The walk takes participants along from Torquay to Aireys Inlet.

GORCC among finalists of HART Awards

May 14, 2020 BY

THE Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) have been named a finalist in Reconciliation Victoria’s 2020 HART (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) Awards for their Guided Surf Coast Walk.

The three-day walk from Torquay to Aireys Inlet is led by Wadawurrung woman Corrina Eccles.

Ms Eccles shares cultural knowledge and stories of Wadawurrung Country along the 42-kilometre walk, while members from GORCC’s Environmental Education Team also talk about the many plants and animals the coast is home to.

GORCC acting chief executive officer Daniel Aitken said with the walk having been nothing more than an idea so recently, he was excited to see it earning such high recognition.

“We were really happy to find out, it’s a great achievement.”

“It’s an event that we started looking at probably two years ago. We were looking at how we could link our two caravan parks together, but also bring in some of the story around the Surf Coast.

“We approached Corrina to see whether she wanted to take part in it and tell the story and she jumped at the chance.”

GORCC is a finalist in the Community Category of the HART Awards.

But Mr Aitken said even before their nomination the benefits of the walk had been apparent.

“The best thing about it is that it has really improved our relationship with the traditional owners and our team’s understanding of that cultural heritage.”

One walk was scheduled to take place this month, but had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Mr Aitken said all the previous walks had been very well received.

“Every time we do it, we have sold out so far.

“We have a maximum of 20 for it. So it’s a very involved and personal experience.”

Mr Aitken said he has also been pleased in the diversity of those who have taken part in the walk.

“We have people who are avid walkers, then we have people who are more interested in the cultural history. We have had teachers come on it and then use what they have learnt in their classrooms. Then we’ve also had people who are more interested in the environmental side of it and learning more about the flora and fauna.

“It’s a really great mix of people, and ages. We’ve had quite young people as well as those up to their eighties.”

The walk not only explores the best of the local environment, but some of the best local cafes and eateries along the way.

GORCC is also creating an app that Mr Aitken said would make the information about the area more accessible.

“We’re working on an app at the moment, so people can download it and do the walk. As you walk past a certain area a GPS location will come up on your phone and tell the story.”