Millions Of Years Created This Incredible & Unique Formation: The Grotto

Unlike any other formation on the Great Ocean Road, caused by millions of years of the harsh winds and ocean eroding the ancient Sandstone and Limestone cliffs along the Shipwreck Coast in the Port Campbell National Park is The Grotto.

Only several minutes down the road from the famous London Bridge and a several hundred metre walk from the car park. As you walk out to the Grotto, admire the incredible colours of the local native flora that’s adapted to the harsh conditions, crawling across the ground.

The walk out to the Grotto is a flat gravel track for several hundred metres. From here, you can see down into the Grotto, although to get an up-close view, you’ll need to work your way down some timber stairs.

The Grotto, Great Ocean Road
The Grotto From The Top Looking In
The Grotto From The Top

How The Grotto Formed

Quite a few special things happened over a very long time that formed the Grotto. Erosion from the wind and ocean created this window that peaks into a Sinkhole.

Originally, the Sandstone and Limestone that the cliffs are made from (Limestone being Sandstone with more than 50% fossil) was formed at the bottom of a really deep ocean more than 20 million years ago. The stone was the result of the huge amount of pressure from the water compacting all that sat at the bottom, this included fish and plants that died and sunk to the bottom of the ocean, sand from river and other ocean debris.

The ocean eventually retreated and the water level has changed many times over the last 20 million years, reaching it’s current level 6,000 years ago after the Ice Age.

Once the Sandstone became the land, rain made it’s way into cracks and formed rivers beneath the surface. The water from these underground rivers eventually eroded the stone so much that part of it’s roof collapsed and formed a large sink hole.

The sink hole combined with the cliffs’ erosion caused by the ocean and wind resulted in the current formation of the Grotto.

The Grotto, Port Campbell
View from the top of The Grotto, Port Campbell

Accommodation & Camping Near The Grotto

Only about ten minutes from the Grotto, back towards Melbourne is Port Campbell. There area loads of great places to stay here, from more luxurious options all the way down to camping parks and a hostel.

If you want to continue west but looking for somewhere relatively close, Warrnambool is the largest city between Geelong and Adelaide, so you’ll be able to find anything you’re after there. It’s a beautiful small city with around 30,00 people and lots of things to see.

On the chance that you’re heading from west to east, much further past The Grotto is Apollo Bay, otherwise some great campsites in the Otway Forest are Aire Crossing Campground and Johanna Beach Campsite.

Other Things To See In The Area

The most popular attraction in the area (..and the whole country) are the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, but you could leave these for the next day and enjoy the beach right in the middle of Port Campbell.

Less than five minutes east from The Grotto is the London Bridge, which is a huge arch way island sitting just off the mainland. Continuing west towards the end of the Great Ocean Road, there are loads of places to stop in at, the most impressive being the Bay Of Islands in Peterborough, only another ten minutes drive.