Less than five kilometers from the 12 Apostles viewing area is The Razorback, a massive slice of Limestone sticking out dozens of metres above the Southern Ocean. Waves have been pounding against this coastline for millions of years and it has completely eroded the land around the Razorback, leaving a thin and long passage of stone.
It’s from here that you’re able to get a view of the remaining three Apostles that can’t be seen from Castle Rock, the official 12 Apostles viewing area.
How To Find The Razorback
The Razorback is just one of many incredible stone formations in the Port Campbell National Park and it’s super easy by car and only a short walk by foot. Head to the Loch Ard Gorge carpark, it’s less than 5kms to the west of the 12 Apostles. As you pull off the Great Ocean Road and into the carpark, you’ll find the start of the walk to the Razorback as far as you can go east/left/back towards the Apostles.
There’s a large ‘bus only’ car park about 20 metres to the east of the stairs that go down to the beach at the bottom of Loch Ard Gorge. You’ll see the Razorback sign at the start of the walking path.
In short: Park anywhere, walk along the track to the left as far as you can go.
The Razorback Walk
From the carpark, it’s a flat 300 metre walk to get right out to the Razorback and view of the Apostles, but brace yourself, it’s an incredible short walk! You’ll go past the Island Archway that has since collapsed as you walk along the top of huge Sandstone and Limestone cliffs.
This is a short and easy walk where you’ll be treated with rugged, close-up views showing what can be created by millions of years of a powerful ocean crashing against the coastline.
How The Razorback Was Formed
Over 20 million years ago, this entire coastline including the land that you’d be standing on to view the Razorback was deep under water.
The Razorback is made up of Sandstone and Limestone that formed by plant and fish matter, sand from the rivers and other debris compacting at the bottom of ocean.
Over the last 15-20 million years, the ocean has pounded against the cliffs, eroding the stone around the Razorback at a rate of about 1.5-2cms per year. The cliffs would have come much further past the Razorback when the ocean first retreated and slowly crumbled away over millions of years. The current water level was set 6,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.
Eventually, the Razorback will have some caves form which will make the entire chunk of Limestone slowly turn into a huge arch. From there, the centre of the arch will weaken and fall away and large stacks will be left standing. This is more-or-less how the 12 Apostles were formed and you can see some of the stacks behind the Razorback.
History Of The Razorback
Australian Indigenous communities lived right along this part of the coast for thousands of years, although the Razorback name comes from the early into the European colinisation of the area around the gold rush era in the 1850’s when this stretch of coastline became known as the Shipwreck Coast.
Originally, this would most likely have been one of the ‘sow’s’ in the original name of the 12 Apostles: The Sow and Piglets. The ‘Sow’/mother pig was the original name of Mutton Bird Island, just a several hundred metres west of the Razor back and the ‘Piglets’ were the Apostles that start just to the east and stretch for a bit less than 5kms.
The ‘Sow & Piglets’ name came from George Bass in 1798 and was then used commonly by the people passing the area by ship, mainly during the Ballarat Gold Rush era. It was the first stretch of coastline that they would have seen for months since navigating around the south of Africa on their journey from Europe.
Loch Ard Gorge however was named after the 1878 shipwreck in the gorge just 300 metres from the Razorback.