Parks, Gardens and Rivers
Rich in volcanic soil and river flow, Warrnambool provides refuge for plenty of the regions native flora and fauna. Exploring outside of the famed national parks will often uncover hidden gems away from the crowds.
Pick your own adventure and walk, bike or drive to some of the local parks, gardens and rivers. Don't forget the picnic basket and rug.
Warrnambool’s Botanic Gardens were designed by William Guilfoyle in 1879, shortly after he completed the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens. Designed in the classic style, these elegant sheltered gardens feature wide curving paths, ancient trees, a lily pond with ducks, fernery and a band rotunda. The garden retains remnants of the original flora on the site, plus a fernery with flora from the Otway Ranges.
LOCATION: Cnr Queens Rd & Cockman St
Cannon Hill offers panoramic views over Lady Bay and Lake Pertobe and out to sea. A Portuguese Padrao commemorates early Portuguese exploration of the Warrnambool area. There are BBQs, a rotunda and car parking is available.
LOCATION: Adjacent to the War Memorial, off Artillery Crescent
Fletcher Jones Gardens
David Fletcher Jones (1895-1977) started his career as a hawker in the Western District. He first came to Warrnambool in 1924 and opened a clothing store in Liebig Street. His business gradually expanded, and in 1948 he constructed a clothing factory on a site in East Warrnambool, which had once been a quarry. The factory buildings were sited to the south of the block and a garden wall created in the area occupied by the quarry. At its peak, the company had 55 stores and over 2,700 employees. The colourful gardens survive and feature Fletcher Jones’ hawker wagon, a waterfall and wishing well.
LOCATION: Cnr Flaxman St & Raglan Pde
Hopkins Falls are set in lush dairy country. They make an ideal picnic, fishing and walking spot, with gas BBQs and toilets provided. For a few days in early summer each year, the falls are the scene for one of nature's most extraordinary migrations, as short-finned eels negotiate the falls on their migration to and from their spawning grounds in the Coral Sea (3000 km away).
LOCATION: 13km north east of Warrnambool.
The Hopkins River mouth (and Blue Hole) with its beautiful cliffs, rock formations and rock pools is a popular fishing spot. In late spring, short-finned eels can sometimes gather in huge numbers waiting for access to the sea on their journey to the Coral Sea. Just up from the river mouth, boating, water-skiing and swimming are possible. The National Trust-classified Proudfoots Boathouse is nearby.
LOCATION: Off Otway Rd
The Merri River lies to the west of the city, meandering through wetlands (now partly the Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground) before emerging at Stingray Bay, in the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve. The Merri is regarded as one of Victoria’s finest brown trout streams.