehicles.
If you’re staying at accommodation they may be able to park your vehicle for you short term, enquire with the owners to this possibility.
Owners are responsible for any vehicles and their contents left at any of these sites. As always – please remove any valuables and lock your vehicle.
At the end of the Walk, there is small information and parking bay suitable for day parking, and ‘dropping off’ and ‘picking-up’ hikers. This is located on the left side of the road opposite the Glenample Homestead, some several hundred metres before the Twelve Apostles ( and easily missed!). Please note that the Glenample Homestead is currently closed, and the Twelve Apostles Car park has no overnight parking available.