The 12 Apostles and Friends

12 Apostles Victoria, Australia

One of the most popular attractions along the Great Ocean Road are the breathtaking limestone formations, the 12 Apostles. I mentioned them on my Great Ocean Road post briefly, but I believe these guys and a few of their friends are worthy of their own post.

What are the 12 Apostles and how were they formed?

According to VisitVictoria.com: “Created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10-20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs.

The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. View the 12 Apostles at sunrise and sunset as they change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun.”

And that we did…

12apostles Victoria, AustraliaAnd then we went back in the morning for a different perspective…

12Apostles morning view

But they aren’t the only limestone stunners you should be on the lookout for. Just down the road you will find seven more coastal attractions that are worth your time. This is the best map I could find but it does not include all seven, but you can see that they are all just a short distance from the 12 Apostles.

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Loch Ard Gorge

The closest to the 12 Apostles and my personal favorite. The Loch Ard Gorge is absolutely  breathtaking. It’s also great because you can walk down to the beach and get an up close and personal view.

loch-ard-gord loch-ard-gord-2Gibson’s Steps

Just down from the 12 Apostles, follow the signs for Gibson’s Steps. It’s an 86 step staircase that takes you down to the beach where you can stare up at the two enormous rock stacks.gibsons-steps gibsons-steps2

The Arch

Just past the Loch ard Gorge you come up upon the Arch. Stand back and watch the waves crash over this more petite rock formation.

The-ArchLondon Bridge

The London Bridge used to be a connected to the arch way you see next to it, but it collapsed in 1990 and thus became a bridge with no middle.

London Bridge Victoria Australia The Grotto

This was probably the formation I was most excited to see after seeing photos like this on the internet…

The Grotto, Shipwreck Coast, Victoria, Australia

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The weather conditions were not in our favor to get the same type of stunning shot that truly captures the beauty of The Grotto but we still enjoyed seeing it for ourselves.

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Bay of Martyrs

This spot is a little bit further down the Great Ocean Road, just past Petersborough. It is also not as well marked as some of the others so make sure you keep your eyes peeled. It’s a great spot to head down to the private little beach and view the nearby Bay of Islands rock stacks.

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Bay of Islands

The views from the walking paths around the Bay of Islands rival that of the 12 Apostles in my opinion- with less crowds! Don’t let this underrated gem escape your radar.

Bay-Of-Islands-View Bay-Of-IslandsSo if you are planning a drive down the Great Ocean Road in the future, don’t forget to check out the 12 Apostles AND all seven of their limestone friends.

Check out more travel posts on the link up for Travel Tuesday!

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The Great Ocean Road

Planning on traveling along the Great Ocean Road soon? Here is what you need to know.

Not planning a trip but want to see what all the fuss is about? You can stick around and take a virtual road trip with me ☺️.

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FAQS

What is The Great Ocean Road?

It’s the 151mile (243km) drive between Torquay and Warambool in the Australian state of Victoria. It is known as most of the most scenic roadways in the world. It was built as a memorial to the soldiers that lost their lives in World War I.

How do you get there?

Torquay is an hour and a half drive from the Melbourne CBD. You can rent a car (what we did) or if you don’t feel comfortable driving there are also tour buses that can take along the route. If you are staying in the city and want to rent a car, there are multiple rental agencies off of Franklin Street, walking distance from many hotels.

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How long does it take? 

If you were to drive straight from Torquay to Warambool on the B100 (Great Ocean Road) without stopping it would take just under five hours. That being said, you will want to stop many times. We spaced it out over a day and a half but depending on what all you want to see and do you could manage it all in one day or take up several days. If you want to take a more direct route on the way back, the A1 which will cut off a couple hours (but won’t be as scenic).

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What’s there to see and do anyway?

I am so glad you asked, I have included activities and other recommendations for each town on the drive. These are compiled from my personal experience, friend’s advice and other research I have done.

