Port Campbell Things to Do

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  • Things to Do
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Best Rated Things to Do in Port Campbell

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    Loch Ard Gorge

    by Myndo Updated Jul 17, 2004

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    This Coast is not called Shipwreck Coast without a reason!

    Right in front of this Coast the ship "Loch Ard" did sink once and only two from the 54 people on board survived. They were washed on the shore here at Lord Ard Gorge. One of them was a young officer, the other a young irish woman who wanted to live in Australia. Since she has lost consciousness, he brought her (half conscious) in a cave in the cliffs wall, revived her with some Brandy and went for help.

    Actually I wondered. This surrounding, two young people, he heroicly saves her ... and NO romance? But that´s how it was.
    Pity.

    Loch Ard Gorge
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    The GREAT OCEAN ROAD (GOR): Introduction

    by xuessium Updated Jun 24, 2006

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    I did the day-tour twice, once with Grayline Tours and the other time with Gowest Tours and each time, the GOR still takes my breath away.

    The 2 tours differ in that the smaller Gowest Tours added a more in-depth exploration of Otway National Park along the way.

    For the uninitiated, the GOR is NOT a spot, but a very long stretch (160km) of road hugging closely with the coastline, offering outstanding views of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean and covers some of the most photogenic scenaries in the world, because of its striking and dramatic natural rock formations. These formations include Loch Ard Gorge, the Grotto, London Bridge (renamed London Arch in recent years after the 'bridge' partially collapsed), and most famously, The Twelve Apostles. A visitors centre has recently been built near Peterborough to provide some basic facilities for the thousands of tourists who visit each year.

    Day-tour coaches will usually make a few look-out stops along the way to allow folks, like you and me, to drink in the absolutely fantastic view. Get ready to be drunk.

    The road is more or less sandwiched between the Victorian cities of Geelong and Warrnambool. It was built during the Great Depression and between World War I and World War II by returned servicemen as part of a government-funded job creation scheme. The road took 16 years to build and it was all done by hand using picks, shovels and dynamite.

    The main gate has been rebuilt twice. The first gate was demolished and rebuilt when the road was widened, and the second gate was razed during the Ash Wednesday fires. There will always be one perfunctory stop in front of the main gate for some photo-shooting.

    The road's speed limit fluctuates from 80-100km/h. However, its sharp curves make it impossible to reach those speeds in most places. It is a two lane roadway, one lane in each direction.

    MuttonbirdIsland
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    LOCH ARD GORGE

    by aussiejen Written Jan 15, 2006

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    The Loch Ard Gorge is one of the Great Ocean Road's most intriguing attractions. It is named after the ship "Loch Ard". In 1878 it was shipwrecked just off the coast. Of the 54 people aboard, only 2 survived. One was an 18 year old cabin boy, the other an 18 year female passenger.
    Some of the victims are buried in the small cemetery on the cliffs overlooking the gorge.
    There are steps down to the beach, although steep it's fun going down there and exploring the caves.

    LOCH ARD GORGE AERIAL VIEW
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    London Bridge

    by Myndo Updated Jul 17, 2004

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    No, it´s not the one in London, but there are similiarities.

    It must have been even better before 1990. Then the second arch between the still standing part and the land broke in - right behind some (very surprised) tourists.
    No one got hurt, and the few on the new "island" were saved by a helicopter.

    The stone is sand-stone and quite soft (compared to other stones). And the sea and the wind are working hard at it. They made this fabulous structures and are destroying them at the same time.

    London Bridge
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    COLLAPSED APOSTLE

    by aussiejen Written Jan 15, 2006

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    In June, 2005, one of the 12 Apostles collapsed. This 50 metre high limestone rock stack has now been reduced to only a pile of rubble.
    Unfortunately, this is an uncontrollable natural process.
    However, it has made no difference to the stunning coastline. I think it only adds to the amazing views along this stretch of coast.
    This particular view can be seen after parking the car, crossing underneath the road and walking a short distance to the viewing platforms.
    The day we were there it was a beautiful sunny day, low tide, quite a few other tourists and millions of flies!!!!

    COLLAPSED APOSTLE
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    The GOR: The 12 Apostles

    by xuessium Updated Jun 13, 2008

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    Nothing can really prepare you for the beauty of the 12 Apostles. Nothing. Really.

