Take in the big picture with the Great Ocean Road’s famous limestone towers.
There’s no better place to lose life’s daily trivia than the dramatic, rugged and windswept coastline where the world-famous Twelve Apostles sit.
These limestone pillars rise out of the Southern Ocean in Port Campbell National Park like the noble, craggy sentinels of an ancient world. Once upon a time – or up to 20 million years ago – they were connected to the cliffs of the mainland. The waves and wind carved them into caves, then arches, and eventually battered them down into columns that rise up to 45 metres high.
The fierce elements continue to erode the stacks at a rate of roughly two centimeters a year. Today only eight stacks remain and some have given up the fight against nature in recent years. The London Arch was part of a natural double-span bridge until 1990 when the arch closest to the shore collapsed, leaving two stunned tourists stranded. Another 50 metre tall Apostle fell in 2005.
It’s an invigorating, end-of-the-earth feeling to see this coastline when it’s being whipped by howling winds and huge seas. Feel the sea spray on your face, hear the blowholes roar as they spurt with water and watch the ocean foaming around the stacks.
On calmer days, you can see the Twelve Apostles morph from foreboding silhouettes in shadow to glorious sand-coloured monuments in the sun. Capture soul-stirring views at sunrise and sunset or get an idea of the epic scale of this place from the wide beach below. Follow the Gibson Steps 70 metres down the cliff face to the sand, where you’ll be literally dwarfed by a gigantic rock stack.
Learn about shipwreck history, geology and coastal ecology on self-guided walks at Loch Ard Gorge. Or get up close to spectacular Apostles such as Razorback, Island Archway, Thunder Cave, Bakers Oven Rock, Sentinel Rocks and the Grotto. You can even take in this sculpted, shipwreck coast with a history lesson on a helicopter trip.
The elements have been wearing down the huge pillars for millions of years, but they’ll only take a few minutes to erode your small stuff.