15 Jan 2018
On the Great South Coast, past the dense forest of the Otways and before the border with the South Aussies, is a popular coastal city: Warrnambool. It's a holiday hotspot along the Great Ocean Road, visited by nearly half a million people each year.
Are you planning a trip? Use our handy weekend guide to experience the ultimate things to see and do in Warrnambool.
Tales of the Shipwreck Coast
89 Merri St, Warrnambool VIC 3280
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village; Credit: Great Ocean Road Marketing & Robert Blackburn.
Make the most of your short time in Warrnambool. After leaving your bags on the cabin bed or setting up your van, peer into the historical kaleidoscope that is Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. The village is an immersive experience into early Australian maritime history - boats on boats on boats. Book your tickets to an evening sound and light show. Listen to local Aboriginal stories and tales of our whaling past, guided by lantern light or horseless carriage.
Breakfast toastie at Brightbird
157 Liebig St, Warrnambool VIC 3280
Credit: Brightbird Espresso.
Is there a sentence more beautiful than breakfast available all day? Brightbird Espresso is playing our heart strings with their fantastic menu. Savour a bite of blueberry marscapone and maple syrup drizzled waffles or taste made shakshuka over freshly toasted Turkish bread. Coffee here is the real zinger though - ethically sourced and delicious. Like a warm, but strong, hug.
Cycle somewhere scenic
The same old commute to work is a snore. Make cycling fun again in Warrnambool. This historical coastal township has a number of off-road trails to meander down, including: Albert Park, the path around Lake Pertobe, and the Warrnambool Foreshore Promenade Walk. Bring your own wheels, hire a tandem bike from our Warrnambool park or hire a trusty push bike from the local visitor information centre.
Authentic, all-heart Warrnie eats
77 Liebig St, Warrnambool VIC 3280
Cozy and retro, Mack's Snacks is a staple institution of Warrnambool. Entering into their 70th year, the cafe offers a family friendly atmosphere and the kind of food that'll mend a broken heart. Try a slice of homemade Aero cheesecake, cover a meat pie in tomato sauce like you're meant to, and bite into one of the best burgers this side of the Big Smoke. You'll be stuffed, but happy. Enjoy friendly service and comfort food in the town's central district.
Massive playground + Lake Pertobe = a family adventure
Pertobe Road, Warrnambool, VIC 3280
Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground; Credit: Warrnambool City Council.
It's as if this playground was designed by kids. Two flying foxes, swings, scrambling ladders, tic-tac-toe, and a climbing wall just to name a few of the park's features. There's even a toddler's section with music-making equipment and an abacus. After you're "bored" of this little space, hire a canoe or water bike and paddle on Lake Pertobe. Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground is a spot that families return to - because even the adults want to play.
BBQ dinner at the park
25 Pertobe Rd, Warrnambool, VIC 3280
You bring the snags and burgers, we've got the gear. We've got hot-plates to grill up on, a fully-equipped camp kitchen, and long picnic benches to eat together with the whole hive. It's only truly a holiday park experience if you have a yarn with the family next to you on the bench. Make new friends and share and hear stories of travels.
Best views in town
50 Viaduct Rd, Warrnambool, VIC 3280
Warrnambool, Great Ocean Road; Credit: Visit Victoria and Robert Blackburn.
We're telling you, it's really hard to say no to a big breakfast while looking out over the bay. The views at the Pavillion Cafe are sensational. You may even be so lucky to see the local race horses galloping and swimming in the water. What's more is they've got a buzzworthy of menu from your standard eggs benedict through to ginger wild rice porridge. Kick off your last day in town, the right way.
You're standing on a volcano
105 Lake View Rd, Tower Hill VIC 3283
Tower Hill National Park - Warrnambool; Credit: Visit Victoria and Robert Blackburn.
Down here! What's this? A blue tongue lizard!
Over there! What's that? A koala having a wee little nap in a tree.
Wander around an old volcanic crater for a couple of hours and meet the creatures that call Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. You'll say g'day to wallabies, sugar gliders, emus, and kangaroos along your hike. Since its rehabilitation in the 60s, the reserve today boasts over 120 species of birds (sounds like a party). Take note of the sweeping natural structures - the native trees here are a special variety of eucalypts, wattles, tea trees, and banksias.
Picnic lunch by Hopkins Falls
Hopkins Falls Rd, Cudgee VIC 3265
Hopkins Falls; Credit: Warrnambool City Council.
If eating by the koalas hanging around the trees is a little too much, then set up your packed toasties by Hopkins Falls. 90 metres wide and 12 metres tall, the falls are an impressive sight to behold. The volume of water cascading over the rocks - especially after heavy rainfall - is worthy of a photo. The spot is fringed by bushland and dairy farms, making it a quiet spot to relax and recharge.
Is home towards Melbourne?
Bay of Islands; Credit: Visit Victoria and Paoli Smith Designers.
Then see some big rocks and big trees! The Bay of Islands, the 12 Apostles, and Great Otway National Park - three essential sites along the Great Ocean Road. They're all best seen at sunset, so time your dinner and driving to allow for day's end by the water.
Is home towards Adelaide?
Cape Nelson Lighthouse; Credit: Visit Victoria and Robert Blackburn.
Take a tour of the historic Cape Nelson lighthouse still operating to this day (by automation). When crossing over the border into South Australia, stop at Blue Lake in Mount Gambier - a vibrant body of water in an extinct volcanic crater. December to March the lake is a bright cobalt blue, and April to November it's a dark steel.
Cure those post-holiday blues and have something to look forward to. Book your next getaway in Warrnambool, Victoria.