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.

Gibson Steps

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 Road Walk to the Gibson Steps. This short stroll takes in the vertical coastal cliffs and spectacular sea views that dominate the area.

What to Do at Gibson Steps

Stroll the Sandy Shore

As well as admiring the stunning views and walking along the sandy shores of the beach that the Gibson Steps go down onto, there are plenty of other things you can do while in the area.

Catch Your Dinner

The beach itself is popular for fishing, and the shallow waters boast an abundance of colourful fish species and sea creatures. However, if you’re planning on taking a swim, you might want to rethink your decision as there are some ferocious reefs and rip holes that generate choppy waves.

Visit the Nearby Attractions

Twelve Apostles

No trip to the Gibson Steps is complete without a visit to the neighbouring Twelve Apostles. As it is situated in the Port Campbell National Park and is just three minutes from the world-famous formation. The massive limestone stacks emerge from the crashing sea, looming above the beachfront and anyone nearby them. They were once a part of the coastal clifftop, but millions of years of erosion from the sea and weather slowly cut the rock away, leaving behind these impressive rock formations. See the stacks from several angels, including from the allocated lookout point, from below at the beachfront, or above on the unforgettable helicopter tour.

Loch Ard Gorge

Once you’ve seen the Twelve Apostles and the Gibson steps, hop back on the road and stop only travel a mere hour before getting to the next attraction. Reaching one of the best-loved stop-off points along the Great Ocean Road; Loch Ard Gorge. Its fame came in 1878, when a large ship heading to Australia from England, met its demise in the shallow rocky shores of the Great Ocean Road. Out of the fifty-four passengers on board, only two survived the shipwreck, including the nineteen-year-old sailor apprentice named Tom Pearce, and the nineteen-year-old Irish passenger, Eva Carmichael. The two became famous in the region, with the beach renamed after the Ship to honour the fallen passengers. As well as being quite a historic site, it is also beautiful, with soft sands, sapphire waters, and impressive rock cliffs nearby.

Port Campbell

This town is mostly known for its national park, which features incredible rock formations including the Twelve apostles. However, the town itself is an incredible attraction, promising relaxing nights along with the seacoast or day activities for the whole family. It is a colourful and lively beach town, with friendly locals and an abundant number of goodies on offer. The main streets are lined with cosy cafes and unique restaurants. Letting visitors refuel and head off again or sit back and relax for a night. There are many hotels and motels scattering about the town, with even Airbnb for a cosier and homey feel. This town can be a great base point for a great ocean road vacation. With some of the best attractions along the road only an hour or two away by car. Blending together a beach day, rainforest adventure, and clifftop trip all in one holiday.

Exploring everything the Great Ocean Road has to offer is a must-do on every visitor to Australia’s to-do list and the Gibson Steps mark the perfect place to start.


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