Along this stretch is Ryans Den campsite, an isolated but magical place to spend the night. Further on, the Gables Lookout offers commanding views 130 metres above the seascape towards Moonlight Head. Here walkers can decide to drop onto Wreck Beach, home to the upturned anchor remnants of the Marie Gabrielle and Fiji wrecks, or, after considering tides, continue low along the coastline and rejoin the main trail further on.
Alternatively, choose the inland route along a finger of land wedged between the Southern Ocean and the Gellibrand River. Walkers traverse ridges and pass through forested gullies to Devils Kitchen campsite. A vegetated sand dune section leads on to the estuarine beauty of Gellibrand River Inlet and the small outpost of Princetown.
From Princetown, the reward of viewing of the 12 Apostles is palpable. The route undulates on its way west with occasional high-point glimpses of the trail's crowning rock stack features. The short walk down to the beach at Gibsons Steps is a highlight. Finally, walkers arrive at the Twelve Apostles Visitor Information Centre, the end of the walk. Don't forget to use the road underpass to visit the numerous Apostles viewing platforms.
Suggested shorter options
Blanket Bay to Cape Otway, 10km one way
A good short option that takes in stunning Parker Inlet, weaving across headlands and through heathlands to finish at the imposing Cape Otway Lighthouse.
Wreck Beach, 2km or 4.5km loop
Beginning at the Wreck Bay car park, take the 366 steps down to the beach and explore the shoreline to discover the old anchors of two 19th Century shipwrecks, the Marie Gabrielle and the Fiji. Being mindful of tides, you can continue on to Moonlight Beach and make a loop back to the car park via the inland route and Devils Kitchen, or backtrack up the stairs.
Cape Otway to Johanna Beach, 23km one way
A two-day hike that begins with the impressive Cape Otway Lighthouse (fees apply), before exploring undulating heathland to Aire River campsite. The following day switches to cliff walking (both underneath and on top of), before dropping down for a final beach walk and river crossing at Johanna.
Milanesia Beach to Twelve Apostles, 35km one way
A challenging section with lots of undulations and steep sections, this option takes hikers from one of the most stunning beaches, through varied terrain from high cliff heathland and gully forests to top of dune walking. Spend the first night at Ryans Den Great Ocean Walk campsite and the second at Devils Kitchen Great Ocean Walk campsite.