The Great Ocean Road is, undoubtedly, one of Australia’s most scenic destinations. Stretching along 243-kilometres between the cities of Torquay and Allansford, just outside of Melbourne, Victoria, the Great Ocean Road winds through varying terrain ranging from lush rainforest to jagged coastline and offer stunning views along the way!
Despite having already experienced the Great Ocean Road on our previous travels through Australia, we knew that this is a destination was worth a second look at a much slower pace to really take it all in.
During our recent trip to Australia, we finally had the time to slow down and to truly appreciate the best of this part of Australia.
We opted to ditch the car and traverse a part of the Great Ocean Road on foot on a Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk with the Australian Walking Company. This walk is well known as one of the Great Walks of Australia, so we were thrilled to experience it for ourselves!
Watch the highlight video of our walk below!
Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk
The Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk is a 4-day 56km hike that starts at Castle Cove and ends at the magnificent rock formation outside of Port Campbell, known as the Twelve Apostles.
The hike follows the second half of the Great Ocean Walk trail but allows for a more comfortable way to experience the region.
Thanks for the fact that the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk runs out of the Twelve Apostles Lodge located in Johanna, Victoria, we did not need to worry about camping along the trail, securing an 8 day supply of food and drink, or about carrying a heavy back on our backs.
At the end of every day, we were whisked away to a luxurious lodge with comfortable rooms, hot showers, and gourmet food. It was the perfect way to combine the great outdoors, hiking, and a little bit of pampering!
More on that further in the post! Let us recap our experience Day by Day!
Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk: Day 1
Distance: 6.5km/ 3 hours
Trail: Castle Cove to Johanna Beach
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Our day began early in the morning with an early transfer from Melbourne. While en route, we got to know some of the other fellow hikers and our trusted guide, Darlene.
Time passed quickly and we soon found ourselves at the Twelve Apostles Lodge, our base for the next 4 days. It was here that we met the rest of our group and geared up for the first part of the hike.
After a delicious morning tea, we laced up our boots and packed our bags with lunch, snacks and supplies for the day before jumping in the van headed for Castle Cove, the starting point of our hike.
The views at Castle Cove were phenomenal and got us excited for the days ahead.
The first part of the trail followed close to the ocean, exposing the jagged cliffs and stunning vistas. Lunch break was a great excuse to sit down at one of the lookouts and take it in the beauty of the area.
From there, the trail moved deeper into the Great Otway National Park, and we found ourselves in the lush vegetation of tea trees. After emerging from the canopy, we stopped at the Dinosaur Cove to hear stories of Dinosaur remains dating back 104 million years that have been discovered in this exact area.
The last part of the trail was a 2km hike along Johanna Beach. It was a great spot to kick off our boots and just enjoy the sand between our toes!
As it turned out, hiking on the sand in bare feet was a bit tougher than we expected, so we slowed down our pace and meander towards the end of the beach giving ourselves plenty of time to snap photos and enjoy the scenery!
We were back at the Twelve Apostles Lodge by around 4pm with plenty of time to relax and unwind before dinner with our group and our fearless leaders.
Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk: Day 2
Distance: 15km/ 6-7 hours
Trail: Milanesia Track to Moonlight Head
Day 2 was definitely the hardest section of the walk covering 15km of the wildest, most rugged and remote part of the Great Ocean Walk. But what we gave in effort we gained in breathtaking seascapes.
Our walk on Day 2 started on Milanesia Track descending onto Milanesia Beach before a short but challenging climb back to the trail. This was just a taste of what’s to come!
We continued on the trail through deep gullies and thick forest, up 132 steps before heading west to Ryans Den where we stopped for lunch.
In the afternoon, we continued along the trail enjoying the amazing views of Cape Volney and Cape Otway framed with the forest. Our final destination for today’s hike was Moonlight Head.
It was here that our support vehicle, picked us up around 4pm to take us back to Twelve Apostles Lodge, where we footbaths and snacks awaited our arrival.
Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk: Day 3
Distance: 12.5km/ 6-7 hours
Trail: Moonlight Head to Princetown
Another long day of hiking ahead for Day 3, but much less climbing involved! The day kicked off at one of the country’s highest cliff-top viewing points, the Gables Lookout.
