Visit Port Campbell National Park to witness some of the most famous natural landmarks in Australia. The park is one of the highlight destinations for travelers on the Great Ocean Road scenic drive, where you’ll see lots of sights along the rugged coast, wildlife, and learn about the area’s history.
It’s one of the must-visit national parks Victoria is known for and an exciting place to visit for all ages. Spend a day or two visiting all the best sights. See the towering rock stacks of the 12 Apostles or see the great bird migration on Mutton Bird Island. As you drive on the Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell National is one of the main destinations to visit.
Getting to Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park is located on Australia’s southern coast in Victoria. Visitors can fly into the international airport in Melbourne then drive to the park which is approximately ten minutes east of the town of Port Campbell.
Visitors can access Port Campbell National Park via the Great Ocean Road or hiking on coastal paths. Many of the top tourist attractions are visible on the coast.
Port Campbell National Park is open to the public all year with free admission. Most of the park consists of natural landmarks that are free to drive up to and enjoy the sights.
The park is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations since it’s located along the Great Ocean Road. Choose a date during the week day or the winter season to avoid major crowds. There are tours available direct from Melbourne.
Things to do in Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park is a fun destination for all travelers. It has some of the best natural landmarks you’ll encounter in Victoria. Not to mention the scenic views you’ll have while exploring the coastline. Travel on the Great Ocean Road or take the Great Ocean Walk to check out some of the top things to do in Port Campbell National Park.
Port Campbell Discovery Walk
Port Campbell is an excellent place to go for outdoor recreation. An alternative to driving on the Great Ocean Road to sightseeing is going for a hike on the Port Campbell Discovery Walk. The discover walk is a designated path the runs adjacent to the coast. You’ll get the best experience with views of many local landmarks and colorful flora.
The Port Campbell Discovery Walk is the main hiking trail throughout the park. The entire hike extends approximately four kilometres in a loop path. Most people take 1-2 hours to complete the trek, but it depends on how long you stop to enjoy the sights.
Some of the main highlights of the discovery walk is the incredible views of the 12 Apostles, Sentinel Rock, and Loch Ard. Be sure to reach the viewing platform at the end of the trail. You’ll have the best view overlooking the Port Campbell harbour and coastline.
The Twelve Apostles is a natural landmark located on the coast that you’ll have to see before it disappears. The site consists of a group of towering rock stacks found just off the coast.
The 12 Apostles is a group of seven limestone stacks that formed from water erosion. The stacks originated as arches, but after the linking bridges collapsed, the stacks remained. There were originally eight, but one recently collapsed in 2005. The other stacks experience continued erosion, which can cause the same fate one day in the future.
Visiting the 12 Apostles is one of the top things to do in Port Campbell National Park. Seeing the natural beauty of the rock structures against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean is a sight you don’t want to miss.
There is a viewing platform with perfect views of the stacks. You can also stand on the beach below to get a better sense of the height of the stacks. The stacks reach a height of up to 50-metres!
London Bridge is another famous rock formation located off the coast. It’s one of the top destinations along the Great Ocean Road as within the Port Campbell National Park. It’s Australia’s natural version of the original London Bridge but recently renamed to the London Arch after a recent collapse.
The name of the site, London Bridge, derives from the visual similarities to the actual London Bridge in London. The arched design of the rocks formed from continuous water erosion from the ocean. It perfectly formed two arched on the protruding rock.
Before the collapse, visitors could walk across the bridge to the edge of the cliff. It offered incredible coastal views and of the ocean scenery. The main bridge connecting to the mainland collapsed in 1990. The event left behind a sole arch, hence the name change.
There is a viewing platform along the coast offering views and information plaques about the site.
The coastline of the Port Campbell National Park is full of unique rock formations. One of the favorite destinations to check out is the Grotto. The Grotto is a naturally formed sinkhole that offers a rare view of the sea. It’s one of the most photographed locations in the park.
The Grotto is another one of the unique rock formations formed from erosion to create a unique environment that visitors can climb into. It’s easily accessible via the Great Ocean Road. There is a nearby car parking lot, and it’s worth getting out to explore for a moment.
