Great Ocean Road 4: Loch Ard Gorge

Port Campbell Travel Blog

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Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge is connected with a tragic shipwreck that occurred here in 1878. A ship named Loch Ard, after three months on sea coming from England, crashed onto the cliffs of Muttonbird Island in dense fog. Of the 54 people on board, only two survived: Tom Pearce, a young apprentice sailor, and Eva Carmichael, daughter and only survivor of a family of Irish emigrants. Tom was washed into the gorge by the surf. he heard Eva’s cries for help and rescued her from the water. Tom climbed out of the gorge, searching for help, and found some local farm workers. The gorge has later been named after the ship.

It is easy to imagine a romance between the two Robinsons on the deserted beach of Loch Ard Gorge… but that did not happen.

Loch Ard Gorge
Eva returned home to Europe soon after. Later in her life, as a married woman, Eva dedicated a tombstone for her parents, brothers and sisters who drowned in the shipwreck. It can be seen in the little cemetery that commemorates the victims of the catastrophe.

Tom stayed in Australia for the rest of his life, hailed as a hero and given a reward in the shape of a substantial cheque.

Loch Ard Gorge was the place on the Great Ocean Road that impressed me most of all. The scary and tragic story certainly adds to the feeling, but the landscape alone is so amazing that it would not need such stories. This is the most rugged stretch of coastline, with several bays and gorges, islands and stone pillars. Reaching all the viewpoints requires a notable amount of walking, but the views are one hundred percent worth the effort.

Tombstone for Eva's family
Unfortunately my dear F was less into walking than I was, so I had to explore most of it on my own, and I could not go everywhere because of the limited time we had agreed upon.

I walked as far as the Blowhole, a hole in the ground which is connected with the sea by an underground canal so the waves are crashing in. The sea was relatively calm that day. On stormier days it will be more spectacular. At some point the canal is going to collapse, and a new gorge will be created.

Another historical photo is the one of Island Archway, and proof of the constant change this coastline is undergoing… The arch collapsed in 2009. The remaining stone pillars have been named Tom and Eva, in memory of the two survivors.

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Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Tombstone for Evas family
Tombstone for Eva's family
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge beach
Loch Ard Gorge beach
Coastline near Loch Ard Gorge
Coastline near Loch Ard Gorge
Dangerous coastline
Dangerous coastline
Island Arch
Island Arch
Island Arch
Island Arch
The Blowhole
The Blowhole
Gorge leading to the blowhole
Gorge leading to the blowhole
End of the gorge which is connecte…
End of the gorge which is connect…
The dark tunnel elads to the blowh…
The dark tunnel elads to the blow…
The gorge by the blowhole
The gorge by the blowhole
Loch Ard Gorge and Island Arch
Loch Ard Gorge and Island Arch
Port Campbell
photo by: liekevo