For the past month, I had envisioned seeing a stunning sunset along the Great Ocean Road.
I’d been following hashtags such as #12apostles, #greatoceanroad, #seegor and more on my Instagram feed. I wanted to capture those same brilliant shades of pinks, oranges and violets in my photos, but unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for us.
August is still the middle of winter here in Australia, and in the Victoria region that often means a lot of overcast skies and gray days. We still had a wonderful time along the Great Ocean Road as we stared in awe at the rugged, windswept coastline every time we stopped.
Probably the most popular stop along the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, majestic limestone pillars rising out of the Southern Ocean, located about 4 hours west of Melbourne. We planned our road trip so we would end up at this location about an hour before sunset, which was around 6 p.m. at the time.
First we hiked down 86 steps at Gibsons Steps, named after a local settler in 1869, to the beach. This is one of the few places along the Port Campbell National Park where you can actually access the beach. The two limestone formations here called Gog and MaGog, for some reason, actually aren’t considered part of the 12 Apostles.
The warm light right before sunset reflected off the steep limestone cliffs that line the beach.
The ocean waves were some of the most intense and ferocious we’ve ever seen in our lifetime! You would NOT want to attempt swimming in this powerful section of the ocean!
Quickly, we hopped into our rental car and drove over to the nearby lookout point for the official 12 Apostles. Though the name says 12, the signs state there were nine limestone stacks at most, and since the last collapse in 2005 there are currently eight. Until 1922, this site was known as the Sow and Piglets after which it was renamed to The Apostles for tourism purposes. (I’d have to guess there may have been some religious influence for the name change as well.)
|Looking back east toward the Gog and MaGog formations.|
Be forewarned as you’ll share this magical sunset moment with hundreds of other tourists. If you want to stake out a good spot with your tripod, I’d recommend arriving at least an hour earlier. I didn’t get the best photos as the Apostles were already dark on the eastern-facing fronts, but we still enjoyed a rosy glow along the horizon. Pretty, don’t you think?
The next day, after staying in Port Campbell for the night, we rose early again so we could catch sunrise at the 12 Apostles and Gibsons Steps. Despite the early hour, brisk morning and howling winds, perhaps about 50 other tourists had the same idea as we did.
Luckily, we saw some pretty pinks in the sky, but the morning was quite overcast.
After the sunrise colors began to fade, we drove back over to Gibsons Steps to see how the rocks looked during the golden morning light instead of evening. Technically, the steps were locked because of a high tide warning, but we climbed over the gate anyway and walked down the slippery steps. We stayed close to the cliffs and walked along the beach for awhile and set up our own photo shoot here.
This coastline is an amazing site to see and should be on every traveler’s bucket list. No matter what the weather may be like, the 12 Apostles are still a photographer’s dream to shoot!
By the way, today’s post marks my 600th blog post I’ve written since I started this blog in 2010. Thanks so much for joining my journey!