fbpx
Call Us: (02) 9975 4553
Follow Us:
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

Great South West Walk

7 day Great South West Walk Pack-Free Self-Guided Walk

As one of Victoria’s best kept secrets, the Great South West Walk offers a diverse experience of both coastal and bushland environments as it loops its way between Portland and Nelson in the far southwest corner of the state. We have selected the highlights of this magical 250km route to showcase the distinctly diverse landscape, which boasts a plethora of flora and fauna both on land and in the ocean. From the rugged wind-swept coastline, shaped by the mighty Southern Ocean and featuring the highest sea-cliffs in Victoria, to the serenity of the Lower Glenelg National Park and the sweeping sands and freshwater lakes of the Discovery Bay Coastal Park, the Great South West Walk provides a memorable hiking experience.

Your adventure begins in the quiet hamlet of Nelson, nestled close to the coast where the picturesque Glenelg River meanders its way into Oxbow Lake before flowing into the Southern Ocean. Based here, you will traverse the bushland of the Lower Glenelg National Park, accompanied by the river as it flows through an extensive limestone gorge before reaching its final destination. From here, the coastline beckons, with your walking experience taking in a section of expansive pristine beach before leading into a desert-like landscape of huge mobile sand dunes, reaching up to 70m in height.

The cosy and welcoming Cape Bridgewater then becomes your base, from which you will descend the volcanic cone of Mt Richmond, offering a rich diversity of flora and fauna as you wind your way back towards the renowned limestone coast, showcasing the timeless work of mother nature. The open sandstone ledges of Cape Nelson herald a visit to the Lighthouse, beyond which you will marvel at the Enchanted Forest before visiting Australia’s only mainland colony of Australasian Gannets.

Finish your adventure high above the ocean on sea-cliffs overlooking the mainland breeding site of both Australian and Long-nosed fur seals, before an exhilarating Zodiac experience offering an up close and personal account of these fascinating creatures in their natural environment. If you are really lucky, you may see some of the migratory whale species that frequent this remote coastline throughout the year!!

Self-Guided-Overview-Great-South-West-Walk

Self-Guided-Great-Ocean-walk-Victoria-Australia

Follow our Walking APP

Exclusive to Life's An Adventure

Exclusively designed by Life’s An Adventure, the Self-Guided Walking Tours will be more than just a set of track notes on your smartphone. This fully interactive Self-Guided Walking App includes easy-to-follow walking notes with gps tracking, photos at track junctions and points of interest en-route, as well as information about the natural environment. The app will give average walking times, distances for each section and even optional side-trips as well as short and long options for each day’s walk.

As well as having the walking app on their phone, customers will be given the information on the google map platform, so each waypoint on each walk will be triggered when they arrive at that point, whether it be a fork in the track or point of interest. This gives real-time feedback so customers know they are where they think they are!  On top of this, customers receive a good, old-fashioned hard copy of each day’s track notes.

elf-Guided-Great-Ocean-walk-Victoria-Australia

Pack Free Self Guided Walk

Carry as little as your water, camera and lunch

Our self-guided walks are Pack-Free. We take care of all your transfers to the trail as well as the transport of your luggage allowing you to walk with just a day pack.

EPIRB

Personal Emergency Beacon

For extra safety

Life’s an Adventure want you to relax and enjoy your self-guided walking experience. To enhance this, we offer you the option of hiring a PLB (Emergency Beacon) to carry with you. 

guide-Tasmania-walks

Pre-departure On-line meeting

with one of our experienced guides

Our experienced Guides are available for an online pre-departure meeting, should you wish to discuss any aspects of your upcoming walking adventure. They will chat about the weather, conditions, the trail and what to expect.

Great-Ocean-guided-walk-Victoria

Flexibility and Freedom

Discover on your own

Take advantage of the preparation done for you and enjoy your self-guided walking experience. Walk independently at your own pace, relying on detailed track notes created by our guides who have a thorough knowledge of this region 

GSWW-Nelson-Cottage-1
GSWW-Nelson-Cottage-2
GSWW-Nelson-Cottage-3
GSWW-Nelson-Cottage-4
GSWW-Nelson-Cottage-5

Nelson Cottage

Located in the waterside hamlet of Nelson

Starting its days as the original Police Station back in the 1880s, Nelson Cottage has been transformed over the years to now offer a charming and historic accommodation experience. Your hosts offer delightfully furnished bedrooms, and an extensive continental-style breakfast will be served in the dining room, which offers lovely views. The 6 bedrooms at the cottage share 2 bathrooms.

