whales great ocean road

The Best List of Things to Do in Warrnambool Australia

Warrnambool Australia was founded in 1855 and is famed for its abundant ocean wildlife which can often be spotted from Logan’s Beach whale watching platform. However, there is so much more to Warrnambool Australia than just the charm of its magnificent animals.

Whale watching Warrnambool

Warrnambool Australia is a thriving coastal community with spectacular scenery, fascinating history, and unbeatable surf.  So whether you are with the family, arriving as a couple, or a solo traveller Warrnambool is the perfect culmination to your Great Ocean Road adventure or the ideal place for a weekend away.

Warrnambool Guide

You certainly won’t be at a loss for things to do in Warrnambool. This guide will highlight what to do and see in Warrnambool and the best spots for wildlife encounters including Whale Watching Warrnambool.

Warrnambool coastline

Warrnambool Location

The seaside City of Warrnambool VIC is 266 kilometers southwest of Melbourne and lies at the western end of The Great Ocean Road. Which is about 3 hours by car from Melbourne, if you take the most direct route or 5 hours along the scenic Great Ocean Road. 

For those without a car, trains run daily from Melbourne to Warrnambool VIC and they take just over 3.5 hours each way.

Things to do in Warrnambool

Warrnambool Wildlife and Trails

Thunder Point Coastal Reserve

If you’re looking to spend some quality time with mother nature, Thunder Point Coastal Reserve offers incredible views of the ocean and an opportunity to enjoy the local wildlife.

things to do in Warrnambool include seeing Seals

Besides whales, visitors to the area can also see Australia Fur Seals and Penguins. The Australian Fur Seals can often be seen relaxing on the shore of the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve. Of which, most of the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve trails bypass.

Middle Island

Penguins can be viewed on Middle Island, within the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve. The penguins are protected by the local Maremma dogs, a type of domesticated dog species, who were trained and introduced to Middle Island in 2006 to protect the penguins from foxes during breeding season.

Middle Island Penguins

Every year, during the penguin breeding season, the Maremma dogs stand guard to protect the colonies and their chicks. However, in the in-term, some of the helpful dogs can be visited at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum.

The situation is so usual, a movie was created about it. Check out the movie Oddball, for its pretty accurate portrayal of the preservation project.

Point Ritchie

Point Ritchie not only offers one of the most stunning ocean views in Warrnombol but also has a fascinating history. The area is also known as Moyjil Aboriginal Place and has contributed to some awe-inspiring scientific developments. 

Things to do in Warrnambool

Shell deposits at Point Ritchie point to the Aboriginal people occupying this area for tens of thousands of years. With some scientists even speculating that is was occupied as far back as 80,000 years ago which would challenge the current timeline of when mankind spread across the globe. 

While visiting, ensure you make time to read the informational plaques at the viewing platform or visit the Moyjil Place website for more history about Point Ritchie. For a more comprehensive look at original Aboriginal culture and their history, give Aboriginal Australians a read.

Trail Riding

Love the coastal trails but looking for things to do in Warrnambool that are little friendlier on the feet? Explore the coast on horseback with Randell’s Mahogany Trail Rides.

They organize tours for riders of all abilities from $50 per person. Otherwise, there are a couple of places in town that rent push bikes to tool around town and the trails. 

Whale Watching Warrnambool

Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform

In Warrnambool, whales are the holy grail for wildlife lovers and from June to September the waters just off of Logans beach act as an unofficial nursery for female calving Southern Right Whales.

whale watching warrnambool

The Warrnambool whales have been returning to the warm waters surrounding Warrnambool for hundreds of years and while sightings aren’t guaranteed, success at the Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform is pretty high. 

They often come within a couple hundred feet of shore, to protect their young from aggressive males who patrol the waters farther out. 

Whale Watching Tours Warrnambool

If you are looking to learn more about these gentle giants and get into the open ocean then perhaps a Warrnambool whale watching tour is right for you.

whale watching warrnambool

There are a few boat charters, that act as fishing charters in the summer, that take guests out whale watching. However, there are not many large whale watching operators like you would find in other wildlife meccas around the world.

This is due in part to the treacherous nature of coastline and because the whales are often best spotted from the shore at places like the Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform.

warrnambool coastline

Boat Charts Warrnambool is one of the few operators who do take guests out on the water to look for whales. Check out their website here. Their whale watching tours Warrnambool prices start from $99 per person. 

