If you want to see one of the most stunning walks in Melbourne, then this is the hike for you! Coastal cliffs and azure oceans, "beautiful" just doesn't do it justice.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I recently joined an online adventure group called Melbourne Girls Outside (MGO). This fantastic group offers women the opportunity to meet up as strangers in a safe environment to go on adventures together. It's great for people like me who struggle to find friends or family willing to go on random hikes into the unknown, or who want to try unusual things like aerial silks classes (see here for my post on my rather disastrous attempt at gracefulness).
I'd decided that I was ready to try another hike, somewhere I'd never been, so I reached out to some of the girls who live near me in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Three of them immediately agreed that they'd love to do something, so I headed into the rabbit hole known as the internet to see what I could find. I was looking around on Instagram when I came across a stunning photo by another MGO member - Eliza Sum (click the link to check out her fantastic Instagram page). As soon as I saw it I knew that's where I wanted to go - the George Bass Coastal Trail.
So with some organisation (and 2 cars) we all headed off down to Kilcunda, a small coastal town located between Phillip Island and Wonthaggi. We dropped one car off outside the local pub and general store, before piling into the other car and driving the short trip around to the beginning of the walk. We'd been told that the hike would be approximately 7km one way, and so had prepared for that. However it actually ended up being 9km one way, adding 4km more to the round trip (more on that later).
The start of the walk is located on Punch Bowl Rd, San Remo. It's a dirt road (although there's a big signpost indicating the Bass Coastal Trail), and when you drive down you'll see that there are only a couple of parking spaces and the rest of it is just cars pulled up on the side of the road. So when you park, be sure you won't get blocked in or stuck in the ditch!
After a group photo and a minor false start (20 metres in there was a fork in the path, we went right and about 20 metres later ended up at a dead end lookout forcing us to backtrack and take the left path) we were on our way. Right away we knew we were in for something special. How this walk doesn't make it onto every single "Best walks in Victoria" list is beyond me because it was absolutely spectacular. The girls and I stopped constantly to take photos, ooh and ahh over the views, and nod to every traveller we saw along the way (which actually weren't many at all).
The walk is 90% across the tops of the cliffs looking out on cerulean and azure waters that make you think you're looking at everything through an Instagram filter. It's almost impossible to describe just how spectacular the views are. The track is super easy, mostly just gravel or grass, and the hills roll along up and down. None of the hills are too bad though so it's a pretty easy hike (even for someone as unfit as me!).
Eventually you'll come to a point in the track when the grass gives way to sand and you'll find yourself heading towards a beach. When you do, you'll discover just how divine the Australian coast can be. This beach was completely empty, completely secluded and completely gorgeous. We had a blast looking around, taking photos and just soaking in the absolute perfection of mother nature around us.
From arriving at one end of the beach, walking all the way along it, we then reached the end and headed back up onto the clifftop trail. From here on it's all grass trails. I'd brought along a little tripod that we all agreed would be perfect for taking a photo of us walking along the top of the cliffs looking down onto the beach. Unfortunately, we didn't account for the angle and because it was so low, this was the shot we got... oops!
Doesn't quite do it justice!
Anyway, eventually you'll come to a point that's one of the most iconic sections of the walk and where most of the Instagram photos you'll see are taken from. The second we crested the hill I recognised it immediately, and we all stopped to take a few photos. The rolling hills, the blue water and the coastline make for a stunning shot.
As we continued on we were expecting to be almost at the end point, going by the 7km estimate we'd been given (even the couple of signposts along the way said 7km). The track kept going however, and in the end we trekked 9km from the start of the trail all the way along to the Kilcunda Ocean View Hotel (otherwise known as the Kilcunda Pub). We'd planned on having lunch here and then hiking back, however I had plans in the city later that day and I was worried I wouldn't make it in time, hence why I'd brought along my own car and left it at the pub.
We'd been looking forward to a hearty meal at the pub and luckily it didn't disappoint! (As a side note, I've been to Kilcunda before and the General Store next door does spectacular food as well and is incredibly popular, as it's homemade eco-friendly shop.)
Staggering inside, we dropped into chairs, grabbed some menus and chose our midday meals. You have to pay for the food separately to the drinks, and I have to admit we were pretty horrified that a pint of soft drink cost us $7.50 (apparently there's a secret tax on Sundays at rural pubs on coke and lemon squash).
The food however, was great! Michelle had a parma (an Aussie favourite), I had the lemon pepper calamari, and the other two girls had delicious looking vegetable fajitas that came out in these fantastic little boxes with sizzling plates on the side.
After we'd stuffed ourselves full, I waved goodbye to the girls before climbing back into my car and starting the drive home. A couple of hours later I received a text message letting me know they'd made it back to the car ok (18kms all up is a definite victory).
It was a fantastic day filled with incredible views, new friends and good food. If you're looking for a stunning hike then I highly suggest you try this one out as it's hard to beat (easily in my top 3 hikes in Victoria so far). Those views across the hills, beaches and ocean can't be beaten.
Until next time,