Great Ocean Trail Run with Find Your Feet
October, 2020 departures postponed
Available by request for groups
We are thrilled to work with Find Your Feet Tours and offer our first trail running experience. With special permission from Parks Victoria, we have an opportunity to run the entire 100+ kilometres of the Great Ocean Walk.
You will venture out with lightweight trail running vest packs and experience Hanny's advice to "be wilder, play wilder and perform wilder". Your running guides will deliver a plethora of tips and tricks to help you with your trail running and share trails with others. Your naturalist guides will offer insights as you pause on the trail. At the end of each day, our recovery includes delicious local produce, wine and beer and the comfort of our tree-hugged Twelve Apostles Lodge.
Immense skies and expansive oceans frame the wild and diverse nature of this spectacular trail. Trails weave their way from wild rocky shores through coastal heathlands and towering forests to windswept cliffs. Seaside villages, remote beaches, cool rivers, forests, farms and stunning views are encountered on this varied trail.
This trail run will provide a special opportunity to experience and connect with nature and its indelible landscapes.
- Departures will be scheduled when it is safe to travel. You can register your interest until then.
- Cost: Upon application
- Tour Duration: 3 nights & 4 days
- Departs and returns: Travelodge, Southbank, 9 Riverside Quay, Southbank Victoria
- Minimum Group Size: 8 guests
- Maximum Group Size: 9 guests
- Guides and hosts: two Find Your Feet running guides and three experienced lodge hosts.
- Includes: Accommodation, meals, beer and wine and all transport
- Run Duration: The total distance to be covered over the 4 days of this tour is 104 - 110km. The distance depends upon tides and route choices. The daily distances vary between 22 and 28km.
- Technical Difﬁculty: Moderate (trail experience required)
- Terrain: Coastal to steeper hill slopes
* Find Your Feet Tours are a holiday involving trail running. Their guides will craft each days’ runs to meet your individual needs and en route will frequently stop to soak up the ambience and to take plenty of photos. Therefore, running distances noted in this itinerary can vary to differentiate between guest abilities and make your Find Your Feet Tour a rich experience.
Direct bookings only. For all enquiries please contact Find Your Feet Tours via email
Discover our full collection of special interest and featured guest walks
Introducing your Find Your Feet Trail Running Guides
Hanny Allston and Graham Hammond
If you were to ask the Australian trail running community, to recommend our best coaches, Hanny’s name would be on the list. If you were to ask for a guide, Graham’s name would appear. They have both guided with us before venturing off to start Find Your Feet.
Hanny Allston is a peak performance coach with an elite background in sport. She specialises in assisting trail runners to reach the pinnacle of their potential. Hanny is the founding director of Find Your Feet (est. ‘09), a published author, host of The Find Your Feet Podcast, and in 2019 was nominated for the Australian of the Year Awards. In 2006, Hanny was the first non-European to win a World Orienteering Championships and the only junior athlete to win the senior and junior titles in the same year. Further to this, she is a past winner of both the Melbourne & New Zealand Marathon Championships and podium finisher in the World Skyrunning Series. She is truly a creature of the wild and Hanny’s feet are at their happiest in a pair of trail shoes… exploring. In July 2019 Hanny ran solo for over 700km across the French Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Oceans… in just 19-days. Hanny’s personal philosophy stems strongly from her rich life experiences: BE WILDER. PLAY WILDER. PERFORM WILDER
Graham Hammond is the co-director of Find Your Feet Australia, a trail running tour and outdoor retail company. Educated in science and education, a background as an elite trainer, examiner, coach and guide in telemark & Nordic skiing, and a Tasmanian hiking and international trail running guide for over twenty years, Graham brings a wealth of experience to his clients and customers. Graham’s work with Find Your Feet Tours has taken him to the corners of the globe. His motivation is to help individuals to explore wilder, connect deeper and to foster a strong appreciation for the natural world. Whilst he himself loves to explore further afield, often using trail running as his transport through landscapes, he proudly calls Tasmania home and finds his greatest mojo when he is playing wilder on a trail in the Tasmanian mountains.
Great Ocean Trail Run
Ready to run one of Australia’s most epic coastlines? Prepare for untouched beaches and towering Eucalypts just three hours from Melbourne.
