The Great South West Walk is a circular long distance walking track in south western Victoria, Australia. The route goes through several major parks: Discovery Bay Coastal Park, Lower Glenelg National Park, and Cobboboonee National Park. Reservable campsites are situated between sections, and have clean water, campsites, and bush toilets. This route is at an easy to moderate difficulty level. The terrain is not very challenging, and the logistical arrangements are very simple with ample water, resupply, and developed campsites. This makes for a route which is easy to plan, and pleasant to walk.
The trail goes through several major national and state parks, which provide great opportunities to discover the natural scenery and wildlife of Victoria, Australia. The terrain is primarily composed of hardwood forests in the inland sections, and rocky cliffs, bays, and beaches along the coastal portion of the route. Although there is certainly beauty and diversity in the terrain, it is relatively flat, and will not be very difficult for experienced hikers. Because of this, the Great South West Walk may be better suited to less experienced hikers, or those hikers looking for to avoid large elevation changes. On the sandy areas along the coast, it may be useful to have gaiters to keep the sand out of your boots.
There is plenty of water available at designated water tanks at campsites along the trail. However, hikers still need to purify this water before drinking, as it could be contaminated. There are signs posted at these tanks, warning that the water must be cleaned before use. There are also natural water sources in lakes and creeks along the route.
As this is an easier long distance trail, much of the typical logistical arrangements needed for resupply are not necessary in this case. Hikers can opt to send a supply box ahead to the Nelson Post Office for pickup. Besides for that, there are occasional towns along the trail where hikers can pick up basic food and supplies.
Weather is generally very pleasant on this walk, more so towards the middle of the main hiking season in the spring. The weather is usually warm and sunny. There is the possibility for some rain, but it is very unlikely to have any significantly severe weather conditions while in-season.
The whole track is signposted with red metal arrows on posts, along with signs denoting "Great South West Walk" or "GGSW". As with all trails, it is still recommended to carry maps of some form, which helps with planning and safety in navigation. 1:50k maps are available for this trail from Meridian Maps.
There are no major hazards along the trail. There is always a risk of severe weather, and dangers related to wildlife, but those risks are very low for this particular route.
The Great South West Walk is not very well known, and it has low popularity. There are not many thru-hikers on this trail. Because of the relative ease in terms of difficulty and terrain, there are some larger groups led by guides, and these are mostly catered towards older hikers.
There are several local transportation options that can be used to get to the Nelson or Portland trailheads. It is not recommended to drive yourself, as there are no official options available for long term parking.
Hikers will typically opt to reserve spots at the 14 campsites scattered along the walk. However, there are also a few opportunities for more developed accommodation such as motels and cabins. These can be found Nelson, Bridgewater Bay, and Trewalla (all cases require reservation in advance).