Safety & environment
Keep on track
The Great Ocean Walk includes a mixture of tracks, gradients and surfaces, including rock platforms, sandy beaches and vehicle tracks. Be alert for cars when walking on shared vehicle tracks, and fallen tree limbs when walking through forested areas. Keep to the track when you are hiking. This protects native vegetation, reduces spread of disease, and also keeps you safe.
Water safety and river crossings
Many beaches are exposed to tides and hidden dangers like ocean currents, rips and reefs. Beaches along the walk track are not patrolled, so you won't see red and yellow flags. Parks Victoria recommends swimming only on beaches patrolled by Surf Livesavers. For information on patrolled swimming beaches, contact the Apollo Bay or Port Campbell Visitor Information Centres. No pedestrian bridge exists for Elliot, Parker and Johanna River crossings. Hikers may need to wade across rivers. Carefully assess depth and flow before you cross. Be prepared to wait until you consider it safe to cross.
Be a responsible walker and be considerate of other people using the walk, campsites and beaches. Do not climb fences, open gates or scare stock and, for the enjoyment of all, please keep noise levels down.
Be alert. Snakes are a part of the bush environment, so watch your step. Leeches are fairly common along the walk, as well as other insects such as wasps, bees, ticks and ants. At campsites, pack your food away securely, to prevent it from being taken by foxes or native wildlife. Do not handle or feed wildlife.
Rock platforms and beaches bare the brunt of the ocean's energy. Rock fishing is popular but can be dangerous. Beware of big seas and incoming tides. A Recreational Fishing Licence is required for all waters. Fishing is not permitted in the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park and Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary.
Cinnamon fungus alert
A major threat to the parks' biodiversity, Cinnamon Fungus (Phytophthora cinnamomi) is a plant disease which infects the roots, ultimately resulting in the 'dieback' of the native plant. The transfer of infected water and soil on shoes, clothing and equipment can 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.
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. It is your responsibility to know if it is a day of Total Fire Ban. Call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, Ph 1800 240 667, for the latest information. 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. Phone 000 to report fire.
Police, Ambulance, Fire: 000
Apollo Bay Police, Ph 03 5237 6750
Lavers Hill Police, Ph 03 5237 3200
Port Campbell Police, Ph 03 5598 6310
Apollo Bay Hospital, Ph 03 5237 8500
RACV, Ph 13 1111
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 Ph 112.