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Nestled on the southern coast of Australia, Port Campbell National Park is a highlight destination on the Great Ocean Road. It’s home to some of the country’s most well-known natural landmarks, such as the Loch Ard Gorge, 12 Apostles, and London Bridge. Obviously, there’s more to this one of Australia’s best national parks than mere sightseeing.
Port Campbell National Park at a Glance
First commissioned in 1964, the park initially covered a coastal land of 700 hectares. This was done to preserve the natural limestone formations. It was later expanded to around 1,750 hectares from Peterborough’s Curdies Inlet to Princeton’s Point Ronald.
Some of the park’s most well-known landmarks are the coastal landscape, steep cliffs, and limestone formations. This is home to the famous 12 Apostles, believed to have been formed 20 million years ago. Despite its name, there were actually only eight. Only seven remain today due to one of them collapsing in July 2005.
Another natural landmark in this national park is the London Bridge. This offshore arch was formed by erosion and became a complete natural bridge in 1990. Two visitors were stranded there in the same year after one of the spans collapsed.
Around a 12-minute drive from the Apostles, tucked the site where the Loch Ard ship went down in 1878, known today as the Loch Ard Gorge area. In June 2009, the neighboring island’s arch collapsed, leaving two rock pillars named Eva and Tom after the Loch Ard shipwreck’s sole survivors.
Things to Do in Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell is free to enter all year long. Coming here doesn’t require booking any ticket or tour in advance. All the natural landmarks that make up most of this national park are free to roam with your vehicles.
Here are some ideas to make the most of your visit to Port Campbell National Park.
Sightseeing Along The Park
Sightseeing is the main activity to appreciate all the beauties of this park. Some notable landmarks, including Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, and 12 Apostles, are most beautiful at dawn and dusk. Penguins can even be seen at sunset if you are lucky.
Other features to take advantage of when visiting Port Campbell are the Bay of Islands, the Bay of Martyrs, and the Grotto. Consider taking a scenic flight to get the ultimate view of this Australian coastline.
Having Short Walks
You can take several short walks in this national park to enjoy its natural splendor. Some of the must-try short walks include:
- Port Campbell Discovery Walk: You may begin the walk near the beach by crossing through Campbells Creek. This walk provides the best views of the landmarks and the vibrant vegetation.
- 12 Apostles Walk: Before you take a walk to view the 12 Apostles, consider stopping by the 12 Apostles Centre. Here you’ll get insights into the cultural heritage of this national park.
- The Grotto: It’s one of the favorite destinations that offer a unique view of the south Australian sea. There is a parking lot close by the Great Ocean Road. So consider getting out to walk up the provided wooden stairs into the Grotto.
Aside from that, you can also have pleasant short walks around Port Campbell Bay, Loch Ard Gorge, and Peterborough.
The national park of Port Campbell is the best spot to view MuttonBird Island, where you can do bird watching. The island is created by erosion, resulting in a unique rock formation that provides a suitable habitat for over 12,000 birds to burrow within.
While it’s inaccessible, you can still have the best bird watching via the Mutton Bird Lookout. The best time to visit is between September and April, when you will see thousands of birds migrating to the northern Pacific Ocean. Consider stopping by the information center to rent binoculars for the best bird watching.
So, is Port Campbell National Park worth visiting? This natural wonder is beyond worth visiting. Viewing all the park’s natural landmarks in person is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Aside from Port Campbell, Australia still has other national parks to add to your itinerary. These include the world-famous Purnululu National Park, Dandenong, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta, for which you can read the details here.