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Cape Otway to Aire River

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Accessibility Information

 (For visitors with mobility limitations)

Distance: 9.6 kilometres

Suitable for all terrain wheelchairs such as TrailRider chairs. Not suitable for strollers or standard type wheelchairs. A minimum of four fit adult sherpas or chair operators is recommended for this section of the Great Ocean Walk.

Time taken to complete walk: approximately 4 hours

This section of the walk starts at the west end of the lighthouse car park. To access the walk, visitors are required to enter between two bollards which are approximately one metre wide. The track surface initially consists of a grass/dirt surface with a compacted dirt base and is approximately 1.5 metres wide. This section of the track leads you through coastal scrubland. There is a set of steps on the walk near the lighthouse cemetery, but this can be avoided.  Chair users can take a detour around these steps by taking a short vehicle track to the left which goes for approximately 100 metres.  This track then returns back onto the main Great Ocean Walk path. 

Lighthouse_to_Aire_River_sand_track 

The walk ranges from 1.2 metres to 1.5 metres in width throughout this section and it is generally flat except for some small hills in sections. Three to four sherpas or chair operators are recommended for the hilly sections. Some short sections on the walk have loose sand which makes it harder for pulling/pushing the chair. Other sections of the walk have a sandstone surface making it ideal for all terrain wheelchairs.

Lighthouse_to_Aire_River_cliff_top_view 

There is a short timber boardwalk approximately halfway along the walk that has an uneven surface, making the ride a little bumpy in a chair. If taken slowly, the jarring is minimised. There is a beach track option on the walk that takes you to Rainbow Falls. Unfortunately, this track option is not suitable for wheelchairs because of very loose sand. Getting down onto the beach and back up again from the beach is also a problem for chairs due to the steep gradients and steps.

The walk takes you along the cliff tops and spectacular views of the coastline can be viewed. The Escarpment Lookout on the walk is accessible by all terrain wheelchairs and amazing views of Aire River and surrounding coastline can be seen from here. There is a rest bench at this lookout.

Lighthouse_to_Aire_River_grassed_track

After the Escarpment Lookout, the walk takes you through an area with trees on a grassed/soil track surface. This eventually finishes and the walk then descends down a hill to the banks of the Aire River. The surface of the path becomes very sandy but the route is downhill. Once down on the banks of the Aire River, the walk follows a four wheel drive track alongside the river. This has a loose sandy surface for several hundred metres.  The walk then leaves the four wheel drive track and takes you over a timber vehicle bridge crossing the Aire River. This bridge has a smooth surface suitable for wheelchairs.  The walk then takes you past the Aire River Day Visitor Area and the Aire River West Camp Ground toilets.

There are unisex accessible toilets located both at Cape Otway Lighthouse car park and at Aire River West camping ground. There is designated disabled car parking at Cape Otway Lighthouse car park. There is ample parking at Aire River West Camp Ground but no designated disabled parking bays.

The nearest TrailRider chair for the Great Ocean Walk is managed by the Surf Coast Shire in partnership with Parks Victoria. It is located at the Surf Coast Sport and Recreation Centre located on Beach Road, Torquay, next to the Visitor Information Centre and Surf World Museum.  Phone: (03) 5261 4606 or search for Trailrider on www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au

For further about the Great Ocean Walk visit www.greatoceanwalk.com.au

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