Warrnambool and Port Fairy of Great Ocean Road
We drove from Melbourne through Great Ocean Road in 2.5 days. I’ve written about Day 1 and Day 2 of the trip in Great Ocean Road Self-Drive Itinerary (1/2) and Drive to 12 Apostles from Melbourne (2/2) respectively. After the famous 12 apostles, people will usually turn back and return to Melbourne. But I wanted to visit Halls Gap, so we went further up to Warrnambool and Port Fairy of Great Ocean Road before going up to Halls Gap. Our Day 2 continues in this post as we rushed to Warrnambool after London Arch; and Port Fairy the next morning.
Warrnambool is a one time whaling centre which now attracts visitors to observe the large mammals from lookouts and boat trips. The whales are usually visible from the shore and you can view them at the Logans Beach Whale viewing platform at Logans Beach Road from May to September. It’s free and always open, remember to bring binoculars and wear warm clothing. Remember to check the updated whale sightings before heading down.
Tower Hill Nature Reserve
We didn’t have much time in the day, so we skipped whale watching and rushed to Tower Hill Nature Reserve for a chance to get up close with wildlife. This nature reserve, between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, is a volcanic crater of an extinct volcano rimmed with volcanic ashes. We were inside of a volcano, yo.
There are quite a few walking/running trails to choose from, but we chose a short one of 30 minutes. Even so, we got lost along the way and there was no one around for us to ask for help. My heart was pumping fast as we figured our way out. I could sense the animals watching us from behind the bushes. Thank God we made it out safely!
The place is rumoured to be a good place to see koalas, kangaroos, emus and other wildlife easily. Well, I didn’t spot any koala, but a fleeting emu which I couldn’t get a proper look at. At least the kangaroos didn’t disappoint. They were awesomely close! I froze when the kangaroos looked us in the eye. They were so near! We were checking one another out to assess the situation. When I realized they were harmless, aka not coming towards me, I took out my phone and started taking photos and videos of them.
However, it was not until I went to Halls Gap at Grampians that I managed to capture a priceless scene of two kangaroos fighting! Pardon the rough editing and shooting skills. Will do better the next time I travel. Enjoy the video of the southern sea at GOR and the fight! :)
Dinner: Fishtales Cafe
After Tower Hill, we went to Fishtales Cafe at 63 Liebig Street for dinner. The owners of our Airbnb recommended this burger place to us. I don’t remember spotting the eatery easily, so look out for this array of menu at the entrance.
AND THE BURGER WAS REALLY REALLY AWESSSSSOMMMMME!!!
Super hungry! No time to pose. :P
Flagstaff Hill: Shipwrecked sound and laser show
The reason why we stayed at Warrnambool was largely because we wanted to go to the Shipwrecked sound and laser show at Flagstaff Hill. You can enjoy Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in the day and the show at night. But because of our itinerary, we were only able to make it for the show that runs nightly.
At A$26 for one person, the show is not exactly budget friendly for us. However, we read many online reviews raving about the show, so off we went! From Flagstaff Hill’s entrance, you will have to travel a distance to watch the show. You can either choose to take the Loch Ard Lantern Walk or a small bus through the village. I will highly recommend to you the walking tour. As we walked through the village, the tour guide stopped at different points to give a commentary.
The lady owner of our Airbnb actually works as a guide for this show! But too bad she’s not working for that particular night. She was the one who encouraged us to take the walking tour, saying it’s more interesting than the bus. She also told us that the team who designed this light show is the same guys who did the light show at Resorts World at Sentosa (think she was referring to the outdoor crane show).
It was not crowded when we were there, hence everyone was made to walk. It was an interesting experience, but probably my expectations were raised too high, so I’ll give it only a 7.5/10.
Accommodation: Airbnb at Warrnambool
I’ve mentioned a few times above about the Airbnb, so here it is! If you are thinking of staying for a night at Warrnambool, you can consider this Airbnb (4.5 stars based on 132 reviews). Do read my review of this Warrnambool Airbnb before booking! :)
After a night at Warrnambool, we headed further on the Great Ocean Road to Port Fairy, and then up north to Halls Gap at Grampians National Park. Port Fairy is the last destination on the Shipwreck Coast, at the end of the Great Ocean Road.
This charming fishing village has wide streets lined with nineteenth century cottages, Georgian-style merchants’ homes, grand public buildings and old stone churches. More than 50 limestone and bluestone buildings from 1800s have been classified by the National Trust. Follow one of the historic walking trails and discover the beauty and charm of the town’s architecture.
Eat, drink and shop at the array of restaurants, cafes, pubs, boutiques, antique stores, and art and craft shops scattered throughout the town. You can also walk along the local port and watch the fishermen pull in their catch of the day. Or take a guided fishing trip from the wharf or a cruise to the seal colony on Lady Julia Percy Island.
We went to Port Fairy simply because I thought its name is nice. Too bad the weather wasn’t cooperating when we were there in the morning. The heavy downpour didn’t make it pleasant or safe for us to wander along the river, visit the beaches, or go on the historic walking trails. Moreover, since it was quite early in the morning, most of the shops weren’t open yet. Although we only drove around and got down the car a one or two times for photos, Port Fairy came across to us as a small and quiet town with pretty architecture.
That’s all for our Great Ocean Road Self Drive in 2.5 days! Refer to the related posts below for more information on the itinerary. After the sea, we’re now heading to the mountains at Halls Gap. ;)
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Related Posts: Great Ocean Road Self Drive Itinerary (1/2) Drive to 12 Apostles from Melbourne (2/2) Review: Pebble Point Review: Warrnambool Airbnb
Updated 19 July 2016 | Travels During October 2013
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