Can you walk on the beach at the 12 Apostles?

When you think of the 12 Apostles, you would be forgiven for not even thinking about a beach, and whether you can access it or not. The world-famous location and heritage listed site in Victoria is most definitely known for the large Apostles themselves.

Gibson Steps

These giant limestone rock formations protrude out of the water, have formed over years of erosion and can be seen from miles away; it is simply breathtaking. While only 7 of the 12 apostles are now easily viewed from the main viewing point, it continues to be one of Australia’s most famous locations, with hundreds of thousands of travellers flocking here every year.

Two other rock formations, referred to as Gog and Magog by locals, are actually best viewed from much lower down, at Gibson Beach. Whilst not technically part of the 12 Apostles, they should not be missed if given the chance to see them.

Beach access via the Gibson Steps

It is worth nothing that this beach is not a guaranteed experience (more on that in a minute), however if you make it down to the 12 Apostles on a good day, you will be treated to unforgettable views of the rocks just offshore as you stand on the beach. It is one of the most unique ways to understand the size of these formations.

Gibson Beach is 1.1km from the 12 Apostles, and the Gibson Steps are a steep 86 steps down to the beach. If you cannot get a carpark at the steps, you can walk safely along the Great Ocean Walk to reach this area. It is narrow though, so wheelchairs and prams are not advised!
The Gibson steps are closed at times due to high tide and unsafe conditions.

Beach access at the 12 Apostles

Excluding the popular and more easily accessed Gibson beach, there are a couple of other beaches you can access when visiting the 12 Apostles.

Whilst these beaches don’t have views to offer like Gibson, they still offer unique, beautiful scenery and awesome photo ops.

Wreck Beach is not for the faint hearted, a rough track and 366 steps down is no easy feat to access a beach. If you can make it though, it’s worth it for the green sandstone platforms

Princeton Beach is accessed via a 600m walk along the banks of the Gellibrand River, offering

I can get to the beach, but can I swim once I get there?

It’s generally not advised at most beaches in the area directly surrounded the 12 Apostles.

Due to the quickly changing conditions, exposure to ocean swell, and lack of lifeguard patrols, the general rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution not enter the water at these beaches.

Port Campbell Bay is patrolled in the warmer months if you do need a refreshing dip.

Dogs are also not permitted at many beaches, and nowhere in Port Campbell National Park, including the 12 Apostles. This is to protect the natural flora and fauna, and something to remember. It’s probably best to have a friend look after your furry friend for the day!

Ready to head down to the 12 Apostles?

Beaches aside, this part of the world is unmissable.

Enjoy a Great Ocean Road Classic Tour , and spend an unforgettable day with coastal cliff views, bushwalks, a nod to the history of the Great Ocean Road itself, and stops in Apollo Bay and Kennett River.

Oh, and one last bonus! On this tour you’ll have the chance to explore one more hidden beach – at Loch Ard Gorge. This beach is relatively (and unusually) calm for this area, so it’s a fair chance you’ll be able to wander down here most days of the year and learn about the famous shipwreck on Mutton Bird Island.