The Bay of Martyrs opens a conversation to a dark and devastating part of Victoria’s history.
Though there is still some debate about the name of this area, there is a relatively common understanding that it refers to a horrible part of Victoria’s history. According to generations, European invaders murdered a large group of Karrae-Wurrong Aboriginal men along the shoreline. Men were chased off the steep cliffs, falling to their death, while many women and children were killed in nearby swamps.
Others believe that the limestone stacks are martyred, guarding the land from the ever-angry Southern Ocean beating along the coastline. Though the name of the bay might divide visitors, there is one thing everyone can agree on, how beautiful the views are here.
Spanning for 2.5 kilometres, and nestled among two other little bays, the Bay of Martyrs is a stunning stretch of coastline. Head down to the beach and fish in the shallow reefs from the sand or splash in the shallows with your friends.
The Bay of Martyrs is an incredibly quiet beach compared to some of its neighbours along the Great Ocean Road, so it is perfect for those looking for a photogenic landscape without the tourists. If you’re not one for getting your feet sandy, then enjoy the magnificent views from the Bay of Martyrs lookout. The views are particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset when the pink sky splashes across the horizon and reflects off the amber coloured cliff faces.
There is an amazing array of wildlife that lives along the Bay of Martyrs for you to see. The birdlife here is particularly beautiful, making the shore a twitchers dream. Look out for many native birds such as honeyeaters and emu-wrens. The critically endangered hooded plover is known to nest here. If you’re lucky you may see them around the viewing area, remember that they nest on the ground so keep an eye out for them protecting their eggs.
The bushy areas around the Bay of Martyrs features a delightful collection of native shrubs and wildflowers. During the spring months, the flowers bloom and speckle bright colours across the shoreline, like little pops of native confetti.
From the Bay of Martyrs, you can find the Falls of Halladale wreck. One of the most famous wrecks along the Great Ocean Road, the Falls of Halladale wrecked in 1908 and is a popular diving location. The ship became stuck between two shallow reefs and slowly sank for weeks. Large crowds came to watch from the shore as the ship slipped lower and lower until it eventually became fully submerged.
The Bay of Martyrs is just a short drive from the little town of Peterborough. The delightful town is right in the heart of the Great Ocean Roads top attractions. Though there isn’t much here there is a delightful café and antiques store where you can enjoy items of times past with a refreshing drink on a summer day.
The Bay of Martyrs is a wonderful escape from the bustling tourist areas along the Great Ocean Road. The bay is the perfect place to enjoy the views and crisp air of the coast a little off the beaten track.
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