Twelve Apostles Marine National Park


Twelve Apostles Marine National Park

The Twelve Apostles Marine National Park covers 7500 hectares and is the second largest Marine National Park in Victoria. The park protects a diverse range of species that can be found in the shallow and intertidal reefs and which have been found to have the Victoria’s greatest diversity  of invertebrates on limestone reefs.  

While the Park is most well known for its amazing rock formations, under the water there is a whole world waiting to be discovered. There are limestone reefs interspersed by large areas of soft sediment covered by often turbulent water providing a diverse range of habitats for many species of marine flora and fauna.  

Twelve Apostles Marine National Park represents habitats of the cooler waters of western Victoria, and is a high-energy environment with the constant pounding of waves from the Southern Ocean. From the cliffs you can see thick brown fronds of Bull Kelp attached to the rocks near the low tide mark, swirling in the ocean swell. Underwater, extensive beds of kelp sway as far as the eye can see. In some locations Giant Kelp forms mini-forests reaching the surface from 10 metres below.  

Species such as Magpie Perch and Blue Throated Wrasse abound in the turbulent waters while Port Jackson Sharks and Southern Rock Lobsters seek shelter on the sea floor and in the limestone crevices.   

The shipwreck of the passenger ship Loch Ard wrecked in 1878 after crashing into Mutton Bird Island with only two survivors also lies within the Marine National Park.  

Due to the often large swells and difficult sea conditions diving in this area should only be undertaken by experienced divers with extensive local knowledge.  


Things To Do


Gibson Steps and Beach Walk

Take the stairs down the rock face, 86 steps down to the beach and enjoy a 2.6km walk to the end of the beach and back. A great spot to watch the local surfers, or see the rock formations closer and the birds that rest on them. At low tide, the Gog and Magog rockstacks can be seen upclose.

Twelve Apostles Overlook Trail

A 1.1km trail that takes you to overlook the Twelve Apostles. A popular site for observing the apostles from all angles and bird watching. Some of the islands are used as breeding habitats for sea birds. It’s also a fantastic location to watch the sunset. Takes around 20 mins to complete.
Underwater diver and coral at Twelve Apostles Marine National Park

Diving in Twelve Apostles Marine National Park

When conditions make it possible to visit, beneath the famous Apostles lies a colourful world of sponge gardens and spectacular limestone features. Due to the often rough water conditions diving should only be undertaken by experienced divers with a high level of local knowledge.
12 Apostles

Surfing in Twelve Apostles Marine National Park

An iconic Australian surfing location and with large swells through the area, surfing is best suited for very experienced surfers.
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At Gibson Steps, there is the Clifton Beach Exclusion Zone which permits fishing up to 100m seaward. Princetown also has an exclusion zone permitting fishing up to 100m seaward from the high water mark. Both areas are to be used for recreational fishing only. Outside these zones is fully protected and strictly a no take area.


Weedy Seadragon
Little Penguins

Tours and adventure experiences in parks

One of the best ways you can get into nature is with a Licensed Tour Operator.

There are more than 400 Licensed Tour Operators across Victoria who are ready and waiting to help you experience and connect with Victoria’s spectacular parks and waterways.

Discover more than 60 different types of nature-based experiences including hiking, mountain biking, boating, four-wheel driving, indigenous culture tours, birdwatching, surfing, diving and so much more. 

Licensed Tour Operators know all the best places to go and will plan and prepare your visit to ensure you are safe and can enjoy your nature-based adventure to the fullest.

Find a Licensed Tour Operator

How to get there

Twelve Apostles Marine National Park

A 2hr 45min drive from Melbourne along the M1 freeway and Great Ocean Road.   

When to go

The Twelve Apostles in summer offer some of the greatest sunsets and days with the best weather.  

Need to know

Twelve Apostles Marine National Park

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