Great Ocean Walk Day 3 – Cape Otway to Aire River

First, I would like to acknowledge both the Eastern Maar peoples and the Wadawurrung peoples of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the Great Otway National Park. I want to pay my respects to the past, present and any Indigenous people among us today. I also want to acknowledge that I have profited and benefited from stolen land and that Indigenous people were never ceded sovereignty. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri peoples of Naarm, where I sit and write this blog and would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the many lands my readers come from.

We woke up early this morning because our goal today was to get to Aire River by lunch time. We knew we only had 10km to hike and that the next day would be much longer so we planned to have a relaxing afternoon at Aire River. This trek is definitely possible as a day walk because there is car access at the Cape Otway Lightstation Carpark and also at the Aire River West Campground. Both of these have toilets, picnic tables and tank water available.

A rocky outcrop with small shrubs in the foreground. A woman with a red hiking pack is standing posing to the left of the photo. In the background you can see the ocean with rolling waves towards a rocky cliff face. The sky is overcast and grey.
A viewpoint along the trail.

The trail descended from the Cape and took us in a northwest direction to begin the day. We hiked through the Cape Otway Cemetery where there is a small collection of graves from the 1800s. After trekking inland for 3.5kms we had the choice to hike down to Station Beach or stay inland. We chose to stay on high ground and enjoy the views of the beach instead. The next 3.6km of the trail had only gentle undulation. Until we reached the eastern trail turn towards Aire River. Here, during the last 2.2km, the trail became sandy and the final kilometre had the most significant decline in elevation of 80m. We were excited to meet Aire River on the final stretch of the trail before we crossed.

We decided to set up camp and gather our lunch things before we swam although now 3 days into the trek we were very keen for a another swim. To find the Hike-In campsites you must first walk across the car campsites (Aire River West Campground) and passed the toilet you will see a steep set of planks leading up a sandy hill. There are many little campsites tucked away in the scrub on this hill. We chose the one furthest away from the toilets but the closest to starting the trail tomorrow.

Now camp was set up we took our things down to a communal shelter below the hill, passed the toilets and nearby the car campers at Aire River West Campground. Once lunch had satisfied us we walked across the bridge and found a sandy spot to wander into the river and have a float, this was magical. Although cold due to the Melbourne weather we had experienced that day. I would highly recommend planning your multi-day hike to include at least a half day rest at this location. After dinner we continued our nightly routine of monopoly deal before an early sleep due to the next big day.

Monopoly Deal at the Aire River Hike-In Campsite
Trail NameGreat Ocean Walk – Cape Otway to Aire River Hike-In Campground
Estimated Time3.5hrs
TypeOne Way – East to West
ParkGreat Otway National Park
AccessHike-in only (2WD access from Aire River)

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