Warrnambool is a city on the south coast of Victoria, 263km south west of Melbourne and will take about 3 hours via Geelong on the Princes Highway. Warrnambool via the Great Ocean Road takes about 6 hours from Melbourne. Warrnambool is connected to Melbourne by train.
Warrnambool is at the end of the Great Ocean Road and surrounded by lush hinterland. The beaches at Warrnambool are popular in the summer months and provide good surfing. Because of it's location, hugging the Southern Ocean coast line, it has taken on the tag of Windy Warrnambool, due to the gusty southerly winds encountered through this area.
Warrnambool hosts the worldwide popular Fun For Kids festival every July. It is the largest kid's festival in the world and draws hundreds of families from all over. Warrnambool also plays host to the popular horse racing event in May, known as the May Races. It is here that the longest steeple chase in Australia is run, the Grand Annual Steeple Chase.
Allansford is 10km east of Warrnambool and is the heart of dairy farming in the Southwest. It is here that the large Dairy Farmers factory is located which is one of the areas major employers. Cheeseworld is a large cheese tasting and fresh dairy produce sales outlet, as well as a good family restaurant.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village
Set atop Flagstaff Hill and overlooking the magnificent Lady Bay is the recreation of a 19th century fishing and sailing village. Here you can view the original lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers cottage. You can also view two restored ships of the shipwreck era, loads of information and multimedia displays of the history of many of the sunken ships. There is a shipwreck museum that houses some treasures that were washed up from ill fated voyages, one such treasure being the famous Lochard Peacock. Merri Street (03 5564 7841).
This pretty bay with it's long pier that can be walked along, shows a rugged view of the Southern Ocean. There is a swimming beach here with Penguin Island and Middle Island sitting close to the shore. Penguin Island can only be accessed when tides are low, however Middle Island can be accessed by a walkway bridge, the cliffs are sheer but there are some steps to access secluded little beaches and rock pools. The beaches on this side are not patrolled and there can be strong currents and rips at certain times. Main Beach is the long sandy surf beach, that is popular with swimmers, surfers and sunbathers in Summer.
This huge area of parkland and playgrounds offers plenty of outdoor entertainment. Located in Pertobe Road, which is the road to the foreshore, there are adventure playgrounds,maze, flying fox's, lakes with water activities, cafes, BBQ's and picnic facilities.
Mahogany Walking Track
This is a great coastal walk that spans 22km and goes from Warrnambool to Port Fairy. It is also a mystery trail as it is rumored that the ill fated Mahogany ship is hidden under shifting sand dunes between the two townships.
Southern Right Whales
Warrnamboool is popular with the Southern Right Whales as they stop here on their journey to warmer waters. Between mid July and mid September pods of whales arrive in the area with their young or to give birth. Logan's Beach has five viewing platforms and attracts hoards of tourists. The whales are visible from this location and when playful can be very entertaining.
This is the site of Victoria's largest and most recent volcano. This huge hole in the ground can be found between Warrnambool and Portfairy, and adjacent to the township of Koroit. You can drive a steep, winding roadway to the base of the crater. There is an interesting Natural History Centre here with the focus being on Aboriginal history and artifacts. There is also a picnic area where the emus hover menacingly looking for some leftovers. Koalas and kangaroos roam free, as well as native trees, plants and wetland areas. If you are feeling energetic, walk to the top of the pinnacle and see a great view of Warrnambool, Portfairy and the sea.
Warrnambool Art Gallery
This contemporary art gallery is located in the heart of Warrnambool. It displays many exhibitions and its permanent works are mainly by australian artists. 165 Timor Street (03 5564 7832).