What to See and Do Along the Shipwreck Coast

Australia’s Shipwreck Coast forms part of the Great Ocean Road, spanning from Moonlight Head to the small fishing village of Port Fairy. Along the way, there are plenty of sights and attractions to take it, including Princetown, the famous Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell, Peterborough, and Warrnambool.

The stretch of coast is thought to have around 700 shipwrecked vessels submerged in its waters, and it is the history that makes it such a fascinating place.

Matthew Flinders notably said he had never seen a “more fearful section of coastline” – no surprise, considering the Shipwreck Trail along the coast acts as a graveyard for ships that have been brought down either by the dangerous weather, human error, or foul play.

The Most Famous Shipwreck

Perhaps the most famous shipwreck story is that of the Loch Ard, which disappeared on its way to Melbourne from England. Caught up in fogs along the coast, the captain thought he was miles away from the cliffs of the Australian mainland, but in fact he was fatally close.

The huge ship hit Mutton Bird Island on the 1st June 1878, killing 52 of the 54 people onboard. The only survivors were Eva Carmichael and cabin boy Tom Pearce, who managed to spend the night in a cave before climbing the cliffs and finding help once the bad weather had cleared.

Things to Do Along Shipwreck Coast

  • Make your way down the Gibson Steps, a staircase etched into the cliffs. From the bottom you can catch a glimpse of the Twelve Apostles from sea level, taking in their sheer, impressive beauty.
  • Take a quick detour to Timboon, where you can try the Schulz family’s organic cheeses. Their farm is famous in the area for producing local, creamy wheels.
  • Play golf with a view at Peterborough, which boasts a course on top of a cliff. Here, you can marvel at the stunning coastal scenery while you take your swings.
  • If you want to experience what port life might have been like back in the 19th century, head to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool, where there is an interactive historic display with tonnes of information, documents, and images to soak up.
  • Take a leisurely stroll around the state game reserve at Tower Hill and breathe in the fresh sea air. The reserve has been restored to its former glory with the help of a von Guerard painting.

Visit the famous Shipwreck Coast on our Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Tour.