Great South West Walk

Great South West Walk coast

Overview: The Great South West Walk (GSWW) is a bushwalking trail suitable for most ages and abilities comprising short 2 hour loop walks, full day walks, or for the intrepid, the whole 250 km loop that begins and ends at the Maritime Discovery and Visitor Information Centre in Portland, Victoria, Australia.
Difficulty: There are easy short day walk and overnight options.  The entire 250 km loop can be completed in 12 days.
Details: The walk is located at the Western Gateway to the Great Ocean Road, approximately midway between Adelaide and Melbourne and because of its remote locality and size, does not have overcrowding issues.  

The walk winds through the diverse landscapes of Lower Glenelg National Park, Discovery Bay Coastal Park, Cobboboonee National Park and Cape Nelson State Park.

The four quite different sections of the walk are the Forest Walk, the Glenelg River gorge walk, the Discovery Bay beach walks and the Capes and Bays walk.

Level of self-sufficiency required: Sections of the walk can be explored through shorter or overnight hikes. The more adventurous can tackle the entire 250 kilometre, 12-day circular walk.  If a comfortable bed in the evening is preferred there are many easily accessible short loop walks from many locations that are part of the trail.
Permits required: For bookings and information on camp fees go to
Useful links:
Climate and weather: The coastal climate has mild winters with rainy periods. While maximum summer temperatures are generally lower than inland regions, hot days of 32C+ may be encountered.
Hazards/safety issues:
  • Fire bans are strictly enforced and attract severe penalties for an offence.
  • Swimming is very dangerous along Discovery Bay due to strong rip currents.
  • Snakes are active in hotter months, all should be regarded as poisonous.
  • Personal Locator Beacons can be hired from Portland Visitor Information Centre.
  • Leeches exist in damp forest areas.
  • Bull ants and Jumping Jack ants may be encountered.
  • Sections of coastal cliffs may be unstable
Fresh water availability: The water stored at the campsites in tanks cannot be guaranteed safe to drink, as there are numerous ways that it can become contaminated. Drinking untreated water such as creek water, bore water or sometimes even rainwater, can lead to illnesses such as gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.  Walkers should always carry sufficient drinking water and have the knowledge or means to treat the stored water.
Mobile phone coverage: Mobile phone coverage is available across most of the walk, but there are black spots.
Special equipment: None required.
Transport options: Train service to Warrnambool, connecting coach to Portland.

Flights to Mount Gambier and connecting coach to Portland

More information.