Wrecked off Warrnambool

Situated on the south coast of Victoria, Warrnambool was once Victoria’s busiest port. However, the seas in that part of the world can get quite rough, and as you see on the Great Ocean Drive near Warrnambool, the coastline is very treacherous. As a result the remains of about 80 ships lay on the sea floor, and of these, 16 lie on the bed of Warrnambool’s Lady Bay. With a history of wrecked ships, Warrnambool’s days as a major port were probably numbered.

Much of Warrnambool’s maritime history is celebrated at Flagstaff Hill, where the tourist information centre is based. From here you get great views of Warrnambool, but particularly of Lady Bay and the coastline beyond. There is a restaurant and Shipwreck Museum to hold your interest, but the most prominent feature is the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, a recreation of an 1870s village that is set on about 10 acres of land. This village really comes alive at night when a breathtaking sound and laser show is presented which recreates the experience of being aboard a sailing ship as it sinks in Warrnambool’s treacherous seas.

Not everything in Warrnambool relates to shipwrecks. The central business centre is quite large , and you can do an interesting amble around the town centre to view many of the interesting historic buildings, some of which date back to the 1870s.

Warrnambool is quite hilly, and there are still many parts of the town that have been preserved, or that have been kept free of development.
The town must get a lot of visitors because there are many places to stay, although the most popular places would be those close to Lady Bay, where there are good swimming spots, as well as good surfing and windsurfing.

Much of Lady Bay is protected by a breakwater, in the shelter of which is a marina.

Stingray Bay is located opposite the breakwater, at the mouth of the Merri River. Much of this is a nature reserve and there are boardwalks to follow which give you good viewing access to much of the wildlife, which includes penguins and seals. There is also a Southern Right Whale nursery at nearby Logan’s Beach, which is easy to get to on foot along the Foreshore Promenade.
As Warrnambool is an outdoors type of place there are a number of ways you can enjoy the natural beauty of the place. One of these is to do a beach trail ride by horse, and the other is to cruise the Hopkins River on a one hour voyage. For those who like the occasional tipple, Warrnambool also has a microbrewery and winery.

Warrnambool is the largest town at the end (or beginning, depending on which direction you travel) of the Great Ocean Road, and it is certainly worth a couple of night’s stay to further enjoy an absolutely outstanding piece of coastline.

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