Australian wildlife and the iconic Twelve Apostles are all attributes of this spectacular four-day, one direction, trail-run covering approximately 104 km. The trail extends from the Apollo Bay Visitor Information Centre through the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks and concludes at the iconic Twelve Apostles near Port Campbell.
The Great Ocean Walk weaves its way through tall forests and coastal heathlands, beside rocky shore platforms, crossing creeks and rivers, passing above wild-rocky shores and deserted beaches with panoramic views from windswept cliff-tops. Nature unfolds at every step on the Great Ocean Walk - located on the edge of the Southern Ocean and truly in the hands of nature.
Australian Walking Company's guided experiences safely immerse guests into their natural surrounds. Our purpose is to experience a fresh, profound perspective of humanity, the environment and the possibilities they embody. We respect the time given to interpretation, conversation, and contemplation that leads to connecting with nature and our companions.
Day One: Apollo Bay to Elliot Ridge and Blanket Bay
Distance: Approximately 22 km
Grade: Easy to moderate
The trail begins by winding its way out of Marengo and Apollo Bay, home to a colony of Australian fur seals. The sandy foreshore, rock platforms and boardwalks transition to countryside and farmland. Blowholes are left behind as the trail climbs into the higher forests and the awe-inspiring Mountain Ash trees of the Great Otway National Park. The trail visits Shelley Beach and the Elliot River mouth before again gaining altitude as it climbs to Elliot Ridge.
Clifftops and forests are the home of local fauna and spring wildflowers on the next section of trail. The descent to Blanket Bay is a journey to a more secluded coastline and offers the opportunity of a swim to finish day one.
Footbaths, recovery and a sumptuous dinner accompanied by local wines await your return to the lodge.
Day Two: Blanket Bay to Aire River and Castle Cove
Distance: Approximately 27 km
Grade: Easy to moderate
The initial destination today is Cape Otway, reached by passing through manna gum forests and the home of the Otway's koala population. Cape Otway's Lighthouse, perched high above hostile seas, was built in 1848 and has witnessed multiple shipwrecks along the windswept coast.
Sand dunes, cliffs and coastal heath frame the trail as it heads towards tranquil Aire River. Tides dictate whether the inland route or the wild and challenging Station Beach is preferred. Aire River's estuary provides excellent bird viewing, and a chance to pause and refuel.
After crossing the bridge, the climb takes runners up through spinifex forests to reveal sweeping views of the expansive coastline. Today's trail run finishes at Castle Cove. It is a spectacular destination, fringed by cliffs with surfers catching waves below. It's an important archeological site celebrated for dinosaur fossils.
Day Three: Castle Cove to Milanesia Gate and Moonlight Head
Distance: Approximately 23 km
Grade: Moderate to hard
Today begins in the tea-trees with a few tantalising vistas out to the Southern Ocean. We enter a flawlessly-groomed grass tree forest and enjoy spring wildflowers before hearing tales dating back 104 million years at Dinosaur Cove.
Next, we drop down onto Johanna Beach, one of Australia's most beautiful surf beaches. The wind-swept waves are just metres away. This two-kilometre stretch creates a pace of its own as you take your time across sands frequented by hooded plovers.
We switch between isolated farmlands and beaches, rising and falling with the rolling hills. It's the terrain of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. Milanesia Beach and its wild, weathered headlands give the sense you’re at the world’s edge. Here, the most challenging sections of the trail come with spectacular seascapes and personal triumph. After a fleeting beach visit, it’s a short but bracing climb that whispers of inclines to come.
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. The Den gifts with unsurpassed views across to Cape Volney and Cape Otway. Heaving seas disappear into watery caves. Views west travel to the horizon’s edge. And the entire spectacle is framed by the forest.
The track continues through the forest tumbling and rising with the coastline until it reaches Moonlight Head. Cool waters and lemonade will be most welcome before recovering at the lodge.
Day four: Moonlight Head to Devils Kitchen and The Twelve Apostles
Distance: Approximately 28 km
Grade: Easy to moderate to hard
Today is about shipwrecks, sandy pathways, exposed heathland and the Apostles. From Moonlight Head the trail flows down the valley and meanders through forest to The Gables Lookout, one of Australia’s highest cliff-top vistas.
More than 300 ships have come to grief on this stretch of coastline. If conditions allow, you’ll drop down to Wreck Beach. Depending on the tide, an alternate route leads through to Devils Kitchen. 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.
