Along with Uluru, the Bungle Bungles and the Great Barrier Reef, the Twelve Apostles are one of the most iconic natural sites in Australia. Despite only ever having nine limestone pillars – now reduced to eight after one stack collapsed in 2005 – the Twelve Apostles are nevertheless a must-see Great Ocean Road attraction and often a focal point of coastal road trips. Particularly at dusk and dawn, the rock islands are truly a sight to behold.
Words fail to convey the true majesty of the Twelve Apostles and the fragile, ever-changing Victorian coastline they frame. Sculpted by the raw forces of nature, the craggy limestone stacks stand staunchly in front of wave-washed cliffs that also bear the brunt of the Southern Ocean. Some 17-kilometres of coast is adorned with caves, arches and naturally carved canyons while, off shore, the protected Twelve Apostles Marine National Park ensures the ecosystem in surrounding low-lying reef continues to flourish.
The Apostles call Port Campbell National Park home, which also serves as the backdrop for the Loch Ard Gorge. The gorge sits about 10 minutes drive from the Twelve Apostles, with a staircase leading down to the quiet beach where the ocean rolls in between the precipices. There are four main walking trails at Loch Ard Gorge, including a short stroll to the lookout and lengthier tracks to blowholes, caves and other natural phenomena.
The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Port Campbell National Park as a whole are steeped in culture and heritage. The information centres dotted around the region can shed some light on the grisly stories that shaped the Shipwreck Coast and leant their names to these iconic Victorian landscapes. The Apostles are eroding at a rate of two centimetres per year, so visit them before it's too late!