Twelve Apostles Marine National Park
Address: Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell, Victoria 3269
Freecall: 131 963
The iconic golden cliffs and crumbling pillars of the Twelve Apostles can be found 7km east of Port Campbell. They are protected by the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park which covers 7500ha and runs along 17km of stunning coastline. As well as the above water beauty the park protects some of Victoria's most dramatic underwater scenery. Spectacular arches, canyons, fissures, gutters and deep sloping reefs make up the environment below the waves. Wild and powerful waves of the Southern Ocean constantly pound the coastline which has shaped the area into what you see today.
The remarkable underwater structures provide a complex foundation for magnificent habitats including kelp forests and colourful sponge gardens.
Many animals prosper both above and below the water including seabirds, seals, lobsters, reef fish and sea spiders. The intertidal and shallow subtidal reefs are known to have the greatest diversity of invertebrates on limestone reef in Victoria.
Marine mammals, such as whales, are also known to visit the area. Patient visitors after dark or in the early morning may see Little Penguins which nest in caves below the Twelve Apostles.
Before you go
Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website.
Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.
Content: Parks Victoria
The park is located southeast of Port Campbell bewteen Sherbrook and Pebble Point. The high energy coastline and rugged cliffs of the coast makes access difficult.
Additional business information
Like much of the Victorian coast, the region covered by the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park is significant due to the wide use of the area by coastal Aborigines. A number of indigenous cultural sites of significance have been identified along the adjacent coast including middens and stone artefact scatters. There have been no archaeological sites identified within the park, however local indigenous communities still hold a strong affiliation with the marine and coastal environment of the area. Notable sites within the Marine National Park relating to European Settlement include: * Gibson's steps and tunnel adjacent to the Marine National Park, dating back to the 1880s, which were constructed to provide access through a cliff to the beach; * Marie Gabrielle anchors, from a shipwreck in 1869. An iron anchor and part of the capstan from the French barque are located near Moonlight Head. This ship was on route from China with a load of tea when it hit the reef after being forced ashore by strong winds. Bass Strait was a major shipping route supplying the growing colonies of Victoria and New South Wales. Five ships, comprising both immigrant ships and traders, are located in or near this park. The Loch Ard was wrecked in 1878. Fifty-two lives were lost. The two survivors were cared for at the Glenample Homestead. Four casualties from the wreck are buried in the Loch Ard cemetery. Other shipwrecks in the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park include the Marie Gabrielle, mentioned above and the Fiji, an Irish barque that ran aground in 1891 after losing its way near Cape Otway in heavy seas. Twelve lives were lost in this wreck. Both of these ships are found on a stretch of coast known as Wreck Beach at Moonlight Head.
For your own safety, only undertake activities appropriate to your skills and abilities. Take all necessary precautions, be aware of changing conditions, and watch for potential hazards, such as rips. A number of Victorian marine animals are potentially harmful if not treated with respect and care, so ensure that you familiarise yourself with these species. Sunburn and hypothermia are also potentially harmful but easily avoided. SCUBA diving is a potentially high risk activity and should only be undertaken by appropraitely qualified people that have completed recognised training and certification. Victoria's cool water environments can be extremely challenging to those used to diving in warmer waters so ensure that local knowledge is sought before undertaking a dive in a new location. Dive charter operators can provide some of the best advice on diving in Victoria.
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