The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction. Originally the site was called the Sow and Piglets. Muttonbird Island near Loch Ard Gorge was the ‘Sow’ and the smaller rock stacks the 'Piglets'. The name was changed in the 1950s to present the name recalling the biblical The Twelve Apostles.
This was done to lure more visitors to the state. Despite the name there are not twelve individual stacks visible in any one location.
The Twelve Apostles are between the towns of Port Campbell and Princetown on the Great Ocean Road. In the early 2000s a visitor centre was built on the inland side of the road to allow for easy parking and access to the best viewing area. Helicopter rides around the formations are also available.
Existing headlands will eventually become new limestone stacks in the future.
The stacks have been formed by erosion, and are all different heights and thicknesses. A number have fallen over entirely as waves continually erode their bases.
A 50-metre tall Apostle collapsed on July 3, 2005. Although it was initially thought that one of the Twelve Apostles fell on September 25, 2009 it was later revealed that it was one of the smaller stacks known as The Three Sisters.
The rate of erosion at the base of the limestone pillars is approximately 2 cm per year.