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Delicate operation improves beach access at Gibson Steps

Tuesday 13 June, 2017

Visitor access at Gibson Steps has been improved following a delicate operation to install new steps on the famous beach.

Completed over four days by Parks Victoria and local contractors, the operation used a 35-tonne crane to lower materials from the Great Ocean Road cliffs to the beach, where the new steps were put into place.

The steps will improve beach access during times when sand is washed away by the Southern Ocean’s powerful tides and swells. During past winters, these swells have dropped the sand level to a point where the steps had to be closed for safety reasons.

Located in the Port Campbell National Park, just minutes from the Twelve Apostles, the Gibson Steps area includes a spectacular stretch of cliffs, beaches and the soaring offshore rock stacks ‘Gog’ and ‘Magog’. The original steps to the beach were carved from the cliff by local settler Hugh Gibson, following a route first used by the Kirrae Whurrong peoples.

Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger, Michael Smith:

  • “The huge swells at Gibson Steps help to shape the area’s spectacular scenery, but they also present challenges for making and maintaining access paths, particularly those onto the beach.”
  • “Working within small windows of opportunity over four days, the crew skilfully lowered and installed beach-level steps that will improve access during times when high tides and large swells wash down the sand level.”
  • “While this part of the coastline will always be susceptible to conditions that affect beach access, the work that’s been completed will make those occasions less frequent.”
  • “Winter is a great time for visitors to witness the force of the Southern Ocean and the spectacular landscape that it has formed throughout the Port Campbell National Park.”

Quotes attributable to Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism General Manager, Liz Price

  • “Gibson Steps provide one of the most spectacular vantage points to view the Southern Ocean carving out the limestone cliffs that have given us the Twelve Apostles.”
  • “The Parks Victoria team has done a great job to improve the visitor experience at Gibson Steps and give visitors better beach access, more often.”

Media enquiries
Josh Maher

Parks Victoria media centre