Seaview-Lodge-Bridgewater-Bay-GSWW-6
Seaview-Lodge-Bridgewater-Bay-GSWW-1
Seaview-Lodge-Bridgewater-Bay-GSWW-2
Seaview-Lodge-Bridgewater-Bay-GSWW-3
Seaview-Lodge-Bridgewater-Bay-GSWW-4

Seaview Lodge

in Bridgewater Bay

Your host, Dennis, will ensure you have a memorable experience at his unique property ‘Seaview Lodge’, offering multiple queen-size bedrooms, each with their own ensuite. You’ll feel right at home as you relax and enjoy magnificent views over Bridgewater Bay after a long day on the track. The property offers alternative accommodations for larger groups as required.

Great-ocean-walk-food

Superb meals included

Providing you with “sustainance”

All mealwill be accounted for by your accommodation or delivered to you (packed lunches) having been prepared by professional caterers off-site. Substantial breakfasts will provided by both Nelson Cottage and Seaview Lodge, packed lunches will be prepared to carry with you, and your delicious evening meals will be accompanied by a glass of wine.  

Dietary requirements can be accounted for if we are notified when booking – please provide as much relevant detail as possible.

To find out more click on any of the below links:

Why should you choose us?

Are you interested in this tour?

Tour Itinerary

Walk Inclusions
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

  • Pack Free walk – keep it light, simply pack your camera, lunch, and water
  • Detailed track notes supported by access to Life’s an Adventure’s Walking App
  • Transfers to/from your walks each day (as required), and flexible walking options
  • Optional hire of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
  • Online pre-departure meeting with one of our expert Guides (if required)
  • 3 nights accommodation at Nelson Cottage
  • 3 nights accommodation at Seaview Lodge
  • 6 x dinners
  • 6 x packed lunches for your walking days
  • 6 x breakfasts
  • ‘Seals by the Sea’ Zodiac experience on Day 7
  • No Credit Card Fees

Optional hire of an EPIRB/PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is available if required at an additional cost.

Day 1: Arrival in Nelson
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

TRANSFERS: There are several options to get to this walk. Choose to drive to Nelson or enjoy private transfers from Melbourne (355km, approx. 4h30mins drive).

ITINERARY: There is no planned walking today so settle in at Nelson Cottage, your accommodation for the next 3 nights and explore this small fishing village. Nelson Cottage is the towns original Police Station back in the 1880s. Today it has been transformed to offer a charming and historic accommodation experience.
The Great South West Walk established in 1981, is located on the traditional lands of the Dhauwurd wurrung or Gunditjmara Nation, renowned for their early aquaculture development still visible today at nearby Lake Condah. The first European to sight this area was Lieutenant James Grant who charted the south western coastline of Victoria in 1800 aboard the ‘Lady Nelson’. The township of Nelson was named in 1851 after Grant’s sailing vessel. Tonight enjoy dinner at Nelson Cottage.

Day 2: Walk Battersby’s Camp to North Nelson Road
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

TRANSFERS: Morning: 20-minute transfer to start of the trail. Afternoon: 10-minute transfer back to your accommodation.

TERRAIN: 19km one-way; 6-7 hrs walking plus breaks; easy-medium grade; mostly flat or gentle gradient changes on comfortable, compact surfaces

Flexible Walking: Sapling Creek to North Nelson Rd (10km; 3-4 hrs plus breaks; easy – this option reduces the planned walk by 9km); there are also several access/exit points where the track connects with River Road

WALK ITINERARY: Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the cottage before you meet your driver for the transfer to the start of the walk. Today’s walk follows the contours of the picturesque Glenelg River as you wind your way through typical south-eastern Australian bushland, accompanied by serene vistas of the river and limestone cliffs for much of the day, and the lure of a refreshing swim at lunchtime. Wildlife abounds, with koalas, echidnas, kangaroos, emus, and wallabies often making an appearance along the track, and there are more than 700 species of native flora that bloom at different times of year. Tonight enjoy dinner at Nelson Cottage.

