If the great outdoors excite you, if giant rock formations make your heart skip a beat and if natural wonders top your list of ‘to visit’ places this year, then the 12 Apostles are the place for you to be. If you haven’t heard of it already, the 12 Apostles are giant rock formations of limestone situated at the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It is part of the PortCampbellNational Park and attracts tons of tourists from within the country and abroad because of its unique beauty and bunch of activities possible around it. It makes for a wonderful outdoor adventure with family and friends and one should definitely not miss the opportunity to visit it.
How to Reach –
You can use either public transport or a car. If coming by car from Melbourne, you can take either the Princess Highway or the Great Ocean Road. While the former is a shorter route and will take about three hours, the latter is longer and more time consuming but you won’t complain because there are some wonderful sights to see on the way. The Great Ocean Road will take about ninety minutes longer than the Princess Highway.
In case of public transport, you have a choice of buses, trains or taxis. You can start early on Sunday or Friday from Melbourne and reach by lunch to Port Campbell with one stop at Geelong where you board the Great Ocean Road connecting coach. On Fridays and Sundays you can also take the evening train and reach by early morning the next day to start off the weekend with a night stay at Timboon.
Where to stay –
The place offers accommodation options to suit all needs. You may want to stay at a small cottage on the cliff or a fancy two-bedroom apartment with all amenities overlooking the view. Hotels and motels can be booked easily in advance to ensure availability. If you want to have a more enriching experience with friends and family, book a cottage where you can prepare your own meals. If experiencing the outdoors is truly on your mind, book any of the camping grounds such as Port Campbell Recreation Reserve or Lakes and CratersHolidayPark.
What to see –
Huge Limestone formations along the coasts of PortCampbellNational Park and Bay of Islands Coastal Park will familiarize you to the millions of years that have gone in the making and shaping of these rocks. These seascapes are unique and awe-inspiring to one and all. Some stones have been found to be about 15 to 20 million years old. The thundering ocean waves that splash across these stones are a sight to behold. Besides this main attraction, there are plenty of places where nature’s beauty oozes in the form of waterfalls, beaches and woods. Some of the tallest trees form the famous Redwoods whereas the
Maits Rest is the place to be surrounded by lush rain forest in the GreatOtwayNational Park. You can appreciate nature’s beauty but also be reminded of its might at the WreckBeach. Great ships had to surrender to the mighty waves at this beach and the area is now a tourist attraction with picturesque masts and anchors rising from the sands. The place is accessible via the Moonlight Head Road, 34km off Port Campbell. If you are still not satisfied by the 12 Apostles and yearn to see more of these magnificent rocks, there is Gibson’s Steps that opens out to the beach with two more herculean limestone stacks nicknamed Gog and Magog in the regional language.
What to do –
The area can be a great source of inspiration to learn about our past, whether it is our ancient geological history or about the more recent and familiar shipwrecks. There are records and artefacts from these ocean wrecks displayed at various places for tourists to get a glimpse of the past, one such being the Port Campbell visitor information centre. Be sure to also visit the FlagstaffHillMaritimeVillage. Other notable shipwreck sites are Loch Ard Shipwreck, Napier Wreck and Children’s Wreck.
With so many lakes, beaches and estuaries, who would not think of spending some quality time fishing? You may end up with a day’s lunch for all you know. There are plenty of inland lakes for this, especially if you are staying at the Lakes and CratersHoliday Park.
Same goes for all kinds of water sports that may capture your fancy. From scuba diving to snorkeling, kayaking, boating to adventure water rides are all available at various locations around the area. If you want to take your experience to another level, join the 12 Apostles Aviation team in giving you a tour of the entire area on a helicopter. There can be no better way to sum up and view the magnificence of the place than seeing it through the eyes of a bird.
There is still no dearth of activities and attractions to be explored at the 12 Apostles. The Great Gourmet Trail is everyone’s favourite where you can taste the best of wines, cheeses, ice creams, chocolates and dishes. Some notable attractions on this trail are the Berry World, Timboon Railway Shed Distillery, Cheeseworld, Timboon Fine Ice Cream, G.O.R.G.E. Chocolates and Red Duck Proverdore, each with its own special offerings.
Also unmissable are local artists and their unique work. From music to sculpting, photography and glassware, these artists can give you a memory to take back home with you. Local shopping events and markets are also a treasure trove of goodies that can be explored with family and friends.
In short, the 12 Apostles give you a perfect blend of both natural and man-made delights.