Warrnambool Vic Beaches

Main Beach Warrnambool

Warrnambool Main Beach is a near-white sand beach and 3.5 km long. It backs on the Foreshore Reserve and other recreational areas. 

Due in part to the length of the beach, there is something for everyone. Towards the breakwater, the waters are calmer and good for swimming.

Warrnambool beach

Meanwhile out toward Point Ritchie there are a couple of consistent surf breaks such as The Flume and Granny’s.

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach, as the name suggests, was dubbed so for its an abundance of shells. It’s a quiet and isolated beach suitable for surfing or picnicking but not for swimming. It is often considered one of Warrnombools ‘secret beaches’, although we dare say the secret is out.  

warrnambool surfing

Stingray Bay

Stingray Bay is part of the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve. It is located at the mouth of the Merri River and, depending on the time of day, has a number of tidal pools to lounge in.

warrnambool tide pools

It is also located directly across from Middle Island. During low tide, visitors can almost walk all the way out to Middle Island to get a glimpse of the penguins. However, keep in mind Middle Island is closed to the public so look from afar. 

Granny’s Grave Beach 

About a 20-minute walk from the main Warrnambool beach you will find Granny’s Grave Beach.

warrnambool beach entrance

Though not as sinister as it sounds, it does have an actual grave marking the first European woman to be buried in the area. As well as more typical features such as a children’s playground, making this a popular spot for families.

Other Things to Do in Warrnambool

Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground

To indulge in some serious energy-burning, head to Lake Pertobe. Here you will find an adventure playground for the kids with trampolines, boats for hire, BBQ areas, and water fountains. This is a firm family favorite when it comes to Warrnambool things to do.

playground warrnambool

Warrnambool Botanical Gardens

Keeping with the park theme, the Botanical Gardens are well maintained and the perfect place to enjoy a picnic amongst the greenery, watch the birds or take a quiet stroll around the pond to feed the ducks. If you keep your eyes peeled you’ll also notice bats hanging from the park’s trees.

warrnambool botanical garden bird

Flagstaff Hill Museum

A visit to Flagstaff Hill is an absolute must on the list of Warrnambool things to do. Delve into the maritime history and explore the stories that led to the area being named the shipwreck coast.

This living museum is a truly unforgettable experience. Visit their website to learn more about this Warrnambool attraction.

maritime museum warrnambool

If you only have time for one activity in Warrnambool, this should be it!

Logan’s Beach Spa Retreat 

Escape to serenity by paying a visit to Logans Beach Spa Retreat.  There’s nothing like a bit of ‘me time’ and the spa has a huge selection of treatments to choose from, catering to individuals, couples and groups. 

warrnambool spa

Shopping 

If you are wondering what to do in Warrnambool when the weather takes a turn for the worst, or you need to pick up some forgotten essentials, don’t fear, the city has a thriving shopping scene.

Take a wander through the city center to pick up souvenirs, gifts, and necessities.  You will find trusty favorites like Target as well as the quirky independent traders market.

shopping warrnambool

Lighthouse Theatre Warrnambool 

In Warrnambool, what to do with your evening needn’t be a challenging decision. This modern theatre in the heart of the city offers up a varied programme of comedy, musicals, professional talks and community theatre. To see what’s on at the Warrnambool Lighthouse Theatre check their has current listings.

Lighthouse Theatre Warrnambool

Warrnambool Events and Festivals

Wunta Fiesta 

The Wunta Fiesta is an annual festival held in Warrnambool over the first weekend of February. The family friendly three-day programme is set in various locations across the city giving you the opportunity to sample local food, music, and events.

Warrnambool festivals and events

Keep up to date with what’s on by visiting here.

Warrnambool May Racing Carnival

If you’re visiting early May, take a trip to the Warrnambool Racecourse for the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival. 

Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic 

For Motorsports fans in Warrnambool, what to do but go to the Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic held every January. Tickets for this event sell out fast so keep an eye out for availability on here.

There is an abundance of things to do in Warrnambool and whatever you choose, you will have a fantastic time immersing yourself in the relaxed Warrnambool Australia lifestyle.

Great Ocean Road Tours

Don’t have any wheels but want to experience the Great Ocean Road and Warrnambool? We recommend the following tours:

Have you ever visited Warrnambool? What are your favourite things to do?

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