Day 3: Walk North Nelson Road to Nelson
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

TRANSFER TIMES: Morning: 10-minute transfer to start of the trail. Afternoon walk directly into your accommodation.

TERRAIN: 16km one-way; 5-6 hrs walking plus breaks; easy to medium grade; mostly flat or gentle gradient changes on comfortable, compact surfaces

Flexible Walking: North Nelson Road to Simsons Landing (14km; 4-5 hrs plus breaks; easy) – this option reduces the planned walk by 2km. There may be an option to join a 1-hour cruise upriver from Hirth’s Landing & back to Nelson (7.5km walking; 2-3 hrs plus breaks; easy) – cruise must be pre-booked & is dependent on availability.

WALK ITINERARY: After breakfast at the cottage meet your driver for the transfer to the start of the walk. The mighty Glenelg River once again guides your course for most of today’s walk, but you are now treated to even more spectacular outlooks from the rim of the towering cliffs of the gorge, created by the river’s endless eroding of the soft limestone landscape. The river is tidal and its character changes dramatically as you approach the ocean, with the echoes of crashing waves sometimes audible from many kilometres upstream. The route has you visiting South Australia briefly, and as you draw nearer to the hamlet of Nelson, you’ll see the colourful old boatsheds that have been creatively converted to provide the ultimate in waterfront living. You may prefer to experience this section of the Glenelg River on a guided canoe/kayak tour, covering 25km from Sapling Creek to Nelson. The river is typically very calm, and the downstream paddle is suitable for beginners or even those with no experience on the water. A visit to the Princess Margaret Rose Caves is included in the paddling option, as you can access the north side of the river and walk a short distance for a guided tour of this majestic limestone phenomenon.  *CAVES CURRENTLY CLOSED. Tonight enjoy dinner at Nelson Cottage.

Day 4: Monibeong to Swan Lake
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

TRANSFERS: Morning: 20-minute transfer to start of the trail. Afternoon: 30-minute transfer to your accommodation in Bridgewater.

TERRAIN: 16km one-way; 6-7 hrs walking plus breaks; medium to hard grade; mostly beach-walking on potentially soft sand, and traversing dune systems on loose, dry sand.

Important – this walk is tide dependant; please consult with our staff when selecting your tour dates to ensure conditions will be suitable; you may be able to adjust the order of the walks to account for appropriate tide conditions for completing this walk.

Flexible Walking: No shorter options available – you may change the order of your days to accommodate the tides. This would need to be decided before your tour to account for transfer bookings.

WALK ITINERARY: This morning after breakfast meet your driver for the transfer to the start of the walk. The freshwater lake at Monibeong supports many fish species. A large array of waterbirds come here to feed, so keep watch as you meander towards the coastline at the start of today’s walk, before accessing the seemingly endless white beaches of Discovery Bay, which extend for over 55km in total. You will be engaged by the remoteness of this region, with potentially wild seas forcing huge breakers to the shore to interrupt the solitude, or the unique call of the Pied Oystercatchers as they frequent the beach searching for food. As you leave the beach, you will be confronted by the desert-like landscape of huge mobile sand dunes which appear to be encroaching inland, and require that little extra energy to traverse, before emerging into Swan Lake Camp. From here a driver will take you to your accommodation for the next 3 nights at Seaview Lodge in Bridgewater Bay. On arrival your host, Dennis, will ensure you have a memorable experience at his unique property offering multiple queen-size bedrooms, each with their own ensuite. You’ll feel right at home as you relax and enjoy magnificent views over Bridgewater Bay after a long day walking. Relax tonight at your accommodation and enjoy dinner and the surrounds.

WARNINGS:

  1. This walk is tide dependant – you MUST be aware of local weather conditions BEFORE you begin.
  1. Swimming anywhere along Discovery Bay is discouraged – dangerous rips and strong undertows are common.
  1. Parts of the dune system between the coast and Swan Lake Camp are utilised by small off-road recreational vehicles; the walking route is separate until the very last section please take care.
Day 5: Mt Richmond to Tarragal Camp & Tarragal Caves to The Blowholes
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

TRANSFERS: Morning: 25-minute transfer to start of the trail. Afternoon: 10-minute transfer to your accommodation.

