The Fascinating History of the Loch Ard Gorge

Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a fascinating part of the world, stuccoed with brash orange beaches, a plethora of natural rock formations, and incredible views that stretch out for miles and miles.

Millions of tourists flock to the region every year, traversing from one hotspot on the route to the next, digging into the natural history of Australia and the beauty of its landscapes.

The Loch Ard Gorge is one of the best-loved stop-off points along the Great Ocean Road. It’s situated in the Port Campbell National Park and is just three minutes from the world-famous formation of the Twelve Apostles.

The picturesque gorge is home to a smooth, pearlescent bay and an inlet of clear, blue water. It’s flanked by two yellow-washed cliff faces and tufts of vibrant greenery. Though it looks like something out of a storybook, Loch Ard isn’t just a pretty face. In fact, it has an interesting and colourful history that spans back hundreds of years.

Loch Ard Gorge

About Loch Ard Gorge

Its name is no coincidence…

Back in 1878, a large clipper ship engraved with the name Loch Ard beached on nearby Muttonbird Island after a tumultuous journey from England.

It was said that the ship enters the waters of Port Campbell on a dark and misty 1st of June. Before they even realised it, the ship was in shallow waters, colliding with a rock reef and running aground near Mutton Bird Island. Unfortunately, only two of the fifty-four passengers survived, one of whom was a nineteen-year-old sailor apprentice named Tom Pearce, and the other a nineteen-year-old Irish girl called Eva Carmichael, who was travelling with her family.

Tom was first to wash ashore at the sandy beach, hearing a woman’s cries for help nearby. He bravely headed up into the waters and rescued Eva, with the two calling for help from the locals. The two soon became famous amongst Victoria, with Tom being welcomed as a hero. After about three months, Eva decided to return back to Europe where she went one to marry an aristocrat. Tom remained a sailor and returned to England where he died at the age of 49, known as a hero of his time.

It hasn’t always been this way…

Back in June 2009, the arch of Island Archway crumbled in on itself, leaving two separate hunks of rock that run parallel to each other. Many of the landmarks along Australia’s Great Ocean Road collapse thanks to weather conditions or water damage, which serves to create an ever-changing landscape.

The two remaining rock pillars of the gorge have been named Tom and Eva after the two survivors of the shipwreck back in the 19th century.

It’s a bit of a film star…

Loch Ard not only has an interesting backstory, but it has also been an important backdrop in many fictional stories since then. It’s been the official location for a number of movies, including The Pirate Movie, which was filmed in 1982, and the 1999 TV series Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

What to do at Loch Ard Gorge

Stroll along one of the Walking Tracks

The Loch Ard Gorge is surrounded by jagged cliff tops, a sharp sea breeze, and acres of bushland. Trekking along the coastland’s countless walking paths is a perfect way to end your Loch Ard Gorge visit, fully immersing yourself in the natural setting. Simply take a look at the map displaying the whole precinct with the walks featured from the main car park. here are some of the most noteworthy paths.

Geology Walk

A 900 metres trail loops around crushed rock and bitumen surface, with ocean views and attractions such as the Razorback and Island Arch. It is the quickest and easier walking track in the area, so if you are short on time, the Geology walk is for you! 900m return the loop trail including The Razorback and Island Arch.

Loch Ard Wreck Lookout

Loch Ard Wreck Lookout

See the Loch Ard Gorge from a different perspective, with this lookout blending together with the nearby carpark and the 1.4km Wreck of the Loch Ard trail.

Wreck of the Loch Ard

Discover the history of the region when you walk along this 1.4-kilometre track, taking a mere 50 minutes to complete. It is a relatively easy adventure, with a few staircases, slopes on the bitumen and crushed rock, and a narrow section nearby the cemetery.

Thunder Cave

A 1.1 kilometres path that joins together with the 3.2km trail nearby the edge of the coast. The Thunder Cave region is approximately 550 metres from the carpark, making it an easy track to hop on. on the edge trail. It has a gradual slope the entire way, with a smooth concrete path suitable for wheelchairs and prams. Letting visitors see the sparkling blue sea right from the top of the clifftop rocks.

Living on the Edge

This walk is a little longer, stretching out to 3.2 kilometres. With lush bushland and sea salt air, make sure to bring a jacket to fight the harsh wind when travelling around this track.

Mutton Bird Island Lookout

If you are looking for the next spot for your Instagram, Mutton Bird Island is for you. With a 100m level lookout point, with a decked out viewing platform. Promising exceptional views and even steps down to the lower viewing platforms.

Sunbake on the Sandy Shore

Don’t much of an adventurer? Simply set up your own area on the Loch Ard Gorge sand and sit back to soak up the sun. With stunning views of the beach, and due to its unclosed from the harsh wind, this sandy retreat is a great way to unwind during your jam-pack sightseeing day!

Visit the nearby Twelve Apostles

No trip to the Great Ocean Road is complete without a visit to the iconic Twelve Apostles. The massive rock formations emerge from the rough seashores, looming overhead from the sandy beach. See these extraordinary natural pheromones as photos really don’t do these rock stacks justice.

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