The first glimpse of the Gellibrand River marks the entrance to Port Campbell National Park. This freshwater river near the sleepy hamlet of Princetown offers a cooling river dip. Depart from the quiet shores to reveal your first full view of the Apostles.
The Apostles reveal gradually along this stretch, reappearing as the trail rises. There’s a viewing platform exclusive to the trail on the final stretch before your arrival at the Visitor Centre. It’s the official end of the trail.
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.
True shelter, something that gives protection and refuge, simple and sustainable, clean and comfortable.
Our groups have exclusive use of our Twelve Apostles Lodge your forest hugged home just three hours from Melbourne.
The Twelve Apostles Lodge
At the end of a day out on track, the Twelve Apostles Lodge is a forest-hugged refuge three hours from Melbourne. This is where the foot spa awaits, rainforest showers, kitchen garden, dining room stocked with local wines, and your king bedroom with spacious en-suite.
The architecturally-designed lodge has been crafted with environmental sensitivity in mind. This translates to passive solar design, hydronic heating, low consumption electric and water fittings, on-site wastewater treatment and composting, plus a self-sufficient water supply. And there’s a reason this eco-development is award-winning, delivering modern comforts with equal rigour. Expect Myrtle & Moss toiletries, hair dryers, library, mobile coverage (Telstra only).
What’s more, the lodge is exclusively yours. The only way to stay is to join one of our walks. That means the moment you arrive, consider it home. Unpack your bags and get comfy. Five generous bedrooms can be converted to twin share or two single rooms depending on group requirements - all enjoying access to private en-suite bathrooms.
The dining room has a lounge area well-suited for canapes when the fire pit isn’t crackling with friend-huddling flames. After a glass of regional red, move to the long table for your nightly two-course regional menu.
Onsite you’ll also find 24-hour tea and coffee facilities, gear drying room, daily newspapers and a lodge library well stocked with magazines, reference and fictional books or ask about the lodge property walks. You’re not alone if you don’t stray far from the foot spa and dining table though!
*Alcoholic beverages are available in the lounge. These are included in your package. We stock a small selection of house and premium wines and locally brewed beers by the bottle. As an eco-accredited operator, we support local wine and beer
*One complimentary clothes wash (including soap) is included in your walk package, the Lodge Manager will explain how this is organised at your briefing on day one. Additional loads are charged to your tab to discourage excessive usage/environmental impact.
Great Ocean Trail Run with Find Your Feet (4-days)
Price per person for departures (inc. GST) (Non-commissionable)
- 4-day 3-night guided trail run
- Twin Share
- Minimum guests 9
- Maximum guests 9
- Departure: Meet for breakfast at 6:45am at the Travelodge Southbank Restaurant, 9 Riverside Quay, Southbank VIC 3000 (central Melbourne location for all departures).
- Return Transfer: 5:30 - 6pm. Arrive Melbourne (Travelodge Southbank). We can drop you at Tullamarine Airport between 5 and 5:30 (for domestic flights from 6.30pm/international flights after 7:30pm).
Direct bookings only:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We do not charge for a single supplement as all rooms can be divided into two with dual access to the bathroom.
Special Terms and Conditions:
- All prices are quoted per person in $AUD including GST and are on a seasonal basis.
- A deposit of $500 per person and the Guest Information Form are due five days after booking.
- The final payment is due 3 months before departure. For reservations made 3 months or less from departure date, full payment is due at time of booking. Prices included are for the 2019-2021 travel season.
- Individual reservations are checked by Find Your Feet tours. The reservation is held by The Australian Walking Company.
- Minimum numbers are to be reached six months before departure
- Prices are subject to change without notice
- Travel and pre and post-trip accommodation expenses are not included.
Please see our traditional booking terms and conditions
After the minimum number of bookings has been achieved, the trip is guaranteed to depart. If for any reason, the trip cannot go ahead due to restrictions placed upon travel due to Covid-19, guests will be permitted to reschedule to the new date provided with no additional fee. Cancellations for other reasons will incur our standard cancellation fees.
- Running guides: two Find Your Feet running guides
- Host: Three lodge hosts
- Return transfers between Melbourne and the walk base, Vehicle support daily
- Optional airport drop-off day 4
- 3-night lodge stay, all linen and towels
- 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
- Daily morning and afternoon tea
- Non-alcoholic drinks and a selection of house wines
- All entrance & national park fees
- National Park passes