The Gibson Steps on the Great Ocean Road

Set along the glorious stretch of Great Ocean Road, the Gibson Steps take visitors down onto a length of lush beach. Forming the first sightseeing stop in Port Campbell National Park, one of the major attractions on the 250 kilometre coastal road, the steps are just minutes away from the world-famous Twelve Apostles site.

Over time, the weather conditions have sculpted and honed the steps into a spectacular natural wonder, completed by the two jutting rock stacks that languish in the ocean nearby. These are known as Gog and Magog, and can be seen from the viewing platform at the top of the steps.

Aside from the natural scenery on offer, the beach at the bottom of the Gibson Steps is popular for fishing, with plenty of colourful species of fish and sea creatures frolicking below the water’s surface. Despite the popularity of fishing, swimming here is highly unadvised, as the ferocious reefs and rip holes make for incredibly choppy waves.

The History

Like most of the Great Ocean Road’s attractions, the Gibson Steps have a fascinating history that dates back hundreds of years. Originally, it is thought the steps were cut out by the Kirrae Whurrong people, a local tribe who called the area home.

It wasn’t until 1869 that the steps got their full use and their name. Pioneer Hugh Gibson built nearby Glenample Homestead and regularly used the carved steps to access the beach below. During this time, it was constantly used by fishermen and other seafaring workers to get to the beach and the water. Gibson is most famous for his role in the Loch Ard shipwreck. The two survivors, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael, regained their strength at his homestead.

Getting to Gibson Steps

As a popular stop-off on the Great Ocean Road, the Gibson Steps are easy to reach from a variety of angles. The easiest way is to park in the designated car park that leads directly onto the viewing platform and the steps below. The views here are stunning, so be sure to take a moment to marvel at the surrounding landscape before making your way down the 86 carved steps onto the beach below.

Alternatively, you can park in the Twelve Apostles car park and walk the 1 kilometre route along the rugged cliffs of the Great Ocean Walk to the Gibson Steps. This short stroll takes in the vertical coastal cliffs and spectacular sea views that dominate the area.