It doesn’t take long for the city sounds to fade on our four-day Twelve Apostles escape. In no time, find yourself sipping tea in our eco-lodge. We then hit the trail at Castle Cove, weaving through grass tree forest before dropping down to Johanna Beach. Bare feet are encouraged!
Each eve we retreat for chatter around the fire and sumptuous meals. Day two is the most challenging; Milanesia Track to Moonlight Head. Raw and wild, we venture through remote areas of the Great Ocean Walk, knowing a foot spa awaits at the day’s end. By day three, you’ll know shipwrecks by name. The final day is all about those glorious Apostles – walk beneath them and fly above them by chopper. You’ve made it!
On the walk everything is taken care of. Your only job is to put one foot in front of the other. We’ll show you the way, carry all the extras on our back and point out natural features along the way. We’ll supply sumptuous lunches to sustain you, daypacks and walking sticks, cool lemonade and soothing foot baths at the end of each walk. Return each evening to our private eco-lodge where you'll be served gourmet meals complemented by local wines and beers.
Day 1: Castle Cove to Johanna Beach
Approximately 3 hours walking
Time to lace up in the ‘mud room’ and step out on track for day one. This is not before a lodge welcome and walk briefing over morning tea. It’s then a short drive out to Castle Cove to begin your walk, with a tasty hiker lunch tucked in your pack. Today begins in the tea-trees with a few tantalising vistas out to the Southern Ocean. This will be your constant neighbour for the next four days. Enter a flawlessly-groomed grass tree forest and hear tales dating back 104 million years at Dinosaur Cove. Bring those boots to a halt and consider a time when dinosaurs occupied your very location. Next, drop down onto Johanna Beach. This is an opportunity to kick off the boots and walk barefoot; wind-swept waves just metres away. This two-kilometre stretch has a knack of clearing busy minds and washing away city stresses. Take your own pace across sands frequented by hooded plovers. At the end of the beach awaits your cool water and lemonade greeting, a constant across all four days.
Day 2: Milanesia Track to Moonlight Head
Approximately 6.5 hours walking
Challenge delivers great reward. Wild, weathered headlands give the sense you’re at the world’s edge. Day two is your hardest day out on the track. But with it comes spectacular seascapes and personal triumph. Beginning at Milanesia Track, it covers some of the most remote sections of the Great Ocean Walk. This is your day of wild. Your day of rugged. The ocean is your steadfast companion across 14.5 kilometres of rolling terrain today, beginning with a descent onto Milanesia Beach. Here, your guide will point out a ‘natural rock wall’ that would be the envy of any budding young climber. After a fleeting beach visit, it’s a short but bracing climb that whispers of inclines to come. Over the next hours, the trail carves its way through deep gullies with tree ferns and towering remnant Eucalypts. There are 132 steps to ascend before trailing west out of the forest to Ryans Den. On suitable days, this is your lunch perch. The Den gifts with unsurpassed views across to Cape Volney and Cape Otway. Further along, the trail, as it mimics the tumbles and rising of the coastline, keep an eye out for Cape Volney. There’s a bench that, if time allowed, could swallow hours. Heaving seas disappear into watery caves. Views west travel to the horizon’s edge. And the entire spectacle is framed by the forest.
Day 3: Moonlight Head to Princetown
Approximately 6.5 hours walking
Today is about shipwrecks, sandy pathways, exposed heathland and maybe even first glimpse of the Apostles. What better place to commence the walk and get your bearings than The Gables Lookout, one of Australia’s highest cliff-top vistas. After the challenging undulations of yesterday, day three is pleasantly less furrowed. More than 300 ships have come to grief on this stretch of coastline. Your first stop is aptly named Wreck Beach. It’s a suitable reminder of those early days and treacherous ocean voyages. If conditions allow, you’ll drop down to Wreck Beach and hear tales of pillaging and misfortune including a ship which travelled from China whose cargo of tea coloured the ocean. Depending on the tide, an alternate route leads through to Devils Kitchen, home to arguably Australia’s best lavatory vista! Following lunch, notice how the geology begins to change from sandstone to limestone. Thick Eucalypt forest gives way to sections of moonscape, indicators of what’s in store. Keep an eye out for native rosemary, cushion plants and wildflowers in season. Your first glimpse of the Gellibrand River marks the entrance to Port Campbell National Park. This freshwater river near the sleepy hamlet of Princetown is an easy downhill stroll. After some 12.5 kilometres, reward yourself with a cooling river dip.
