The Twelve Apostles

Each year, millions of people trek down the Great Ocean Road to visit what is arguably Victoria’s most famous natural wonder – the Twelve Apostles.

In this 360-degree video you can fly over the Apostles, marvel at the vast Southern Ocean, admire the scrubby coastal vegetation and stare up at the night sky.

Did you know? There were never actually twelve rock stacks here. There were nine up until 2005 when one collapsed, then another fell in 2009.

A unique landscape

Rising abruptly from the wild Southern Ocean, these seven limestone stacks are remaining pieces of mainland Australia.

The Apostles and surrounding cliffs are made of limestone – a sedimentary rock which is basically a build-up of shells, coral and animal skeletons. This rock began forming hundreds of millions of years ago when the entire area was underwater. The pieces of sediment settled at the bottom of the ocean, layer upon layer, and gradually compressed together and turned into rock.

From about 10-20 million years ago, the wild seas and fierce winds began eroding away at the edge of the Australian continent, slowly forming caves in the cliffs. These caves eventually became arches, which have collapsed and left impressive towering rock stacks standing in the ocean.

What are we looking at?

What you can see now are the remaining rock stacks, arches and islands scattered along the coast of Port Campbell National Park and Bay of Islands Coastal Park.

The horizontal stripes in each of the Apostles and along the coastline are the different coloured layers of sediment in the rocks. It is pretty amazing to be able to see what was once below the bottom of the ocean.

All along the top of the cliffs is dense scrubby vegetation. These hardy plants withstand gale-force winds, baking hot sun and sea spray all year round. Their roots play a really important role holding the top of these cliffs together and protecting them from further erosion.

One of the reasons that visitors are asked to stay on formed paths is to protect these plants from being stepped on and damaged. It’s very important that these plants stay strong and healthy because the more they’re trampled, the more the cliffs will erode (not to mention the risk of people falling over the edge!)

The lack of light pollution along the Great Ocean Road means that on a cloudless night, the sky is lit up with the sparkle of millions of stars.

What constellations can you see? We’ve spotted the Southern Cross and Orion (also known as The Saucepan).

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