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Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia

GPS: -38.661957973931, 143.1054257342

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Also known as the Shipwreck Coast, the Port Campbell National Park has an exceptional rocky environment. It stretches almost 300 km long between the cities of Princetown and Peterborough in south-eastern Australia. The park’s coastline is known worldwide for its fabulous collection of huge isolated rocks standing overhanging from the Bass Strait, a sea arm connecting the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

This illustrious and constantly evolving coast of the state of Victoria was formed 10 to 20 million years ago. It owes its singularity to its series of limestone formations with spectacular shapes and dimensions. Some steep cliffs in Port Campbell National Park can reach up to 70 meters in height. Sculpted by the force of the winds and the power of the ocean waves, these geological giants form landscapes of rock hills overlooking pretty white sand beaches. Each year, erosion naturally loses a few centimetres of rock to the massive structures of Port Campbell National Park.

A long lane dedicated to walkers (Great Ocean Walk) and a motorized road (Great Ocean Road) are among the most beautiful coastal itineraries in the world. They allow the Australian rocky coast to run at its own pace between the wild ocean, beaches, cliffs, forests and the Otway Ranges. Provided with many points of interest, they constitute the most picturesque routes to admire the impressive spectacle of the overpowered waves going to crash on the rock formations of The Twelve Apostles. This emblematic place of Port Campbell National Park was enriched with a marine park in the early 2000s (The Twelve Apostles Marine National Park). The latter offers new diving opportunities through its reef and old wrecks lost at the bottom of the sea. Under the aegis of the state of Victoria, the coast of shipwrecks has adopted a new master plan aimed at protecting part of its spectacular coast (28 km between Princetown and Bay of Islands) while improving tourist infrastructure. It plans to set up more than 70 different projects in the next 10 years, including the creation of elevated bridges, observation platforms and the improvement of its reception or information structures. This ambitious program represents an investment of more than 250 million Australian dollars per year.

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  • The legendary site of The Twelve Apostles, a heap of seven blocks and rocky peaks (several elements having collapsed in recent years, including the last in 2005)
  • The rocky and abrupt formations of Loch Ard Gorge, the London Arch (formerly London Bridge), The Grotto, the Gibson’s Steps and Thunder Cave
  • Archway Island; the natural sites of Bay of Islands Coastal Park, Worm Bay and Bay of Martyrs; small heavenly beaches, wild coves and tropical forests
  • The networks of canyons, deep caves, steep cliffs, rock arches and caves in the park
  • The 300 km Great Ocean Road itinerary (between the cities of Torquay and Allansford); the 100 km Great Ocean Walk foot route (from the coastal village of Apollo Bay to the rocky site of The Twelve Apostles)
  • Canoeing, fishing, swimming, diving, surfing and horse riding activities; boat excursions; ornithological observation along the Sherbrook River, rich in wetlands; overflight of the region by helicopter; the brightness of sunrises and sunsets
  • Species of fish, sharks, seals, dolphins and little penguins; the Logan’s Beach whales observation site (Warrnambool) and Port Fairy to the west
  • The culture of the Girai wurrung indigenous people
  • Exhibitions from the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre; the neighbouring sites of Bay of Islands Coastal Park, The Twelve Apostles Marine National Park, the Arches Marine Sanctuary and the Great Otway National Park
  • The coasts of Port Campbell National Park are particularly feared for the strength of their sea currents and are the site of many shipwrecks. One of the most tragic dates back to 1878 with the ship Loch Ard. It ran aground near Muttonbird Island, causing the loss of 52 people for only two survivors.
  • The Great Ocean Road was built with the contribution of 3,000 Australian soldiers returning to the country after the First World War (this in memory of their companions killed on the European battlefields). This road thus forms the largest war memorial in the world.
  • In 2020, a new suspended pedestrian bridge made of wood, steel and stainless steel was created. It links the city of Port Campbell to the Port Campbell Discovery Walk coastal path. This bridge is accessible thanks to a wooden staircase arranged on a hillside and joins the summit of a cliff surrounded by dense vegetation of moors. It offers a new point of view on the rock formation of The Twelve Apostles and the city of Port Campbell.
  • Avoid visiting this region in winter, due to bad weather conditions.
  • The Port Campbell National Park has a website dedicated to the Great Ocean Road and the Great Ocean Walk. They will allow you to calculate the distances, to know the main attractions of the areas travelled and to prepare your itineraries.
  • Observation platforms and access roads are set up along the coast to admire the main rock formations on the coast of shipwrecks.
  • If you are not full of bridges, stone arches and rocky spikes at the end of your circuit, you can always continue on your way to the protected natural areas of Bay of Islands Coastal Park to the west or the Great Otway National Park to the east.
  • Do not cross prohibited areas or security barriers erected on trails or viewpoints. Several serious accidents have occurred involving tourists taking selfies and switching to the void. By driving, vigilance is also required. Sometimes some cars stop in the middle of the road or park in a dangerous way to take photos.

Where to eat

  • Forage on the Foreshore
    (at the seafront)
  • Timboon Railway Shed Distillery
    (rustic distillery)
  • Grassroots deli cafe
    (fresh and original kitchen)

Where to go out

  • Apostle Whey Cheese
    (cheese factory)
  • Great Otway National Park
    (high wild forests)
  • Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park
    (closer to the animals)

Where to sleep

  • Port Campbell Hostel
    (modern hostel)
  • 12 Apostles Bed and Breakfast
    (at the ideal location)
  • Great Ocean Ecolodge
    (a unique experience)

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