WAKE UP TO THE ICONIC 12 APOSTLES COAST & HINTERLANDby GREAT OCEAN ROAD
The 12 Apostles Coast and Hinterland makes for a perfect destination to spend a few days to create some real memories and fall in love with this beautiful part of the world. Fly by and you’ll just miss out on so much.
Stay in Port Campbell where there is a large selection of accommodation – from luxury villas to motels, hostels and camping. You’ll find something for any taste or budget. The township is super pretty with grassed foreshore, beach (patrolled for swimming during summer) and a jetty.
Here, we’ve distilled (you’ll get the pun later) some of the key information you’ll need to get the most out of your holiday.
What’s the best way to experience the 12 Apostles?
The main viewing deck is the perfect vantage point to watch the sun go down – all year round the sun sets over the water behind the majestic limestone stacks – making for that perfect photo. If that’s not majestic enough jump in a helicopter (every day – during day light hours) and see the stack form above. 12 Apostles Helicopters offer a range of flights, starting at just $145 per person for a 15 minute flight over the Apostles and nearby sights.
Time it right in the early morning on a clear day when the sun starts hitting those rock stacks and we guarantee you won’t regret waking up early.
What is there to eat?
You are in for a foodie treat here – pick a designated driver and jump in the car to tick off the 12 Apostles Artisans Trail. There’s whisky, beer, wine, ice cream, cheese, fudge and chocolate… taste it all! And stock up for souvenirs for your mates back home – who would say no to some Pinot Noir from Dixie, Cheese made in Cooriemungle or Whiskey from Timboon? Not us!
In Timboon you’ll find providores, bakeries and deli’s to pick up on-the-go supplies, the Railway Shed Distillery (there’s the pun!) for casual lunch time dining, the Timboon Cheesery (home of Shulz Organic Milk) just out of town and of course, you can’t miss the flagship Timboon Ice Creamery. There’s also a sister store in Port Campbell, so you can get an ice cream fix in multiple locations (hey, you’re on holiday!). If you want to add some activity to this day you can hire a bike in Timboon and head off on the Rail Trail. You can even add a picnic basket to the bike hire!
In Port Campbell there’s a great range of different dining experiences; try the Port Campbell Hotel (Parma night is a must!), Grassroots Deli Cafe (open for brekkie, lunch and pizza from the wood fired oven on Fridays), or dine with a view over the bay at Forage on the Foreshore (breakfast and lunch) or 12 Rocks Restaurant (lunch and dinner).
Where can I get on the beach?
If you want to feel the sand between your toes, take to Gibson Steps – there’s just 86 from the car park to the beach. From here you can see the “other” Apostles, that people face away from at the main look out. They’re called Gog and Magog.
The Loch Ard Gorge precinct can keep you occupied for hours. Most who visit head straight on to the beach for the obligatory #girlinthegorge shot for Instagram, and we get it – this is a fantastic shot – but don’t miss out on the rest of the experience! Walk the trails to Muttonbird Island and learn about the famous Loch Ard shipwreck and the amazing story of survival and rescue – and see the cave where the survivors sheltered.
The Bay of Martyrs trail at Peterborough takes you onto the beach and also is a great sunset vantage point if you want to watch it set over the water.
I love nature – where can I see more?
The Port Campbell Discovery Walk is a great place to start – head for the pedestrian suspension bridge (past the surf club) and then follow the trail up and around the cliffs opposite the township. There are beautiful views and chances to spot native wildlife (stay on the path though!).
Locals will all tell you that “Bay of Islands is better than the 12 Apostles”…because it’s true. Past Peterborough the Bay of Islands walks meander around the large bay. These are just like the 12 Apostles but much larger stacks that haven’t eroded as much – so they look like islands. The colours at sunset are magical and there are so many different viewpoints to see it differently.
The Grotto is a kind of open-air cave carved into the cliff face. Take the steps down and peek through a window out to sea (also an obligatory shot for Instagram). It is not a swimming hole though, waves are very unpredictable in this area so keep to the designated paths.
The Boardwalk at Princetown is actually part of the Great Ocean Walk (a 101km multi-day trek from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles). The boardwalk meanders around the Gellibrand River estuary in the heart of town and is a great spot to see birdlife and kangaroos grazing in the early mornings.
If you like seeing native animals in the wild head to London Bridge at dusk and keep your eyes peeled for colonies of Little Penguins that take shelter on the beach here each night. Take a torch and settle in to be delighted with a totally uncommercial encounter with these little cuties. Stop on your way back from seeing the sunset at the Bay of Islands and the timing will be perfecto!
Sunset you say?
Your accommodation hosts will tell you that the most common question guests ask when they stay is where to go for sunset. Here are our picks:
- 12 Apostles
- Port Campbell (stand on the jetty or head further along to the point)
- Bay of Islands
You’re welcome. Enjoy your stay!