Day 4: Princetown to the Twelve Apostles
Approximately 3 hours walking
Today invites new heights. Not only will you conquer the final steps of your Great Ocean Walk but top this with a 15-minute helicopter flight. Depart from the quiet shores of Princetown by the Gellibrand River, beginning with an easy 30 minute wander to reveal your first full view of the Apostles. Gasps aside, keep an eye out for two resident mobs of kangaroos across the hillsides to your right. There’s a sense of elation today as you draw nearer to the mighty limestone Apostles. No, there’s not 12, which may come as no surprise. But amongst the proudly standing 7, lie 5 recently discovered apostles beneath the ocean’s surface. Weathered but not beaten, those in view lose a couple of centimetres each year to the perilous swells and winds whipping up from the Southern Ocean. Drawing closer, hear the romantic tale of Tom and Eva. Tom, a gallant local who swam more than an hour to rescue Eva from the Loch Ard, perhaps Victoria’s best-known shipwreck. Of 63 on board, Eva was one of the lucky two to survive, whisked to a cave by Tom and ‘administered’ brandy to remain conscious. The Apostles reveal gradually along this stretch, reappearing as the trail rises. There’s a viewing platform exclusive to walkers on the final stretch before your arrival at the Visitor Centre. It’s the official end to your walk and an appropriate locale to get cozy with the Apostles in a group snap. If conditions permit, don’t miss the opportunity to descend 80-plus steps to the beach below. This final perspective gives a sense of the Apostles brooding heights, one 73-metres tall, nudging the equivalent of a 20-storey building. It’s here with sand under your boots, a sense of monumental achievement and wonder sets in. Take to the skies to bid farewell with a 15-minute helicopter flight. Capturing the chiselled coastline from above gives scale not only to the Apostles but the trek you’ve completed. Follow this with a final lunch in the sleepy fishing town of Port Campbell before returning to Melbourne.
- Return transfers between Melbourne and the walk base
- Optional airport drop off day 4
- 3-night lodge stay, all linen and towels
- 3 breakfast, 4 lunch, 3 dinners
- Daily morning and afternoon tea
- Non-alcoholic drinks and a selection of house wines
- Use of daypack, water proof jacket, poles, ankle gaiters and water bottles
- Daily guided walks, with professional eco-guide
- Vehicle support daily
- All entrance & national park fees
- 12 Apostles scenic helicopter flight
- Any items of a personal nature.
- Any meals or drinks not specified in inclusions.
- Anything not included in the list of inclusions (above).
- Domestic flights, unless specified in inclusions.
- Travel insurance.
Per person for departures (inc. GST)
01 July 2020 - 31 August 2020 $2,195
01 September 2020 - 30 September 2020 $2,250
01 October 2020 - 30 November 2020 $2,550
01 December 2020 - 29 February 2021 $2,250
01 March 2021 - 31 April 2021 $2,550
01 May 2021 - 30 May 2021 $2,250
The initial deposit is refundable for 5 days - a cooling off period long enough for us to send you precise final terms. Note, many of these are still being negotiated but this first payment will be held in trust, giving us time to determine the conditions for final payment without putting this payment at any risk.
Reservations are confirmed on receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $A500 per person or per booking, or the amount specified on your booking. On receipt of your reservation form and deposit, we will, subject to availability, reserve your place on your selected travel module. Additional deposits may be required and will be advised at time of booking. Final payment of land costs are due at least* 60 days prior to arrival and all reservations will be cancelled if full payment is not received by the due date, with loss of deposit. On receipt of your payment, we will send tour information and vouchers. Please ensure that you receive the information before you travel. Bookings made at least* less than 60 days prior to departure must be paid in full. Due to time constraints, tour information and vouchers may be collected on the first day of departure with Wildiaries from its tour guide. These arrangements will be confirmed to you in writing prior to travel. Every reservation amendment will incur an AUD$50.00 charge, subject to availability. Note that if travel documents have been issued, the fee will be AUD$100. *Special conditions may apply to some trips. You will be notified if this is the case.
All cancellations must be made in writing to Wildiaries, and all tours are subject to the following cancellation charges based on the number of days before tour departure: Over 60 days: No refund of tour deposit Between 0 and 60 days: No refund of tour cost There is no refund for any unused portions of the tour once the tour has commenced. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy which you hold, then any such charges will normally be refunded to you by the insurance company, subject to the terms of your insurance]. Any cancellation fees imposed by hotels, ground operators or other principals or suppliers of goods and services will be charged to you in addition to the cancellation amounts stated above.
Baggage restrictions may apply to charter air travel and small group tours and must be strictly adhered to. We recommend that you ensure you adhere to any weight restrictions indicated.
4. WILD ANIMALS
Please be aware that travel may take you into areas of extreme weather conditions [eg. heat] or bring you in close contact with wild animals. Cases of dehydration and attacks by wild animals are rare, but no tour can guarantee that this will not occur. Neither Wildiaries, its contractors, agents or staff can be held responsible for any injury or incident on your tour. Neither does Wildiaries guarantee sightings of any wild animals, even if these are listed as animals possible to see on a tour.