What to See/Do/Eat…

Torquay

Torquay is known as Australia’s surf and beach capitol and is the birthplace of surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver.

  • Grab brekky and a coffee off of the Esplanade to fuel you for the journey. I would recommend Cafe Moby– great food and perfect place for families to let their kids run around. Other top breakfast picks for the area are Scorched and The Pond Cafe

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  • Stock up on your beach brands at Surf City Plaza shopping center.
  • Head over to iconic Bell’s Beach and watch the surfers catching an early morning wave or two.

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  • Visit the Surfworld Museum if you want to learn more about the sport.
  • During the warmer months, snorkel around the Point Danger Marine Sanctuary.

 Anglesea 

Just a short distance down the road is the quaint beach town of Anglesea.

  • Follow signs for lookouts to get the best view of the stunning beaches

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  • To see the views on foot, follow the signs for the Surf Coast Walk.
  • Follow the 2.5km Mosaic Walk to see local art work inspired by the sea.

Airey’s Inlet

Next stop on the B100 is the picturesque town of Airey’s Inlet.

  • Follow signs to the Split Point Lighthouse.

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  • There are tours you can take or you can walk around yourself and admire gorgeous views of the coastline.

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  • Stop for a restroom break and enjoy a truffle (or treat of your choice) at adorable Willow’s Teahouse located conveniently near the lighthouse car park.

Airleys

  • Check out the Blazing Saddles Horse Trails and go for a beachside ride.
  • Just past Airey’s Inlet you will pass the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, one of several monuments recognizing the soldiers along the route. Stop to check out the lookout and get your picture with this historical marker.

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Lorne

As you enter Lorne, you are also entering the beautiful Otway National Park.

  • As you drive into Lorne, follow signs taking you to the Erskine Falls and Teddy’s Lookout. Both have walks you can do as you take in the breathtaking scenery.

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  • Lorne is a cute, little beach town with plenty of shops and restaurants along the esplanade to explore. Make sure and BRING CASH as I noticed many places do not accept cards.

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  • Grab a burger from Bottle of Milk (soooo good), or pack a picnic lunch and eat at one of the many picnic tables along the beach.
  • There are also many accommodation options if you are looking for a place to spend the night along your journey.

Apollo Bay

The drive to Apollo Bay provides plenty of photo opportunities so keep your camera handy.

  • Just before you reach Apollo Bay, stop at Kennet River for koala and parrot sightings.
  • Explore the rain forest through hikes, zip lining or a mountain bike ride.
  • Take a tour of Cape Otway Lighthouse– Australia’s oldest lighthouse.
  • Stop along the road at the lookouts for breathtaking views of the hills and farmland.

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Port Campbell 

Port Campbell is the perfect base to see the Twelve Apostles and the other formations. Read more about all of the formations and their locations here.

  • Capture the famous limestone formations, The Twelve Apostles, at sunset.

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  • Driving the short distances between them, check out the other formations- Gibson Steps, Bay of Islands, London Bridge, The Grotto and Lord Ard Gorge.

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  • Grab dinner at Karoa– the adorable little restaurant has the perfect ambiance and a mouth watering menu.
  • Spending the night? We stayed at Eastern Reef Cottages. Clean, quaint and only 1km from the center of town- the perfect place to relax after a long day of driving.

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  • Grab a cup of java at The Alcove Cafe (opens at 6am) and enjoy the views all around Port Campbell.

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Warambool 

The last stop on the Great Ocean Road, we chose to turn back around at Port Campbell but here is what you can expect to see/do if you choose to go that far.

  • Former bustling port town and sight of Shipwreck Coast.
  •  Learn about the history of the area at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.
  • Scuba dive through Shipwreck Labella or many of the other popular spots (found here).
  • Whale watch (June-October) from Logan’s Beach.

Hope you enjoyed a virtual journey down the Great Ocean Road! Let me know if you have any other tips or attractions I should add.

Linking up with Travel Tuesday!