Search
Generic filters
Search in excerpt
Top
Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park

Port Campbell National Park guide: things to see and do

Great Ocean Road’s stunning scenery is part of Port Campbell National Park. Together with Great Otway National Park and Bay of Islands Coastal Park a rich array of flora and fauna tempt visitors to linger and stay awhile longer. Port Campbell National Park oversight protects limestone cliffs and landforms, the local vegetation and wildlife as well as managing visitor experiences within the park.

Gellibrand River boardwalk, Princetown Scenic Reserve Australia

Best time to visit

Year round

Port Campbell Weather

Highlights:

  • Lookouts for 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge landforms
  • Port Campbell ten things to do and see
  • Nature and wildlife reserves
  • Walks and heritage discovery walking trails

Location & Getting there: Distance from Melbourne

The road is, at times narrow and winding.

Getting around:

A vehicle is needed as there is no public transport to the various locations. There are numerous guided multiple and day tours to the region.

Frequently Asked Questions about Port Campbell National Park

  • Do the lookouts close?

The Twelve Apostles lookout is open from dawn to dusk every day. The nearby kiosk is generally open between 10.00am to 4.30pm. Toilets and walkways are accessible 24/7.

  • Do we need to pay a National Park fee to view the Twelve Apostles and other key sites?

There is no fee to view the coastline and significant landforms.

  • Can I take my dog to the beach?

Dogs are not allowed anywhere in the National Park.

  • Where is the nearest town?

Port Campbell is a great hub for several days sightseeing

  • Does Port Campbell have child friendly beaches?

Port Campbell beach is patrolled on summer weekends and public holidays.

  • Are there any walks nearby?

Yes, the Port Campbell Discovery Walk is suitable for all age groups. For significant sites follow signs to explore the coast. Some of these walks are steep with a number of steps.

Ten places to stop, linger and think about spending a few more days exploring Port Campbell National Park, Great Ocean Road

1

Twelve Apostles is the poster child for iconic landforms now perched precariously in the surging sea. The limestone stacks line the coast of the Great Ocean Road are a selfie location immediately recognisable. The foam and surge of the ocean, the soaring cliffs and white sands are glorious. Being famous does have its downside with, sometimes crowded lookouts. Visit early morning to catch the dawn’s light on the cliffs and avoid the crowds at the same time.

2

Shipwreck coast is highlighted with Loch Ard Gorge sight. The shipwreck resulted in two children surviving with 52 lives lost at sea. Descending the steep stairs is a bit of a mission. Yet is it an evocative place with the crashing waves on the gorge walls only a few kilometres away from the Twelve Apostles. The stretch of coast is thought to have around 700 shipwrecked vessels submerged in its waters. Listen to the waves relentlessly pounding the cliffs, the boom of the waves and you can easily imagine the perils of navigating shipwreck coast.

3

London Arch was once a bridge. Before 1990, London Bridge was a land bridge that connected the arch of land to the coastal mainland. During its spectacular collapse two tourists were stranded on the newly formed island arch. Erosion and the power of nature in its full glory. By the way the tourists were rescued.

4

Cycling and walking trails connected to the National Park are found in the vicinity of the impressive Port Campbell suspension bridge. Campbell’s Creek Estuary Reserve and Trail is a bonus for cycling and walkers. as a bonus. Except for a small gap, which presently causes a detour, the track follows the beds of the creek connecting Castlemaine with the length of Campbells Creek. Most of the track can be done without crossing a road. There are several bridges on the route where the track passes over the creek. The Castlemaine – Maldon railway line passes over both the trail and Campbells Creek via a timber trestle bridge south of the Pyrenees Highway (Elizabeth Street). The Castlemaine to Maldon Trail (which runs alongside most of the Victorian Goldfields Railway line and was completed during 2017) connects with the Campbells Creek Trail adjacent to the Pyrenees Highway (Elizabeth Street).

The track crosses flood plains covered with native vegetation and it is remarkable, at some points, how remote an observer can feel from the surrounding urban environment. Along its length are interactive notice boards, and scenic seats to take in the billabongs and floodplains which are covered in Australian plants and bird-life.  Source wikipedia.

NOTE: The suspension bridge provides access to the heritage Discovery Walk.

5

Port Campbell is a convenient hub for visitors due to its location. As a tourist town it is stocked with bakeries, food outlets and ice creams for kids. Two Mile Bay Beach for local surfer hangout and local craft pop up stores offer one of a kind gifts. The foreshore beach is a safe swimming area for kids and has lifeguards during the peak summer season. Lord Street is the main access and is lined with trees providing shade in summer. The town itself was named after Captain Alexander Campbell who oversaw a nearby whaling station at Port Fairy. Port Campbell is halfway between Warrnambool.

