How many of the 12 apostles are still standing?

How many of the 12 apostles are still standing?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/22/2019

Reading time: 4 mins

The Twelve Apostles are listed as the ultimate tourist attraction along the Great Ocean Road. But how many of them are still standing?

12 apostles
One of the Great Ocean Road’s number one highlights is the iconic Twelve Apostles. The Twelve Apostles are glorious limestone stacks emerging from the choppy seas. They are scattered along the coastline, making for a breathtaking sight.

The apostles formed millions of years ago, but sadly over time, the number of stacks has dropped. The Twelve Apostles have been faced with the continuous erosion of seawater and weather cutting them away. In the future, these apostles will end up ceasing to exist.

The Formation of the Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles formed over twenty million years ago all thanks to what we call erosion. Back then, the land stretched out much further into the sea. During this time, the apostle’s stacks were one with the Great Ocean Road’s landscape. However, the limestone pillars ended up facing years of rough storms and saltwater waves. The weather continued beating against the cliff tops and cut the rock away. The waves battered against the pillars, carving out small hollow sections and caves.

After a while, the rock surrounding the caves began to waver. The rock surrounding the hollow cave ended up collapsing from lack of support. This left behind large limestone pillars that now stand tall in the ocean, separate from the mainland.

How many of the Twelve Apostles remain?

You may be surprised to learn that there never were twelve apostles. The name suggests otherwise, but there were in fact only nine stacks of limestone pillars.

Before being called the Twelve Apostles, the limestone pillars had a different name. They had previously been known as “Sow and Pigs”. This came from the idea that the Muttonbird Island was the sow, and the stacks of pillars were the pigs. The iconic landmark was renamed mostly for marketing purposes, as the “Twelve Apostles” had a better ring to it.

Nowadays, there are only eight apostles left. Each of the Twelve Apostles stands at various heights. As the years go by, the weather has continued eroding the limestone stacks. With continued erosion, the stacks will erode further and further until there are no more.

The continuous erosion not only affects the Twelve Apostles but also the coastal land. The cliffs along the coast will likely become rock stacks as well. So even if we do lose the remaining Twelve Apostles, there will continue to be stacks of limestone rocks jutting out of the South Ocean in the future.

Are the Twelve Apostles still worth seeing?

Yes, the Twelve Apostles are 100% still worth seeing!

Even though not all of the original rock formations remain, the Twelve Apostles are still a breathtaking sight. Trek up to the cliff tops to marvel at the breathtaking views. From the various lookout points along the Great Ocean Road, you can view the stunning rock structures looming in the distance. You can also look below and see the waves crashing along the shoreline. The unparalleled views combined with the tranquil sound of the ocean waves make for a spectacular experience.

The area is not only full of stunning scenery, but it also has a rich history to discover. After exploring the beach and magnificent views, you can escape the sand and the sea to explore the charming towns nearby. A few of the charming towns along the Great Ocean Road include Torquay, Lorne, and Apollo Bay.

Many travellers visit this iconic landmark when the sun is shining bright against the stacks and causing the allure of a sparkling sea. The sunrise and sunset are both stunning times to visit the Twelve Apostles. You will be able to watch as the changing sky illuminates the rocks with a soft glow of orange, pink, and red.

You can even see these natural rock formations from a bird’s eye view! Taking flight on one of the helicopter tours offered here. You will be able to spend 20 minutes of pure joy as you soar through the clouds, over the stacks and sea!

Regardless of your interests, we guarantee you’ll enjoy a visit to this epic attraction.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.