The Great Ocean Road is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, and is certainly a jewel in the crown of Australian tourism. Its stunning coastal road hangs precariously on soaring sea cliffs and winds between pretty towns and beaches, all set against the backdrop of the Great Otaway National Park, the site of Australia’s few temperate rainforests.
Though for one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, most visitors to the area sadly see very little, and most of that through a coach window. But you won’t see the best sights from your car.
Much more than a scenic highway, this region is home to a myriad of coastal tracks, rainforest trails, and hikes which connect historic seaside villages, taking in ocean views and dramatic waterfalls. If there’s one thing for certain, the best way to discover the Great Ocean Road is to walk.
Book Review: Visitors Guide to the Best Walks of the Great Ocean Road
A Visitors Guide to the Best Walks of the Great Ocean Road is the most comprehensive walking guide for those wishing to hike off the beaten path and discover more.
Written by Julie Mundy and Neil Fahey, two big names in the Victorian hiking scene, and published by Woodslanes, who have a reputation for publishing hugely successful walking guides, this takes in the entire region, from Torquay to The Twelve Apostles, and is truly your one-stop shop for information on the best walks on the Great Ocean Road.
With stunning photography and a very visual layout, the guide offers 122 glossy pages of walks ranging from half an hour to multiple days, and includes a good selection that are suitable for all fitness levels, even children.
So whether you’re a hardcore outdoor enthusiast who plans to walk the length of the Great Ocean Road, or looking for an easy stroll to break up your road-trip, this is a guide you should have.
Book Content: What’s Inside
The first section of the guide is “Walks at a Glance”. Color coded based on location, this is a concise section that provides an overview of all hikes in the guide.
The table indicates time, distance, difficulty, and which page you’ll find it on, as well as it’s proximity to good coffee, whether dogs are allowed, if swimming is available, and highlights of the trail.
This is a very quick way to digest information, and a great way to identify the walks which suit you without having to pour through the whole book. The guide then dives into chapters which cover the region’s two multi day walks, followed by chapters with short and highly accessible walks based on location.
Each walk has multiple pages dedicated to its information. There are track illustrations which provide a simple overview of the entire walk, as well as step-by-step directions in plain English from an author who has actually walked it.
The sections include regional history, and information about the environment, as well as local attractions and activities, conditions of the track, and contact details for further information.
There are further sections which detail safety tips for the area (tides, swimming, bushfires, snakes etc), websites and phone numbers of useful contacts (visitors centers, public transportation and emergency organizations), and a color identification guide for the area’s most common birdlife and other animals, as you are likely to see a wide range of flora and fauna on these walks.
In a Nutshell
Spanning the full coastal stretch from Torquay to the Twelve Apostles, this is truly one of the greatest resources for information on the Great Ocean Road.
The guide is full of short and highly accessible walks which will give visitors a glimpse into the magnificent coastal, rainforest and bush scenery this remarkable region has to offer, as well as delving into the eight-day, 100 kilometre Great Ocean Walk, if that’s your cup of tea.
It has a user friendly layout, and is a well thought out guide book that meets the needs of a variety of walkers. If you’re planning to visit the Great Ocean Road, make sure you order your copy for $19.99 AUD today.
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This looks like a fabulous guide! I would love to go on those walks. Austrailia is on my list of places to visit!
One of the best walking guides I’ve come across in a while – they’re really put a lot of thought into making it practical and easy to follow. Hope you have the chance to visit Australia soon!
What a great resource. Ever since I lived in the UK, I love going on hike and walks. The UK does such a great job maintaining public walking paths, but we have been on plenty of walks in other parts of Europe where the paths are not well marked or there is a total lack of guides for the hikes. Love the detail this guide provides, and includes so many paths along the Great Ocean Road. So helpful for people like me who like to get out of the car and do some walking!
Absolutely – it’s one of the greatest resources I’ve found so far for the Great Ocean Road. Glad to hear you’e been stuck into the walks in the UK and Europe – hopefully you’ll have the chance to visit Australia soon too!
