Great Ocean Road 5: Port Campbell to Warrnambool

Port Campbell Travel Blog

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Port Campbell

Port Campbell is the largest settlement along the Shipwreck Coast and a good base to explore the National Park. The town is almost as big as the adjacent campground... It has enough shops to stock up on everything tourists might need, though.

Port Campbell is situated at the end of a gorge that forms a protected harbour which can be used by fishing boats. There is even a small beach.

The little protected beach at the end of the gorge is popular among birds. They allow humans to come rather close, thus an easy option to catch some photos.

The penguin was all alone on the beach in the afternoon. This was the only wild penguin I saw during the whole trip. We had no idea if this was normal or if the bird was somehow ailing, or if it was an almost-grown chick waiting for the parents (I assumed the latter).

Penguin on Port Campbell beach
After taking the zoom photo from a distance we left him(?) alone in order not to disturb too much.

We spent the night at the campground in Port Campbell and continued driving the Great Ocean Road the next morning, stopping at a couple of attractions along the way. Finally the sun was out, and nature showed us its finest colours: the various shades of yellow and ochre on the cliffs, the colours of the sea…

This stretch of the Great Ocean Road includes several attractions which are all well signposted, have their own parking lots, boardwalks, stairways and lookouts. They certainly do not take any risks with tourists on the GOR.

Our first stop this morning was The Arch, another among the many amazing rock formations that have been given a name and the status of a tourist attraction.

London Arch
Wind and waves have gnawed the sandstone and formed a perfect natural arch. It is far down at the bottom of the cliffs. Only from the lookout halfway down it is visible.

London Bridge used to be a peninsula with two open arches. One day in 1990, all of a sudden one of the arches collapsed. Two tourists, scared to death, were left standing on the outer part which had become an island. They had to be rescued by a helicopter. Luckily no one had been on top of the collapsing arch at that moment. For the two of them it had been a matter of 30 seconds.

„London Bridge“ has been renamed „London Arch“ since. Another example how this coastline is undergoing permanent change.

I guess it was because of this experience that all those safe and easy platforms, boardwalks and stairs at the viewpoints have been built and access to the crumbling cliffs has been limited.

The Grotto

A weird scene that we observed: two Japanese bridal couples, in full wedding gear, were posing for a photographer in front of the coastal scenery. Two days later we met them again, this time in the Grampians.

Did they really spend their whole honeymoon in the company of a photographer and a make-up artist, dressed up in wedding gown resp. black tuxedo, posing in front of different landscape views? Only to have a spectacular album of wedding photos to boast with? It’s hard to believe, but that’s what it seemed to be. Not my idea of a romantic honeymoon...

Wind and waves created a hole through these rocks, known as “The Grotto”. It is small, but the photo with the view through the hole towards the sea in the background seems to be a must-have.

After Peterborough and the Bay of Islands, the road runs further inland, mostly through farmland. The coastal landscape becomes flatter and gentler towards the west. There are no more major attractions marked along the GOR until it reaches Warrnambool.

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Port Campbell
Port Campbell
Penguin on Port Campbell beach
Penguin on Port Campbell beach
London Arch
London Arch
The Grotto
The Grotto
Terns on the beach
Terns on the beach
Seagulls on the beach at Port Camp…
Seagulls on the beach at Port Cam…
The Arch
The Arch
Coastline near The Arch
Coastline near The Arch
The Arch
The Arch
Waves crashing in
Waves crashing in
London Arch, formerly London Bridge
London Arch, formerly London Bridge
London Arch
London Arch
Beach and cliffs west of London Br…
Beach and cliffs west of London B…
The power of the water
The power of the water
Not my idea of a happy honeymoon
Not my idea of a happy honeymoon
Cliffs near The Grotto
Cliffs near The Grotto
Boardwalk and stairs down to The G…
Boardwalk and stairs down to The …
A view of the beach at Peterborough
A view of the beach at Peterborough
Port Campbell
photo by: liekevo