Located 265km west of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road , Warrnambool is a great spot to stop and chill for a few days. This area is known as the Shipwreck Coast due to the many ships that ran aground between 1800 and 1900’s from the rough weather conditions and rocky shore.
The easiest way to get there is to drive from Melbourne which will take you 3.5 hours along the highway or 6 hours along the Great Ocean Road, one of the most scenic and beautiful drives in the country and definitely worth the extra time. The town is connected by bus and train as well.
The cheapest way to stay in Warrnambool is to get a self contained apartment. A two bedroom apartment for 4 people starts at $100 a night, or a 1 bedroom apartment is around $70. You can get a deluxe spa room with a sea view for around $170, a dorm bed for $25 and there are a few campsites around the area to choose from as well.
Outdoor adventures are a plenty around Warrnambool. Go caving, canoeing, mountain biking, horse riding, rock climbing, abseiling or walking through the beautiful parks and gardens in the area. There’s a dormant volcano at the Tower Hill Reserve where you can spot some of the local wildlife and the Maritime Museum is worth a look as well.
Every year between June and October at Logans Beach, Southern Right Whales come within view of the shoreline to give birth. Surf, rock, sea and river fishing are popular, particularly at Levys Beach , Killarney Beach and the Hopkins and Merri rivers, and there are several fishing competitions in the course of the year. The sizeable Warrnambool campus of Deakin University has also ensured a decent nightlife for the city.
There is some diving and snorkelling off the coast here but the weather conditions can be very rough sometimes so this can affect currents and visibility. When the conditions are good then it makes for some nice diving and there are about 10 sites to explore.
Middle and Penguin Islands are great sites for beginner divers and snorkelers with lots of swim throughs and plenty of sea life such as crayfish, sting rays and many species of fish. Thunder Point has some great rocky landscapes, photographers will love the opportunities at Hellen Rock and The Banks has some nice drop offs but strong currents so it’s best for experienced divers. Wreck enthusiasts can enjoy the La Bella Wreck.
There are so many exciting things to discover in Warrnambool so take a few days out and explore this spectacular region.
(By Kelly Luckman)