Living on the Edge walk, Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard western car park, off Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell National Park

Living on the Edge walk, Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard western car park, off Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell National Park

Staff Pick
1 h 30 m
4.64 km
Very Easy

This is an undeniably special place. The longer of the Loch Ard walks, this loop offers amazing natural features and geology as well as a visit to the Loch Ard cemetery.

Living on the Edge walk, Loch Ard Gorge

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Summary

This is an undeniably special place. The longer of the Loch Ard walks, this loop offers amazing natural features and geology as well as a visit to the Loch Ard cemetery.

Description

Rich in remarkable natural assets and history, the area adjacent to the site of the shipwreck of the tall ship clipper Loch Ard (1878) offers both incredible scenery and part of the story.

Situated within both the Port Campbell National Park and the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park all aquatic life, flora, fauna and natural features are protected to conserve this magnificent place.

Two car parks divided by a section of roadway mark the beginning of walks to the west and east of Loch Ard Gorge itself. The walk described here is the longer one to the west. Tracks are well maintained, largely sealed or of compacted gravel. They are suitable for all the family and easily negotiated using a pram or pusher (although you won’t be able to get a pram down to the beaches you will still marvel at the amazing views and the coastal environment).

This site is impressive any time of year, whether for sunlit land and seascapes or witnessing the raging southern seas in stormy weather.

There is a V/Line bus stop on the Great Ocean Road at the turn off to the Loch Ard Gorge car parks.

Pets are not allowed in the Port Campbell National Park.

Note: aside from parking space and the excellent walking, lookout and informative signage infrastructure there are no other amenities here. The nearest public toilets are at the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre.

Take care around cliff edges and overhangs. There are many and the limestone is constantly cracking and eroding due to exposure to harsh elements that constantly batter this rugged southern coastline.

More walks nearby:
Port Campbell Discovery walk
Gibson Steps and Beach walk
The Twelve Apostles walk
Clifftop walk, Peterborough

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Points of Interest

1. Car parking

There appears to be plenty of parking spaces, but arriving early has its benefits at this popular site.

2. The tracks

All tracks are either sealed or compacted gravel well maintained by Parks Vic. Directional signage is well located and clear.

3. Thunder Cave inlet

There was an arch here until 1990, but it still looks gorgeous.

4. Thunder Cave

Where the sea continues to carve its way into the coast.

5. Heading to Sherbrook River

The long distance views of the coastal cliffs are sensational.

6. Coastal vegetation

Despite repeatedly being assailed by harsh and salt heavy winds, the high density coastal vegetation has a surprising diversity. Take the time to make your own observations.

7. Sherbrrook River meets the sea

This sandy confluence is simply magical.

8. Ocean views

this is a place for deeply appreciating the natural world.

9. The river

On this day Sherbrooke River wound its way into the sea. On other days it may be a sandbagged lake.

10. Broken Head loop

Three hundred and sixty degrees of views that seem to go on forever.

11. Sculpted rock

Never ending abrasiveness of sand, wind and water has many aesthetically pleasing outcomes.

12. Looking west

Above and beyond Sherbrook River.

13. Looking south

Muttonbird Island is home to an estimated 50,000 Short-tailed Shearwaters (Muttonbirds). Each year in April they migrate 15,000km north to the Aleutian Islands and return in September to breed.

14. Looking east

These magnificent buttresses confront the elements all day every day.

15. Muttonbird Island Lookout

Platforms are secure and well maintained. Along the way, seating is provided and interpretive signage is accessible and informative.

16. Looking over to Island Arch Lookout

Lookouts are well placed along the clifftops. There really is no need to risk exploring above the water closer to the edge than barriers provide for.

17. Loch Ard Cemetery

The story of the wreck of the Loch Ard finishes here - as a resting place for some and memorial for others never found. The Loch Ard walk starting at the other car park tells it from the beginning.


Features

Public Transport Public Transport
Seating Available Seating Available
Pram friendly Pram friendly
Historical Interest Historical Interest
Local Treasures Local Treasures
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river