MORE than 100 kilometres of the Great Ocean Walk will be upgraded after Premier John Brumby announced $6.3 million in funding for the trail yesterday.
Walking tracks will be upgraded for all-season weather access, off-road tracks realigned and campsites at Princetown and Johanna extended under the plan.
The Premier told The Standard that the project would increase nature-based tourism and economic benefits would flow through the region.
"This upgrade will make the Great Ocean Walk a truly great Great Ocean Walk," he said.
"More and more international tourists choose to visit the Twelve Apostles and the Otways when they come to Victoria and this funding reflects that demand.
"Many of those visitors are nature-based tourists. They want to be able to feel the sand, hear the sea and enjoy our coastal scenery to the full.
Mr Brumby said the upgrade was identified after a Parks Victoria review of the walk .
An underpass for safe walking access will be constructed under the Great Ocean Road between Gibson Steps and Glenample Homestead.
Parks Victoria has committed $4.2 million to the initiative and the state government pledged $2.1 million from its Regional Development Infrastructure Fund . Colac Otway Shire mayor Lyn Russell said the announcement would boost tourist numbers to Apollo Bay and Port Campbell .
"I'm Apollo Bay born-and-bred, so maybe I'm biased, but I think the region around the Otways has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world," she said.