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Out & About in Port Campbell

Home > Melbourne > Beaches | Day Trips | Escape the City | National Parks | Walks
by Ian Gill (subscribe)
I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published May 1st 2018
A Shipwreck Coast Highlight
Port Campbell is the unofficial capital of Victoria's 'Shipwreck Coast". Located on the Great Ocean Road, just west of the iconic Twelve Apostles, it's a sleepy seaside town with a permanent population considerably less than 1000 people.

Victoria Melbourne Port Campbell Great Ocean Road Shipwreck Coast
Port Campbell is a favourite summer holiday spot and holds the title as the 'Unofficial Capital' of the Shipwreck Coast. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


Port Campbell's safe harbour was first noted by Captain Alexander Campbell in the 1840's, although it's likely to have been used by sealers and whalers from around 1805.

Pastoralists moved into the area in the 1840's, a beacon was set up on the headland in 1874 and in 1875 the town site was surveyed.

Today, Port Campbell is a popular tourist destination and summer holiday spot surrounded by some of the Great Ocean Road and Shipwreck Coasts most famous and popular attractions.

Victoria Melbourne Port Campbell Great Ocean Road Shipwreck Coast
It's not called 'The Shipwreck Coast' for nothing and safe anchorages can be few and far between. Port Campbell's natural harbour was first reported by Captain Alexander Campbell in the 1840's. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


It's also home to a small fishing and crayfishing industry and very popular with amateur fishermen.

The centre of town is Lord Street just a stone's throw from Port Campbell Bay with its attractive foreshore, sheltered swimming beach and jetty. The nearby coastline is predominantly steep, rocky cliffs overlooking pristine and often inaccessible sandy beaches.

Victoria Melbourne Port Campbell Great Ocean Road Shipwreck Coast
Lord Street, Port Campbell - just a very short walk from the beach to the centre of town. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


Some of the best views along this part of the coast can be had from the Discovery Walk and Lookout on the clifftop overlooking the town. Access to both is via a carpark off the Great Ocean Road just west of Port Campbell.

Victoria Melbourne Port Campbell Great Ocean Road Shipwreck Coast
Port Campbell's sheltered jetty is a popular spot with fishermen. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


Remember this is the capital of one of Victoria's premier tourism regions, so there's accommodation aplenty with self-contained cabins and caravan sites available at the NRMA Port Campbell Holiday Park, several motels, B&B's, cottages and villas.
Port Campbell makes for a great base-camp for Great Ocean Road, Shipwreck Coast and hinterland touring.

You'll find Port Campbell 297 Kilometres southwest of Melbourne, about a 4 hour and 30 minute drive via the Princes Freeway/M1 and the Great Ocean Road.

Victoria Melbourne Port Campbell Great Ocean Road Shipwreck Coast
Port Campbell's Discovery Walk takes in some fabulous coastal scenery. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
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Why? Port Campbell is an idyllic coastal village steeped in history and is the perfect base-camp for Great Ocean Road, Shipwreck Coast & hinterland touring.
When: Anytime is a good time to tour the Great Ocean Road but with its popularity for boating, fishing and camping Port Campbell is at its best in summer.
Phone: Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre 1300 137 255
Where: Port Campbell, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Cost: Free
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