Located near the impressive Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge cuts a pretty picture in the Port Campbell National Park just outside of Melbourne. This length of coast is known as the Great Ocean Road, and promises visitors an eclectic mix of stunning sea views, wild scenery, and breath-taking natural monuments. If you find yourself in the area, be sure to make a pitstop at Loch Ard Gorge to soak up the incredible rugged scenery.
The History of Loch Ard Gorge
Named after Loch Ard, a clipper ship that got washed up on Muttonbird Island back in the late 1800s, the gorge boasts a fascinating history. The boat itself makes up much of its past, where only two passengers survived the grounding – a 19-year-old apprentice, Tom Pearce, and 19-year-old Eva Carmichael, who was emigrating to Australia with her family.
Pearce rescued Carmichael from the water, but she returned to Europe just three months after arriving in Australia as she lost four members of her family in the sinking.
The nearby Island Archway, which once formed a natural bridge over the gorge, fell down in 2009, leaving two unconnected rock pillars guarding the frothing sea. The two pillars have been affectionately named Tom and Eva after the two survivors of the 19th century Loch Ard shipwreck.
This stretch of coast is renowned for its collection of shipwrecks, where boats have washed up on the shores over the centuries thanks to the rough waves and indeterminable ocean. Loch Ard Gorge marks just one of the spots that saw boats get into trouble, but it’s not just history that makes the landmark a unique place to visit.
In fact, there is plenty to do in the surroundings, from gazing out at the spectacular views from the top of the gorge, to taking a stroll through the lush undergrowth of the Port Campbell National Park. Visitors can make their way down into the gorge via a series of steps. This gives you a unique viewpoint of the landmark and promises a different perspective to soak up.
Walking Around Loch Ard Gorge
One of the most popular activities in and around the gorge is walking, and there are plenty of routes to keep you busy. You can discover the geology of the region on a 900m return walk along the coastline, or follow the tragic story of Tom and Eva on a walk to the nearby shipwreck cemetery. This 1.4km route takes around 50 minutes and exposes visitors to the fascinating narrative that has made Loch Ard Gorge so famous throughout Australia and beyond.