There was a time when Port Campbell was a small fishing village dotted with cheap holiday cottages. Like other coastal destinations, Port Campbell has had a dramatic makeover. The proximity of the 12 Apostles and other scenic gems along this spectacular coastline has contributed, but Port Campbell itself is very charming. Experiencing riding along the Great Ocean Road is always fantastic and this small section is no exception. The emerging views down the rugged coast as you come over a pass are sublime, as are the sights from the viewing platforms.
This route is along the windswept coast near Cape Otway on the Great Ocean Road. There are a few hills and the shoulder is not very good. However, the road is pretty straight and you should be fairly visible to passing traffic.
This is the Great Ocean Road at the 12 Apostles, one of Australia’s tourist icons. Whilst the traffic cannot be classified as heavy, it is constant and there is a fair spattering of buses. To be safe, wear bright clothes and ride single file.
Port Campbell is 226 kilometers from Melbourne along the Princes Highway through Colac. Out of Colac turn left onto the Timboon Colac Road (C163). At Scotts Creek turn left onto the Cobden Port Campbell Road (C164), which will take you to Port Campbell. The ride commences from the visitor information center in Morris Street. VicRoads Map: 516 B3.
Food and Drink
Port Campbell has a good range of cafes, restaurants and a hotel. You can also get snacks at the 12 Apostles visitor center kiosk, which is open from 10am to 5.30pm daily.
Along the ride to the 12 Apostles, you can visit the viewing point for the Loch Ard Gorge. Going in the other direction for about 13 kilometers to Peterborough takes you past ‘London Bridge’ and ‘The Grotto’ rock formations. Just beyond Peterborough, you will find the Bay of Martyrs.
The ride starts in trendy and laid back Port Campbell, designed by The Maker for mankind to be immersed in the wilderness yet feel comfortable. Sheltered by the cliffs and Norfolk pines it is tranquil, but the sea still threatens, as it seemingly lies ready to rush up the small inlet to engulf the town. This, of course, doesn’t occur and we are left to drink coffee and wander around the shops with our feet dry.
From the town, there is a stroll along the Port Campbell Discovery Walkout westward around the cliff tops to Two Mile Bay. You will find the path after removing your shoes and socks and crossing Campbells Creek as it meets the sea. Leaving the confines of the town, you are immediately out in the windswept heath and scrubland riding along the cliff tops. The road is not always level as it sweeps down into the Rutledge Creek and Sherbrook River gorges and out again.
Soon after you come to the Loch Ard Gorge turn off. Here you will find some short nature walks as well as a walk recounting the events of the 1878 Loch Ard wreck. Arriving at the National Park visitor center you are met with a giant car park and a nice, but unremarkable building on the inland side of the road. What’s going on? Rather than have this area destroyed by countless visitors, the clever National Parks people have allowed room away from the coast for the masses and built a pedestrian underpass to the viewing platforms. And it’s all done very well too. This is Victoria’s second-largest Marine National Park stretching along 17 kilometers of coastline.
Whilst the views from the cliff are pretty memorable, the park has some of Australia’s most spectacular underwater scenery. The Southern Ocean, which has powered through here forever, has carved a remarkable landscape beneath the huge breakers; towering canyons, caves and arches brilliantly enveloped by colorful seaweeds and sponges. These provide food and cover for a myriad of reef fish. It’s also home to Fur Seals, Little Penguins, and Victoria’s marine state emblem, the Weedy Seadragon. Interested in getting a diver’s ticket? Looks too rough for me.
- 0.0 The ride commences outside the visitor information center in Morris St. Turn right into Lord St (Great Ocean Rd) and head through the roundabout.
- 0.9 Turn left into Cairns St. Follow the road around to the left and cross through the Morris St roundabout. You are now on the Great Ocean Rd again.
- 8.1 The turn off to the Loch Ard Gorge is on your right.
- 11.6 Turn into the car park at the 12 Apostles Marine National Park.
- 11.8 Lock your bike at the information center or walk them down to the viewing platform on the clifftop.
11.812 km / 7.34 mi
111 m / 365 ft
64 m / 210 ft
58 m / 189 ft