We received a question from Ivor about the Great Ocean Walk in South Western Victoria.
He asks: I’m walking the GOW next week, as a man who is used to walking in Scotland and Tasmania I never leave home without my gaiters. I’m aware of the river crossing on the GOW but are the tracks soooo muddy that I need to take gaiters with me? I was thinking of getting some short ones just to keep sand out of my boots.
We did the Great Ocean Walk in May this year. Here is the link to the first of six posts about the walk. We did not take gaiters on the GOW, and would suggest they are unnecessary.
There is really only one (semi) serious river crossing on the walk. It is half way up Joanna Beach. The crossing is fairly tide dependant and depending on your timing or inclination to take your boots off you should be OK. Most of us just waited for the waves and did a fast runner.
As regards gaiters for the sand. I would not worry about it. When you are on beach , the best walking is on the damp sand , just above the waves where it is harder. You don’t seem to get much sand in your boots in that area.
There MAY be some argument for wearing gaiters in warm weather as protection from snake bite. They are fairly common in the area, so it is worth keeping a good lookout for them. This is always a toss up as the tracks are generally well maintained and open so you usually have good vision a couple of metres ahead!!
In May, the mud was more just the odd spot of slimy clay, nothing like in Tasmania. If you want to see REAL mud check out this post . The Otways is nothing like the wilds of Tasmania!
We nearly always wear gaiters in Tassie because of the muddy sections or if we are bush bashing. The track on the GOW is VERY well defined and unless you have the staggers you would be hardpressed to hit a sharp branch!! Would be interested in hearing your opinion on walking the 4WD sections of the track. There is a fair bit of it.
Just a word of warning, I not sure what you do about carrying water but supply is limited between each campsite. This is certainly unlike Tassie where you can usually find some within a couple of hundred metres of thinking you need to top up. We strongly suggest taking enough for the day when you leave each morning. Supplies at each campsite are usually abundant.