Port Campbell felt like a hidden treasure. We stopped there for a late lunch after a busy day seeing all the attractions between Apollo Bay and the 12 Apostles. We sat down on the beach for some fish and chips, watching people swim in the safe inlet and fish off the jetty. It was incredibly picturesque and I knew I wanted to return. I struggled to find much information about what to do there, all the brochures and websites seemed to talk about the nearby attractions.
This post curates the best of my research. It highlights attractions that anyone can do, mostly within 2-3 km of the township.
Port Campbell Inlet
This is a beautiful area along the coastline. It’s a sheltered beach, dwarfed by the two cliffs on either side. It makes for an incredibly picturesque place to take a break if you are doing the great ocean road as a daytrip. It’s one of the few places along this part of the coast where it is actually safe to swim.
Image via Peter Hastings
Port Campbell Discovery walk
This walk is considered to be a ‘must do’ for those visiting Port Campbell. There are beautiful, unobstructed views of the coastline towards the twelve apostles.
The 3.8km walk starts at Port Campbell Creek, near the surf life saving club. You get amazing views of the local attractions such as the scenic lookout, Sentinal rock and Two Mile Bay. The walk is meant to take about one and a half hours, but it depends on what wonders may distract you along the way.
Note: (From the Visit 12 Apostles website)
Access via steps near the mouth of Campbells Creek is not advisable without knowledge of recent rainfall, tides and sea and swell conditions (contact the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre – 1300 137 255) but is often accessible during the drier months.
Two mile bay
Two Mile Bay is a very open, 3 km long bay that extends west of Port Campbell. Unlike the adjacent coast, the bluffs here are protected by an ancient raised platform, capped by the remnants of a beach, dune and swamp. The vegetated, 60 m high bluffs show what the entire coast would have looked like before the sea level rose (about 6 000 years ago) and reactivated the cliffs.There is a road out to the bluffs with a car park, and a track down to Two Mile Bay Beach. Shelly Beach lies immediately to the east. The beaches face south and, while exposed to high waves, are partially protected by reefs extending 200 to 300 m offshore. Shelly Beach is 300 m long and fronted by a continuous calcarenite platform that is exposed at low tide, with reefs further offshore.The main Two Mile Bay Beach is 100 m long and backed initially by low calcarenite spurs, then by bluffs rising to 60 m. It has direct access to the sea with usually a heavy shorebreak, but extensive reefs off the beach.
According to Port Campbell hostel, “the wave at 2-Mile is one of Australia’s largest surfable waves (around 40-foot high face, in the correct conditions), which normally comes to life each April and May.”
See The Little Penguins
You don’t get penguins at Port Campbell, however it is definitely worth tracking town nearby populations if you are using the town as a base. Both the twelve apostles and london bridge have colonies that you can see at dusk. According to the official 12 apostles website, “the population of birds is significantly more at the 12 Apostles (around 800 birds) but viewers are a little closer to the birds at London Bridge.”
Port Campbell Boat Charters
It’s one thing to see the beauty of the great ocean road from atop the many lookouts and cliffs. It’s completely different, and amazing, to see the coastline from the ocean. This tour provides up close and personal views of the coastal formations and comprehensive interpretation of coastal geology and shipwreck history.
You can get more information from their website or asking at the Port Campbell information centre.
Sturgess point is a short walk from the centre of Port Campbell. You can get great views of the beach and township. You can get more information about this walk in “Walks of the Shipwreck Coast & Volcano Country.”
The Arches Marine Sanctuary
Just off the coast near Port Campbell, The Arches Marine Sanctuary protects 45ha of remarkable seascape. This area is known for the above water limestone landscape, however 19 to 25m below the waves there is a labyrinth of towering limestone canyons, caves, arches and walls. It is these structures which give the park its name. The area is characterised by high energy waves and cool water with flows from the Southern Ocean.
via Parks Victoria
This site is well known for its colonies of brightly coloured sea fans, lace corals and gorgonian sponges. Fish species often seen include sweep, zebra fish, marble cod, magpie perch, Australian Salmon, scaly fin and Port Jackson sharks. This marine sanctuary is also home to rock lobsters, abalone and an array of other molluscs and starfish.