Popular with tourists
On the coast 300 km west of Geelong. The largest town on the south-west coast of Australia, and like many of these towns it has a comparatively long history. Whalers first settled this spot in the 1840s. Forty years later, the British fortified the place with guns – intended to repel a Russian invasion (for which they’re still waiting). Nowadays it’s a popular holiday spot with some fine beaches and terrific surfing.
In summer Warrnambool attracts a large number of tourists. In winter it attracts larger tourists in the form of right whales, which make their way up from the Antarctic to holiday at Logans Beach. Here, between May and October, you can see them frolicking and spouting. There’s even a special viewing platform.
The Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village on Merri Street, open 9 am to 5 pm daily, entry fee, is a reconstruction of a 19thC port around the gun emplacement set up to resist the Russian invasion that never was. Here you can visit the old lighthouse, the fort, and learn about the many shipwrecks along this coast.
Also worth a visit is the local Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG) on Timor Street, (open Mon-Fri 10 am-5 pm, Sat/Sun/Public holidays 12 – 5 pm; www.thewag.com.au). This has some fine paintings from the Colonial period and a worthwhile collection of modern prints.
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