5. PASSPORT, VISAS & DEPARTURE TAX
The onus is upon you to ensure that passports and visas are valid. Wildiaries, their contractors, agents or staff cannot be held liable for any visas etc. not held by you. The onus is on you to ensure departure tax is included when the airline ticket is purchased prior to arrival in any country.
Wildiaries, its contractors and agents act only as agents for the passenger with respect to services provided, including, but not limited to hotels, restaurants, touring, and all forms of transportation. Wildiaries shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever arising from any cause whatsoever, and without restricting the generality of the foregoing, shall particularly not be responsible for loss or damage arising from any errors or omissions contained in its brochure or other literature, late or non-confirmation or acceptance of bookings, loss or damage caused by delays, sickness, injury or death, whether occasioned by negligence or not. In addition Wildiaries shall have the right at any time at its discretion to cancel any tour or the remainder thereof or make any alteration in route, accommodation, price or other details, and in the event of any tour been rendered impossible, illegal or inadvisable by weather, avalanches, strike, war, government or interference or any other cause whatsoever, the extra expenses incurred as a result thereof shall be your sole responsibility. Wildiaries may at its discretion and without liability or cost to itself at any time cancel or terminate the passenger’s booking and in particular without limiting the generality of the foregoing it shall be entitled to do so in the event of the illness or the illegal or incompatible behaviour of the passenger, who shall in such circumstances not be entitled to any refund. The person making any booking will, by the making of such booking, warrant that he or she has authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the other person/s included in such a booking and in the event of the failure of any or all of the other person/s so included to make payment, the person making the booking shall by his/her signature thereof assume personal liability for the total price of all bookings made by him/her.
7. CHANGES TO SCHEDULES
Although every effort is made to adhere to schedules it should be borne in mind that Wildiaries reserves the right to alter any tour arrangements due to local conditions while providing similar tour inclusions.
Whilst Wildiaries uses its best endeavours to ensure that all anticipated accommodation is available as planned, there shall be no claim of any nature whatsoever against Wildiaries for a refund either in the whole or part, if any accommodation or excursion is unavailable or the passenger was unable to use that service. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy it is your responsibility to refer the matter to your insurance company to seek a refund].
You must take out comprehensive insurance cover before travel for cancellation, medical expenses, personal baggage and money. This should be arranged at the time of payment of any non-refundable costs to cover you for cancellation at that time.
10. PRICING & INSURANCE
We will do the utmost to keep to the prices published. Should increases be forced on us by tour operators, etc. Wildiaries reserves the right to surcharge without notice. All tour costs are based on all known costs at the time of publication.
(a) This agreement is made subject to and shall be governed by and construed according to the laws of Australia.
(b) Wildiaries cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or changes which may occur after that time. All materials contained in any brochure and web site including text, maps, graphics and photographs remain the property of Wildiaries and may not be copied or reproduced.
(c) Clients with special dietary problems are advised to warn us in advance of departure.
(d) For flight information on how to get to the starting point of your tour, contact your travel agent. Please ensure that you re-confirm all your flights prior to air travel.
11. MEDICAL & HEALTH
(a)Hospital facilities in remote locations are often unavailable and evacuation can be difficult and expensive. Wildiaries assumes no liability regarding provision of medical care. A Medical Certificate must therefore be filled out and returned to Wildiaries. If you are aged 65 or older, the Medical Certificate must be signed by your physician. Once you have been confirmed on a trip, normal cancellation penalties apply if your doctor does not approve the Medical Certificate.
(b). It is vital that persons with medical problems make them known to us well before departure. The tour leader has the right to disqualify anyone at any time during a tour if he or she feels the tour member is incapable and/or if a tour member’s continued participation will jeopardise the individual involved or the group. Refunds are not given under such circumstances. The tour leader’s decision is final and neither Wildiaries nor the tour leader shall be subject to any claims or liability in respect of such disqualification.
The payment of the deposit OR any other partial payment for a reservation on a tour constitutes consent to all provisions of the conditions and general information contained in this brochure. The terms under which you agree to take these tours cannot be changed or amended except in writing signed by an authorised officer of Wildiaries.
(a) Share Basis for Single Travellers
Accommodations (both hotels and tented) are usually based on double occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a room-mate if possible. If there is no one with whom you can share, or if you prefer single accommodations, you are requested to pay a Single Supplement Fee.
(b) Tour Information
Whilst Wildiaries makes every effort to ensure accuracy in tour information and descriptions, we are reliant on the tour operators and accommodation providers providing us with accurate data. Since tour operators and accommodation providers are constantly changing facilities and services, we cannot be liable for any errors or omissions herein. If any feature is of critical importance to your holiday, it is your responsibility to ask Wildiaries to check whether such features will be available at the time of occupancy.
Payment of your deposit is acceptance of terms and conditions. I/we understand that by sending the deposit(s) on behalf of myself and everyone in my party is acknowledging that we have read and accept the Wildiaries Terms & Conditions.