The Great Ocean Walk includes a mixture of tracks, gradients and surfaces, including rock platforms, sandy beaches, steep stairways and shared vehicle tracks. Be alert for cars when walking on shared vehicle tracks, and fallen tree limbs when walking through forested areas. Walking on the marked tracks helps to keep you safe and makes for a great walk experience.
Beaches: Many beaches are exposed to high tides, large waves and hidden dangers like ocean currents, rips and reefs. Beaches along the walk track are not patrolled by lifesavers, so you won't see red and yellow flags. Parks Victoria recommends swimming only on beaches patrolled by Surf Lifesavers. For information on patrolled swimming beaches, contact the Apollo Bay or Port Campbell Visitor Information Centres.
Be a responsible walker: Consider adjoining landholders, other walkers, campers and park and beach visitors. Do not climb fences, open gates or scare stock.
Group noise magnifies easily- for the enjoyment of all, please keep noise levels down.
Watch your step and be alert. Snakes live here too! This is their home and they are protected here as part of the park’s natural features. Leeches are also fairly common along the walk – although potentially messy, they are painless and harmless. Insects such as wasps, bees, ticks and ants may be encountered, so carry a sting treatment.
At campsites, pack your food away securely to prevent it from being taken by foxes or native wildlife.
Please do not handle or feed wildlife as it put them, and you, in an unhealthy situation.
Rock fishing can be dangerous. Beware of big seas (ocean swell and large waves) and incoming tides – they can be unpredictable.
A Recreational Fishing Licence is required for all waters.
Fishing is not permitted in the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park or Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary.
Fishing from the beach is possible at Princetown and Johanna.
A major threat to the parks' biodiversity, Cinnamon Fungus (Phytophthora cinnamomi) is a plant disease which infects some species roots; ultimately resulting in the 'dieback' of the native plant. The transfer of infected water and soil on shoes, clothing and equipment spread the disease.
Please help reduce the spread of new infections by keeping to formed tracks and cleaning down shoes at the Blanket Bay and Parker River Inlet hygiene stations.
Police, Ambulance, Fire: 000
Some areas of the park may not be within your phone network range. To connect to Police, Ambulance or CFA on an alternative emergency mobile network, dial 112.
Prepare, Act and Survive: Your safety is your responsibility and you need to be aware of current fire danger ratings.
The Great Ocean Walk is in a high bushfire risk area. There is no safe place to shelter and survive a bushfire. During the fire season, over the warmer months of the year, a Total Fire Ban may be declared. On these days you must not light a fire and should stop any activity which might start a fire. This includes using portable liquid and gas fuel cooking stoves.
The Great Ocean Walk is in a section of the Great Otway National Park and Port Campbell National Park – both located in the South West Fire District.
On high fire danger days a rating may be applied to Fire Districts. If a rating of Severe or Extreme fire danger is applied, all walkers are advised to consider their safety along their planned walking route.
If temperatures and winds are high, escape routes need to be considered as many sections of the walk have no safe refuge due to impenetrable heathland vegetation, thick fuel-laden forest, steep cliffs or a combination of these. Parks Victoria advises that leaving the park early under these predicted conditions is your best option, or if not safe to do so, to stay at safe beach access areas. Do not wait and see.
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It is your responsibility to know if it is a day of Total Fire Ban. Consider not walking on days of high fire danger or Total Fire Ban. Be aware of the risk of wildfire and consider your escape route options for each hike segment. If in doubt, always retreat to clearings and water bodies (campsites, roads, beaches, rivers and estuaries) until danger has passed. Use gas or fuel stoves in all GOW hike-in and drive-in campsites. At Blanket Bay and Aire River East drive-in campsites, fires may be lit in fireplaces provided (refer to map for locations). Never leave a fire unattended and extinguish it completely before you leave. Never light fires or create sparks/flame on days of Total Fire Ban.