History of the 12 Apostles

The Great Ocean Road is home to many spectacular sights, including the jewel in the crown; the 12 Apostles. This road to the 12 apostles is breath-taking in splendour with its dramatic, rugged cliffs carved from the sea and its panoramic views across the rich and azure waters. As you get closer to the golden shores of Port Campbell, you are getting closer to the natural wonder of Victoria’s most famous rock formations. They call the rocky stacks the 12 apostles because they stand tall and proud along the shore. Despite the name the 12 apostles, there are only 8 left standing as Mother Nature, time and the salty waters have caused several of the apostles to fall.

Great Ocean Road

Twenty Million Years of Wonder – 12 Apostles

Over twenty million years ago, billions of small marine animals lived and died in the sea. After their death, their skeletons remained, with the forms accumulating along the seafloor. These stakes of skeletons slowly formed into limestone formations, becoming the limestone cliffs once the ocean retreated. The powerful surf and the salt of the erratic and moody Southern Ocean started to erode the rugged limestone cliffs along Victoria’s Coastline. The constant wind and water carved out cavernous caves in the soft rock. As time ticked on the caves became majestic arches framing the sea. Yet the surf and the storms were relentless and eventually, the arches collapsed to make towering stacks that soared up to 45 meters in the sky and isolated from the cliffs. Although their name suggests only twelve stacks, there are in fact thirty different limestone masses stretched along the coast, however, the only visible ones from the viewing areas are the eight apostles left. Due to the continuation of the stack’s erosion, eventually, the coastal shore will become non existent. However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, with the prediction of some brand-new apostles emerging from the coast in the near future.

12 Apostles

Embrace the Myth and Mystery

Many people travel across the globe to witness the splendour, the myth and the mystery of the 12 apostles. It has been a tourist favourite for years, even before it was named the 12 Apostles. Until the 1960s, the area was nicknamed the Sow and Pigs, with the Muttonbird island being the sow, and the limestone stacks being the pigs. For marketing purposes, they have then coined the Apostles, which slowly turned in the 12 apostles (although you could only see nine at the time of the name).

Throughout the day the colours and the light ebbs and flows across the rock changing the face and the feel of the mighty rocks. As the sun rises on her mast the golden colours spill across the rocks with flecks of rose and red. As the sun starts to fall exploding the sky with burnt oranges and lavender hues the same colours drip across the rocks and adorn the apostles with rainbow colours before they look into foreboding shadows.

Every year the fierce ocean storms still roll in and cause even more erosion of up to two centimetres a year. The apostles boast splendid names such as Razorback, Island Archway, Thunder Cave, Bakers Oven Rock, Sentinel Rocks and the Grotto. You can stand beneath the mighty shadows or indulge in a guided walk along the Loch Ard Gorge.

If you have time and money to spare, why not see these incredible rock formations from above? Enjoy a bird’s eye view and join a helicopter tour for a 15-minute long flight. Whizzing through the clouds and experience a truly unique perspective of the breathtaking scenery. The flights begin and end right nearby the 12 Apostles viewing platform, so you can take in both angles of the stacks.

Discover the Surrounding Area

It’s not just this natural wonder that is Great Ocean Road Tourist favourite. As around the shores of the 12 Apostles, you can also escape the sand and the sea to explore the delightful gem including towns, rainforests, and delights that populate the coast.

Great Otway National Park

Traverse the canopied trails and blooming bright flora of the Otway’s National Park. A spectacular rainforest bursting with native animals, unique plant life, and a surplus of nature. With countless walking paths, cascading waterfalls, and perfect picnic spots for tourist to enjoy year-round.  Truly immerse yourself in Victoria’s wondrous wildlife, enjoying a day away from the concrete jungle.

Lord Ard Gorge

Discover the secrets to the coastal’ s ocean floor, with over 700 ships falling to their doom. One of the most renowned wrecks is Lord Ard, famous for its demise in 1878. The Lord Ard cargo ship was bound for Melbourne, cruising past the Bass Strait when was hit by a wave of thick fog. Blinding the crew until they hit the treacherous cliffs off Mutton Bird Island. Out of the entire 54 passengers, only two made it to safety, cabin boy Tom Pearce and passenger Eva Carmichael. The two survivors both washed on the beach which is now known as the Loch Ard Gorge to honour the fallen vessel.  

Lord Ard Gorge

Apollo Bay

The Great Ocean Road is renowned for having charming towns and friendly locals wherever you stop along the way. Apollo Bay is one of the best of the best, home to welcoming shops, natural wonders, and exciting activities. Only an hour’s journey from the main attractions of the coast, it works as the perfect stopover for your tour.  The main strip of shops is bursting with lively restaurants, boutique shops, and cosy cafes. The beach is also a great spot to visit, with it being a popular spot for newbies learning to surf.

Kennett River

Meet the locals of the coast and visit Kennett River, home to some of the friendliest koalas around. The small hamlet is located just off Grey River Road, swarming with both colourful birds and snoozing koalas. Simply walk down the Kennett River Koala Walk and you are guaranteed to spot at least one of these grey balls of cuteness. Afterwards, you can join in on the bird feeding provided, with colourful parrots, cackling cockatoos, and more!

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