Port Campbell - Cities, Towns and Localities
The coastal village of
Port Campbell, Port to the locals, is
a great place to base yourself when exploring the magnificent region. Part of
the Great Ocean Road
and Shipwreck Coast scenic drives,
the village lies in a horse-shoe shaped bay surrounded by national park that
stretches up and down the coast.
It is close to some of the most visited
attractions on this scenic drive, with the iconic Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge,
Gibsons Beach and Princetown just to the east. To the west of Port Campbell are
The Arch, London Bridge, The Grotto, the Bay of Martyrs and the Bay of Islands.
The Twelve Apostles is a popular attraction, whether you are visiting during
summer or winter. During the warmer seasons, you can sit for hours and marvel at
the sheer beauty of mother nature and god, the varied ocean hues and the colours
of those limestone sculptures, as the sun slowly sets.
During the blustery, cold windy conditions of winter, when nature whips up
the power of the Great Southern Ocean, crashing it into the rocks and coastline,
the Twelve Apostles still makes for spectacular viewing. Lightning strikes
across a blacken sky only serve to heighten the atmospheric beauty, of this
stretch of the Victorian coastline.
Port Campbell is located at the heart of the Port Campbell National Park and Bay
of Islands Coastal Park, that stretches in both directions up an down the coast.
There are a number of lookouts where you can take in the spectacular coastline. It is also part of the Shipwreck Coast, with the famous
Loch Ard, being wrecked
in 1878 of the coast of Port Campbell.
If it is underwater
adventure you are looking for, this coastal drive overlooks the Twelve Apostles
Marine National Park. There is also the opportunity to explore a small offshore
site just east of Port Campbell that is home to some of Victoria's most
spectacular underwater limestone formations, and protected within The Arches
The creeks and harbour also offer some good fishing, whilst the surf at Two
Mile Bay is said to by one of the best big-wave breaks in Australia. There are
also boating tours or you can just enjoy some of the self-guided walks.
Check out our listing of
Ocean Road accommodation and
Coast accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide
information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for
more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.
Twelve Apostles Marine National Park & The Arches Marine Sanctuary
With the famous image of the
crumbling pillars of the Twelve Apostles, for the adventurous, there is a
paradise to explore below the water. Shrouded beneath the wild and sometimes
calm waters is a remarkable underwater seascape of towering canyons, caves,
arches and walls. Here in this submarine labyrinth, there are colourful seaweeds
and sponge gardens, with aquatic creatures going about their daily business,
whilst above you may see Australian fur seals and dolphins at play. All of this
just off the coastline, protected by the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park.
But there is more to explore, as just east of Port Campbell, is a small offshore
site known as The Arches Marine Sanctuary. This area protects some of Victoria's
most spectacular underwater limestone formations. Diving here is a thrilling
experience as you explore the amazing canyons, arches and tunnels.
Check out the Park Notes/Maps:
Twelve Apostles Marine National Park (PDF)
| The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles is the
iconic attraction along the Great Ocean Road scenic drive, whether you are visiting during
summer or winter. During the warmer months, you can find just the right spot to sit for hours and marvel at
the sheer beauty of the vista, the blue sky, the limestone sculptures against
the changing turquoise and aqua ocean hues, even as the sun slowly sets.
During the colder months, when winter chills and blustery conditions prevail,
the Apostles are still a splendid sight, with mother nature whipping up
the power of the Great Southern Ocean, as it crashes into the rocks and coastline. Lightning strikes
across a darkened sky only serve to heighten the atmosphere, bringing into
profile ghostly silhouettes.
Of course, if you plan to make a sunrise or sunset visit to capture that
incredible photos, we do recommend that you factor in at least 30 minutes, to
give yourself enough time to walk to your selected Apostles viewing platform
and to set yourself up for the best vantage point.
The Loch Ard
Australian's European history
has numerous stories of shipwrecks, and one of the worst tragedies was the story
of the Loch Ard. Wrecked on Mutton Bird Island reefs in 1878, just off the
Shipwreck Coast in Victoria, Australia.
The Loch Ard was an iron-hulled three masted clipper ship, whose name comes from
a lake just west of the village of Aberfoyle in Scotland. It was on a non-stop
voyage from London to Melbourne with passengers that included members of the
Carmichael family. Three month out from London, after days of fog and haze that
prevented Captain Gibb from calculating his position for the critical pass into
Bass Strait's western entrance (a 90 km passage between the coast and King
Island), on the 1st June, 1878, the captain tried to take evasive action when he
saw how close they were to the cliffs. This was to no avail when the ship struck
the reefs of Mutton Bird Island, just off the coast.
