One of the great sights in Australia is London Bridge on the Great Ocean Road. It ranks up there with Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and Uluru. It happens to be one of the most well-known and spectacular sights in Port Campbell National Park. A national park that also boasts the twelve apostles.
London Bridge on the Great Ocean Road was named after London Bridge in the UK. It’s thought to be due to similarities with its namesake. These days it’s called the London Arch, given that it isn’t a bridge anymore.
When did London Bridge, the Great Ocean Road, fall?
Not to be confused with the London Bridge is falling nursery rhyme. London Bridge fell on the 15th January 1990. This lead to two tourists becoming stranded, and requiring rescue by helicopter. They were cousins Kelli Harrison and David Darrington. Fortunately, no one was injured when the bridge caved in and became London Arch.
What was once a double arch had now been forever changed from London Bridge, to London Arch. Now it is much more easy to identify. Thank God.
Why did London Bridge, the Great Ocean Road, fall?
London Arch is made up of soft limestone rock that formed between 10 and 25 million years ago. Over time, the sea retreated revealing the rock formations, and after the last ice age, rose again. As the waves erode the softer limestone rock, the harder rock remains. This is what causes the archways to form. You can see this in action in the photograph above.
One day the outer arch will collapse, with any luck, not injuring anyone. When this happens there will be two rock stacks that remain standing. Funnily enough, this is how the twelve apostles were formed. The waves will erode these rock stacks and they will fall. Which is why there are only eight of the twelve apostles still standing today.
When should I visit London Bridge, the Great Ocean Road?
I would recommend visiting around sunrise or sunset if possible. The light around dawn and dusk can result in some breathtaking views. It also means that you’ll avoid the busiest parts of the day when tour groups are passing through. You could also opt to do a helicopter tour, similar to the guys I cheekily snapped above.
There isn’t a lot of parking available. If you can, avoid tour groups or waves of cars passing through. This will make it a much more enjoyable experience. If you’re setting off from Melbourne, it’ll take a few hours drive to reach, so you should plan accordingly.
It can also be windy, which can make it seem cooler than it is. Make sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water with you to stay hydrated.
You don’t need to walk too far from the car park. There are two viewing platforms, the furthest being a 300-metre walk from the car park. You might want to visit both or stretch your legs after a long drive.
People tend to spend 15-30 minutes here, but it depends on how much time you want to spend taking in the view. There are a few other stops nearby such as Loch Ard Gorge, the Grotto or the Bay of Islands. If you want to spend some time getting the perfect photograph it might take you a bit longer. You’ll need to give more time to allow for crowds to clear and move on.