DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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Stay and play – Warrnambool, VIC

Labelled the nation’s most liveable city, vibrant Warrnambool has a glorious position along the Great Ocean Road where the sea meets the Hopkins River.

Hopkins River is on the city's fringes, meaning aquatic activity is always within reach.

Where is it?

Warrnambool is 255km southwest of Melbourne (3hr 10min drive) or 345km in the same direction if taking the scenic route along the Great Ocean Road (5hr 15min drive).


Why go?

To relax or explore; for a couples’ escape or a family adventure; for its scenery or history. The city and its surrounds are bursting with exciting and diverse experiences.

We're not horsing around – there's something for all tastes in Warrnambool.

The essentials – things to do in Warrnambool, VIC

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village

Arguably Warrnambool's best attraction. Indoors, the museum retraces the area’s rich maritime past with much focus on fascinating tales of shipwrecks. A highlight is the famous Loch Ard Peacock statue, valued at $4 million and complete with its own interesting backstory. Outside, the maritime village recreates life from a time gone. Then, in the evening, a dramatic sound and light show recounts the past in stunning fashion.

Flagstaff Hill has plenty to captivate, indoors and out.

Logans Beach

Warrnambool is a whale-watching hotspot from June-September, and the best place to gaze at these giants of the ocean is from the excellent designated viewing platform at Logans Beach. Outside of this period, the lookout is a great spot to witness the ocean’s power at play and watch boarders at this renowned surf beach. 

The designated viewing platform at Logans Beach reveals the ocean's splendour, and whales in season.

For calmers waters, try Lady Bay, which suits the likes of swimming and is patrolled during summer. Hopkins River Mouth – known as the Blue Hole to locals – features craggy formations and rock pools and is popular with pet lovers. In addition, roughly 25km southeast of Warrnambool are two stunning, crowd-dodging strips of sand: Childers Cove and Murnanes Beach.

Stunning: Childers Cove.

Warrnambool Foreshore Promenade

This picturesque path extends for roughly 5km and is perfectly suited to walking, running, or cycling. It links Logans Beach with a spot known as the Breakwater. Near here is one of Warrnambool’s best cafés, Pavilion, which is a great option for brunch or an arvo cocktail after working up a sweat. For a bigger challenge, tackle the 37km-long Warrnambool to Port Fairy Rail Trail.

Pavilion serves up both tasty tucker and quality views.

Meet the Maremma Experience

Just offshore from Warrnambool is Middle Island. It's home to a little penguin colony, vulnerable to threats from predators, such as foxes. To combat this problem, Maremma guardian dogs were placed on the island. Seasonal tours introduce you to these cute dogs and detail the world-first project, with funds going towards the venture. Note: There is no public access to Middle Island; the tours are held on the beach adjacent to it.

The story of the Maremma guardian dogs is a heart-warming one.

Warrnambool Botanic Gardens

A great Warrnambool budget tip is to pack a picnic and head to these gorgeous gardens. Among its features are a lake and rotunda, and budding botanists should spy the gardens’ beautiful Dutch elm as well as the rare Wollemi pine.

Pack a picnic and settle in at these great gardens. Credit: Warrnambool City Council.

Lake Pertobe Playground

Looking for things to do in Warrnambool with kids? They’ll likely burn energy at this popular attraction. The outdoor playground is packed with amusements and has BBQs on site for longer stays. There’s mini-golf nearby, too.

Where energy is burned: Lake Pertobe Playground. Credit: Warrnambool City Council.

Warrnambool lookouts

These two spots should be on your list:

  • Cannon Hill: Fires off pretty panoramas overlooking Lake Pertobe and Lady Bay and features old cannons set up in response to a perceived threat of invasion from Imperial Russia.
  • Thunder Point: A revered spot for soaking up a stunning sunset and yet somehow not prone to huge crowds.

Electric: Thunder Point.

Things to do around Warrnambool, VIC

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

The reserve is rich with Aboriginal heritage and home to a massive volcanic crater, various geological features, a lake, wetlands, wildlife, and native birds. Various walking trails reveal its ample treasure.

Distance: 15km west of Warrnambool.

Tower Hill teems with wildlife, varying landscapes, and absorbing features.

Hopkins Falls

A must for photographers, the 90m-wide falls create a spectacular sight. Dedicated viewing platforms provide various perspectives of this natural attraction, which doubles as an inviting picnic spot complete with BBQs.

Distance: 15km northeast of Warrnambool.

A photographer's friend: Hopkins Falls. Credit: Warrnambool City Council.

Port Fairy

The fishing village pours on the charm and features striking streetscapes, a lively port, boutique shops, galleries, and plenty more.

Distance: 30km west of Warrnambool.

Twinkle town: Port Fairy is full of charm. 

Twelve Apostles

This collection of offshore limestone stacks is a star of any Great Ocean Road drive. Elevated platforms easily reached via the car park allow for excellent viewing ops and photos. Nearby Loch Ard Gorge is not to be missed, either.

Distance: 70km east of Warrnambool.

The famous Twelve Apostles are a day-trip must from Warrnambool.

Random fact

A Life in Australia study by global market research firm, Ipsos, ranked ‘Warrnambool and the South West’ as the nation’s most liveable region. The results, released in September 2019, placed the city and its surrounds on top for such factors as sense of community, feeling safe, and access to the natural environment.

Most liveable city: Welcome to Warrnambool. 

Warrnambool accommodation

If you’re searching for somewhere to stay in Warrnambool, look no further. There are two BIG4 parks in the city, both offering a wide range of cabin accommodation and caravan and camping sites as well as pet-friendly options.

BIG4 Warrnambool Figtree Holiday Park

Park type: Holiday

Figtree belies a location that’s within walking distance to the CBD thanks to its peaceful vibe and tranquil surrounds. Leading facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, tennis court, games room, BBQ area, and indoor camp kitchen.

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Tranquil: BIG4 Warrnambool Figtree.

Year-round swimming.

BIG4 NRMA Warrnambool Riverside Holiday Park

Positioned on the banks of the Hopkins River, as its name suggests, this pretty park has ample facilities that include both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, mini-golf, recreation room, tennis court, and bouncing pillow. There’s easy access to a jetty for fishing, too.

Park type: Holiday

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BIG4 NRMA Warrnambool Riverside is aptly named.

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