Great Ocean Road rock formation collapses into sea

Island Archway (inset) is now two new features on the Great Ocean Road near Loch Ard Gorge after the middle section collapsed into the sea this week.
Island Archway (inset) is now two new features on the Great Ocean Road near Loch Ard Gorge after the middle section collapsed into the sea this week. 

A large section of the iconic rock formation the Island Archway, on Victoria's west coast, has succumbed to the elements and crumbled into the sea.

Parks Victoria believes the fall occurred sometime between 4pm on Tuesday and 9am yesterday.

As its name suggests, the impressive rock formation on the Great Ocean Road resembled an archway rising 25 metres from the sea.

All that remains following the collapse are the two rocks that previously supported the arch.

"We got a report on Wednesday morning from one of our helicopter pilots here that it had actually collapsed, there was a lot of dirt in the water and the arch has collapsed and now we've got two islands," Port Campbell National Park acting ranger Natasha Johnson said today.

Ms Johnson said she had mixed feelings about nature's makeover of the coastline landmark.

"It is pretty sad, but at the same time I find it pretty exciting as well. It's a really good example of nature at work," she said.

"This coastline is always evolving ... and getting reshaped."

And what about a name change for the monument which no longer resembles an archway?

"Island Archway will more than likely remain its name, but what we'll probably do is provide some additional interpretation to show what it used to look like," she said.

The last significant collapse on the southern coastline was in July 2005, when one of the large stacks that made up the Twelve Apostles collapsed.

"There was significant visitor interest when one of the Twelve Apostles fell down. We expect this event may do the same," Ms Johnson said.

One of the more dramatic collapses on the coastline occurred in 1990 when two tourists were stranded on the outer part of London Bridge - also in the Port Campbell National Park - after one of two arches on the natural bridge collapsed.

No one was injured, and the tourists were rescued by helicopter.

AAP

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