    This is the most singular breathtaking point of the GOR.

    Visitors to the 12 Apostles begin their remarkable experience of the towering rock stacks from the interpretative centre. The centre has been designed to blend into the local environment. A tunnel takes you under the Great Ocean Road to the viewing platforms. Upon exiting the tunnel and hitting the viewing platforms, prepare to have your breath taken away.

    Curiously, last century the formations were called "Sow & The Piglets". The name was later changed to give a more dignified presence for tourists.

    The 12 Apostles are part of Port Campbell National Park. The limestone cliffs that serves as backdrop to the Apostles tower up to 70m, while the tallest of the rock stacks is around 45m high.

    The Apostles had their beginnings up to 20 million years ago with the forces of nature attacking the soft limestone of the Port Campbell cliffs. The limestone was created through the build up of skeletons of marine creatures on the sea floor. As the sea retreated, the limestone was exposed. The relentess, stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed, rock islands up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. (This also created Pudding Basin Rock, Island Arch, the Razorback, Muttonbird Island, Thunder Cave, the Blowhole, Bakers Oven, London Bridge and the Grotto)

    Not all 12 Apostles can be seen; some are hidden behind headlands or obscured by other rock stacks. Nature recently had a change of plan. One of the biggest of the 12 Apostles crumbled into the sea in 2005, thus changing the look of the sight once more.

    The12Apostles The12Apostles
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    Twelve Apostels

    by Myndo Updated Jul 17, 2004

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    the Twelve Apostels are some more sand-stone structures in the sea. They stand like pillars in the waves.

    Here you can see 4 of them - the rest would be right behind you. (Just turn!)

    I am not even sure if there are actually 12 of them. Maybe you could count them and tell me?

    12 Apostels
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    The GOR: London Arch (London Bridge)

    by xuessium Written Jun 24, 2006

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    This is the last major stop for the day-tour before both tours swing away from the coast to end it all @ Port Campbell for a quick toilet break and then on to inland towns like Colac for dinner before the long journey back into Melbourne.

    This rock formation used to be called London Bridge but the famous children's song became reality in January 1997 when it suddenly collapsed. For many years, day-trippers had walked out along this natural bridge to the big rock at the end but after sitting there for possible millions of years the bridge spontaneously collapsed in January 1997, leaving two startled people stranded on the rock who had to wait several hours for a helicipter to arrive to ferry them back to the mainland.

    There is an urban myth that these two people were not actually a couple but both cheating on their repective partners and having their adultery affair caught red handed on national television. My guide told me the story about the cheating couple but I have no way of ascertaining if its true or not.

    Today, the spot has been renamed London Arch.

    LondonArch LondonArch
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    The GOR: Muttonbird Island & Lord Ard Gorge

    by xuessium Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Shipwreck Coast takes its name for the many ships wrecked on this treacherous stretch.

    Lord Ard Gorge is perhaps most famous for a shipwreck story which happened at this spot almost 120 yrs ago. (I even has the fortune of sitting through an Australian movie made on the topic while travelling with Greyhound tours)

    In summary: 52 people died after the sailing ship, "Loch Ard", rammed into the sheer cliffs of Muttonbird Island in stormy weather on 1 June, 1878, just days from completing a three-month voyage from England to Melbourne. 2 survivors, apprentice crewman Tom Pearce and young passenger Eva Carmichael, both 18 years old, made their way into the gorge and onto the beach.

    Tom was washed away while trying to launch the lifeboat while Eva survived, despite being washed into the sea with only a life-belt by grabbing hold of a floating chicken coop.

    Tom rescued Eva from the waves and both made their way to the cave in the cliff behind the beach. They found a case of brandy and drank a bottle.

    Tom climbed the precipitous cliffs and met a party from nearby Glenample homestead. Eva was soon rescued and taken back to the homestead to recuperate.

    You can descend a staircase to the beach and see where Tom and Eva struggled to survive, as well as visit the cave where the teenagers collapsed, exhausted. Take a walk along the headlands and overlook the very spot where the Loch Ard smashed into the sheer cliffs. Storyboards on the paths explain the Loch Ard story. A path also leads to the small cemetery where there is a monument to the Carmichael family and where the few bodies that were recovered are buried.

