Loch Ard Gorge
The centerpiece of the Loch Ard Gorge precinct is Loch Ard Gorge. It is the site of a shipwreck of the clipper ship Loch Ard after which it is named. The clipper ran aground on 1 June 1878. It carried 54 passengers; only two survived – 15-year-old Tom Pearce, and 17-year-old Eva Carmichael whom he rescured that fateful night. The two teenagers took shelter in Thunder Cave on the night of the shipwreck.
Today, Loch Ard gorge can come across to the first-time-visitor as an idyllic cove and beach, especially on a hot summer afternoon. Do not be fooled by the ever changing weather. The waters of this area are not recommended for swimming. The waves are strong, the currents are treacherous, and the rocks are unforgiving. Access to the gorge is via an easy climb down a set of stairs onto a very soft sandy beach.
Best times to visit
The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. The best times to shoot here are from sunrise to the middle of the morning. This location can only be photographed from a limited number of vantage points – from sea level, and from elevated vantage points from above.
With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).
The effect of sea spray in this location is very pronounced, and further excacerbated by strong winds that are prevalent in the area. It is recommend that one carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep one’s lenses clean. Tripods are recommended, especially if you are planning to do a long exposure shot on the beach level. The winds in the area get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be of focal lengths from 17mm to around 50mm.
If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.
Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you.
Your choice of footwear is important. Comfortable walking shoes (not runners) are recommended. Open-toed shoes are unsuitable for this location.
Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm gravel pathway leading to a partially decked staircase.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty: Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 20 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The area is subject to strong winds and constantly changing weather. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.