Hiking the Great Ocean Walk

Trip Start May 11, 2005
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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

 

  The Great Ocean Road is a 243-kilometer stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia.  It is known for it's epic beachs, pristine ocean scenery and finally the 12 Apostles.  This road is a  must do for any traveler in southern Australia.  Ever since I arrived in Victoria  I've been bombarded with images that feature the 12 Apostles.  These giant lime stone ocean stacks are famous due to their proximity to each other. 

 Any fat ass can drive the road. Any rich ass can pay for a 8 day catered hike. Any square ass can pay all the permits and fees the Aussie government wants for simply hiking and sleeping on the ground....... but it only takes one smart ass to do the whole thing with no planning and no paying!

I have wanted to hike this trail since I found out about it.  But the closer I got to actually going the more it started to piss me off!  The Aussies wanted 2 weeks notice before ya go, they want to know exactly where you will camp and then on top of that they want a big fat fee!...I don't hike like that.....paying to sleep on the ground is a crime no matter what country!  
 
I was about to throw in the towel when I found out that I could sleep for free in the car camping areas.  So if people contribute to global warming.... then by all means camp for free....but if you're taking public transportation and hiking the trail then one must pony up 20 bucks a night! 
Pssssshaw!!!! As if!!!    By stringing all the car camping sites together and then bush camping the last night I was able to knock out the whole trail at an enjoyable pace and not pay a dime!

The first time I advertised on gumtree.com for a hiking partner, I got over 10 responses but because I couldn't nail down a date the plan faded.  Finally, when I did pull the trigger and re-posted it I got nothing!  No matter... I will hike by myself, I had waited long enough!

At the last moment a girl from Spain (Laura) contacted me and jumped in on the trip.  Keep in mind she has never backpacked or camped in her life!  She wanted to see the Ocean Road too and this was the cheapest way to do so...So off we went to Apolllo Bay!

We arrived late at night at the start of the trail.  We stomped off into the bushes to bed down for the night. Camping is forbidden (of course) so in order to keep a low pro we did not use our tents.   That night was a wake up call for how cold it was going to be and how much dew could actually accumulate on our sleeping bags!  On the bright side the stars were unfreaking believable! 

After packing up in the morning we bought food for 5 days and hit up the tourist center for trail info.  Armed with a bit of trail knowledge and a metric ton of Top Ramen we set off!

Day 1: 
Apollo Bay to Blanket Bay:   This was the only day that was a bit rainy.   The hike went along the beach and through gum tree forests.  Throughout the 5 day hike, we tried to have lunch at the most epic view point of the day but it was hard to decide since there was always a better spot just around the corner.......  On our first beach section we met an old English guy.  He was a quiet bumbling talker.  He talked to me long before I could hear him and long after I left.  I could only make out  about 50 percent of what he said and after that I just tried to laugh at the appropriate times....Odd fellow.... Later that day we did see a kangaroo that lets us get quite close. The hike was about 25 k and since neither one of us were in the greatest shape, it kicked our asses. I arrived at the campsite first and walked back up the trail to help Laura with her pack....I knew if I was tired then she must be dying....and she was.  A bowl of noodles and cup of goon and we were out like lights.
 

Day 2: Blanket Bay to Aire River West- It became dark around 7 PM... so by 9 PM we were normally fast asleep which means.... getting up early has never been easier!  When those Kuckabarras starting going off at 5 AM (think..monkeys on meth) and it's still dark and thats followed up by the insane screeching of the Gahlas... I didn't mind! I was ready to rise and shine!  

Getting up, (fully rested) making coffee and watching the sun rise has to be one of the best feelings ever!  (besides smelling my man musk)  The weather was sunny and there was a fair bit of beach hiking as well as deep forest trekking. The scenery was jaw dropping and our campsite was 1 kilometer inland along a beautiful river.   This was the nicest camping spot by far!  I had a quick dip in the morning to wake me up and to keep my stink to a minimum! 
 


Day 3:  Aire River West to Johanna Beach.   SUN! SUN! SUN!  We got so lucky!  Hiking this day was awesome.  We wandered up and down cliffs that had sweeping views of the ocean and blue sky.   We hiked in deep sand along the beach which sounds nice but my heavy backpack made it a work out to remember!  I pretty much lived off of peanut butter where as Laura made sweat love to huge jar of Nutella.. .Once again the scenery was so plentiful that my camera battery began to run low!  

  
 


 Dave 4:  Johanna Beach to Ryan's Den......   The trail became steep ocean cliffs...no more gum tree forest..which suited me fine.  The difference was the constant elevation gain and loss.  We would trudge up hills for hours!  About 15 k into this killer day Laura had enough....the trail difficulty and the weight of her backpack was too much!  We met up at a camping spot named Ryan's Den.  It was located on the tippy top of cliff face that had 180 degree view of the ocean.  It was magical but it was also a camping site that is suposed to be booked!  Laura wanted to stay the night but I had to get back to Melbourne so I opted to keep going... We had one last lunch, took a goodbye picture and off I went.  I felt weird leaving her in the middle of no where but I knew she would be fine.  With no one to slow me down I hiked about 20 more k.  As it grew dark I threw my tent down on a game trail used by kangaroos.  I watched the sun set from a perfect little bench that peered out onto the ocean.   Later that night I could hear kangaroos hopping up to my tent and trying to figure out how to get around! 
 

 

Day 5:  Bush camping to The 12 Apostles and then to Lord Arch Gorge.
My last day was brilliant. For breakfast I luckily found a picnic table on a glassy lake.  It was perfect for a quick dip!  The water was so cold I'm pretty sure my balls became ovaries........The trail was very cruisey and meandered along the ocean bluffs.  A couple kilometers along the trail I had to jump out of the way of giant tiger snake...it reminded me of Voldemort's snake on Harry Potter...big, black and evil looking!  The last couple hours I could see the 12 Apostles in the distance and the sun was shining!  I would hate to hike all this way to behold this view in the rain! 
 


  





 






 I met a Canadian couple that told me about a Gorge 6 k past the 12 Apostles that was suppose to be even more stunning!  So  I hoofed the remaining 6 k to give Lord Arch Gorge a gander.  I was not disappointed!  The gorge was massive with stunning beaches and even bigger lime stone towers than the 12 Apostles!  
 
 

 



 







 By this point, I was spent!  My feet were throbbing and I still had about 10 more k to town... Not wanting to walk another step I hitch-hiked the rest of the way to Port Campbell.  Once there I rewarded myself with some fish and chips and an ice cold VB.   

 Job well done!

 

 

Check out the video I made of the walk-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oJHJ7WIkmU 
it's my first attempt at video editing so it kinda sucks... but you get the idea!
 
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