Great Ocean Walk Day 6 – Devils Kitchen to the 12 Apostles

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.

The final day of the 5-night hike through the Great Otway National Park. The Great Ocean Walk has been challenging, beautiful, relaxing and a home away from home during this last week. It was bittersweet knowing it was the last day of the trip, my mate and I had such an incredible time together but we were also keen for a shower, see our loved ones and to get a good night’s sleep in our respective beds. But lets not get ahead of ourselves we still have 16km to hike to get to the 12 Apostles. This 16km is definitely do able as a day walk but unfortunately there is no car access between Wreck Beach Carpark and Gellibrand River Carpark. Although the Old Coach Rd does get pretty close to the trail at times this might be something worth investigating. If you were to walk from Wreck Beach to the 12 Apostles it would be 18kms, this makes it a lengthy day walk but not impossible.

Signage along the way of the Great Ocean Walk. The sign is wooden slats with white writing and arrows showing the milestones. There is a dirt trail in the background and ferns behind the sign.
Signage along the way

The first 7kms included gentle undulation and followed the coastal cliffs looking down over the ocean, we trekked in a north west direction. There is no beach access along this section but there are lookouts and boot cleaning stations to avoid the spread of cinnamon fungus. I have spoken previously about the cinnamon fungus but as a reminder it attacks and rots the root systems of plants which ruins the biodiversity of our native plants. Please wash your boots carefully at the stations. As the trail turns inland in a northerly direction the ground under foot changes to become much more sandy, due to Gellibrand River to the west. There are a few more people on the trail than the last few days because they are doing their daily walks along the Gellibrand River. We come across Princetown Camping Reserve along Old Coach Rd. Now we really feel like we are in a built up area.

The mouth of the coastal Gellibrand River. The sky is hazy and cloudy. The coastal bush is green and lush, there is an escarpment in the back ground and you can also start to see the edge of princetown.
Gellibrand River
A picture of a boardwalk and a carpark with a sign for the next leg of the journey.
Our morning tea spot and the next section of the trail at the signpost.

We cross the bridge and decide to have morning tea on the boardwalk over the Gellibrand River. After morning tea we start to hike along the sand dune area. This part of the trail is more steep and includes steps etched into the sandy hills and the occasional boardwalk. By this point we are also on the edge of the Great Otway National Park and so we see more roads, cars and people. This is different compared to the last few days of the trek where there was minimal car access and the only people we bumped into were fellow hikers. It is a little bit of a shock to the system. Although the sandy vegetation and coastal views are beautiful and worth taking in during this section which lasts for 6km.

A lookout with a plack for the Great Ocean Walk. Two women with their backs to the camera, carrying heavy packs stand in front of it. The background is of the 12 apostles and the ocean. The sky is blue with wispy clouds.
Almost at the end of the Great Ocean Walk

Highly recommend taking a photo at this iconic sign, it is a milestone on this 6 day trek. Once at Gibson Steps you can choose to go down to the beach to explore or continue on the trail and cross the Great Ocean Rd. Once you cross the road the trail becomes a two way track and is much busier with tourists and sightseers. We walked along here for 1km until we encountered the Visitor Centre where we turned south and walked to the 12 Apostles lookout. At the lookout there is a bunch of boardwalks to walk along although some of these were under construction when we were there. We said hello to the 12 Apostles and felt we had already said farewell to the trail before this busy section. It was a real jolt back into regular life.

The 12 Apostles are in the background. In the foreground is a grassy cliff overlooking the beach and ocean. There is a large cliff following alongside the beach on the right side of the picture. The sky is blue with a few wispy clouds.
The 12 Apostles.

We walked back to the visitor centre and went straight to the bathrooms. It felt good to have running water on our faces and we cleaned up a little before walking into the shop to grab a hot pie for lunch. From here we hitch hiked back to the car that we left in Apollo Bay. If you don’t want to risk it with hitch hiking there are plenty of shuttle companies that look after this area along the way, just make sure you book with them in advance. There is also a public bus system but unfortunately it only arrives and departs at really inconvenient times. On our journey back to Melbourne we did stop in Apollo Bay for a pub meal and a swim at the beach, highly recommend this final stop before getting swept back into regular life again.

Trail NameGreat Ocean Walk – Devils Kitchen to the 12 Apostles
Estimated Time5hrs
TypeOne Way – East to West
ParkGreat Otway National Park
AccessHike-in only (2WD access from the 12 Apostles)
Trail NameGreat Ocean Walk – Blanket Bay Campground to Cape Otway Lightstation Carpark
Estimated Time3.5hrs
TypeOne Way – East to West
ParkGreat Otway National Park

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