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Where to stay in Warrnambool
At the western end of Australia’s Great Ocean Road is the town of Warrnambool, a pleasant seaside destination for a vacation or a weekend getaway. Tourism plays a big role in the local economy, with both drivers who come to enjoy the world-class Great Ocean Road and sightseers who flock here in winter to witness the migration of southern right whales helping the town to thrive. In addition, there is good surf around Warrnambool as well as lovely beaches.
You can step back in time at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, which is situated around the local museum and the town’s iconic lighthouse. Head to Warrnambool Harbour in winter to book a cruise on one of the whale-watching boats or catch one of the popular festivals, like the Wunta Fiesta in February or the Fun4Kids Festival over the Christmas holidays. At 265kms from Melbourne, Warrnambool can be reached in a single day of scenic driving. There are plenty of options for dining and accommodation, such as the Best Western Olde Maritime Motor Inn.
There is a range of options for all travelers. The most popular hotel in Warrnambool is the Girt By Sea Warrnambool, which has been booked 5 times from our Hotels.com verified guests. Our guests also highly recommended Lighthouse Lodge in Warrnambool as it has been reserved 5 times.
One of the main reasons travellers end up in Warrnambool is the town’s location at the western end of the Great Ocean Road and at the southern end of the Princes Highway. After enjoying one of Australia’s most scenic drives, visitors can go whale-watching or hit the beaches.
- Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum
The top cultural attraction in Warrnambool is this museum that showcases the maritime heritage of the town. A replica fishing village has been created around the museum, allowing visitors to get a glimpse at what life looked like over a century ago. There is also a lighthouse within the village that offers one of the best photo opportunities in town. A cool light and sound show tells the story of the Loch Ard shipwreck over the lake every night. The Quality Suites Deep Blue is just one of the well-reviewed hotels in this waterfront area of the town.
- Logans Beach
One of the big draws in winter is watching the annual migration of southern right whales. You can head to Logans Beach, where a viewing platform allows visitors a good chance of spotting these majestic whales right from the water’s edge without binoculars. Another option is to join a whale-watching cruise from Warrnambool Harbour for an even more intimate experience.
- Warrnambool Botanic Gardens
Designed in 1879 by William Guilfoyle, the genius behind the Royal Botanic Gardens, Warrnambool’s botanic gardens are an excellent example of classic Victorian style. The elegant gardens are shaded by ancient trees and are laced with wide walking paths. Most of the flora here is native to Warrnambool and is backed by a cool fernery taken from the Otway Ranges.
Eating and drinking and shopping nearby
For a small town, Warrnambool packs a lot of diversity into its space when it comes to dining out, shopping, or having a drink. Restaurants range from those serving Asian cuisine to seafood shacks and brewpubs, while nightlife revolves around the live music at the Loft or a tasty craft beer at the local brewpub. Chain hotels like the Ibis Styles Warrnambool Central Court offer reliable lodging next to local outfits such as the spacious Gallery Apartments which caters to long-stay visitors.
You can reach Warrnambool by train, bus, or car from Melbourne. The V/Line train network runs three daily trains from Melbourne to Warrnambool, with the scenic journey taking just over three hours. Driving the Great Ocean Road is another superb way to reach this town. It takes most drivers around six or seven hours without any major stops. To get around Warrnambool, the Transit South West public bus line that operates 10 lines around the town. But most people prefer to have their own wheels to maximise their time in this gorgeous coastal corner of southwestern Victoria.