From the Great Ocean Road to the Great Ocean Walk

Gate to the Great Ocean Road tracks of Great Ocean Road and Great Ocean walk

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most advertised sights of Australia. Normally, it comes with pictures of the 12 Apostles (which, by the way, never have been 12). But the tour operators hope for a misunderstanding: "Great Ocean road" is to be read as "road along the Great Ocean", not as a great road. The road will touch the coastline only a couple of times (see red line on the map), mostly it will go through the farmlands. Of course, as it was built by returning WW1 soldiers to provide better services for the local farmers. Nobody dreamt of the tourist business that time.

Lookout from the Great Ocean Road

These days, tourism is a business that counts. To support that, a long distance hiking track was built right at the coastline. It seldom goes inland (see blue line on the above map) and provides breathtaking views of the really great coast and nice examples of local vegetation and wildlife. I certainly hiked some thousands km of tracks mainly in Germany now, but none was as great as this one. And like the famous part of the Great Ocean Road, it ends at the 12 apostles.

My German tour operator offered the walk and I felt that was the perfect way for my second, slower journey through Australia. But there were some communication issues between Germany and the local Bothfeet Lodge, so I missed the right starting day. Well, I had 5 out of 6, so that's alright. But if you enjoy this report and plan to do that yourself, better contact the lodge directly so you get first-hand information.

In fact, there are campsites along the walking track. But one would need to carry all one's belongings all day long up and down the track or to find a driver shuffeling your stuff from site to site. I really enjoyed the version I booked: staying in one comfortable place all the time with comfort and a gifted cook and then get driven every day to the starting point, do your walk, and get picked up again. All one needs to carry in the backpack is extra cloth, camera equipement, sunscreen and lunch. That's absolutly alright when hiking up and down all day long. One does not need more to carry.

bothfeet logde public area
treeferns at bothfeet

Bothfeet lodge is a comfortable place to stay. It provides brillant service and cooking. Also great accom for most of the guests: the double rooms have large windows into the wilderness at our doorstep. But the single rooms are divided into one with a large window and one with no window - I had the one without window. That was a minus on my list along with the fact there was no furniture at all. Still, I wasn't there for shelves or windows and the evenings were short for all of us. We simply fell down and slept until the wonderful one-hour-morning concert of hundreds of birds welcoming the new day every morning. I am glad I had a little microphone to record that over the time slightly changing jubilation.

stringy barks around bothfeet lodge
Redneck wallaby

Bothfeet is an Eco lodge and the natural environment begins in and around the lodge. In morning and evening hours we often saw a redneck wallaby mum with her joey grasing.

Also, the hikes are done with a guide who isn't only able to answer nearly any question, she or he also carries first-aid equipment and an Iridium telephone. To get to Bothfeet, you will take one of the buses of the big tour operators from Melbourne who'll drop you in Apollo Bay. A car from the lodge will pick you up there. When driving to the lodge, one passes the first Koalas along the street - the first ones of many who'll follow.

Koala on the road to the lodge
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