The Twelve Apostles (Victoria)

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The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction.



The Twelve Apostles is a collection of eight miocene limestone rock stacks[1] jutting from the water in Port Campbell National Park, between Princetown and Peterborough on the Great Ocean Road.[2]

Tourism activities (including helicopter tours)[3] are conducted from a visitor centre, situated on the inland side of the Great Ocean Road; with parking and viewing areas.[4] Parks Victoria classifies the structure as nationally significant,[1] with the area being one of Victoria's major tourist features; attracting approximately two million visitors a year.[5] Parks Victoria was responsible for the construction of board-walks, tracks, and viewing areas.[6]

Formation and history

The apostles were formed by erosion: the harsh weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually eroded the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs, which then became arches, which in turn collapsed; leaving rock stacks up to 45 metres high.[6] The site was known as the Sow and Piglets until 1922 (Muttonbird Island, near Loch Ard Gorge, was the Sow, and the smaller rock stacks the Piglets);[7] after which it was renamed to The Apostles for tourism purposes. The formation eventually became known as the Twelve Apostles, despite only ever having nine stacks.[8]

In 2002, the Port Campbell Professional Fishermen's Association unsuccessfully attempted to block the creation of a proposed marine national park at the Twelve Apostles location,[9] but were satisfied with the later Victorian Government decision to not allow seismic exploration at the same site by Benaris Energy;[10] believing it would harm marine life.[11]

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