Saturday, May 19, 2018

Attempting the Great Ocean Walk (pt 2)

Finding out about the walk

Prior to starting the Great Ocean Walk (GOW) I did my best to find accurate and current information online. 
Unfortunately a simple Google search can lead you up the garden path and chasing your tail. There are several fairly slick websites belonging to tour operators that look somewhat like official sites of the Great Ocean Walk, there are also marketing sites for Victorian tourism that will equally leave you feeling like you've been trapped in an automated phone survey loop! 

If you're just an ordinary walker and are looking for first hand information from other hikers I can't make any recommendations, I found a couple of blogs that describe people's experience but I failed to find anything like a current up to date forum for discussing track conditions or aspects of planning this 8 day hike.

Ultimately the best resource is the Official Parks Victoria Great Ocean Walk 
See Link (HERE)
Parks Victoria GOW webpage

In order to hike through I had to book all camp sites in advance. This can be done via the Parks Victoria Website (HERE) ($32.30 per night on the barrel head in advance!) But before you start booking you need to be sure that sites are available all the way through as people can join the track at various points along the way. 

You are not permitted to camp in the walk in camp sites without a permit. You must continue along the walk as scheduled. 

After reading all the conditions of the walk I presumed camp sites were in high demand and there was very little room for deviation from the scheduled, pre-booked plan. I booked in January to walk in May because I had the impression I'd miss out if I didn't book early. "PFFFFFT!"

The GOW web page has a FAQ document which I thought would answer my questions about food drops transport etc... Well the information was rudimentary and read more like a sales brochure than a document that considered the actual needs of real hikers. (Sorry Parks Vic but I was left a bit bewildered)

As a solo traveler away from my home state and relying on public transport I found it extremely difficult to find any information about Food drops or how I could get home after finishing the trail. Apparently food drops can be negotiated with local tour operators for a price... well that didn't really work out on my budget! It's also possible to get a ride back from the end of the trail for "$140"!!! FFS!
I prefer to use the public transport system anyway which meant one bus three times a week Monday, Wednesday and Friday leaving from the 12 Apostles car park after 3pm. (bear that in mind when booking your tent sites or you may be hitching home)

This is not a comprehensive review of the booking process or the information that is available, just a warning. Be very discerning with your research check the sources, you may think you are looking at a community information message but discover you have been sucked into a commercial marketing trap. ;)

Even the official sites lack important information for low budget independent travellers. Once you are out there you're pretty much on your own.

(To be continued...)

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