Great Ocean Walk guiding

Phew,

Frank here. It has been a busy few weeks around the Our Hiking Blog household. Over the last four weeks I have led a seven, three and four day trip along the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria, Australia for Raw Travel. Today I am doing the preparation for my next 7 day trip commencing tomorrow.

It has been a fascinating experience. Having grown up in the region and explored many areas of the Great Ocean Walk for 40 years I have still been surprised by it’s magnificence.

This is a very different form of walking to what we are used to doing, i.e. it is fully supported with accommodation “off track”. I have met some fantastic people and enjoyed listening to everyone’s story. Interestingly, many people have underestimated the challenges provided by the GOW but everyone has been stunned by the beauty, isolation and magnificence of this part of the country. It truly a “Great Walk”.

A picture tells a thousand words so here are a few images taken over the trips for you to enjoy.

Wild day - Great Ocean Walk

Wild day - Great Ocean Walk

Some wildlife we encountered

Leech - Great Ocean Walk

Leech

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Hooded Plovers - Great Ocean Walk

A pair of very endangered Hooded Plovers

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Koala and baby - Great Ocean Walk

Koala and baby

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Eastern Grey Kangaroo - Great Ocean Walk

Eastern Grey Kangaroo near Johanna

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Echidna on the track - Great Ocean Walk

Echidna on the track - Great Ocean Walk

Random shots
I would recommend strong walking shoes or boots. Parts of the track are very muddy (especially between Shelly Beach and Blanket Bay) Walking poles are also very handy and I have been over the moon with my set from Helinox. My knees and legs have been able to take a lot of pounding. Most people who did not have walking poles ended up using fallen tree branches as walking sticks.  These  are certainly not as effective.

The boots below slowly delaminated their soles but we saved them with duct tape.

Repairing hiking boots

12 year old boot, failing on day two

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On the way to the Johanna Campsite - Great Ocean Walk

On the way to the Johanna Campsite - Great Ocean Walk

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Station Beach - Great Ocean Walk

Station Beach - Great Ocean Walk

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The 12 Apostles - Great Ocean Walk

The 12 Apostles - highlights of final day

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Parker Inlet - crossing the river - Great Ocean Walk

Parker Inlet - crossing the river - Great Ocean Walk

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Wreck Beach anchor - Great Ocean Walk

Wreck Beach anchor

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Guiding trips might be fun for me but keeping the home front under control can be tough. Many thanks to Sue for putting up with my absences.  I owe her a big one.

Comments

  1. says

    Those are some amazing shots! Must be a spectacular walk indeed! Loved the wildlife! :)

    Does it ever get monotonous doing the same trail so many times in such a short period? Do you follow the same route with the x-day trips but just not go as far?

    Sounds like a great way to make a living! 😉

    • Frank says

      Hi Cristina,
      No, it never gets monotonous. Every day is different, especially with the weather conditions the GOW can throw up. Then there are the 7-10 new people I can talk to and tell my same old boring stories…..

      I would call it a lifestyle choice rather than a way to make a living. Being away from home when there are lots of things happening can be difficult.

      We follows the same track for each trip, doing different sections depending on how many days people are booked in for.

      My current trip is the full Great Ocean walk – bout 105 km. Six days walking with a rest day. Average daily walking is about 7 hours.
      Thanks for dropping by
      Frank

  2. Steve says

    Hi Frank,
    Great blog and awesome pictures. Thanks heaps for sharing this and I don’t think walking the same track, especially one as beautiful as this can ever get boring or monotonous.

    I would love to come one day and listen to your stories. Also love the off track accommodation, seems much more civilised lol.

    Look forward to reading more of your adventures.
    Thanks again
    Steve

  3. says

    Such a place where I will definitely go for a week long trekking. The great ocean seems a great trail for never ending walking. I want to test my endurance if my long time hiking adventures still fits with this place and record every bits of good memories from it.

  4. Jen says

    Hi Frank,

    Any word on when your GOW book will be out?

    My partner and I are looking at doing the full walk in the Christmas holidays. We’ve been trawling the internet for info (love your blog, by the way!), but an all-in-one resource specific to the track would be brilliant.

