‘Fasten your seatbelts. We are about to take off’
One of the unique ways to see The 12 Apostles is from a helicopter that soars above the natural wonder, offering a spectacular view of the collection of limestone monoliths. And we were in one!
The 12 Apostles is the most famous landmark down the Great Ocean Road, a breathtaking 300km drive that starts near Torquay, around 100km west of Melbourne, Australia. It is Victoria's biggest regional landscape attraction, drawing millions of tourists every year.
A helicopter ride is one of the ways to experience the dramatic landscape of The 12 Apostleswww.12apostleshelicopters.com.au
So when Visit Victoria organised a helicopter tour for My Kolkata, we were literally flying high!
We arrived at 12 Apostles Helicopters, located at the site’s information centre / car park, after around three hours of driving from Melbourne city, stopping along the way in Colac for some meat pie — Australia’s unofficial national dish.
A bite of the classic Aussie meat pie available in canteen and gourmet versions across the country
Tummies full with the warm mince-filled bakery delight on a cold rainy day, we also made a pit stop at Melba Gully for a hike through the rainforest in search of the elusive carnivorous Otway black snail.
Melba Gully has unusual inhabitants like glow worms and the carnivorous Black Snail making it a perfect stop for nature-lovers en route the Great Ocean Road
From snail-paced forest trails to adrenaline-pumping highs, it was a day of many adventures and my guide Michelle Matthews representing Visit Victoria was the perfect accomplice, throwing in surprises that were off the itinerary.
Taking to the skies
All set to climb above the clouds, we got our tickets done at the counter (they take your weight first), and waited to board the bright red chopper for the 16-minute joyride from The 12 Apostles to London Bridge.
The (right) 16-minute chopper ride goes from (left) The 12 Apostles to a rock formation known as London Bridge or London Arch
What followed was a phenomenal aerial experience of viewing the dramatic rugged cliffs including the Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge — the site of a famous 1878 shipwreck that sank the iron-hulled Scottish-made ship Loch Ard — the Sentinel and finally London Arch (formerly London Bridge), a part of which collapsed into the ocean in 1990. Two tourists who were rock climbing at the time had to be rescued by a police helicopter.
The panoramic view is something you don’t get from the viewpoints on ground though the sight from there is equally breathtaking. Sunset time makes it even more picturesque.
The 12 Apostles viewpoint from the ground. Until the 1960s the formations were called the Sow and Pigs
As we soared into the air, the captain shared a fun fact: The name The 12 Apostles is a misnomer — there were always nine. In 2005, one of the 50m stacks reduced to a pile of rubble in seconds due to erosion from the Southern Ocean, leaving eight behind.
Watching the wild and wilful Southern Ocean crash against the craggy cliffs was as humbling as eating meat pie. Just glad it wasn’t my last supper.
What: A helicopter ride above The 12 Apostles
Where: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Route: 12 Apostles to London Bridge
Cost: AUD165 / Rs 9,000 (approx) per person
Book a spot… And check out more scenic flights at www.12apostleshelicopters.com.au