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.

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. Unfortunately, only two of the fifty-four passengers survived, one of whom was a fifteen-year-old boy called Tom Pearce, and the other a seventeen-year-old Irish girl called Eva Carmichael.

Both passengers were washed ashore during the event where Pearce proceeded to raise an alarm to the surrounding locals. The act saved Carmichael’s life, though she returned to England soon after, having lost most of her family in the tragedy. Pearce continued to live a fruitful life and was often referred to 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 and 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 Center of the Earth.

To experience the Loch Ard Gorge in more depth, join us on our Great Ocean Road Day Tour.

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