TERRAIN: 18.0km one way; 6-7 hrs walking plus breaks; easy-medium grade; mostly gentle gradient changes on compact, comfortable surfaces, including fractured limestone.

Flexible Walking:  There are two options to reduce the distance of today’s walk –

  • Mt Richmond to Tarragal Camp only (7.5km one-way; 2-3 hrs plus breaks; easy) – this option reduces the planned walked by 9.5km
  • Tarragal Caves to The Blowholes only (9.5km one-way; 3-4 hrs plus breaks; easy) – this option reduces the planned walk by 7.5km

WALK ITINERARY: This morning after breakfast meet your driver for the transfer to the start of the walk. Today’s walks take you from the summit of Mt Richmond, once a feisty volcano, to the rugged limestone coastline that has been thrashed for 1000s of years by the elements. The volcanic remnants, now covered with wind-blown coastal sands, support a rich diversity of flora, including eucalypts and other flowering plants, as well as a myriad of fauna, from koalas and red-necked wallabies, to crimson rosellas, emus and stumpy-tailed lizards. Tarragal Caves offers some delightful views across Bridgewater Lakes to the ocean before you take the coastal forest lined track to meander near the shoreline of the lakes, to emerge onto the cliffs overlooking Discovery Bay. As you traverse the limestone high above the volcanic basalt rock platforms, you are rewarded with spectacular views, both ahead and behind. Further evidence of mother nature’s work unfolds as you proceed, with stunted bonsai-like vegetation seemingly fighting for life on this vast escarpment. From here a driver will take you to your accommodation. Enjoy some downtime back at Bridgewater Bay before dinner at the Lodge.

Day 6: Murrells Beach to Yellow Rock
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

TRANSFERS: Morning: 25-minute transfer to start of the trail. Afternoon: 25-minute transfer to your accommodation.

TERRAIN: 13km one-way (MB-Yellow Rock + a little extra on the tours); 4-5hrs walking plus breaks (+ time for 2 tours); easy-medium grade; mostly gentle gradient changes on compact, comfortable surfaces, including fractured limestone

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Cape Nelson Lighthouse to Yellow Rock (8km one-way; 3 hrs plus breaks, easy) – this option reduces the planned walk by 5km

WALK ITINERARY: This morning after breakfast meet your driver for the transfer to the start of the walk. From the eastern end of Discovery Bay, you will encounter suspended lookouts offering breathtaking views over secluded rocky coves as you proceed towards the most southerly point of the coast in this region at Cape Nelson. If the timing is right, you may witness migrating whales feeding on the nutrient-rich waters created by the Bonney Upwelling. Enjoy an Optional guided tour of the Lighthouse precinct perched high on the cliffs, before you experience the eerie but delightful “Enchanted Forest”, where vines drape like curtains over the Moonah trees and create a magical corridor through which to pass. Your walk continues on to Yellow Rock, a striking limestone formation positioned at the base of high cliffs, which is accessible via an extensive staircase and platform network. From nearby, a short transfer provides the opportunity to visit Australia’s only mainland colony of Australasian Gannets on a guided tour, which will account for a little more easy walking. From here a driver will take you to your accommodation. Enjoy some downtime back at Bridgewater Bay before dinner at the Lodge.

Optional – Cape Nelson Lighthouse Precinct Tour and Point Danger Gannet Rookery Tour

Cape Nelson Lighthouse Precinct Tour: Take some time out from your track walking today for a guided tour of the lighthouse precinct at Cape Nelson. Learn about the history of the precinct and the maritime history of the region, which accounts for many shipwrecks that lie in the depths of the Southern Ocean off the cape. Your knowledgeable guide will take you back in time, into the world of the lighthouse keeper and you will be offered the chance to climb to the top of the lighthouse and view the spectacular coastline from 32m above the ground.

Point Danger Gannet Rookery Tour:  Once your official walking is completed today, you may like to join a guided tour of the Point Danger Gannet Rookery, located close by to the end of your walk. Your guide will provide you with the opportunity to view these spectacular birds on their mainland colony, which is home to about 300 pairs, and an ideal place to observe birds in all stages of life. Learn about their behaviours, habitat and fishing expertise while witnessing them in their natural environment.

