10 Warrnambool Walks to Exploreby BETHANY LEWIS
Foreshore Promenade Walk (7.5km)
The Foreshore walk is filled with hidden gems and places waiting to be explored. Designed for all forms of wheeled transport, including wheelchairs, pushers, bicycles, rollerblades and scooters, the beauty of this walk is there are several places to start from the Breakwater and stretching to the Hopkins River Mouth. With many lookouts along the way, you can choose your own adventure with a variety of shorter walks. Head to visitwarrnambool.com.au to discover local recommendations including Breakwater to the Surf Club, Granny’s Grave to the Flume or even Thunder Point to Shelly Beach.
Lake Pertobe Walking Track
Here walking tracks are scattered amongst a 35 hectare parkland, lakes and playground. There are free BBQ’s, picnic shelters, play equipment, cricket pitch/net, hire boats, a maze, flying foxes, giant slides and it is the perfect place for bird watching.
CBD Heritage Trail (3km)
Trace the city’s oldest and most attractive buildings on this 3km walk. The map linking 22 historic buildings can be downloaded here or you can pick up a hard copy at the Visitor Information Centre.
Designed in 1876 by William Guilfoyle, the 20 acre garden contains an abundance of plants, sweeping lawns, a duck and lily pond, stone bridge, cannon and a ‘Lone Pine’. The newly opened Outdoor Adventure Play Space is perfect for kids to get in touch with nature. Explore the gardens on foot on the many looping paved paths.
Russels Creek Trail (3.2km)
This is an easy, flat walk along the waterway environment. Starting at the bottom of Ardlie Street it follows the creek to Garden Street. Towards Garden Street keep your eyes peeled for colourful street art. If you fancy a walk off the beaten track, the local secret is that this trail continues after the pavement ends. It winds on between the Merri River and paddocks of friendly horses for an extra couple kilometres, dotted by old windmills and large gumtrees. To find the secret path go to the bottom of Ardlie Street, cross Daltons Road and follow the treeline to the river. Beware this trail can flood after heavy rain.
Albert Park (3km)
The 3 kilometres of gravel paths are perfect for running, walking and cycling. Scattered amongst the park are some local football ovals. This is a favourite for dog owners. However, dogs must be on a leash. Entry from Cramer or Coulstock Street.
Mahogany Trail (22km)
Stretching between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, this beach trail is 22km long and filled with incredible sightseeing opportunities. From towering sand dunes, the Southern Ocean, quiet beaches, bird and sea life this is a walk to remember. There are many places to start and stop – you do not have to do the whole track! Noteworthy beaches on this trail include Shelly Beach, Levy’s Beach and Killarney.
The trail is largely isolated between Warrnambool and Killarney where you will find seabirds to be your main company. The Port Fairy pine trees will eventually pop out and guide you the rest of the way.
The full trail can be accessed from Thunder Point in Warrnambool or East Beach in Port Fairy. Alternatively, start at Killarney Beach to shorten the distance in half.
Note: low tide the best time to walk
Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail (37.5km)
The 37.5km rail trail links the towns of Warrnambool, Koroit and Port Fairy. A favourite of both locals and tourists, the trail winds through farming country, wetlands, the skirts of Tower hill, sand dunes as well as ocean and river views.
The section from Port Fairy to Koroit is slightly upward then drops from Koroit to Warrnambool.
Lake Gillear Cliff Walk (32km)
A local secret, a favourite for photographers and accomplished surfers who have dubbed this spot ‘Backyards’. This walk will take you off the beaten track, a twenty-minute drive from town, past the Whale Nursery at Logans Beach, all the way to Buckley’s Road in Allansford. Continue past Lake Gillear, the motorcross track, the kart club, the archers club and the riffle range to a secluded car park with unsurfaced walking tracks. Welcome to the Bay of Islands Coastal Park, a 32 km stretch of coastline from Warrnambool to Peterborough. Walk east to find yourself cliffside the roaring Southern Ocean. Walk for as long as you wish before turning back. The inclines are gentle but the terrain is uneven with tree roots and rocks jutting out in places. Take care and don’t stray from the track.
Tower Hill Hikes
Peak climb (1.5km) – this steep walk goes via the Yatt Mirng Crater and provides panoramic views of the park and the coast.
Wagon Bay Loop (1.5km) – This gentle walk circles Wagon Bay pond, home to bird life and with views back to the Visitor Centre. The walk is mostly flat with some steps along the way.
Journey to the Last Volcano Loop (1.9km) – This walk is easy in the first section and becomes moderately strenuous as the walk leads up to and around the most recently active volcano crater. It provides good views of the park.
Lava Tongue Boardwalk (1.6km) – This gentle walk passes the remnant rocky outcrop of an old lava flow and crosses the wetlands to Fairy Island. This walk has some of the best natural habitat in the park. It provides excellent opportunities for spotting birds, reptiles, koalas and echidnas.