Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the 12 Apostles in Melbourne

Nestled along the rugged coastline of Victoria lies a natural wonder that has captivated the hearts of travellers and nature enthusiasts for generations: the 12 Apostles.

These magnificent limestone stacks, standing as silent sentinels in the Southern Ocean, are a testament to the sheer power of erosion and the splendour of the world’s natural beauty. While the name might conjure images of religious significance, the 12 Apostles are, in fact, a geological masterpiece that has become an iconic symbol of Australia’s diverse landscapes.

If you’re planning a journey to these awe-inspiring formations, a world of wonder awaits you. This guide will unravel everything you need to know about visiting the 12 Apostles, from the best times and how to get there to the surrounding attractions that complete the experience.

So, fasten your seatbelts for an expedition into the heart of Victoria’s coastal marvels, and prepare to be enchanted by the majesty of the 12 Apostles.

What Are the 12 Apostles?

Contrary to their name, the 12 Apostles are not figures from religious history but rather a remarkable collection of limestone rock formations that have become a global icon of natural beauty.

Perched majestically off the Port Campbell National Park coastline in Victoria, these towering stacks have been sculpted over millions of years by the relentless forces of wind and waves. Once part of the mainland’s towering cliffs, the 12 Apostles stand as a testament to the ever-changing face of our planet, inviting visitors to witness the artistry of nature’s creative forces at play.

With each stack having its own unique story to tell, these formations offer a glimpse into the intricate dance between land and sea that has shaped the world we know today.

How to Get There

How to Get There 1

Reaching the 12 Apostles is a journey that unveils some of Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Located along the Great Ocean Road, a renowned coastal route that winds its way through stunning vistas, the 12 Apostles are accessible from Melbourne, making it an ideal day trip for both locals and travellers.

The drive from Melbourne to the 12 Apostles takes approximately 3-4 hours, offering a picturesque route through charming towns, lush forests, and panoramic ocean views. If you prefer to sit back and relax, guided tours departing from Melbourne are also available, allowing you to immerse yourself in the journey without worrying about navigation.

Whichever route you choose, the anticipation of witnessing the grandeur of the 12 Apostles keeps you enthralled throughout the journey.

Best Time to Visit

Best Time to Visit 2

Choosing the right time to visit the 12 Apostles can significantly enhance your experience. While the attraction is accessible year-round, the weather and crowd levels should factor into your decision.

For a harmonious blend of pleasant temperatures and fewer visitors, consider planning your trip during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). You’ll likely encounter milder weather during these periods, allowing for more comfortable exploration and photography.

However, if you’re prepared to embrace cooler temperatures and larger crowds, the summer months (December to February) can still offer spectacular views and a vibrant atmosphere. Alternatively, if you’re seeking an enchanting ambience, visiting during sunrise or sunset can provide a truly magical experience, as the sun’s gentle rays cast an ethereal glow over the limestone stacks, creating a scene that seems almost surreal.

Sunrise and Sunset Views

The allure of the 12 Apostles takes on a captivating new dimension during sunrise and sunset. As the sun emerges from or dips below the horizon, its warm golden hues cast an enchanting glow upon the limestone formations, creating a breathtaking spectacle that’s a photographer’s dream.

The play of light and shadow on the rugged cliffs and the tranquil sea adds a touch of magic to the already awe-inspiring landscape. To truly capture the essence of this phenomenon, arriving early or staying a bit later is well worth the effort.

As the first light of dawn paints the sky with pastel shades or the sun’s last rays bid farewell, you’ll find yourself immersed in a moment of profound beauty that creates an unforgettable memory of the 12 Apostles.

The Visitor Centres

At the doorstep of the 12 Apostles adventure, you’ll find two informative gateways that enhance your understanding and appreciation of this natural wonder.

The Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre and the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre are invaluable resources for first-time explorers and returning visitors. These centres offer a wealth of information about the geological history, cultural significance, and ecological importance of the 12 Apostles.

You can pick up maps, brochures, and guides to help you navigate the area effectively. Moreover, the friendly and knowledgeable staff are always at hand to answer any queries you may have, making sure you’re well-equipped to make the most of your visit.

These centres also provide insights into the diverse flora and fauna of the region, adding an educational layer to your journey that enriches your connection with the environment.

Exploring the Walkways

Exploring the Walkways

Traversing the walkways that wind through the 12 Apostles’ mesmerising landscape is like stepping into a natural wonderland.

These meticulously crafted pathways offer a safe and immersive means of experiencing the awe-inspiring limestone stacks up close. From the vantage points of lookouts like the Gibson Steps and the iconic Loch Ard Gorge, visitors are treated to stunning panoramic views that showcase the formations against the backdrop of the endless Southern Ocean. The accessible ramps and platforms ensure the experience is inclusive and enjoyable for all ages and abilities.

Whether you’re a keen photographer aiming to capture the ethereal beauty at dawn, a nature enthusiast eager to embrace the coastal breeze, or a traveller seeking solace in nature’s grandeur, the walkways grant you the freedom to explore and connect with the landscape in a profoundly personal way.

Helicopter Tours

For those seeking an unparalleled perspective on the 12 Apostles’ breathtaking beauty, helicopter tours offer an extraordinary way to witness this natural wonder from above.

