You’re in for a whale of a time in this city by the sea.
There are so many great ways to spend the weekend in this city overlooking the deep blue of the Southern Ocean. Breathe in the salt air whilst tempting the tastebuds at renowned restaurants then delve into the vibrant arts, culture and music scene. Get back to nature with a visit to the impressive Hopkins Falls and watch the whales migrate from the cold Antarctic Waters. If you’re lucky you might see them calve at the sheltered whale nursery of Lady Bay. You’ll marvel at the wildness of winter waves as they crash into the breakwater on your Sunday stroll to spot the local fairy penguins. Then simply relax, rejuvenate and replenish at the Deep Blue Bath House and the open-air bathing sanctuary of the Deep Blue Hot Springs.
Our warm welcome to Warrnambool was by the geothermal rock pools and sensory caves of The Deep Blue Hot Springs. Feel the work week slip away as you step into the restorative mineral salts and feel the natural heat of the earth drawn therapeutic waters. The twilight bathing session will blissfully ease you into holiday mode as you make your way through the steamy open-air sanctuary. Here, you’ll immerse yourself in the rainforest pool inspired by the nearby Otway’s, relax in the aromatic lavender mists, indulge the senses in the illuminated colour therapy caves and gaze at the stars in the shallow pools of Reflection Bay. You won’t want to leave and luckily you don’t have to, you can dine and stay at the Deep Blue Hotel too.
The hotel chef’s continued to indulge our senses at the Deep Blue Restaurant serving up seasonal menus that celebrate local produce. Good food in a relaxed, casual dining atmosphere… what a way to finish the day.
The sound of the Southern Ocean sends you into the deepest sleep when you stay in one of the 81 spacious deluxe or premium suites at the Deep Blue Hotel. You’ll need it, Warrnambool is waiting to wake you up with its never-ending list of exciting adventures. After your room service breakfast in bed of course!
The best time for whale watching in Warrnambool is between June and September. It’s when the female Southern Right Whales head to the sheltered shores of Lady Bay to give birth to their young, it’s a naturally protected playground for their calves. Watch from the custom-built viewing platforms at Logan Beach as these majestic animals put on a spectacular show – tail slapping, frolicking and waving as they lounge around in what they find to be warm waters! Pop in to see the friendly team at the Visitor Information Centre for notifications on whale sightings.
Want more wow even after the whales? Located 15km from Warrnambool, the 90m wide, 12m tall Hopkins Falls is well worth the drive. Winter is the best time to view these curtain-like falls and the two viewing platforms even have their own camera stands to help you snap an Insta-worthy shot. Take the easy path to the pools below making sure to keep an eye out for the baby eels jumping out of the rocky ledges… they are making their winter migration too.
The saying goes… ‘You can’t come to Warrnambool without having a Kermonds Hamburger, and once you do you always come back.’
This iconic burger and milkshake bar, Kermonds Hamburgers, started as a caravan on the Warrnambool foreshore way back in 1949. And the burgers still taste the same. This third & fourth generation family-run business still follows the same recipes today. And judging by the length of the queue, those happy customers of locals and tourists alike keep coming back.
Warrnambool is a city by the sea, complete with Melbourne-esque hidden laneways and cafes. Local artists have turned these hidey-holes into a maze of unexpected artworks with new pieces appearing nearly every week. Grab a coffee, check out the interactive map and get walking on this self-guided street art tour. You’ll discover over 26 pieces that tell rich stories of Warrnambool’s history while they lead you to some of the best watering holes in town.
Keep your culture tour alive at the Warrnambool Art Gallery. WAG began in 1886 with an eclectic mix of artworks and today has a 5,000+ piece collection – ranging from European Salon and Colonial Paintings of the 1800s, Indigenous artefacts, Melbourne Modernists of the 40s and an ever-expanding catalogue of contemporary works. For the remainder of 2021 WAG will be focusing predominantly on Australian artists – exploring contemporary artists interpretations of social issues, politics, the environment, history and our rapidly changing world.
Looking for a live music and gourmet stone-baked pizza on the Great Ocean Road? Look no further than the cocktails and kitchen of The Dart & Marlin but don’t forget to book! After dark is when this eclectic bar comes alive with live bands, DJ streams, specialist cocktails and flowing boutique wine and local craft beers. Whether you want to cosy up by the fire, bunker down in a private booth or dine ‘en plein air’ in the vine covered courtyard Dart & Marlin will deliver the perfect backdrop to your night out in Warrnambool.
The Deep Blue Hotel knows how to help you make the most of your stay. Lie back in the light-flooded Deep Blue Bath House and let the geothermal, naturally warmed waters wash over you – they are sourced directly from 850m below the earth’s surface. The indulgent menu of spa treatments and infrared wellness sauna will then take you to an even deeper state of relaxation, balance and healing.
The Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs is located in prime position on the Warrnambool Foreshore, surrounded by walking trails and bike paths to some of the best beaches on the Great Ocean Road.
This part of the world can get some wild winter weather and it was incredible to witness the 10m swells of the Southern Ocean crashing over the Warrnambool Breakwater. Watch where you stand or the sea might give you an unexpected shower as well as a spectacular show.
For a scenic Sunday stroll make your way over the river via the footbridge towards Thunder Point Coastal Reserve (approx. 1h 40m walk). You’ll pass the river estuary, wetlands, the white beach of Stingray Bay and Middle Island – home to a colony of Fairy Penguin and their guardian Marrema dogs. This area is famous for its sandstone cliffs, tiny bays, rockpools and the spectacular 360 views – Merri River, Lady Bay and Breakwater to your right, the South Warrnambool wetlands straight ahead and the scrubland of Thunder Point to your left with the deep blue of the Southern Ocean behind.
You can’t leave without pulling up a stool at the Hotel Warrnambool. This historic pub originally opened in 1890 as the Grand Ozone Coffee Palace but today it’s famous for its cosy atmosphere and live music on Sunday afternoons.
Make sure to check out the Facebook Page to see the upcoming bands for the next time you’re in town.
Warrnambool is located 256km from Melbourne and takes approx 3h to drive via the M1 inland route of 5.5h via the Great Ocean Road.
Bathing under the stars at Deep Blue Hot Springs
Seeing the big babies at play at the Whale Nursery
The vibrant food, wine, arts, music and culture scene
The wild winter walks along the spectacular Southern Ocean
The breathtaking views of Hopkins Falls
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.