The drive along the Great Ocean Road to see the 12 Apostles is one of those once in a life time trips. It will fill you with memories that will linger and post card perfect views. Witnessing the beauty of Mother Nature first hand is awe inspiring. The 12 Apostles are a stack of limestone columns in the ocean along the coast of The Great Ocean Road and off the shores of the Port Campbell National Park. This is located in Victoria at the southern tip of Australia. The closest major city is Melbourne.

Budget Blog - 12 Apostles

Photo Credit: Flickr

Budget Blog - Twelve Apostles

Budget Blog - The 12 Apostles - Victoria

Photo Credit:  WIkipedia

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic drives in the entire world, let alone Australia. The 12 Apostles is just one of the many beauteous wonders of nature along its route. You can hire a car in Melbourne  and then make your way southwest along the coastline of the Indian Ocean to see the amazing sights. The 12 Apostles were formed by erosion weathering away the limestone leaving beautifully layered striations in the rock monoliths reaching 45 metres high. The structures and the sight were originally named Sow and Piglets; but the need for a catchier tourism name saw the name change to the 12 Apostles in 1922. In actuality, there were never 12 rock structures, it was originally documented as 9 structures but one has since fallen to the ocean waves in 2005 and 8 formations remain today.  Of course, the dramatic landscape has been moulded over time. The 12 Apostles were originally part of the cliffs as one structure along the coast, but 10 to 20 million years of wind and waves eventually carved out caves, then arches, and now the limestone statues that are part of our scenery now. The erosion is wearing away about 2cm each year, so the landscape is ever changing and the future will see new formations and changes.

Budget Blog - Twelve Apostles

Photo Credit: Flickr

Visiting the 12 Apostles

The drive from Melbourne is about 4 hours and is well worth the trip. The scenery is beautiful anytime of the day, but if you can time your trip to be there at sunrise or sunset, that is when the views are the most dramatic and spectacular with the changing colours of the landscape. Access to the 12 Apostles is free and parking is free as well.  There are many safe viewing areas set up that allows visitors to witness the amazing spectacle of nature.  The surrounding area is a protected national park called The Twelve Apostles Marine National Park.

Budget Blog - Great Ocean Road

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Great Ocean Road

Visiting the 12 Apostles can be made into a larger holiday experience through The Great Ocean Road and there are many other local attractions along the road that you can add into your drive. Along the way there are different coastal trails and lookouts, rainforests and waterfalls, and beaches to explore. Here are some more amazing things to do and wondrous places to see along The Great Ocean Road:

Coastal Trails and Lookouts

Budget Blog - Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • Bay of Islands: Great photo opportunities are here with the lighter coloured limestone formations just off of the coast. Even if it is overcast conditions, the striations in the rock play off of the light and shadows in this highly underrated location. Parking is free but there is a slight incline to be aware of for the trek to the viewing platforms.

Budget Blog - Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • Loch Ard Gorge: This section of The Great Ocean Road should not be missed. Witnessing the beauty that the elements have carved into the landscape here is unmatched and indescribable.

Budget Blog - The Arch

The Arch Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • The Arch: If you can plan your timing right here you can witness the golden hues of the afternoon sun bathing this unique structure in warm light. One of the walkways at The Arch affords you a view of the 12 Apostles too.

Budget Blog - London Bridge

The Arch Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • London Bridge: The bridge here highlights the changing landscape of the coast in our lifetime, not just over millions of years because the middle of this bridge collapsed under the ocean waves in 1990. At one time visitors could walk and even drive on part of the bridge near the section connected to the mainland.

Budget Blog - The Grotto

The Arch Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • The Grotto: This is one of the more famous views showcasing the beauty that results from erosion. Notice how the water in the cave is crystal clear and calm in contrast to the raging ocean behind.

 

Rainforests and Waterfalls

There are a number of different waterfall locations and rainforest areas to explore along the way. Here are 3 that were our favourites:

Budget Blog - Hopetoun Falls

Hopetoun Falls Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • Hopetoun Falls

Budget Blog - Maits Rest

Maits Rest Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • Maits Rest Rainforest

Budget Blog - Redwoods

Redwoods Photo Credit:  Visit12Apostles.com.au

  • The Redwoods

Beaches

We can’t forget the beaches because no proper Australian holiday is complete without your toes in the sand; however swimming is not recommended at any of these coastal beaches because of the tumultuous waves. Instead, you can safely take a dip in the ocean at Port Campbell Bay. Here are some of the beaches we recommend checking out:

  • Peterborough Beaches
  • Princetown Beach
  • Wreck Beach
  • Gibson Steps
  • Childers Cove
  • Newfield Bay

10 Things to Do Along The Great Ocean Road:

There is so much to do in the area besides just sight-seeing. Check the local calendar of events  to see what’s on when you visit.

  1. Visit the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village: The coast along here in Victoria is known as the Shipwreck Coast here you can learn a bit of history and maritime culture in the museum.
  2. Crater to Coast Bicycle Hire: Both children and adults can explore the region by bike and experience the tall forest, historic bridges, grassland and magnificent lakes of the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail.
  3. Touring the Coast: Tours are available throughout the area where guides will help give you details about the science, history, and wildlife in the area.
  4. Ocean Adventures: Ocean tours are available on boats where you can choose to go fishing, Snorkelling, and diving that allow you to witness the beauty from the land and the sea.
  5. Crater Quest Treasure Hunt: Perfect for kids, families, and adventurers of all ages, there is a fun treasure hunt excursion that makes visiting nature fun too.
  6. Rent a Telescope: Stargazers, astronomers, and cosmologists can witness the night skies of the Southern Hemisphere.
  7. Witness the Penguins: You can set your clock down to the minute to see a real life march of the penguins that have seasonal and nightly migrations and activities all along different areas of The Great Ocean Road.
  8. Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park: Get up close and personal with Australian Wildlife from the region.
  9. Take an Air Tour: Witnessing the magnificence from the air gives you a much different perspective and awe of the coastal landscapes.
  10. Taste the Gourmet Fruits of Nature: There are various markets, wineries, stores, and restaurants that feature local gourmet delicacies to delight your palette just as much as the sights will delight your eyes.