Havey’s Australia & New Zealand Adventure Part 9 – The 12 Apostles

End of the Great Ocean Walk

We finally made it to the grandest prize of them all after 6 days of hiking around 100km of the Great Ocean Walk – The 12 Apostles! One of the best hiking trips I’ve ever done ended up at one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. However, we still have a couple more kilometres to hike yet before we get there! Yesterday we finished at the view point which overlooked Gog and Magog so now let’s get a little bit closer to them and see what’s what.

Gog & Magog

From the viewing platform we finished up at yesterday, we continued down the path for another couple of kilometres and could feel the awe of these two stacks calling us in. It was very difficult to take your eyes off of them.

Gog and Magog getting closer as you make your way down the path

After this short section, we reached the car park which has Gibsons steps that lead down to the beach below to see Gog and Magog. These two awesome stacks are not considered to be part of the 12 Apostles themselves though. Maybe they will be one day when the ocean erodes some more of the limestone rock away to create adjacent stacks. If you’re driving to the car park, you’ll want to arrive early in the morning to get a parking space and avoid the rush as there aren’t many spaces around!

Look for the signs for Gibsons Steps from the car park…
…Make your way down the steps towards the beach…
…And admire the views of Gog and Magog 🙂

The 12 Apostles

The main event is getting closer but first, you need to make your way back up Gibsons steps and continue along the footpath for another 1-2 kilometres where you’ll arrive at the Visitor’s Centre and kiosk. Nearby, you’ll probably hear the loud droning sound of the helicopter rides which will take you out to see the 12 Apostles and see them from a different point of view ($145 per person for 15-20 minutes).

The Visitor Centre at the 12 Apostles.

From the Visitor Centre, simply follow the signs to the 12 Apostles and prepare to be amazed. Well, I say, prepare to be amazed but really, there is no amount of preparation that will get you ready for what you’re about to witness when you go out on to the view point. All the pictures and videos you may have seen already just fall short of how special this place is. I smile thinking about it now and remember my jaw dropping and staying open the whole time I was there.

The weather will play a part in how they look but for us, I felt we were more blessed because for the 30 minutes window we had, the Sun shone at this amazing angle whilst a nasty storm was approaching from the ocean and it created this incredible, dramatic effect on the colours, turning the stacks even more golden and the sea even more blue. I’ll put you out of your misery now. Are you ready?

The 12 Apostles start to come in to view as you walk down the path…
…then it opens out for this spectacular view half way down…
…and the view at the far end of the path is not too bad either!
You can also see Gog and Magog in the other direction.

Funnily enough, there’s actually only 7 of these stacks left and there were only 8 to begin with before one of them collapsed in 2005 [Source]. Originally, they were called the Sow and Piglets, with the Sow being Mutton Bird Island (which we’ll visit shortly) and the stacks being the Piglets [Source]. But who would visit a place if it was called the Sow and Piglets? Our tour guide suggested that the name changed to the 12 Apostles to make it more attractive for people to come and visit… and it seems to have worked!

Loch Ard Gorge

If you can pull yourself away from the magnificent 12 Apostles, the next place to visit on this coastline is called Loch Ard Gorge. This sadly got its name after a ship called Loch Ard was wrecked in 1878 at Mutton Bird Island (at the mouth of the gorge) where only two of the 52 people on board survived – Eva Carmichael (19 year old Irish girl emigrating with her family) and Tom Pearce (one of the ship’s apprentices). Tom heard the screams of Eva and managed to get help to rescue her but it is one of many tragic stories of shipwrecks off this coastline from the 18th and 19th centuries [Source]. For the full story, you can read about it here.

Around this area are many stacks and rock formations that have been carved by the sea over millions of years and it’s well worth taking the time and having a walk around. Again, the car park is usually pretty busy so best to get there early to avoid the crowds. Here are some of the areas of interest you can explore.

Mutton Bird Island with the arch (taken from the lookout)
The Razorback with its razor like shape
Salt & Pepper Rock (they look like shakers don’t they?)
Loch Ard Beach (access via steps)
This cave at the back of Loch Ard Beach pushes rain water in to the sea if it rains enough and forms a creek

Funny Moment of the Day

As I was getting on to Loch Ard Beach with the group, one of the tour guides (my friend) was already waiting for us down there with some tea and biscuits. Except, she was wearing an 1800s style blue dress and a white head scarf. I knew what was going on as she was going to tell the story of Eva Carmichael (and I had a part to play in that as well) but no-one else on the tour knew and burst out laughing! The funny thing was that she was getting random people on the beach coming up to her asking when the tour starts and if they can have pictures. There was definitely a stalker as well! She must have been there for 20 minutes dressed like that!

Anyway, she starts telling the story and I had the part of the captain of Loch Ard, Captain Gibb. All I had to do was remember this one line that Gibb says to Carmichael before she is swept away by a wave, “If you make it to land, tell my dear wife I died like a sailor!” I’d been practising all night and all day. I got this! Or so I thought… I put on the beard and the sailor’s hat to get in to character and waited for my cue. Here it was! Nicky Havey enter stage right. Then every one from the group started laughing at me and I got completely thrown off! Things went bad pretty quickly, I totally messed up the line and forgot what I was supposed to say. It. Was. A. Total. Disaster! I’m so sorry Captain Gibb, I did you a disservice after your bravery of navigating these waters. Acting was never my strong point!

I hope you enjoyed the blog today folks! It was well worth walking all that way to get to this magical landmark and I highly recommend you go and visit. If you’re feeling fit, why not check out the Great Ocean Walk from Inspiration Outdoors 🙂

Until the next one, take it easy!

Nicky

2 thoughts on “Havey’s Australia & New Zealand Adventure Part 9 – The 12 Apostles”

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