On School Holidays?by
Take the kids on a Warrnambool summer holiday of fun and adventure! Let’s Go Mum’s Barbara Bryan tells us why they think Warrnambool is such a fantastic place to take the family on holidays this summer
If you’re looking for a Melbourne family getaway these Christmas school holidays, then Warrnambool is a brilliant choice.
An easy three-and-a-half-hour-drive from the Melbourne CBD, or just over two hours from Geelong, Warrnambool is bursting with fun things to do and see with the family! Warrnambool also just happens to make the perfect base to explore this beautiful part of Australia.
With so many fantastic family activities to enjoy together, it’s difficult to narrow them all down, however here are just a few of our top choices of things to do with the kids in Warrnambool!
The Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village is a great favourite with our family, and an absolute must-see when in Warrnambool. At Flagstaff Hill, the kids can experience what it was like to live during the 1800s in an Australian sea-side village. Be swept back to a time when whalers hunted the seas, and terrifying shipwrecks were a common occurrence along this beautiful but unforgiving coastline.
Start your visit by entering the mesmerising Immersion Theatre to watch and listen to the stories from times long-past. Then continue on into the wonderful Maritime Museum with its unique collection of historic artefacts. There’s a lot to see here, but perhaps the most remarkable piece is the stunning 4-million-dollar ceramic peacock, which was raised from the murky depths of the infamous Loch Ard shipwreck. When you can tear yourself away from the museum, it’s time to head out to explore the amazing Flagstaff Hill fishing village.
This beautifully recreated period fishing village is enchanting to wander through. Watch your children’s faces light up in wonder as they realise that they are now in a very different world from which they normally live in. From the worn stone cobbled roads, to climbing a lighthouse on the top of the hill for a spectacular coastal view, right down to the blacksmiths shop, pub and stores with their riveting audio-visual story-telling displays - this is a fascinating journey into the past.
You can wander in and out of the different buildings at will. Take the kids into the schoolhouse to experience what a 19th century schoolroom was like. Try your hand at tying maritime knots. Have a picnic at the lakeside and feed the ducks – or even the resident turkey. This is a great family outing – but it doesn’t end there!
In the evening, Flagstaff Hill features an incredible Sound and Light Show ‘Tales of the Shipwreck Coast’. This is a night-time adventure the whole family is going to love.
Children are given the important job of carrying lanterns to light the way during the atmospheric walk down the dark cobbled streets to reach the Wharf Theatre. A bus is provided for those who can’t manage the walk. It’s here you’ll all be seated to witness a simply unforgettable sound and light laser show - which is projected onto a wall of water! It’s an ingenious way to deliver a story, and totally spell-binding to watch. Hear the tales of the hardships of the early fishermen and whalers…experience the fear of the Loch Ard Shipwreck…you really will feel transported back into time to the point where you get goose-bumps! It’s a fantastic show, unlike any other we’ve ever seen – and only to be found in Warrnambool!
Another special Warrnambool spot not to be missed is Thunder Point.
Just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Warrnambool you’ll find the sweeping beauty of the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve. Grab your camera for this visually spectacular coastal area of wildlife, lookouts and paths. The water is oh-so-blue and crashes against the jagged coastline to create a vista well-worth seeing. Access is easy with an on-site carpark, and a level boardwalk guides you to the main lookout.
On your way to Thunder Point, you’ll have passed-by Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground - but this is a playground which really shouldn’t be missed! Voted the best playground on the Great Ocean Road, this marvellous playground stretches for acres of fun-fun-fun!
Let the kids loose to explore this huge park with so many adventurous activities! Find your way into, and then out of, the full-sized maze (I’ll admit, we were all lost in there for a while!). Play in the expansive playgrounds, ride the huge flying foxes…this is no ordinary playground! Prepare to spend an hour or two here for all the free fun on offer.
One of the bonuses of staying in Warrnambool, is that it is so central to some really great day trips too.
It’s the perfect base for a day trip to the major sights of the Great Ocean Road. Only a bit over an hour away you’ll find the Twelve Apostles, with a whole host of fabulous sights to be discovered along the way - and still be back in time for dinner at one of the excellent Warrnambool restaurants!
Driving in the opposite direction from Warrnambool will take you to the remarkable Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, and then a little further on from that is the historically significant town of Port Fairy, with its preserved buildings, beautiful river front and surf beaches.
While you are in Warrnambool, be sure to check out Street Art. This is something that we missed on our last trip but will be sure to include this Summer. Warrnambool’s street art scene is thriving with new pieces and installations appearing weekly. As part of Beachfest, Warrnambool’s summer festival, this January you can join a free guided street art tour around the CBD to uncover secret streets and hidden messages behind breathtaking artwork. Alternatively, you can take a self-guided tour at your own pace.
Warrnambool Street Art has received a lot of interest after the success of the viral video ‘Warrnambool Wombat’ so we’re excited to see the famous Gutsy the wombat in real life!
Warrnambool really does make the perfect family summer holiday destination. It’s what keeps us coming back time and again! The time to book is right now, before the summer rush.
For more information on Warrnambool, visit https://iamwarrnambool.com.au/
Barbara Bryan runs the Let’s Go Mum travel blog, a two-time winner of the Australian Travel Blog Awards and a recipient of an Australian Top 50 Influencer award. When they are not roaming, Barbara and her girls live in a country cottage in rural NSW surrounded by their pets. The family’s next adventure will be a Carnival Cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, followed by a visit to Victoria.
Follow her adventure here.