Australia’s Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular attractions in the country, and with good reason – from rugged landscapes to rolling beaches and the monumental surf of the Southern Ocean, this coastal stretch has more than its fair share of natural beauty.
pWarrnambool is the jewel in the crown of the Great Ocean Road; this compact city has culture, heritage and outdoor adventure in spades. Whether on land or at sea, there’s something here for everyone when you know where to look.
Ready to explore? Pick up your car hire in Melbourne and get on the road – we’re sharing our favourite spots to help you get out into the wild in Warrnambool.
Visit Warrnambool between June and October and you’ll have the chance to do a little whale watching right from the lush sand dunes of Logan's Beach. The area is home to Victoria’s southern right whale nursery, and from the viewing platform, visitors can see these incredible creatures and their young up close. Further west in Portland, you can also see the majestic blue whales between November and May; they can be spotted – and heard – from a distance of about 10km.
Built around the heritage-listed Warrnambool Lighthouse, Flagstaff Hill is a charming maritime village and museum that brings to life the rich history of the Shipwreck Coast. Learn the stories of more than 180 ships that crashed along the rocks and see priceless relics and shipwrecks from the museum. By night, the multi-media special effects show ‘Shipwrecked’ is a must – sailing nightly at Flagstaff Hill, the award-winning experience tells the tragic story of the Loch Ard disaster.
Perched inside an extinct volcano dating back more than 30,000 years, Tower Hill State Game Reserve is Victoria’s first – and in some ways most special – national park. Here, visitors can experience the best of the Australian bush; the incredible landscapes are the perfect backdrop to experience local wildlife at close range. Inside, come face to face with koalas, emus, waterbirds and kangaroos, and stroll amongst the 300,000 trees that call the national park home. Daily tours also offer the chance to learn about the area’s cultural heritage and Aboriginal history.
Warrnambool is home to some excellent shore dives, like the breakwater wall and Labella shipwreck. Dive below the depths to find an abundance of fish and plant life, as well as beautifully intact shipwrecks that have been taken over as underwater habitats. From Stingray Bay to Pickering Point and Thunder Point, there are plenty of beautiful dive spots to choose from, ranging in depth from 3 to 24 metres.
Between Warrnambool and Peterborough on the Great Ocean Road lie staggering views of the Bay of Islands. The Coastal Park covers a 32km stretch of land along the water with some of the most incredible landscapes in the region. Visit and you’ll find towering sea cliffs, tall rock stacks, hidden beaches and verdant fields of wildflowers – just don’t forget your camera!
Take a break and get into the wild in Warrnambool – book a car hire at Melbourne Airport and hit the road to make sure you see it all on your own schedule.