It takes only 600 years for the Southern Ocean to shape and
then reclaim these monuments of the sea
Visitors to this coast are humbled by a seascape that is both ancient in design and dynamic in form. The bone jarring slaps of leviathan waves an aural reminder of a distinct lack of permanency.
Contemplate this spectacular theatre of stone, sea and sand from a network of National Parks trails and lookouts.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock. It forms in layers with the youngest rock closest to the surface. When you look at a cliff in this National Park you are looking at a vertical geological record of millions of years.
Naming the Twelve Apostles
From Piglets to Apostles. Early charts refer to the 12 Apostles as the Sow and Piglets. The Sow refers to Mutton Bird Island which is viewable from Loch Ard Gorge and the Piglets were the surrounding rock formations to the east. When Superintendent C.J. La Trobe passed through this area in 1846, his chart reflected this name.
The rocks are collectively known as the 12 Apostles and are not individually named after the biblical Apostles. The formation was renamed in the 1930's at a time when visitors were travelling along the Old Coach Road from Port Campbell to Princetown to view the formations. A collapse in 2005 reduced the number of stacks that are viewable from the main viewing platform from "8" to "7".
Reconnect with the elements and allow the slap and hiss of waves on the shore transport you away from the everyday. Wild and untamed beaches adorn these southern shores. Cliff gives way to swept dunes and sheltered coves providing bold, strong stretches to inspire, invigorate and escape! Access to beaches is limited along this wild coastline but where access is provided the beaches are without equal.
Visitors are urged to respect the forces at play. Knowledge of tide times and sea conditions need to be a mandatory part of planning a visit to any local beach.
Four estuaries break the vertical cliff lines of Port Campbell National Park. These estuaries provide significant wetland habitat for many species and temper the bold seascapes with their broad dune swale and calm water. Local estuaries provide ample opportunity for boating, canoeing, fishing, bird watching and with due care and observation opportunities to cool off in summer.
How many Apostles are there?
At first glance you will see seven rock stacks to the west of the main 12 Apostles viewing platform with the rest hidden by headlands and obscured by other stacks. To the east at the southern viewing area are a further 2 rock stacks referred to in local vernacular as Gog and Magog. These two rock stacks are viewable from beach level 1.1 km to the east of the Twelve Apostles. Visitors should note that while there is a small car park at Gibson Steps it is often at capacity and visitors are advised they can walk safely via the Great Ocean Walk on a 1.1 km (2.2km return) trail that leaves from the south side of the Twelve Apostles Visitor Facility.
The sculpted cliff top carpet provides an almost comical homage to the power of wind that shapes it into form. Take a closer look at the hardy clusters of plants with subtle variations in texture and form creating interest and providing a rich palette of texture and colour. This highly specialised group of plants has a delicate beauty and an important ecological role to play. Please restrict your observations to the paths and walkways provided for your use by Parks Victoria. Visitors travelling along the Great Ocean Road can marvel at the contrast presented by the ground hugging cliff top heath in proximity to the tall emerald forests of the nearby Great Otway National Park. Guides on local flora and fauna are available from the 12 Apostles Visitor Information Centre in Port Campbell
Experience a breathtaking flight over the most beautiful scenery in Australia. Journey over the 12 Apostles, fly to the Bay of Islands via London Bridge, or take in the beauty of the entire Shipwreck Coast all the way to Australia's oldest lighthouse at Cape Otway. 12 Apostles Helicopters offers a once in a lifetime opportunity with the highest level of safety and service.
Opportunity for wildlife viewing is exceptional around the Twelve Apostles and hinterland region. At sea, spot migrating whales, fur seas and penguins. On land, kangaroo, koalas, echidnas and reptiles roam free. Dusk and dawn provides best viewing for many species.
FREE Binoculars are available at the Visitor Information Centre in Port Campbell to enhance your viewing experience
Follow meandering roads north from the coast to explore sublime volcanic landscapes and charming inland towns. Enjoy the contrast of conical peaks and deep crater lakes that punctuate the even carpet of rolling farmland.
Dry Stone walls dissect the landscape, an aesthetic and practical solution to farm a landscape strewn with scoria. Charming towns with well preserved buildings and tended avenues of elm, oak and plane provide visions of England on volcanic plain.
Mist cloaked fern glades; ghostly mountain ash and the crystal crash of waterfalls adorn the western Otway Ranges. The deepest, wettest gullies host the western most extremity of rain forest in southern Australia. Remnant of a time when the land was connected to Antarctica and the primordial sounds of dinosaurs filled the air. Access the emerald depths at a selection of rain forest and waterfall trails and lookouts within the Great Otway National Park or suspend yourself in the canopy atop the Otway Fly Treetop Walk.
Make sure you get the most out of your journey by visiting the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre. The local experts will be able to help you with their extensive local knowledge, arrange bookings and give you the best tips and suggestions.
23 Morris Street, Port Campbell
Open 9am - 5pm, 7 days a week