The concept of ‘Walk 91’ was an idea that came to life around 15 years ago. I had the privilege of working as a Ranger with Parks Victoria when the concept of the Great Ocean Walk was becoming a reality. My wife Nancy and I dreamed of making Apollo Bay our permanent home, having children & raising them on the doorstep of the beautiful Otway National Park. We took the plunge and created our adventure business ‘Apollo Bay Surf & Kayak’, (surfing & kayaking & biking) followed by ‘Walk 91’ when the Great Ocean Walk opened in 2005.
When the walk first opened it was only 91 km’s long. We just didn’t realise how many times the walk’s length would change over the years and how the Great Ocean Walk would evolve and improve! (If we’d have had this foresight we would have chosen a different name!!) It has been wonderful to see the walk extended to end at the iconic 12 Apostles (it originally ended at Glenample) and how popular the walk has become with walkers from all over the world.
Above left – The end of the walk where it used to end at Glenample. Above right, the walk where it ends now from the wonderful viewing platform.
Driving through Apollo Bay and seeing the signpost “Paradise-by-the-sea”, still excites us even after all the years we have lived here! Fifteen years on and 2 children later, we have learnt a lot, met some wonderful people, had the opportunity to create jobs for other locals and have enjoyed supporting our local clubs. We have particularly enjoyed recommending the Conservation Ecology Centre in Cape Otway to our walkers, highlighting the fantastic work they do for our local wildlife and park. We are also looking forward to our continued efforts in donating funds to the Australian Indigenous Literacy Foundation.Another highlight was meeting the ‘Planet Walker’ John Francis, on a blustery day, visiting the Australian Fur Seals whilst filming the ‘Art Of Walking’. https://youtu.be/SsKiEG9cjrA
We appreciate every single one of our walkers; past, present and future! By walking with us you are helping us to achieve our dream of continuing to live in such wonderful place and to be able to make this ‘Great Ocean Walk’ accessible to anyone, of any budget, who dreams of walking it.
Mark on the wild beaches of the Great Ocean Walk and below Nancy at the Gellibrand River.