5 FACTS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THE SHIPWRECK COASTby BETHANY LEWIS
More than 700 cargo and passenger ships came to a grief along Victoria’s south west coast in the 1700-1800s, but only around 200 have been documented.
Here are 5 facts to entice you to stay for a few days and truly immerse yourself in the fascinating chapter of Australian maritime history.
1. It’s 130kms from start to finish.
I recommend you base yourself in Warrnambool, so you can travel to Port Fairy and back on one day and to Cape Otway and back the next.
There are plenty of other things to do and see in Warrnambool, so make a long weekend of it…or stay a while!
2. Even Mr Flinders was scared
Infamous British explorer Matthew Flinders notably said he’d never seen a “more fearful section of coastline”.
Nature is still a powerful force along the coastline and there are operating lighthouses at:
- Cape Otway
- Port Fairy
- Portland (Whalers Bluff and Portland Bay)
3. You can see parts of the wrecks
Once you personally see the raw and rugged coastline of the south west coast, you can understand how these ships came to grief, either due to weather or human error (and some where even said to be caused by foul play!).
The remains of the ships lay where they met their demise and you can see anchors at Wreck Beach.
- Parts of wrecks can be found at Apollo Bay Cable Station, Heytesbury Historical Society, Port Campbell Information Centre, Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village and Anglesea and District Historical Society.
4. You can go at any time of the year
Any time of the year is magnificent in the Great Ocean Road region, but, if you come during Autumn and Winter, you’ll beat the crowds and have a better chance of having the beach to yourself, seeing a whale and truly experiencing the exhilarating coastal conditions.
- Whales migrate to our warmer waters in winter to mate, birth and nurse their young. Click here for the Whale Trail.
5. Experience the sea-faring life at Flagstaff Hill
The replica maritime village perfectly illustrates what life was like in the 1800s for a small coastal town. You can discover artifacts from the famous Loch Ard Gorge shipwreck and attend the ‘Tales of the Shipwreck Coast’ sound and light show any night of the week. It will blow the whole family away!
- You can get a weekend pass
- There’s a restaurant/café on site (with amazing views of Lady Bay)
- You can stay at the Lighthouse Cottage
- It’s also the site of the Visitor Information Centre and gift shop
More shipwreck history in the region:
- A list of some shipwrecks
- Port Campbell Shipwreck Display
- Lorne Shipwreck Walk
- Portland Maritime Discovery Centre
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