Day 7: The Blowholes to Bridgewater Bay - back to Melbourne
Self Guided 7 day Great South West Walk

TRANSFERS: Morning: 10-minute transfer to The Blowhole. Afternoon: 5-hour transfer to Melbourne or transfer back to your car in Nelson if you were driving.

TERRAIN: 9km one-way; 3-4 hrs walking plus breaks (+ 1 hour for Seals by the Sea Zodiac experience); easy-medium grade; mostly gentle gradient changes on compact, comfortable surfaces, including fractured limestone

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Bridgewater Bay to Zodiac Tour location (3km return; 30 minutes each way plus breaks; easy) – this option reduces the planned walk by 6km

Guided Tour Notes: Enjoy an exciting and educational 45-minute zodiac experience which visits the only mainland breeding colony of seals in Australia, featuring over 2000 Australian and Long Nosed Fur Seals. You’re also likely to witness other forms of sea-life, including dolphins, whales, penguins and many different types of fish.

WALK ITINERARY:  This morning after breakfast meet your driver for the transfer to The Blowholes. Your final walk begins at The Blowholes, with the track hugging the cliff-line as you proceed around Cape Bridgewater, with the moon-like landscape exposing some phenomenal natural wonders, including the ‘Petrified Forest’, as well as potential for spotting sea-life, with seal colonies located on the southern tip of the cape. Before your walking concludes today, an exciting Zodiac boat experience awaits, with a guided exploration of the seal colony located in the shadows of the highest sea-cliffs in the country. As you approach Bridgewater Bay, you will notice the coastline presents as a perfect crescent, hugging the rim of an ancient volcanic crater, and the protected pristine waters extend a welcome invitation at the end of today’s walk. Your departure from Cape Bridgewater is scheduled for early afternoon today. A driver will transfer you back to Melbourne or drop you off in Nelson to your car if you were driving.

Tour Prices

and selecting a date of your choice

With self-guided walks you are able to choose a date of your choice subject to availability.
This is a seasonal walk - the best times to walk are between September and April.

Once you make your booking, it will remain pending until we confirm availability at your accommodation, once this is done we will contact you to make your deposit/payment. Please do not book flights until your walk is confirmed.


FIRST TIME TRAVELLER FROM
$ 0 /p

First time traveller with Life's An Adventure

7 day walk ex Melbourne…$0

Book Now

PAST PASSENGER PRICE FROM
$ 0 /p

Travelled with Life's An Adventure previously

7 day walk ex Melbourne…$0

Book Now

OPTIONAL
$ Xtras /p

SOLO TRAVELLERS
Unfortunately due to safety reasons we require a minimum of 2 walkers on our self guided walks.

Additional Information

  • Prices are per person in Australian dollars and include GST.
  • A non-refundable deposit of $300 per person is required to secure your booking.
  • Note: If you are booking within 90 days of your departure date – we will require full payment at the time of booking
  • Prices are based on twin share of rooms.
  • Payments must be made online via our NAB (National Australia Bank) secure payment page via credit card (Visa or Mastercard) or over the phone.
  • NO Credit Card fee applies.
  • Your detailed self-guided kit will be sent to you in the post 6 weeks prior to your walk.
  • Use of a Personal Emergency Beacon (EPIRB) is complementary however a $250 holding deposit will be charged at the time of booking which will be refunded to you after your tour. This deposit will be forfeited if the EPIRB is lost or returned damaged.
  • We advise taking our Travel Insurance to cover items such as cancellation of tour due to adverse weather conditions, injury, evacuation, delayed flights, lost luggage, illness, etc.

Booking Terms and Conditions

Before you book please read our Booking Terms and Conditions. Click here.

To find out more click on any of the below links:

Contact Us
  • Address: HEAD OFFICE: Shop 7, 1306 Pittwater Road
    Narrabeen NSW 2101.

    WALKING THE THREE CAPES:
    Guests can meet this tour at our Life’s An Adventure Premises:
    29/6955 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur.
  • Phone: (02) 9975 4553
    After Hours: 0457 002 482
  • Email: walks@lifesanadventure.com.au
  • Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Saturday - Sunday: Closed
© 2016 - 2020. Life's An Adventure All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Terms & Conditions |