Visit Warrnambool

Touring - Explore the Region

Warrnambool - a great base for a great holiday

Warrnambool, the biggest city in the south-west region, makes a perfect base for exploring the western end of the Great Ocean Road, the beautiful heritage towns of Port Fairy and Koroit, and a rich volcanic hinterland with the amazing Tower Hill volcano crater.

To the south-east, Warrnambool is an hour from Port Campbell, and the highlights of the Port Campbell National Park (including the Twelve Apostles). The equally spectacular, but relatively unknown, Bay of Islands Coastal Park is even closer.

To the west, Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, the village of Koroit, and the heritage gem, Port Fairy are less than 30 minutes away.

To the north-east, on the inland route from Melbourne lie the historic Western District centres of Terang and Camperdown, with their spectacular volcanic craters, lakes and hills.

And to the north, there are rich grazing plains, extinct volcanoes, and more attractive towns like Penshurst. Lunch at the acclaimed Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld and a walk in the majestic Grampians National Park is less than 1.5 hours away.

Warrnambool has all the advantages of a thriving CBD, with a wide range of accommodation options, and excellent restaurants and cafes, and a swag of Victoria's most iconic sights are within an easy - and interesting - drive. Plus, of course, there are the whales on your front door step.


South-east of Warrnambool

Childers Cove

Childers Cove is only a short detour off the main road, but surprisingly few visitors make the effort to visit. Those that do are rewarded with a dramatic series of coves, the most western of the high sandstone cliffs characteristic of the erosion-prone coastline made famous by the Twelve Apostles, and the last point you can access the coast before you get to Logans Beach. Named after yet another wreck, Childers Cove is sheltered and beautiful. 

Bay of Islands Coastal Park

The Bay of Islands Coastal Park is essentially an extension of the more famous Port Campbell National Park, but it's similarly spectacular and much less crowded. The view across the Bay of Martyrs (especially as sunset) is one of the most spectacular coastal scenes in Australia. The island stacks are not as high as the Twelve Apostles, but the fact you are likely to have the view to yourself makes them even more special.

Peterborough

Peterborough lies at the mouth of the broad Curdies River estuary, which is home to a multitude of fish and waterbirds. There's a sandy beach backed by sand dunes to the east of the river mouth (part of the Port Campbell National Park) and the spectacular limestone stacks of the Bay of Islands to the west. Peterborough is a quiet village of modest holiday houses with a pub and a general store.

Port Campbell National Park

The iconic Twelve Apostles site is just one of many spectacular landforms cut by the wild seas near Port Campbell. The Great Ocean Road runs the entire length of the park, providing easy access to most sites of interest including outstanding examples of arches, rock stacks, blowholes, caves and gorges.

Don't miss Loch Ard Gorge, the site for the dramatic wreck of the Loch Ard, which is retold at Flagstaff Hill, and from where the amazing two-metre-high Minton peacock, also on display at Flagstaff Hill, was salvaged.

Port Campbell

Port Campbell is a busy tourist town sheltering in the gorge at the mouth of Campbells Creek, with the windswept clifftops of the national park to the east and west. The beach is one of the few on this stretch of coast that is safe for swimming.

Twelve Apostles Gourmet Trail

The Twelve Apostles Gourmet Trail is a 70 km loop that include the coastal attractions around Port Campbell (maps are available at the Port Campbell and Warrnambool visitor information centres). The gourmet highlights include specialist shops selling beautiful food, including local produce and all the regional specilaties: cheese, wine, ice cream, chocolates and whisky. And of course you can visit the producers themselves to taste and buy direct from the makers.

Shipwreck Trail

Extending for 110 km along the Great Ocean Road from Moonlight Head (near Princetown) to Port Fairy, the trail incorporates 25 shipwrecks marked by road signs and information plaques and provides a fascinating insight into the region's shipwreck history.

