Walking Since 1939

Great South West Walk


Distance: 50km

Walk Description

The Great South West Walk has been developed as a bushwalking trail suitable for most ages and abilities comprising short 2 hour loop walks, full day walks, or for the intrepid, the whole 250km loop that begins and ends at the Maritime Discovery and Visitor Information Centre in Portland Victoria, Australia.

This unforgettable experience winds around 3 National Parks, hardwood forests,  the pristine Glenelg River, the picturesque township of Nelson, aboriginal heritage sites, the mighty Southern Ocean and vast sand dunes, sandy bays and beaches, rugged cliffs, freshwater lakes, the Cape Nelson Lighthouse, the stunning Bridgewater Bay and amongst a diversity of natural fauna and flora including Blue and Southern Right Whales, a mainland Fur Seal colony and Australia’s only mainland Australasian Gannet rookery and much more.

There are four radically different sections, the Forest walk, the Glenelg River gorge walk, the Discovery Bay beach walk, and the Capes and Bays walk. These 4 environments or experiences are what is poetically referred to by some as “Natures Very Own Symphony – in 4 movements”

Given the time of year, I have chosen the Glenelg River section, so we can swim from time to time if we want.

The hike

This trip is graded as medium. Most people with an average level of fitness will be able to do this. However, please be honest with yourself about your ability – it’s a hiking trip. You need to be able to keep up, so you cannot be particularly unfit or a very slow walker.

Note that this is a pack carry; so you have to carry EVERYTHING.

Water is apparently readily available on the way. Bring aquatabs. However, we can do water drops if required.

Trip leaders may decline a booking if they are not confident that you have the requisite fitness.

We aim to commence each day’s hikes at 8.00 am. Punctuality is appreciated and expected. I will not wait for late comers. Sorry about that.

I would be pleased if a First Aider would make themselves known, and a back up navigator would also be useful.

Note that SNAKES will be about; I highly recommend the wearing of gaitors.

This event is aimed at adults, both in terms of the hikes selected and the dinner and drinks venues. Over 18s only please.

Hike Plan

Friday 27 December 2019: Drive to Nelson

Long drive today to Nelson. Camp tonight at Moleside Camping Ground.

Saturday, 28 December 2019: Moleside to Battersbys, 17 km.

We will drive into Nelson to leave some cars at the end point of the hike. It’s approximately 20 minutes away. (Ideally, we could do this the day before).

We then start off from the banks of the mightly Glenelg River. The track winds alongside the river and then up along the rim of the towering gorge. The track turns away from the gorge for brief stretches but always returns to the edge for the most spectacular lookouts imaginable.

The river is tidal, and the estuary widens as it approaches the sea. The sound of waves sometimes echoes 30 kilometres upstream. The Glenelg is a river of international reputation but sections of it can be enjoyed on a 10 minute or 90 minute walk from a car park.

Wildlife is in abundance and includes platypus, ducks, moorhens, emus, kangaroos, wallabies, possums, koalas, wombats and kingfishers. More than 700 species of native plants bloom in the bush, including dozens of different wildflowers.

We get to Battersby’s camp site, where we can rest and relax for the remainder of the day.

Sunday, 29 December 2019: Battersby’s to Pattersons Canoe Camp, 13 km

Our hike continues a leisurely 13 km today.  Camp tonight at Pattersons Campsite.

Monday, 30 December 2019: Patterson’s Canoe Camp to Nelson, 20 km.

Our hike finishes today, with a long hike into Nelson.

A well deserved dinner and drink at Nelson Pub!

We will stay at a caravan park in Nelson for tonight.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019: Depart for Melbourne/Free day in Nelson

Up to you what you do today; there are some famous Princess Margaret Rose Cave in the district, and cruises of the Glenelg River will be operating.


Booking is  required for this walk.  The Leader will confirm your acceptance onto the walk, or not, via email.  Payment in full is required once the leader accepts you onto the walk.   Payment details are provided on your acceptance pending payment email.    Once your payment has been confirmed by the Leader (please allow a few days for this) you will receive a confirmation email.

It is expected that anyone undertaking an overnight walk has at least the experience and equipment necessary to comfortably complete a “medium” graded day walk.   If you are new to overnight camping, please refer to our Gear Checklist page or discuss with the leader.   Some equipment (eg tents, stoves) can be borrowed or shared provided you advise the leader of this when booking.  For harder-graded walks, the leader has the right not to accept bookings from anyone they consider is not sufficiently fit or experienced to undertake it, so please provide as much relevant information as you can when booking.

If you are paying via EFT use Trip Code:  271219
{Include this + your name as payment description/reference. For a branch deposit, put the trip code in the Six Digit Aux Serial No.}

Nelson is a good 4 hour drive from Melbourne. Transport will be by car-pooling. If you require a lift, you will have to work with a driver. Please advise. Passengers must pay the driver their share of car-pooling costs as described on the Car-pooling page. Please bring cash for this purpose.

What to bring:

Refer to our Gear Checklist page for full details.   If you are not properly equipped, the walk leader can decide not to let you participate on this walk.

Still have questions?

Check out What happens on a walk.

Check out Weekend and extended walks.

Contact the leader using the “Enquiry” button.

NOTE:  The COMMENT Box below is PUBLIC so visible to all.  DO NOT put private or identifying information in this box.  

Activity Date(s)


December 27, 2019 5:00 pm


December 31, 2019 10:00 am







Craig B

You can click this button to send the Walk Leader an enquiry first:

Booking Request

Details Fee Select
The Member ($25.00 (AUD)) is available to members only. Available (log In)
Non-membershow details + $35.00 (AUD)  

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published.