From there we headed to Wreck Beach, aptly named since over 300 ships came a cropper along this particular stretch of coastline. It was here that we got a chance to see the remains of two famous shipwrecks – Marie Gabrielle and Fiji.
One of the best things about our experience on the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk was the constantly changing scenery, nature and landscape. We admired ocean views, sandstone, limestone, thick Eucalypt forest, native plants and wildflowers as we made our way to the Gellibrand River.
On Day 3, the freshwater marked the entrance to Port Campbell National Park and the end of our hiking for the day. It was a great spot to take a refreshing dip after all the trekking!
Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk: Day 4
Distance: 3 hours
Trail: Princetown to the Twelve Apostles
The final trekking day was a lot less taxing than all the other days of our Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk. Starting from Princetown just by the Gellibrand River, we had a fairly easy 30-60 min walk before the excitement of finally reaching the final steps of our journey had set in.
It wasn’t long until the formations of the 12 Apostles were peaking out on the horizon…
We learned that today, there are only 7 Apostles left and for a minute felt a bit cheated. Isn’t this the Twelve Apostles Walk? But as it turned out the Apostles above ground have been eroding over time. Meanwhile, 5 new stacks are actually forming under the waves!
The 7 visible land formations were grand enough to take our breath away. As the trail rose and they all came into view, we soon forgot all about the aches and pains of the last 4 days and were mesmerized by the sight ahead.
Before getting closer to the Apostles, we descended down the Gibson Steps to admire the Apostles from sea level. This gave us a unique perspective of the Apostles height, one 73-metres tall, almost the equivalent of a 20-storey building.
From here, we had a unique opportunity to bypass the crowds at the viewing platform and admire the Apostles from above on a breathtaking helicopter ride along the coast.
It was a climatic ending to our amazing walk!
Accommodation at the Twelve Apostles Lodge
The Twelve Apostles Lodge felt like home…. if home was surrounded by rich rainforest and came with a foot spa, a dining room stocked with wine, and a someone else preparing delicious meals for you every night!
The rooms were large, spacious en-suites with comfortable king-sized beds, perfect for stretching out and resting weary bones after the long days hiking.
The Lodge is used only by your walking group, which means we weren’t sharing the facilities with loads of strangers! It was a nice benefit!
The eco-conscious travelers in us were happy to hear that the Twelve Apostles Lodge is also a sustainable accommodation option. Their eco-award-winning design includes solar and hydronic power, a self-sufficient water supply, on-site wastewater treatment, composting and more!
Food at Twelve Apostles Lodge
You certainly worked up an appetite during the day, so the food was an important element of our experience on the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk and it didn’t disappoint!
Every evening as we returned from our trek, we were treated to canopés and drinks while we freshened up before dinner.
Every meal was well presented and we dare to say would rival some restaurants in Melbourne. On top of the evening meals, we were also provided with a hearty breakfast to set us up for the days walking, plus a packed lunch and some snacks for the day. We were well fed, that’s for sure!
The Overall Experience
What we loved about the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk was the diversity of the landscapes and variety of terrain. The walks were interesting and the stories shared with us by our guides made for a particularly special experience.
The trail offered an opportunity to experience this part of Australia is a way that we haven’t before. It allowed us to get closer to the coastline and into the forests, something we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own.
And the fact that we got to do it all in absolute comfort was just icing on the cake!
About the Australian Walking Company & Great Walks of Australia
Australian Walking Company is an eco-certified Australian Walking Holidays operator offering walking trips on the Australian mainland and in Tasmania.
Through slow journeys on foot, the Australian Walking Company provides the opportunity for travelers to experience some of Australia’s most beautiful and remote destinations. These include two mainland hikes (Great Ocean Walk and Kangaroo Island) and 5 hikes in Tasmania.
Great Walks of Australia is a unique collection of independently owned, guided, multiday walks designed to actively immerse travelers in Australia’s most iconic landscapes. The Australian Walking Company is one of the many providers that offer iconic walks across Australia.
Have you walked the Great Ocean Road? What were your favourite stops along the way to the Twelve Apostles?
Disclaimer: Our Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk was a hosted experience courtesy of the Australian Walking Company and the Great Walks of Australia. But as always, all opinions expressed in this article are our own.