Loch Ard Gorge

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Loch Ard Gorge

Port Campbell National Park

A few minutes' down the Great Ocean Road from the world-famous Twelve Apostles, discover another mighty rock stack and a stunning sandy beach enclosed by sheer yellow coloured limestone cliffs. The nearby Mutton Bird Island hosts a daily wildlife spectacular, while Loch Ard Gorge was the scene of the Shipwreck Coast's most famous shipping disaster.

Loch Ard Gorge is the site of the most famous shipwreck on the aptly named Shipwreck Coast. The Loch Ard ran aground crashing into Mutton Bird Island in 1878. The only two survivors Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael managed to drag themselves to the safety of the beach inside Loch Ard Gorge. For a moment, these two tragic teenagers were the talk of the English-speaking world, which very much hoped they would marry (they did not). Walk along this sandy beach, dramatically closed in by towering sandstone cliffs. Explore several other short walks in this area including the cemetery where Tom and Eva’s less fortunate shipmates are buried.

A short walk from Loch Ard Gorge, Mutton Bird Island used to be called ‘The Sow’ back in the days when the Twelve Apostles were known as ‘The Sow and Piglets’. Every spring and summer the island is home to a noisy colony of Short-tailed Shearwaters (aka muttonbirds). Every day at dusk between October and April, these birds flock home to their burrows in their thousands, to feed hungry chicks. Experience this incredible natural event before heading to Port Campbell for dinner and an overnight stay.

Things to do in the area

A couple walk along the beach at Gibson Steps.

Gibson Steps

A gentle 1.1km track takes you to Gibson Steps Lookout and, when open, 89 steps lead down the cliff‐face to a wild ocean beach. If the tide is low you can view the rockstacks ‘Gog and Magog’ up close.
Two women in chat at lookout while a man takes in the view of London Bridge in the Port Campbell National Park.

London Bridge

A short drive along the Great Ocean Road from the Twelve Apostles just beyond Port Campbell, discover these three unique and spectacular rock formations. See Little Penguins come ashore at dusk from London Bridge Lookout, coastal vistas framed by the charming Grotto and the Arch precariously balanced on a rock platform smashed by waves.
A couple take a selfie in front of the Grotto in Port Campbell National Park.

The Grotto

The Grotto is a cave and sinkhole located about halfway up the cliff, from sea level. The paved pathway leads to a decked staircase that descends into a viewing area. Enjoy the view of the rock pools carved out in the jagged edged limestone. Stay inside barriers
A man and woman play in shallow waters in front of the Twelve Apostles.

Twelve Apostles

The world-famous Twelve Apostles are the undisputed highlight of the equally famous Great Ocean Road. View these limestone sea stacks at sunset for a quieter and even more spectacular experience. And be sure to walk the short trail to Gibson Steps for a view from the beach.

How to get there

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. There is a more direct route along the Princes Highway via Colac that takes three hours. Loch Ard Gorge is a five-minute drive along the Great Ocean Road from the Twelve Apostles and a 10-minute drive from Port Campbell, where there are accommodation options and places to eat.

When to go

Short-tailed Shearwaters are still on Mutton Bird Island until April. See them flock home to their roosts every day at dusk.

Need to know

Loch Ard Gorge

Change of Conditions

Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.

  • Loch Ard Gorge (Port Campbell National Park)

    Reduced access to Loch Ard Gorge visitor areas

    Loch Ard Gorge beach access closed
     
    Beach access is closed due to dangerous cliff movement near the Upper Lookout, which could cause a collapse. Geotechnical specialists have assessed the site and we will continue to work through the permits required to protect the significant cultural and environmental values of Loch Ard before we start work to restore access to the beach. 
     
    This work is complex and will take time. Parks Victoria will provide updates and indicative timelines once we have further information.
     
    Closed walking tracks and reduced carparking - The Blowhole, Thunder Cave, Sherbrook River
     
    Construction of a new lookout at The Blowhole will commence in January 2024, creating a stunning new visitor attraction for the Loch Ard Gorge precinct. The project is expected to take 12 months, subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions.

    To ensure public safety during construction, access to some tracks and areas around The Blowhole will be closed, including no access to Thunder Cave and Sherbrook River. There will also be a reduction in the number of carparking spaces available for the public at the Loch Ard Gorge precinct, and no parking near Sherbrook River. Turning circles will also be restricted due to the construction works. Caravans and other long vehicles will be required to park in the Loch Ard Gorge car park.  
     

  • Twelve Apostles (Port Campbell National Park)

    Saddle Lookout - access change

    From mid-September 2021 there will be no access to the Saddle and Castle Rock viewing areas while a new lookout is being built. 

    Visitors can continue to enjoy the other lookouts, boardwalks and visitor areas at the Twelve Apostles and the other spectacular visitor sites in the Port Campbell National Park.

    Changed traffic and visitor access

    Visitors to the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge precinct over summer are encouraged to plan ahead, with increased traffic expected and temporarily reduced access to some visitor spots.

    Changes to speed limits and parking arrangements are in place to safely manage peak period visitation along this section of the Great Ocean Road.

    With construction of new visitor facilities in the area, and holiday crowds, visitors are encouraged to check park conditions and arrive early.

    For more information: 
    https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/media-releases/2023/12/22/02/32/twelve-apostles-summer-traffic-and-visitor-changes  

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