Loch Ard Gorge is the site of the most famous shipwreck on the aptly named Shipwreck Coast. The Loch Ard ran aground crashing into Mutton Bird Island in 1878. The only two survivors Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael managed to drag themselves to the safety of the beach inside Loch Ard Gorge. For a moment, these two tragic teenagers were the talk of the English-speaking world, which very much hoped they would marry (they did not). Walk along this sandy beach, dramatically closed in by towering sandstone cliffs. Explore several other short walks in this area including the cemetery where Tom and Eva’s less fortunate shipmates are buried.
A short walk from Loch Ard Gorge, Mutton Bird Island used to be called ‘The Sow’ back in the days when the Twelve Apostles were known as ‘The Sow and Piglets’. Every spring and summer the island is home to a noisy colony of Short-tailed Shearwaters (aka muttonbirds). Every day at dusk between October and April, these birds flock home to their burrows in their thousands, to feed hungry chicks. Experience this incredible natural event before heading to Port Campbell for dinner and an overnight stay.
Things to do in the area
How to get there
Loch Ard Gorge
When you're there
There are several easy walking tracks and three of them have storyboards revealing the area's wildlife, history and geology:
- Geology Walk - Discover the secrets of the forces that shape the coastline on this easy self‐guided walk.
- Shipwreck Walk - Follow the tragic story of the Loch Ard shipwreck site to the cemetery. This amazing story of courage and survival is also featured in Warrnambool’s Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.
- Living on the Edge - Discover the lives of plucky Short-tailed Shearwaters on the edge of the sheer cliffs. This easy walk encompasses the Mutton Bird Island viewing platform, Thunder Cave and Broken Head.
Download the Port Campbell National Park visitor guide for more information about the park and the plethora of experiences to be had within its borders.
Need to know
Loch Ard Gorge
Visiting a park can be more of a challenge for people with disabilities, however in Victoria there are a wide range of facilities to help people of all abilities enjoy our wonderful parks around the state.
To make it easier for people with limited mobility to see the all abilities access and experiences on offer at Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge walks, Parks Victoria has released this video - produced and narrated by accessibility advocate Ryan Smith, who uses a wheelchair.
Assistance dogs are welcome in Parks Victoria parks and reserves. Entry requirements apply for parks and reserves that are usually dog prohibited, such as national parks.
Tread lightly as the coast is fragile and your safety matters. Stick to marked trails to avoid injury, and to protect the delicate coastal vegetation and wildlife that call the park home.
Change of Conditions
Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.
Loch Ard Gorge (Port Campbell National Park)
Loch Ard Gorge beach access closureAccess to Loch Ard Gorge beach is closed due to the recent minor rock fall that impacts the safety of the steps with potential for further rock movement. Further potential rock movement could cause serious injury or even death if people were nearby.Following the geotechnical survey of the crack in the cliff face at Loch Ard we are working with specialists on a solution that will allow us to restore access to the beach as soon as possible.
Twelve Apostles (Port Campbell National Park)
Saddle Lookout - access changeFrom mid-September 2021 there will be no access to the Saddle and Castle Rock viewing areas while a new lookout is being built.
Visitors can continue to enjoy the other lookouts, boardwalks and visitor areas at the Twelve Apostles and the other spectacular visitor sites in the Port Campbell National Park.For more information https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/western-victoria/saddle-lookout