Victoria is not just about the glamorous and posh cosmopolitan centres like Melbourne. The state also has its fair share of nature trails and national parks where you can take a hired motorhome for a memorable self-drive holiday. Warrnambool is one of those amazing holiday destinations where you can have a wonderful time indulging in local cuisine, in leisurely strolls or in nature’s beauty.
If you’re scheduled to visit Warrnambool anytime soon, how about checking our list of self-drive destinations? Surely, you’ll be able to create your own list of top picks once you’ve run through our quick guide!
The Coastal City
The city is the western end of the Great Ocean Road, which features several remarkable destinations in Victoria. Regarded as the “largest coastal city outside Port Phillip Bay,” Warrnambool is a melting pot in its own right. First-time visitors and regular tourists would have a greater understanding of the city with the various festivals and celebrations held all year round.
The May Racing Carnival is world renowned thanks to the Warrnambool Racing Club which was founded in 1858. For over a century, the club has been known for the heart thumping races that they’ve organised yearly, which featured thoroughbred horses all over the country.
On the other hand, the Fun4Kids Festival, which would be held on June this year, is considered as “Australia’s best children’s festival.” It features 17 “fun zones” that are an entourage of performers across the country which would surely bring a smile to all spectators. You and your kids will surely be razzle dazzled in the week-long festival.
Meanwhile, the Port Fairy Folk Festival, which is now in its 40th year, features the best folk artists in Australia. The festival originally featured Irish and Australian acts. However, the collection of featured performers diversified with each year’s presentation. The festival boasts of having featured over 3,500 acts since its inception and festival goers are surely in for a thousand more awesome performances in the years to come.
A Colonial Hill
During the time of the first settlers, the port cities of Victoria were vital in logistics management. Unfortunately, many ships were lost in those days when maritime companies’ ships were at the mercy of the ocean’s powerful grasp. Then again, the shipwrecks became the source of legends at the present time. One of the beneficiaries of these colonial shipwrecks is Flagstaff Hill.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village is a well preserved colonial town that features the treasures that were discovered from the shipwrecks in the Shipwreck Coast of Victoria. Once you stepped in the village, you’ll be taken back to the 1870’s!
Flagstaff Hill’s well-preserved houses feature even the most intricate details of the early settlers’ lives. In fact, the whole community is regarded as an outdoor and maritime museum. Although nearly all of the buildings in the village were preserved, some of them were modified and turned into inns and hotels to accommodate tourists that would like to stay for the night.
Among the most popular buildings in the village is The Steam Packet Inn, which was originally a private Bond Store. Another iconic structure is Flagstaff Hill’s Lady Bay Lighthouse Complex. It was vital in the growing naval trade in the 19th century. In 1887, two 80 pounder rifled, muzzle loading guns were installed to the structure as a form of additional defence for the constantly expanding port city.
A Patch of Heaven in Paradise
Although Warrnambool is already paradise in its own right, in it lies a patch of heaven that would certainly make your eyes wide with wonder. The Warrnambool Botanic Gardens that were founded in the 1850s is a testament to the people’s undying determination to built themselves a divinely inspired park. It might even be considered as an impossibility at that time since the wind’s strong southwesterly current coupled with the loose soil made the construction of the gardens extremely challenging.
Now, the gardens are a patchwork of splendid fountains, parks, and even the occasional non-human visitors like bats and small mammals that take refuge on the huge leafed trees that surround the entire garden. As the years progressed, the gardens’ administrators have included several features and amenities that cater to holidaymakers, like barbeque stalls.
On the other hand, certain plants hold a special place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. One of these is the legendary Lone Pine. Historical accounts say that the pine tree in the Botanic Gardens is just one of four surviving pine trees that came from a pine cone that fell from a lone pine tree “on a heavily fortified plateau of the Gallipoli Peninsula” during the great war.
Currently, seeds from the stoic Lone Pine in the Botanic Gardens are being propagated by Friends of Warrnambool Botanic Gardens. Some of the seedlings are planted in Toll Bar Park, Lexton.
Sublime Rocks of Solitude
Travelling by the Great Ocean Road, you’ll be able to reach the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. The park is popular for its pristine beach. Apart from that, the park is also known for the rock formations that rule the bay.
BY James Yu
These giants stand sublimely and determined while the thunderous waves mercilessly pound at their surface. Although ages have passed, these rock formations still stand as formidable gatekeepers that hold the door towards the powerful sea.
Tourists can enjoy the panoramic view of the bay area via the lookout areas. These are located strategically along the coastal park. Meanwhile, there are also access points in order for tourists to reach the beautiful beaches.
Apart from that, there is a sealed carpark in the area that caters to a variety of vehicles, from standard sized cars to coach buses. They also installed a parking area for persons with disability. The disabled parking area is custom constructed for rear parking, which would provide ease and comfort for tourists with special needs.
The former town hall was rehabilitated for a very special purpose; that is to serve as a beacon and stalwart of the Warrnambool culture – the Lighthouse Theatre! Although it just opened in 1983, the original foundations of the building have been standing proudly since 1891.
BY Warrnambool City Council
Currently, the theatre hosts a variety of shows that cater to all ages. From musicals to concerts, dances to plays, the choices are endless! Just imagine all the possibilities as you enter the magnificent halls of this majestic facade. Surely, each moment you spend with family and friends at one of their shows would be a memory endeared for years to come.
Warrnambool is truly a fantastic destination for a hired campervan holiday. It is a testament to the challenges that the first settlers went through before they were able to build magnificent monoliths of modernity. Quaint as it may be, the story Warrnambool is a tale that never leaves the memory of those who bare it and share it with others who are dear.