- Features: Stunning coastal rock formations
- Opening Times: 9am to 5pm, daily
- Best Time to Visit: Spring (Sep to Nov)
- Duration: 1 hour
- Transport Options: Car
- Cost: FREE
- Address: Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd, Princetown, Victoria, Australia
- Type: Natural wonder
The highlight of a visit to the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles are world-famous for their stunning scenery and amazing natural rock formations that have survived over hundreds of years. See them before they tumble into the ocean.
12 Apostles Australia: Best Ways to Experience this Natural Wonder
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The iconic 12 Apostles is without doubt the highlight of anyone’s visit to the Great Ocean Road along the southern coast of Victoria. If you’re heading to the Great Ocean Road, the Apostles have to be on your list of attractions to visit; in fact, it might be the only attraction you visit.
If you’re planning to visit the 12 Apostles, continue reading to find out more information about this attraction and, more importantly, the best ways to experience this natural wonder. Choose the way(s) you want to view this attraction so that you can see this marvel in all its wonder and glory and maximise your experience here.
Best Ways to Experience the 12 Apostles
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1. 12 Apostles Helicopter Tour
Without doubt, the best way to see the Apostles is from the sky above. From the ground it is not possible to see all 12 Apostles; however, you can get a bird’s eye view of all 12 Apostles from the air.
No other experience comes close to seeing the Apostles from a helicopter tour, so if you have the money to splurge taking a Helicopter Tour of the 12 Apostles is well worth it.
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2. 12 Apostles Sunset Trip
The 12 Apostles look magnificent at any time of day, however, they take on a different effect at daybreak or sunset. The multitude of red, pink and purple colours at sunset makes for a perfect backdrop to this spectacular attraction and casts a stunning hue over the limestone stacks.
Although it is extremely difficult to make your trip to the 12 Apostles at sunrise, it is easier to time your visit for a sunset view. Shoot these majestic ocean-bound rock stacks at sunset for long, soft shadows and warm hues. Visiting the Apostles at sunset also allows you to miss out on the crowds of tourists who tend to visit during the day.
If you’re pressed for time, why not take a 12 Apostles Sunset Tour? Book your 12 Apostles Sunset Tour here.
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3. 12 Apostles Lookout Options
If you can’t take a Helicopter Tour or view the Apostles at sunset, the next best option is to take a walk to the 12 Apostles Lookout during the day. Although you will meet crowds of tourists at this time, there are numerous lookouts to the 12 Apostles to choose from.
The viewing platform with the least crowds is located between Gibsons Steps and the 12 Apostles Visitors Centre. The official lookout across the road from the 12 Apostles Visitors Centre has a few lookouts which take you much closer to the famous sea stacks. It is worth seeing the Apostles from various viewing points so you get a glimpse of the attraction from different angles.
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4. 12 Apostles Beach Access
Take a trip to the Beach Level via Gibsons Steps car park (1km east of the 12 Apostles) to see two rock stacks close up – Gog and Magog. The Apostles have never been named individually except for these two rocks which are full of personality. Also, they are the only two of the Apostles that you can see close up so definitely take the chance to do so.
12 Apostles Tours
All our Great Ocean Road tours stop over at the 12 Apostles as part of their day-long or multi-day tour of the area. If you’re interested in just seeing the 12 Apostles by itself, our 12 Apostles Express Tour below is just right for you. For all our other Great Ocean Road tours, check out our Great Ocean Road Tours page.
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12 Apostles Weather
Current Conditions for 12 Apostles
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Forecast Details for 12 Apostles
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FAQs about the 12 Apostles Australia
There are numerous questions about the 12 Apostles, most of which are answered below. If you have other questions, please post them in the Comments section at the end of the page.
What are the 12 Apostles?
The 12 Apostles are twelve rock stacks made up of limestone and other softer rock materials that jut out from the Southern Ocean along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Over the years they have become the highlight of a visit to the Great Ocean Road and a natural wonder that draws millions of tourists from Australia and around the world.
12 Apostles History
The 12 Apostles started off life with a much less prestigious title, ‘the Sow and Piglets’. The Sow was Mutton Bird Island viewable from Loch Ard Gorge and the Piglets were the other formations following along down the coast to the east. When C.J. La Trobe passed through in 1846 he recorded this name.
However, the local population always knew that our stacks had a lot more glamour than your average farm animal. Locals have used the ‘12 Apostles’ name for as long as memory serves. We are glad to say that the world has agreed with the locals and has adopted ‘12 Apostles’ and given the stacks all the dignity they deserve.
How were the 12 Apostles formed?
Differing densities of limestone interspersed with softer mudstone (marl) and calcareous clays make up the cliffs and stacks of the 12 Apostles. Port Campbell limestone is harder in its top layers than it is in its bottom layers. The softer base layers allow the initial undermining that creates overhangs, arches and eventually new stacks.
The erosive forces of waves, wind and rain have over the years cut and chiselled these limestone stacks to create the formations you see today. Surviving rock stacks like the 12 Apostles are generally comprised of “harder stuff” than areas surrounding them.
How old are the 12 Apostles?
Although the limestone that makes up the 12 Apostles dates back 15-20 million years, the formations itself that you can see have been formed in the last 6,000 years.
How many of the 12 Apostles are left?
You have never been able to see 12 stacks from the current viewing platform. So, if you are counting less, you are counting correctly! To the West there are 7 stacks that are clearly visible. The rest are hidden by headlands and obscured by other stacks.
Where are the 12 Apostles located?
The 12 Apostles are located in Port Campbell National Park located near Princetown along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.
Closest town to 12 Apostles
12 Apostles Map
How to get to the 12 Apostles?
The 12 Apostles are closer than you think and easy to reach, no matter how you choose to travel. The closest city to the Apostles is Melbourne.
Melbourne to 12 Apostles
Melbourne to 12 Apostles distance – 228km
By Car: Car touring is the best way to reach the 12 Apostles. From Melbourne, the Westgate and Princess Freeways lead you to the Geelong Ring Road and on to Great Ocean Road in an hour. The 12 Apostles is located 7km east of Port Campbell and just outside the town of Princetown. The shortest route (3 hours total) is inland on the Princess Freeway (A1) to Colac, and then on Irrewillipe Rd (C156) on to Princetown. However, the more scenic route is via the Great Ocean Road from Geelong (4.5hrs total).
By Train: Regular trains run from Melbourne and Geelong to Winchelsea, Colac, Camperdown and Warrnambool.
By Bus: Public Transport Victoria runs V/Line buses several times a day along the Great Ocean Road from Geelong to Apollo Bay. Buses run 3 times a week from Apollo Bay to Warrnambool stopping at Princetown along the way. Visit ptv.vic.gov.au for details.
Tickets are also available at the Lorne Visitors Centre and Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre in Apollo Bay.
Lorne to 12 Apostles
Lorne to 12 Apostles distance – 129km
By Car: Head along the Great Ocean Road or inland via Colac which will save you 30 mins.
By Bus: Take a V/Line bus to Apollo Bay and change for a bus to Warrnambool stopping at Princetown along the way. See above for details.
12 Apostles Address
Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd,
Tell us what you think. If you’ve been to the 12 Apostles before, how did you see it? What was your experience of this natural wonder? Please leave your comments below.