At the top of the site, you’ll find an information plaque detailing how the Grotto formed. You’ll have a view of the Grotto from above, but for the iconic photos, climb the stairs down into the Grotto.
The Grotto has a view of the ocean as you look through the rock arch. During low tide, it also features a small pool on the inside.
You can enter the Port Campbell National Park from the east or the west. If you’re entering from the east, you’ll get a nice welcome with the Gibsons Steps attraction. The steps offer a fantastic viewpoint and lead down to the beach.
You’ll arrive at Gibsons Steps at the clifftop which offers a beautiful view of the sea and cliffside. Walk down the stairs to reach Gibsons Beach, one of the best beaches to check out in the park. Gibsons Beach has golden sands with blue waves crashing right into it. Most people check out the beach for great photos and a beach view of the Twelve Apostles.
The best time to visit Gibsons Beach is during low tide when more of the beach is revealed. The rough waters are also much calmer, although still unsuited for swimming.
The best way to get to Gibsons Steps is parking at the 12 Apostles car park and walking the Great Ocean Walk (adjacent to the Great Ocean Road).
Port Campbell Bay
Accessible from the Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell is the main town hub for visiting the Port Campbell National Park. One of the main sights to see during a stop in town is Port Campbell Bay. It’s a scenic spot along the coast that was once a major boat traffic area for transporting goods. Now, it’s a popular place for recreation.
Port Campbell Bay is located at the end of Lord Street, the main commercial area in town. The street lined with shops transforms into a green space sloping down to the beach. Although a small bay, it’s a frequent destination for locals and tourists to relax.
The bay is formed from two cliffs shielding the area from major ocean currents. It creates a tranquil bay with gentle waves ideal for swimming and surfing. The Port Campbell Jetty is also located in the bay, where you can go fishing. There are plenty of benches to sit and enjoy the views or have a picnic. It’s a fun place to spend the day.
Mutton Bird Island
The Mutton Bird is a native bird to Australia that’s found in abundance in the Port Campbell National Park. The best place to see the short-tailed seabirds is at Mutton Bird Island. The island is another unique rock formation off the coast that attracts lots of birds to nest.
Mutton Bird Island is home to more than 12,000 birds. The best time to visit the site is from September to April. Check the migration times on the website for a chance to see large flocks returning simultaneously. It’s an impressive sight for those who witness it.
While the island is inaccessible for visitors, the Mutton Bird Lookout is where you’ll have the best view. The small island has a distinct shape and features an arch made from erosion. The birds burrow within the island.
Stop by the helpful visitor information centre to get binoculars for better viewing.
Loch Ard Gorge
One of the most beautiful sights in the Port Campbell National Park is Loch Ard Gorge. It’s a place to visit to enjoy the scenery and learn about its storied past. It’s only a few minutes away from the Twelve Apostles so you can easily accomplish them together.
Loch Ard Gorge is located along the coast – it’s a frequent stop while traveling on the Great Ocean Road. The name derives from a historical shipwreck that occurred in the gorge by a ship bearing the name Loch Ard. There are several onsite details to immerse yourself into the story of the wreckage and its two sole survivors.
Take the stairs that lead down to the beach. Seeing the gorge from eye levels lets you appreciate the scenic cliffs emerging from the ocean on the coastline. There are information plaques around the gorge highlighting the official site and story of the shipwreck. There is also an onsite museum with tours and exhibitions about its history.
There is a walking trail on the shipwreck coast to see points of interest like the cemetery dedicated to the lives lost during the wreck and the coastal views at the Tom and Eva Lookout, named after the two survivors.
Port Campbell National Park is an exciting destination for all tourists. There are several parks Victoria is known for, but none quite like Port Campbell. From the scenic viewpoints looking out to the Indian Ocean to the natural landmarks formed from erosion, there’s tons of must-see sights in the park the you can see in a day or two. It’s great for a weekend trip outside of Melbourne.
Pack up your car and head out to tour the Great Ocean Road to discover the wonders awaiting you in the Port Campbell National Park!