    • Frank says

      Hi Jen,
      Thanks for the question and feedback, it is much appreciated.

      Ok, because I have been guiding trips down there over about 5 weeks I am now at least 5 weeks behind!

      My best estimate for the book to be ready for sale would be Feb / March next year. The track notes we have are spot on, it is all the information such as transfer, accommodation and walking options that will take the time. I suggest the best way to help you out is to shoot me an email at frank@ourhikingblog.com.au and we could arrange time for a phone conversation (it would be a long email)

      Hope that helps and sorry for the delay in the book…

      Frank

  5. Lyn Hanna says

    Hi Frank

    Loved reading the comments and seeing the photo’s.

    Thank god for duct tape and the twine from the horse food, otherwise I would have walked barefoot. I am going to use the boots for growing pot plants in them so I will always remember our GOW.

    Anyone thinking of doing the walk then do it as its a wonderful walk, as good or better than the famous Milford track in N/Z.

    Thanks once again for being a great leader Frank
    regards
    Gordon & Lyn

    • Frank says

      Hi you two,
      Very pleased your boots will be used for some good in the future Lyn 😉

      It is a spectacular walk, loved every day of it. It is terrific fun taking people into new places. Ireally enjoyed it.
      Cheers!
      Frank

  6. Jill says

    Recently completed the Great Ocean Walk with my Dad, sister and brother (Dad regularly heads off to Tassie to do walks, and has been saying for a while now that we should all head down there. This was a tester to see if we could all tolerate each other long enough to do a longer hike together!)

    We cut the walk slightly short and walked from Cape Otway to Princetown over 5 days, camping at the GOW hike-in campsites along the way.

    Our favourite day was Johanna Beach to Ryans Den. Walking along the cliff tops and ridges with no one in sight but the paragliders silently floating above us was magic.

    Despite our early reservations that we had left it too late in the year and were going to spend 5 very wet and cold days along a windy and rugged coast, the rain cleared and it turned out to be perfect walking weather. Definitely suggest doing the walk in Autumn – apart from a couple of day walkers, we did not see any other campers in the hike in camp sites, so we were able to spread our exploding bags over the kitchen shelter and make ourselves at home. I think it would be a very different experience in Summer.

    We left a luxury food drop at Johanna Beach… ginger beer and crisps hit the spot! Other culinary highlights were the chorizo/tomato pasta sauce, the tuna/pea couscous, and the various flasks of Muscat, port and OP rum that made appearances in the evenings.

    We found the track notes from Bimbi Park very accurate and useful (thanks Bimbi!).

    The night before we started the hike, we stayed the night in Princetown, at Clifton Lodge – great value and perfect location if you are doing a car shuffle. The spacious cabins meant we could easily organise our back packs and food before the walk.

    Highly HIGHLY recommend doing this walk! Amazing scenery, good mix of hard and easy walking, and awesome hike in camping facilities – the toilet at Devil Kitchen… wow.

    Now bring on the Overland Track…

    • Frank says

      Hi Jill,
      Fantastic comment! You hit the walk on the mark. It is a wonderful place.

      The crowds are not that much different in summer as there are only a certain number of designated campsites. What does increase is the heat, flies, bugs and snakes.

      When we get organised we are using Frank’s notes from Bimbi Park as a basis for a new guide. They are very comprehensive.

      I am a bit of a convert to the last new section where around each turn you find yourself getting closer to the 12 Apostles. It is well graded and easy walking with a great reward at the end.

      So pleased you took the time to share , great information.

      Have fun on the OT!

      Frank

  7. Diane says

    Loved that walk when I did it with Both Feet.
    Frank, how hard did the guiding bug bite? Would Raw Travel be interested in the Great South West? I know its a bit longer than the ones most companies are interested in. AusWalks do it but I wasn’t very impressed with them qv other companies. I like supported walks! So far best option would appear to be to get someone at Portland to do pickups. Certainly not going to do a fortnight carrying a tent!
    Or I suppose you could run one in the Ottways… Or the Surf coast.

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