Helicopter Tours

Soaring high in the sky, you’ll be treated to an aerial spectacle that unveils the intricate details of the limestone stacks, the dramatic cliffs, and the endless expanse of the Southern Ocean. Helicopter tours, such as those provided by Great Ocean Road Helicopters and 12 Apostles Helicopters, take your exploration to new heights, allowing you to fully grasp the scale and magnificence of the formations.

As you glide above the rugged coastline, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how nature’s artistic hand has sculpted this awe-inspiring landscape over countless millennia. Overall, helicopter tours transform the experience into a truly unforgettable adventure, allowing you to create memories that will remain imprinted in your mind for years to come.

Nearby Attractions

While the 12 Apostles undoubtedly steal the spotlight, the surrounding area has captivating attractions that enrich your Great Ocean Road journey.

One such gem is Loch Ard Gorge, a site imbued with history and natural splendour. Named after the shipwrecked vessel Loch Ard, this gorge boasts towering cliffs, serene beaches, and an intriguing tale of survival and tragedy. Another must-see is the London Arch, formerly known as London Bridge, which showcases the captivating force of erosion that continues to shape the coastline.

These attractions, along with the tranquil beauty of the Bay of Islands Coastal Park and the dramatic landscapes of the Port Campbell National Park, create a harmonious tapestry of natural wonders that complement your exploration of the 12 Apostles.

Each spot adds its unique chapter to the story of this coastal wonderland, making the journey even more immersive and unforgettable.

Wildlife Spotting

Wildlife Spotting

Beyond the captivating geological formations, the Port Campbell National Park is a sanctuary for

diverse wildlife, offering a chance to connect with Australia’s unique ecosystems.

Keep your eyes peeled for vibrant parrots and other native birds that call the lush vegetation home. If you’re lucky, you might spot a koala leisurely perched on a eucalyptus branch, epitomising the charm of Australian fauna. As you stroll along the coastal trails, keep an eye on the horizon for the playful antics of dolphins dancing in the waves. During certain times of the year, notably between June and September, the Southern Ocean becomes a migratory route for majestic whales, allowing them to witness these marine giants as they journey through the deep blue waters.

Wildlife spotting adds a dynamic dimension to your 12 Apostles adventure, reminding you of the interconnectedness of all living things in this captivating natural realm.

Safety Precautions

Safety Precautions

While the allure of the 12 Apostles is undeniable, it’s paramount to prioritise safety during your visit to this stunning site. The cliffs and rock formations can be precarious, and the ocean currents are strong and unpredictable.

To ensure a secure and enjoyable experience, adhere to safety precautions. Stay on designated paths and walkways, respecting any barriers or signage that indicate restricted areas. Maintaining a safe distance from the cliff edges is crucial, as erosion can lead to unstable terrain.

Weather conditions can change rapidly, so appropriate clothing and footwear are essential. If you plan to explore the area during low tide, be aware of tidal patterns to avoid becoming stranded on isolated sections of the shoreline. By observing these safety measures, you can fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the 12 Apostles while minimising risks and ensuring a memorable visit for all the right reasons.


When visiting the 12 Apostles, you’re spoiled with accommodation options catering to various preferences and budgets. Here are a few notable choices that offer proximity to the main attractions and unique features:

Port Campbell

Port Campbell

Port Campbell is a charming coastal town just a short drive from the 12 Apostles. It offers a range of accommodation options, from cosy bed and breakfasts to comfortable motels.

The Port Campbell Hostel is a great budget-friendly option, providing dormitory-style rooms and a communal kitchen. The Anchors Port Campbell offers modern, well-appointed apartments with ocean views for a touch of luxury.

Staying in Port Campbell also places you near attractions like Loch Ard Gorge and the Port Campbell National Park, allowing you to explore at your leisure.



Nestled closer to the 12 Apostles, Southern Ocean Villas in Princetown offers spacious, contemporary villas with self-catering facilities.

The tranquil surroundings and the property’s proximity to the iconic formations make it an ideal base for exploring the area. The villas are equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay while you immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes.


Warrnambool 1

While slightly further away, Warrnambool is another popular accommodation hub with a broader range of amenities.

Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs is a standout choice, offering comfortable rooms and access to natural hot springs, making it perfect for relaxation after a day of exploration. Warrnambool also hosts attractions like the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, making it a well-rounded base for your Great Ocean Road adventure.

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay

If you plan a more extended road trip along the Great Ocean Road, consider staying in Apollo Bay.

Two good options for accommodation there are The Captains at the Bay, which offers boutique-style accommodation with a pleasant atmosphere, and the Beachfront Motel boasts stunning ocean views.

Staying in Apollo Bay places you at a midway point between the 12 Apostles and other attractions like the Otway National Park and the Great Otway Waterfall Trail.

Environmental Conservation

Environmental Conservation

While the allure of the 12 Apostles and their surrounding landscapes is undeniable, it’s essential to approach your visit with a deep respect for the environment.

The fragility of the coastal ecosystem underscores the need for responsible tourism. As you explore the walkways, witness wildlife, and marvel at the formations, take care to minimise your impact. Avoid straying from designated paths to prevent soil erosion, and never disturb the flora or fauna that call this area home. Properly dispose of your waste and consider using reusable items to reduce plastic waste.

When photographing the 12 Apostles, respect barriers and guidelines that are in place to preserve both your safety and the delicate ecosystems. By embracing sustainable practices, you help preserve this natural wonder for generations to come, ensuring that the beauty of the 12 Apostles remains unspoiled for all who follow in your footsteps.