The Twelve Apostles
One of the most visited natural attractions in Australia, the 12 Apostles attract travellers from all over the world. There is something alluring about coastal drives and to have one culminate in the dramatic scenery of the Victorian coastline where nature has shaped and eroded the cliffs into limestone pillars over many thousands of years is an added bonus.
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What are the 12 Apostles in Australia?
The Twelve Apostles are an Australian icon. The Ocean Road drive is likened to the coastal road of California and often ‘declared’ the best road trip in the world. A bit of an over the top description perhaps, though, it is fabulous, it is dramatic.
Limestone pillars, once connected to the cliffs of the Port Campbell National Park, rise out of the sea. Carved out over many thousands of years through the natural forces of nature, firstly as caves, then into arches and eventually becoming the limestone stacks they are today. Further along the coastline, ‘The Arch’ and ‘London Bridge’ are reminders of how the landscape constantly changes.
How many of the 12 Apostles are there?
We do not actually have Twelve Apostles. When named, only eight or nine were in the group, there are now seven rock formations that can be seen – six from the main viewing platform and another just around the corner.
There are more of the limestone rock stacks along what is known as ‘The Shipwreck Coast’, including some in the Bay of Islands Coastal Park further along towards the town of Warrnambool.
Why are they called the Twelve Apostles?
The ‘Sow and the Piglets’ was the name previously used to describe these beautiful formations, not a terribly romantic title at all. The Sow was what is now called ‘Mutton Bird Island’ in the Loch Ard Gorge section of the park and the piglets were all the rock stacks.
The name came about early in the 20th Century, it is not certain what prompted the new name but it is more appealing than the previous name.
The Shipwreck Coast
Immigrants and supplies were brought to the country via what was a major shipping route through the Bass Strait. Many ships would sail via Cape Town, across the Southern Ocean and through what was described as the ‘eye of the needle’ – the relatively narrow gap between King Island and Cape Otway.
It was a treacherous part of the journey, over 200 ships came to grief along this section of the Victorian Coastline. The 12 Apostles Information Centre in Port Campbell has a small scale model of the most famous wreck, ‘The Loch Ard’ which wrecked in 1878 with only 2 survivors. The historic shipwreck display at the centre is well worth visiting.
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