Wreck Beach is another one of those 'Secret Spots' on the Great Ocean Road. The serenity here is hard to beat, and you simply must make the effort to find this place. The beach is named for its two prominent shipwrecks; The Fiji, and the Marie Gabrielle, whose rock embedded anchors serve as a permanent and striking memorial to those who perished here.
Wreck beach is high up on my list of favourite photo locations. I could spend a week of sunrises and sunsets here and I would still want more time! For the non photographer this might seem like an exaggeration, but I've only scratched the surface of what this location has to offer a Landscape Photographer.
Mike's Tip! Although there's access to Wreck Beach from The Gables lookout, the track essentially takes you to the carpark above the steps to the beach, so if you're planning to stay for sunset, drive around and save yourself from stumbling in the dark for an extra 1.5km (Yep, learned the hard way!)
A difficult but rewarding Walk
The walk down to the beach is a difficult one, and the 366 steps down and back up again will give you a very good workout (especially if you're carrying +20kg of photo gear on your back, as I do on occasion).
The walk should be done at low tide, as the beach has large swells which crash over the rock shelfs at high tide. The anchors are also best viewed at low tide. (although shooting them as the tide is going out is also very nice for photos, but much care is needed)
Great Ocean Walk
Wreck Beach is part of the Great Ocean Walk
, and is the low tide route to Devil's Kitchen Hike-in campsite a few km's away. At high tide, an alternate inland route is strongly advised.
The Gable Lookout
The Gable Lookout is an easy short walk offering stunning coastal views of the ocean and reefs around Moonlight Head. This is one of the highest sea cliffs on mainland Australia, and the views are equally spectacular.
The Gables/Wreck Beach Walk:
Start/Finish: The Gables Carpark, Moonlight head rd.
Distance: 5.5km Return
Notes: Beach can be impassable at high tide or rough seas, check tides and conditions beforehand.
How to Find Wreck Beach
Coming from Lavers Hill, the turnoff to the beach is about 15km out of town. From Port Campbell it's about 34km. Look for the signs to Moonlight Head on your left (or right from Port Campbell). After a few km's you'll come to a junction. Turn right and follow the signs to The Gables. If you're going straight to the Beach, then turn right just before The Gable Lookout as signposted.
Wreck Beach --> Great Ocean Road Homepage