NOTE: Port Campbell National Park lookouts distance from Port Campbell

  • (0.00 km) Twelve Apostles
  • (5.91 km) Loch Ard Gorge
  • (1.56 km) Port Campbell Scenic Lookout
  • (1.36 km) The Bakers Oven
  • (4.98 km) Thunder Cave
6

Port Campbell Jetty is an interesting place to visit especially when the fishing fleet is ready for departure. While the jetty is relatively new it is a serviceable access point for the local fishing fleet who raise and lower boats via a crane. The jetty is 100 metres in length and gives a perspective on the southern ocean as it surges up against the weathered timber frame. The jetty entrance is located on the main street of Port Campbell.

7

Port Campbell Discovery Walk is a short family friendly heritage walk. The easy to medium trail takes walkers to Two Mile Bay and clifftops. Look carefully at coastal heath for wildlife and absorb the memorising panoramas back to Port Campbell, Sentinel Rock and the Twelve Apostles.

8

Wildlife watching. Spend time in the National Park Walking the wild side at dusk and early evening looking out for penguins, peregrine falcons, pelicans, black swans and ducks making their home in the national park. Look carefully at the vegetation. Find and observe the glorious Metallic Sun-Orchid (Thelymitra epipactoides) is a hardy local inhabitant testifying to the plant’s adaption to the harsh coastal climate. Or the Coast Beard Heath with its small leaves avoiding damage from high wind areas, a small leaf catches less wind and is less likely to blow off the plant. The hard waxy leaves are more tolerant to salt than softer leaves. Port Campbell Visitor Centre has brochures on the flora and fauna to assist with identification. For ground hugging wildlife look out for bandicoots, swamp antechinus, and echidna.

9

Princetown Wildlife Reserve adjoining the National Park has a boardwalk restoring a historic link between Princetown settlement and the reserve / river mouth. The town is connected to a picturesque picnic area and fishing platform near the bridge over the Gellibrand River. The viewing platform is an ideal perch for families to view birdlife, kangaroos and estuarine river flats. The hilltop settlement is a world away from the busy Great Ocean Road, simply follow the road 18km and find a quiet natural corner of the magic that is the coastal paths of the area.

  • Length: 600m
  • Duration: 25 minutes
  • Wheelchair: Accessible via Old Coach Road West.
10

Port Campbell National Park and its surrounding towns are a great place to visit year round. The tumultuous winter storms are stunning in the power and grandeur of the southern ocean. You have the cosy heat of Port Campbell cafes to warm the toes. In spring and autumn the cycles of nature’s birth and autumn fade are on full display with cooler temperatures making walking trails a comfortable hike. Summer offers ice creams at the beach, a chance for families to build memories of an iconic road trip, The Great Ocean Road. Definitely blow the wind in your hair as you wind the car window down. Although the kids might ask for the air conditioning. Tell them it’s atmospheric.

Travel pack information

Port Campbell Discovery Walk tips

Port Campbell Discovery Walk. Visitors can choose to finish the walk at the Port Campbell lookout or continue south along the Discovery Walk along Point Sturgess headland. (4km return)

Access information (source Visit12Apostles)

  • The pathway to access the bridge is a 2.4m wide paved level surface (100m)
  • The bridge has a mild uphill and downhill gradient the surface is close fitted timber boards with a width of 1.8m making it suitable generally accessible for prams and wheelchairs
  • The pathway, bridge structure and western viewing platform before the steps are all generally accessible and offer good visibility for those who cannot stand.
  • Visitors who don’t wish to scale the steps can also access the lookout and cliff-top level of the Discovery Walk from a small car park with an accessible space on the Great Ocean Road 2.2km from the town centre.
  • There are two accessible car parking spaces facing Port Campbell Bay 70m from the pathway to the bridge. Users please note that there is only one ramp to footpath level located at the front of the westernmost park (see photo) this may make it difficult to transfer from car to footpath without using the road to access an alternate break in the curb 7m away.
  • An accessible toilet is located below Port Campbell Surf Lifesaving Club along with another accessible toilet and MLAK changing places facility at the Port Campbell public purpose reserve on Morris Street

Port-Campbell-National-Park-Map

The journey is worth it.

Related Articles

Photo Gallery

0

post a comment