What a shame to miss so many great hikes and walks riding past on a bus! I always try to have a bit more freedom just for this reason. This looks like a great guide for the area. I love guides that give an overview first with some basics and then have a more in-depth look. It adds to its usefulness when you’re trying to find specific info.
Absolutely – the majority of tourists jump straight over to London Bridge and the 12 Apostles and that’s about it, but there is so much more to discover past those two hot spots :)
I’m with you on enjoying exploring at my own pace for the freedom, and yes, I love this guide for the information at a glance and ease of reference in finding everything. They authors have done a great job! Highly recommend if you’re traveling through :)
I am right now here in Melbourne for 4 months and the Great Ocean Road is in my itinerary. This is a great tip!
Perfect timing for our book review then Carol! Don’t miss the Great Ocean Road, and if you’re in Melbourne for 4 months, we highly recommend some of the walks and hikes!
Happy travels & welcome to Aus!
It sounds like a great book for those who want to discover these scenic walks. Reading this post makes me want to go to Australia to explore the walks of the Great Ocean Road. I will surely check out this place one day, when I visit your country.
Absolutely Barb – glad we could inspire you to visit our corner of the world – hope you have the opportunity to visit Australia soon! (Remember your walking shoes :D!)
Walking this route seems like such an amazing travel goal. It’s amazing how even small treks can give you such an intimate sense of a place.
Yes, the full 8 day trek is one of those “walks of the world” ever hiker should have on their bucketlist. But I agree, even the smaller half hour or full day walks can offer the same sense of experience :)
Looks like a really good guide! I love how they have the different info color coded and given in small chunks. Easier to understand that way. I love walking guides, as I love walking but always get lost so this is very handy for exploring the Great ocean Road.
Absolutely – they’ve really thought about making it as user friendly as possible for everyone regardless of walking experience. Haha I quite often find myself lost too – though always makes for an adventure, and yes, in these instances it’s always handy to have a walking guide :D
Looks like a great guide. Love the color coding to simplify and categorize skill level and hikes. The authors are completely right, sometimes the best way to experience a place is on foot. It sounds really charming with the oceanfront view, seaside villages and more. Definitively a great resource.
Absolutely, it’s one of the best resources I’ve found on the Great Ocean Road to date, a really great travel guide in it’s own right even if you just want to discover the region and aren’t necessarily an avid walker :) Some great accessible short distance walks to stretch your legs inbetween car rides :)
The Great Ocean Road is on my bucket list, and it never once occurred to me to walk it! I love that this guide offers options for all types of walks, from a half-hour to many days. What a great way to experience this amazing site. Thanks for sharing this!
I’m glad we could reach you before you visited! Yes, highly recommend some of the regions walks, even if you’re driving and just want to take up some of the short half day trails :) Great way to discover more of the heart of the Great Ocean Road :) Happy travels!
A shame, I know, but I saw the Ocean road through a coach window. I was exhausted after 4 months traveling non stop and I cracked in Melbourne, lol. But I still have another pending trip to Melbourne (on my way to Tasmania) and this guidebook will come very handy for hiking the great ocean road. Thanks for the tip!
Just means you have a reason to return :D Exciting that you’ll be back soon! Yes, highly recommend picking up a copy of this walking guide and exploring some of the trails this time :)
Have a wonderful trip to Australia – we’re actually moving to Tasmania in two weeks time so maybe we’ll bump into you!
I wish I’d known about this book sooner. We recently spent 4 days on the Great ocean Road and it was beautiful but nowhere near long enough for the type of travel and hiking we normally like to do. Our favourite lookouts were the ones the tour buses didn’t go to like Thunder Cave and although we didn’t see it ‘from the car window’ we also didn’t allow nearly long enough to do it justice. We will be back for sure.
I think it’s one of those regions where people first plan a couple of days and when they arrive they realize you need so much more time :) Glad you enjoyed your first trip! Definitely consider picking up a copy of the book if you’re headed back and want to take in some hikes :)