The mast and rigging smashed, some of it onto the deck trapping some people,
others were washed overboard, then the ship began to roll. It took only fifteen
minutes for the Loch Ard to sink. Of the 54 passengers and crew, there were only
two survivors, Tom Pearce, a member of the crew and 18 year old Eva Carmichael,
who was travelling with her family.
Tom, clinging to a overturn lifeboat was washed into a deep gorge, that now
bears the name the Loch Ard Gorge. Eva, who could not swim managed to cling to
some wreckage from the ship, which drifted through huge twin cliffs into a small
bay of the gorge. She was too exhausted, and Tom saw her in the waves and
despite being exhausted himself, swam out to rescue her and after an hour long
struggle manage to bring her safely back to land. He took Eva to a cave at the
end of the gorge, he then climbed the cliffs to get help, not seeing the steps
that were already cut into the cliff face. He ran into a party from nearby
Glenample Station who returned with him to rescue Eva.
After their recovery they never saw each other again, as Eva returned to Ireland
and later married. Tom eventually became a ship's captain.
Today, the tragedy is remember with four bodied having been buried in the Loch
Ard Cemetery. There are also some
self-guided walk around the Loch Ard Gorge area (details on the
website). There are a number of viewing decks along the cliffs, as well as a
stairway on the eastern wall of Loch Ard Gorge that goes down to the beach.1
The cargo of the Loch Ard
included a range of luxury goods. When the ship was shipwrecked most of the
cargo was lost, except for a large decorative porcelain peacock made by Minton
in England. The 144 cm tall porcelain peacock was thought to be headed for
display at the Great Exhibition of Melbourne in 1880.
Today, the peacock is the centre piece of the museum at Flagstaff Hill in
Warrnambool, and part of the retelling of the story of Loch Ard.2
There are boardwalk and pathway that take you to viewing platforms of The
Grotto. The rock formations are accessed via many steps. There are steep
gradients on the boardwalk between the two viewing platforms.
Shaping a Grotto
This charming feature has been formed by erosion from the coast... and from
Water from a swampy depression has percolated through the 10-20 million
year-old limestone of the escarpment here.
Weak acids in the water slowly dissolved the limestone, first forming a
depression or sinkhole, and eventually hollowing out the Grotto.
Rust-coloured pebbles scattered near the top of the limestone are a product
of the same swamp. Known as buckshot, they were formed when magnetic
iron-rich particles were drawn together in the still waters at the bottom of
Source: Parks Victoria -
Port Campbell National Park signage
| Muttonbird Island
Located near Loch Ard Gorge,
Muttonbird Island is an important nesting place for the Muttonbird (Short-tailed
Shearwter). These are remarkable birds who travel 30,000 km every year, spend
their summer in the northern Pacific Ocean and then on the last week of
September they return to the Bass Strait to nest in the various rookeries in the
The best time to see them is in the evening from January to February, although
they can often be seen between October to April.
Port Campbell Tours
Find and book our
Victorias most popular sights, tours, and attractions.
Booking ahead with Viator means you wont miss out on popular tours and
Check out some of the listings for
All Nature & Wildlife in Melbourne (including Great Ocean Road, Phillip
Island, and Grampians National Park).
There are also some great
All Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours in Melbourne (including balloon flights
over Melbourne region and helicopter flights over Melbourne and the Great Ocean
Many tours to nearby popular destinations start from
taking you to places including Ballarat, Bendigo, Echuca, Grampians, Great Ocean
Road, Mount Buller, Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island, Yarra Valley, etc.
There are tours that let you experience some of Victorias popular activities
and pastimes including cruises, shopping, sport, food and wineries and much
| QLD |
Alice Springs |
| Darwin | Hobart
Located at the 12 Apostles Information Centre / Car Park
Enjoy a breathtaking helicopter
scenic flight and then walk on down to the magnificent 12 Apostles boardwalk
without getting in your car again. A range of scenic flights to choose from.
Distance to Port Campbell
Following are some approximate distances by
road to Port Campbell:
Distances given are only approximation, they should be verified with the appropriate
Australian Automotive Motoring Associations also offer select access to travel trip planners.
181 Manifold St, CAMPERDOWN VIC 3260 Ph: 03 5593 7100
From Skipton to the Southern
Ocean, Corangamite Shire includes the townships of Camperdown, Port Campbell,
Terang, Noorat, Princetown, Derrinallum, Lismore, Simpson, Cobden and Timboon.
The website includes information on the history of the shire, communities,
festivals, events and programs.