The Great Ocean Road is a world fascination, known for its beaches, amazing natural rock formations and stunning views that go on for miles and miles. Every year, the region sees a million tourists enjoying from one hotspot to another, soaking in Australia’s natural history and beautiful landscapes. The Loch Ard Gorge is one of the most loved stop-off points on the Great Ocean Road. Located in the Port Campbell National Park, the gorge is just three minutes away from the formation of the twelve Apostles.

The striking gorge consists of a smooth lustre bay and an inlet of beautiful blue water. It is bordered by two cliff-faces and vibrant greenery. Though it looks like a sight just out of a storybook, the Loch Ard Gorge has so much more to it than its beauty. It is also shaped by an interesting and colourful history that dates back hundreds of years.

The Fascinating Story

On 2nd March 1878, a clipper ship by the name of Loch Ard left England for the Port Philip Bay in Melbourne. After sailing for three months, the cargo ship reached the waters of Port Campbell. However, it ran aground near the Mutton Bird island on 1st June 1878. Due to the dark and misty atmosphere, the captain didn’t realise that it was in shallow water until it was too late. Unfortunately, clipper hit a rocky reef, leading to a shipwreck. Of the 54 passengers, only two survived. The 29-year old Captain Gibbs also couldn’t make it safely to the shore. The two survivors were Tom Pearce, an apprentice on the clipper and Eva Carmichael, a 19-year old Irish woman who was emigrating to Melbourne with her family. Tom raised an alarm to the local people for help and many rescuers were sent to the ship. However, no one else could make it, including Eva’s family. The story of Tom and Eva became famous and spread throughout Australia and England in a short span.

A Tourist Spot

On 11th March 1982, the Loch Ard received recognition as a historic shipwreck. The remaining artefacts and relics of the shipwreck were stored in a museum and the cargoes were salvaged. A museum was specially built to keep the history of the Loch Ard alive and share the story with all travellers who visit Port Campbell. There is also a cemetery in the area for all the people who perished in the incident. The Loch Ard Gorge received its name from the shipwrecked clipper. In June 2009, the Island Archway saw a collapsed arch. Now, the two unconnected pillars are called Tom and Eva, after the survivors of the Loch Ard clipper.

The beauty of Loch Ard Gorge holds in itself a story of heroism, survival and a tragic tale of a shipwreck. When you visit the gorge, you can climb down the cliff through the dedicated stairway and then stroll through the beach as well. There is also a pathway on the east side of the gorge if you’d like to slip out. Don’t forget to carry your camera to click outstanding pictures of this historic place.