Warrnambool in Winter


Warrnambool (aka Shipwreck Coast) boasts the natural beauty of Lady Bay, once a bustling seaport of both wonder and terror, overlooking the magnificent Southern Ocean, amidst the green dairy countryside.

Part two of a two-part series, Warrnambool in Winter words and photography by Sally T.  Ridden (read part one here).

WARRNAMBOOL IN WINTER                           

In part two of this series discover: Flagstaff Hill Maritime & Shipwrecked Light & Laser Show, Cheeseworld and Fun4Kids Festival

A lot of the shops and cafes in Warrnambool are in heritage buildings and older more established streets are lined with the picturesque Norfolk Pine trees. We migrate 3-4 times a year to Warrnambool but by far the best time is June and the start of the woolly winter, just in time for Australia’s best kids event Fun4Kids, a week-long program of kids activities and event, held during the mid-year school holidays.Warrnambool in Winter

There’s good reason Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum consecutively wins Best Victorian Tourist Attraction; it’s simply fantastic for kids and families to get lost, explore and educate whilst having fun. It’s also Victoria’s largest maritime museum showcasing a living historical 19th-century port and a state heritage listed site tumbling down the bluff overlooking the beautiful bay.

For an all-inclusive entry fee, explore the town village area that has over 40 buildings and vessels spread over 10 hectares at your own pace or attempt the Sea Chest Challenge Trail, a fun educational option to explore the precinct. We struck gold in the form of a personal tour guide Dr Ron Sproston, author of “The Peacock That Became A Legend”, an enlightened gem of historical information on Flagstaff Hill.

A tour of Flagstaff Hill Great Circle Gallery Museum begins with a multi-media presentation tracing the voyage of an early immigrant to the Victorian colony. You then explore the museum that houses many treasures that have been rescued from shipwrecks that occurred along the Great Ocean Road.  One of the most famous relics from the Loch Ard Wreck is the recovered stunning centrepiece – Loch Ard Peacock, Australia’ most valuable shipwreck artefacts recently reinsured for $4m.

Tour the two Lady Bay Lighthouses with historical, scientific (technological) and architectural importance (both listed on the Victorian Heritage Register). Climb the upper lighthouse, still an active navigational aid for amazing views of the southern ocean.  Whilst exploring, feed the gorgeous roaming farm animals with a pre-purchased bag of nibbles.  Then off to the original Garrison housing two rare muzzle-loading cannons with a 5½ km range, surely the pièce de résistance is when you luck an event day when the canons actually are set off!

For the museum finale, there’s Shipwrecked Sound and Laser Show – Shipwrecked! Staged after dusk and operating nightly, projected on a 9-metre high fountain, against the background of Flagstaff Hill, the Village theatrically comes to life with the dramatic state of the art $5 million sound and laser show experience providing an enthralling journey of the Loch Ard, in 1878.

My 3.5yr was so worn out from the days visit at the Maritime museum he, unfortunately, fell asleep and then awoke in the midst of dramatic multi-media theatrical experience = clearly petrified so we left the show early.  My suggestion, visit over 1-2 days and enjoy in an unhurried pace as there is so much to see/do.

Cost: Museum entry Adult $16, Concession $12.50, Child $6.50, Family $39 (2 Adults – 2 or more Children) for laser show Adults – $26, Concession $23, Child $13.95, Family $67 (2 Adults – 2 Children), Additional Child $9

When: Open Daily (except Christmas Day) from 9am until 5pm (last admission 4pm).  Laser show begins 7pm onwards depending on time of year.

Where: Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum 89 Merri St, Warrnambool

Cheese World is the cellar door outlet for Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory’s award winning Warrnambool Heritage Cheddar cheese range.  Try a complimentary cheese tasting (held hourly on the half hour) from our award winning Warrnambool Heritage brand cheeses. Purchase a delicious local Timboon ice cream cone and of course you must try their famous milkshake made with their own Sungold milk! There’s an interesting selection of both local and regional wines to compliment your cheese purchase along with delicious specialty gourmet products. The free admission Heritage Museum houses vintage engines and an extensive collection of farm equipment and household items from everyday life dated back to early 1900’s.

[Cheese World is located at 5330 Great Ocean Road, Allansford, VIC 3277.  Open Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5pm and weekends, entry is FREE]

I previously wrote about last year’s Fun4kids and having attended the last four years in a row I can only speak highly of the event and the amazing programme the festival offers for kids.  We will be going again this year for the 2.5 acres of indoor fun, 26th June – 2nd July 2016. Don’t miss out.

Warrnambool can be accessed via a 3hr+ car drive, V-line rail train & coach services also operate to/from Melbourne and Geelong and regional flights with Sharp Airlines.

Explore, experience and enjoy Warrnambool in Winter – there’s definitely something for everyone. 

Read part one of this series HERE.