Introducing Port Campbell National Park
The road levels out after leaving the Otways and enters narrow, flat scrubby escarpment lands that fall away to sheer, 70m cliffs along the coast between Princetown and Peterborough – a distinct change of scene. This is Port Campbell National Park, home to the Twelve Apostles, and the most famous and most photographed stretch of the Great Ocean Road. For eons, waves and tides have crashed against the soft limestone rock, eroding, undercutting and carving out a fascinating series of rock stacks, gorges, arches and blowholes.
The Gibson Steps, hacked by hand into the cliffs in the 19th century by local landowner Hugh Gibson (and more recently replaced by concrete steps), lead down to feral Gibson Beach, an essential stop. This beach, and others along this stretch of coast, are not suitable for swimming because of strong currents and undertows – you can walk along the beach, but be careful not to be stranded by high tides or nasty waves. This is the only place along this stretch of coast where you can access the open beach, and it’s possible to walk around the first headland to the west if the tide is low.
The lonely Twelve Apostles are rocky stacks that have been abandoned to the ocean by retreating headland. Today, only seven apostles can be seen from the viewing platforms. The understated roadside lookout at the Twelve Apostles, 6km past Princetown, has public toilets and a cafe. There’s pedestrian access to the viewing platforms from the car park via a tunnel beneath the Great Ocean Road. Timber boardwalks run around the clifftops. Helicopters zoom around the Twelve Apostles, giving passengers an amazing view of the rocks. Just behind the car park at the lookout, 12 Apostles Helicopters offers a 10-minute tour covering the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Sential Rock and Port Campbell.
Nearby Loch Ard Gorge is where the Shipwreck Coast’s most famous and haunting tale unfolded when two young survivors of the wrecked iron clipper Loch Ard made it to shore.
Great Ocean Road Small Group Eco Tour from Melbourne
Experience the spectacular Great Ocean Road on a full-day tour from Melbourne. Your small, personalized eco tour takes you by comfortable minibus along the winding Great Ocean Road to Kennett River, where you're guaranteed to spot koalas in their native habitat. The Great Ocean Road eco tour continues to the Otway Ranges for strolls at Maits Rest panoramic rainforest walk.
Great Ocean Road 2-Day Adventure Tour from Melbourne
Take an extra day to enjoy one of the world's great coastal drives - The Great Ocean Road in Victoria on a two day guided coach tour. With its dramatic scenery of striking contrasts, this region near the Victorian capital of Melbourne, boasts powerful seas, golden beaches, peaceful townships, giant cliffs and lush forests.