GREAT OCEAN WALK
When should you go
GREAT OCEAN WALK SEASONS.
WHEN TO GO.
Whilst people walk along the Great Ocean Walk all year round, the most popular seasons tend to be the springtime from late September to late November and autumn from early March to mid May.
Victoria is renowned for it’s unpredictable weather patterns and the Great Ocean walk shares this attribute, possibly even magnified! So being equipped with correct gear to deal with all types of weather is a pre-condition of undertaking an extended bush walk here. Rain and cold conditions are a possibility at any time of year and conversely hot temperatures can occur at any time from October to April. But for the most part the weather in the popular months is fine for walking and it would be a rare day indeed that you couldn’t walk along the track in the months from October to May.
Walks (June – August) are possible if you have the right gear but the cold winds blowing from the Southern Ocean and predominantly grey skies make this a season mainly for the hardy and well equipped bushwalker – a plus is that you’ll definitely have the walk to yourself! Winter has the highest rainfall as well as the coldest temperatures, but you may see the raging southern Ocean at it’s most impressive with giant winter swells – just take ocean surges into account when planning any beach walks. Most tour companies do not offer guided walks during this time as there is insufficient demand, but it is possible to do self guided walks with the support of vehicle transfers and back up if you need it.
Spring offers mild temperatures and the best time to see wildflowers along the track ( see pictures in ‘Gallery’). October and November tend to be the busier months, though busy is a relative term as you’ll often have the track to yourself even during these months. Weather is varied, you could be walking in mellow sunshine or wet gales, November tends to be a little drier and warmer. By early December it is very quiet along the track and a great time to visit – the calm before the storm of Xmas campers to come. In past years the onset of warm temperatures produced an unbearable amount of flies but these seem to have abated in recent years and now just the odd fly – nothing to worry about.
Many people are put off from walking the track during summer as they perceive it to be too hot or prone to Bushfires. Whilst it’s true that Victoria does get roasting hot days & extreme fire danger days during summer these are usually only a few in any given month and more likely are pleasant days with the temperatures in the low to mid 20’s. (Bear in mind that the coastal weather is usually a few degrees cooler than inland).
Carrying sufficient water is essential during these warmer days and avoid walking on days where temperatures are 30c+ as heat exhaustion is a very real danger, especially if carrying your own pack. If you have time for a leisurely walk during summer and can adjust your schedule to take into account any hot days then there is no reason to avoid summer time. Possibly your biggest obstacle to walking at this time of year is the fact that from Xmas to the end of January the campsites and accommodation will be busy with holidaying Victorians and visitors. Book well ahead if you intend to travel during this time and be prepared to juggle your schedule to fit availability. Once February comes the crowds will depart and you’ll have the track to yourself on many days. If you walk during summer be aware of bushfire dangers ( see ‘Safety and communications’ section under FAQ’s)
The months of March and April are amongst the best times to walk, though Easter is often the hardest time to get accommodation down here. Victoria often enjoys it’s best days of weather during this period with beautifully clear, sunny days in the high teens – low 20’s. Really ideal weather for walking, though of course this is not guaranteed! If you’re lucky enough you can see amazing sunsets at this time of year with ocean mists from pounding surf spray.