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A Popular Destination on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast - It’s Warrnambool
A former port city on Victoria’s south-western coast, Warrnambool boasts a captivating setting between Port Campbell and Port Fairy. Easy access to the Shipwreck Coast and the Great Ocean Road, together with attractions for the whole family, makes this coastal city a must visit. Whether you want to stay in a homely B&B, a modest motel, or an upmarket hotel, accommodation options here are plentiful.
Spending time in Warrnambool means spending time at the coast. The area’s pièce de résistance, the award-winning Foreshore Promenade, is an excellent place to start. This scenic trail, which is a popular spot for walking, cycling, and skating, stretches for almost four miles from the historic 1890 Breakwater to the Logans Beach whale nursery. Along the way, there are several idyllic locations that are perfect for surfers and swimmers. Popular spots include Lady Bay with its protected swimming and 28 shipwrecks and Stingray Bay with its crystal-clear rock pools. Be sure to leave time to check out the Middle Island Maremma Project near Breakwater Rock Pier; a Little Penguin colony that is uniquely protected from predators by Maremma dogs and the subject of the charming 2015 film, Oddball.
Parks & Gardens
Nestled against the Warrnambool coastline are gorgeous green spaces such as the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve, the Warrnambool Foreshore Reserve, and the South Warrnambool Wetlands. Visitors are welcome to explore these areas although younger guests would likely appreciate at least one visit to the Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground. This 20-acre site, open year-round, features giant slides, boat rides, lakeside walking trails, mini-golf, and lawn tennis courts. Further away from the coast are equally enticing spaces such as the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens and Fletcher Jones Gardens. Other highlights include the Cannon Hill Lookout and Hopkins Falls, the latter a gorgeous spot for picnicking and trout fishing and just 15 minutes’ drive north east of the city centre.
Discover the area’s maritime past by heading to Flagstaff Hill, the largest maritime museum and village in Victoria. This award-winning state heritage listed site features a living history village depicting a 19th century port and town as well as highlights such as the Great Circle Gallery Museum, the Shipwrecked Sound and Laser Show, and artefacts from the wreck of Loch Ard. If you’d like to see the full Loch Ard wreck, you can do so by diving off the coast of Port Campbell. Other popular dive sites in the area include the wrecks of the Labella, the Newfield, and the Falls of Halladale. Visitors can also enjoy tours of the historic Lady Bay Lighthouse on the Great Ocean Road.
It’s fair to say that the Warrnambool CBD is an attraction in its own right. It is in the downtown district and the surrounding streets that you’ll find most of the city’s dining destinations, especially around the southern end of Liebig Street. Shops are also prevalent here, although it’s also worth heading out to visit the North Point Shopping Centre and Gateway Plaza, situated to the north and east respectively. For antiques and collectibles, take a trip to the Fletcher Jones Market. The downtown area is also a great place to check out the city’s historic buildings; the Western Hotel (1869) and the Post Office (1870) are both great examples of past architecture. Although there are a few hotels along the Warrnambool waterfront, many of the city’s accommodation options can be found in and around the CBD.
More to Discover
When planning your trip, be sure to leave time to visit the Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform, one of the best places along the coastline of Victoria to spot southern right whales (between May and October), often as close as 100 metres to the shoreline. Immediately east is the Hopkins River Lookout and further east again is Mini Golf by The Sea. Within a 20 to 25-minute drive of Warrnambool are the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve and Allansford Cheese World, the latter offering free hourly cheese tastings complemented by locally produced wines. Further afield but still within an hour’s drive along the Great Ocean Road are natural attractions such as The Grotto and London Arch geological formations and the world-famous limestone stacks known as the 12 Apostles.