By Julia Swift
Let’s inject some much needed tourism dollars into our amazing state of Victoria.
While international travel is off the cards and domestic borders open and shut like a kids nursey rhyme, our backyard is screaming out for us to jump in our car and check it out. Victoria is bursting with so much to offer, you’ll have yourself thinking ‘Why have I never been here before’
So come with us, as we take you around Victoria.
Our first stop is Warrnambool, which lies three hours south-west of Melbourne, or four hours from the Mornington Peninsula and is a great place to spend a three day weekend.
Lying at the far end of the Great Ocean Road, this seaside town with its rugged coastline has a lot to offer.
From Caravan Parks and Motels, to beautifully spacious Air BnB’s and a couple of luxury accommodation options, you’ll be sure to find something that meets your needs and budget.
We stayed at the Comfort Inn Warrnambool International in a Family Spa room with a queen and two single beds. Whilst nothing flash, it was clean, comfy and well located.
After settling into our room, and the kids opening and closing every cupboard and draw (kids right) we headed out by car to grab dinner and explore the town.
After dinner we headed towards the water, but as we drove the kids’ eyes were caught by a playground at Lake Pertobe. It was busy, but we found a carpark easily enough and thought that after our long drive to get to Warrnambool it was actually a perfect place to let them have a run around.
The area around Lake Pertobe it beautiful and we caught the evening glow reflecting off the lake. After watching a swan wreak havoc and break up what looked to be a lovely dinner picnic, we headed toward the first playground area.
The playground is broken up around the lake with a main play area with some swings, a climbing net and smaller equipment. Further around you’ll find a maze and towards the back, a couple of epic flying foxes.
Stroll around the lake or be adventurous and hire one of the motor boats.
The next morning, we headed out to Thunder Point. This vantage point offers a great view out over the water and if you are lucky and visit at the right time of the year (May-September) you may even spot whales off the coast. From here you can take a 1km stroll down to Shelly and Levys beaches, admire the cliff faces and explore the rockpools.
We spent the rest of the morning at Stingray Bay which has an easily accessible beach, with shallow parts for younger kids to wade in the water and waves for the older kids with boogie boards.
(Note this is not a patrolled swimming beach)
After we had cooled down, we went to explore Tower Hill which is dormant volcano turned wildlife reserve and bursting with native wildlife. Within three minutes of entering, we were greeted by an emu strolling beside the car, and on parking the car were greeted by two more, and two koalas sitting in the trees overhead. (I’m not an emu fan I must say, so I jumped back in the car quick smart until they had passed) It’s free to enter and offers self-guided or guided walks which runs daily at 11am. We chose to do the quick and easy Lava Tongue boardwalk due to the heat but we were not disappointed: the boardwalk winds between wetland reeds and grasses before cutting through the gum trees. The walk only takes about 30 minutes, but in that time we were lucky enough to spot an echidna, emus and a koala, all very close up. It was amazing and highly recommended.
We wrapped up our time in Warrnambool with a sunset stroll along the Pickering Point boardwalk where the sun bounces and glimmers off the cliffsides and water below, and we kept thinking about how lucky we are to having this place at our fingertips.
Wine and Dine
During our visit we found a couple of places I’d love to share with you.
The Flying Horse – For dinner we headed just out of town to the roadside brewery. You wouldn’t think much of it to drive by as it is located beside a service station, but with local beers on tap, a small kids playground, expansive menu including well-priced kids meals and delish adult meals, this place was a winner across the board.
BoheMia Café – located in the main part of town is a funky café with all the ‘brekkie faves’ with little twists as well as a kids menu. Yum!
Lady Vandeburg – This super fun burger, cocktail and desert bar was our next dinner stop. Their menu features mouth-watering burgers, hot dogs, loaded fries and the list goes on. But where the magic really happens are their loaded shakes and impressive cocktails.
Around Warrnambool there are lots of other walks and attractions that we ran out of time to visit. However we loved the area and will be back for sure.
Thanks for having us Warrnambool.
Julia is a flight attendant and local Mornington Peninsula mum of two young kids. Travelling is her passion, and now with the kids it’s just a fine balancing act of travelling on age appropriate trips, the whole family can enjoy.