The Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, VIC © Visit Victoria

Guide to the 12 Apostles

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, VIC © Visit Victoria

See the 12 Apostles from the air

Enjoy a panoramic view of Australia's most spectacular coastal scenery with a helicopter flight over the 12 Apostles. Flights depart throughout the day from the heliport behind the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre. Depending on the length of your flight, you might see not only the world-famous limestone stacks but also Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, the Grotto, the Bay of Islands, and the entire Shipwreck Coast all the way to Cape Otway, site of the oldest lighthouse in Australia.

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road, VIC © Tourism Australia

Take time to explore each of the natural attractions

Admire the 12 Apostles from the viewing platform and check out interpretative displays along the boardwalk. The best viewing time is at dawn or dusk, when you might also see little penguins. Enjoy the self-guided walks at Loch Ard Gorge, which introduce shipwreck history, geology, and coastal ecology. It was here that the Loch Ard, probably Victoria’s most famous shipwreck, was smashed against Muttonbird Island in 1878 with only two young survivors. Visit the Grotto (where you can often see rainbows made from wave spray and sunshine), the Arch (with its spectacular views of the 12 Apostles in the late afternoon), London Bridge (originally a natural archway, which collapsed in 1990), and the Bay of Islands. Climb down the 86 stairs of Gibson Steps to the beach, which is backed by 70-metre (230-foot) limestone cliffs. Make your way towards the enormous offshore rock stacks of Gog and Magog. Be sure to check tide times and ocean conditions before visiting.

Great Ocean Walk, Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, VIC © Visit Victoria

Walk the end of the Great Ocean Walk to the 12 Apostles

Arrive at the 12 Apostles at a walker's pace. From Princetown it is a 7-kilometre (4.3-mile) moderate walk on boardwalk, crushed gravel, steps and rubber tiles. Savour stunning coastal views and look for kangaroos and birdlife. If you're keen to enjoy a longer walk, do the four-day 12 Apostles Lodge Walk with superb eco-retreat accommodation or take on the entire 104-kilometre (167-mile) Great Ocean Walk any number of ways.

Great Ocean Walk, Shipwreck Coast, Great Ocean Road, VIC © Visit Victoria

Check out the shipwrecks

Bass Strait was a major shipping route, bringing immigrants and supplies to Victoria. Most of the early sailing ships took the Great Circle Route south of Cape Town before heading north-east through the Southern Ocean towards Bass Strait. Here, they aimed for the "eye of the needle" gap between Cape Otway and King Island, the most treacherous part of their long voyages. See the historic shipwreck display at the 12 Apostles Visitor Information Centre in Port Campbell including a 1/60th scale model of the Loch Ard as well as its kedging anchor. Explore the entire Shipwreck Coast, which has more than 200 shipwrecks between Port Fairy and Cape Otway. The Historic Shipwreck Trail has 25 signposted sites leading to information plaques that overlook the cliffs where the wrecks occurred.

Shipwreck Coast, Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell National Park, VIC © Visit Victoria

Get out on the water

Take a scenic tour with Port Campbell Boat Charters to see the 12 Apostles up close. 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 12 Apostles morph from foreboding silhouettes to glorious sand-coloured monuments in the sun. You'll also learn about the history of the Shipwreck Coast and the geology of the coastline. Other offerings include fishing as well as snorkelling and diving adventures on some of Australia's finest shipwreck sites.

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