West of Warrnambool

Tower Hill

Tower Hill, 14 km west of Warrnambool on the Princes Hwy is one of the most fascinating geological formations in Victoria. After good rain, hills on the floor of a massive volcanic crater are surrounded by a shallow lake. There are amazing views overlooking the lake and the island-hills from the rim of the crater across to Port Fairy. There are several walks, picnic facilities, plenty of wildlife, and a Robyn Boyd-designed visitor centre that sells Aboriginal crafts.

Koroit

Koroit reflects the strong Irish influence on the countryside that stretches between Warrnambool and Port Fairy. Irish labourers were imported by a wealthy landowner to work the rich volcanic soil and potatoes were a major crop. The village lies on the sheltered northern slopes immediately behind Tower Hill. There are a couple of cafes in the main street, which is dominated by striking 19th century architecture.

Port Fairy

Port Fairy is a beautiful bluestone town that has been frozen in time. It became a backwater when its role as a port declined, but it has for a long time been a quietly popular holiday resort for those in the know.

The coastline around Port Fairy is not as dramatic as the Shipwreck Coast, but the wide Port Fairy streets with their National Trust-listed bluestone cottages, hotels and shops, sheltering beneath grand old Norfolk pines, have great charm.

Griffiths Island

At the mouth of the old port, on the estuary of the River Moyne, Griffith Island has been used as a whaling station, an Aboriginal mission, a quarry, for shipbuilding and for a lighthouse complex.

The island is now home to a number of small swamp wallabies and a large colony of 15,000 short-tailed shearwaters, known as mutton birds. The birds arrive in late-September after an amazing migratory flight from the northern Pacific and stay until mid-April. They can be seen at dusk returning to their burrows.

There's an enjoyable circuit walk of the island that takes you out to the historic lighthouse.

North-east of Warrnambool

Hopkins Falls

After good rain, the wide Hopkins Falls, 20 minutes from Warrnambool, are a spectacular sight. Every year the falls provide migrating short-finned eels with a major obstacle on their amazing journey between the wetlands of western Victoria and their breeding ground in the Coral Sea.

Terang & Noorat

Terang is an attractive, historic country town with avenues of grand old trees and some impressive churches. Just to the north, Mt Noorat is Australia's largest dry volcanic crater, once a traditional meeting place for Aboriginal clans from around Western Victoria. Noorat was the birthplace of Alan Marshall, the famous author of 'I Can Jump Puddles'. The entire region is criss-crossed with impressive dry-stone walls beautifully made from volcanic stone.

Camperdown, Volcanoes & Lakes

Camperdown is an unusual regional centre with a beautiful location at the foot of several extinct volcanoes. The town's architectural heritage and, notably, the towering clock tower overlooking the Avenue of Honour, owes much to the pioneering Manifold family.

Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf provide a dramatic backdrop for the township. There are spectacular views of the Western District plains, volcanoes and lakes from the top. Lake Gnotuk (salt water) and Lake Bullen Merri (fresh water) are dramatic crater lakes separated by a narrow tongue of land; the best view of the lakes is from the Camperdown Botanic Gardens on the edge of town.

North of Warnambool

Penshurst

Penshurst is a small village at the foot of Mt Rouse, an extinct volcano with dramatic views north to the Grampians and to other volcanic cones in the area. For a detailed understanding of the region's geological history, visit the Volcanoes Discovery Centre. The centre has information about the Kanawinka Geopark, which celebrates the volcanic plains of the Victoria and South Australia, and a Geotrail that links the most interesting of the volcanic phenomena.

Grampians National Park

Rising abruptly from the surrounding Western Plains, the Grampians (Gariwerd) Range is a series of rugged sandstone ridges and forests rich in wildlife. The park is a great venue for camping, climbing, scenic drives, bushwalks and nature study. A network of walking tracks throughout the park allows you to explore cascading waterfalls, brilliant spring wildflower displays, and panoramic views. The area has a rich Aboriginal heritage and a number of important rock art sites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitor Information

Visitor Information

Contact our friendly staff at The Warrnambool Visitor Information Centre to help with all of your enquiries.

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