    Muttonbird Island, sitting near the entrance of the long, narrow gorge, by the way, was the "Sow" in "Sow & The Piglets", the original name of the 12 Apostles. (The piglets were the stacks of the current 12 Apostles)

    MuttonbirdIsland
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    Twelve Apostles, pure magic

    by Waxbag Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This section of the Great Ocean Road is the most photographed and visited. Here the unrelenting sea has battered the ancient limestone coast leaving a spectacular series of rock stacks, known as the Twelve Apostles. Currently, however, there are only six Apostles which is a testament to the process of erosion and undercutting that is ongoing and that we are absolutely assured of loosing more in the future (the last to fall was in 2005). New Apostles are also probable and the undercutting of the large promontory, from which platform number two stands, is bound to be the next addition. Visit the Apostles any time of day but especially coordinate your schedule for a sunrise or sunset viewing as it is absolutely magical, weather permitting. The Apostles are easily accessible from the Great Ocean Road where one can find plenty of accommodation and restaurants in Port Cambell just 15kms away. There is also a B&B 5km inland of the welcome center called the “Twelve Apostles Motel and Country Retreat”. The woman who runs it is friendly and offers country style cooking from her kitchen.

    See video at The Great Ocean Road

    Twelve Apostles nearing sunset Twelve Apostles and platform at dusk Twelve Apostles at dusk Twelve Apostles at sunset
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    Port Campbell National Park - Loch Ard Gorge

    by ATXtraveler Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    As you venture east on the Great Ocean Road out of Port Campbell on your way to Warrnambool, you will come across the Twelve Apostles, and then move on to Loch Ard Gorge. Loch Ard is named after the ship that made a 3 month journey from England to the Southern Coast of Australia, only to run into Muttonbird Island hours away from completing their journey!

    There are several different paths for you to follow in this portion of the national park, and particularly, you can walk while reading the story of the Loch Ard. You will also learn a little about Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael, the only survivors of the perilous journey. As the story is reported, the two were on the ship on a very hazy night, when the captain called out to drop the anchors and man the life stations. They were unable to deploy the life stations, and the two 18 yr old kids, Tom and Eva became the only survivors.

    There are a couple other nature trails with gorgeous views, and you can even go down into the gorge where there is a nice beach with the cave that Tom and Eva survived in until they were able to recover and climb the cliff to seek help.

    Muttonbird Island
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    HELICOPTER RIDE OVER THE 12 APOSTLES

    by aussiejen Updated Apr 24, 2006

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    This was my first time in a helicopter and I loved it!! I was hesitant at first but there was no way I was going to miss out and let Tony go alone.
    I got the back seat (of course!) but it was still a great spot to marvel over the sights below.
    The pilot was very informative, he chatted through out the flight.

    Great Ocean Road Helicopters operate year round from the rear of the 12 Apostles Centre on the Great Ocean Road. They are the largest aerial tour operator on the Shipwreck Coast..
    Hours : 9am - 6pm daily

    My 1st time in a helicopter!!
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    12 Apostles II

    by leffe3 Written Aug 7, 2003

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    The Great Ocean Road is stunning throughout the year. OK, so the most popular time is when the sun is beating down, beaches can be used, swimming etc... But winter is when the sea is incredibly dramatic and the full impact of this coastline is more readily apparent.

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    12 Apostles

    by leffe3 Updated Sep 21, 2005

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    Ok - so there aren't 12, and no-one is totally sure how they came by the name. And, pounded as they are by the waves of the Southern Ocean, they are getting less! London Bridge really did fall down here - the dramatic rock formation collapsing into the sea. Watching the collapse must have been something for the tourists at hand. But nothing compared to those who were on the sea side of the formation as it collapsed! They had to be winched to safety by helicopter.

    And earlier in 2005, yet another of the Apostles collapsed.

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    Coastline

    by leffe3 Written Jul 15, 2003

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    The whole of this coastline is made up of dramatic sheer cliffs and small inlets. The ocean is one of the most dangerous in the world, and there are many a ship wreck to bear witness. There rare many tragic stories of survivors washed ashore, only to be confronted by impassable cliff faces.

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