Victoria South West.

Barwon South West

Things To Do In Western Victoria – The Best In The West Series.

When it comes to things to do in Western Victoria, there simply is so much! Beaches, mountains, long stretches of roads, great eateries, pubs, bars and accommodation. Museums and galleries, markets, music festivals, adventure activities and so much more! There are so many great things to do in Victoria with kids.

Map of Western Victoria

Covered in the Victoria South West series is Anglesea, Derrinallum, Koroit, Lorne, Mortlake, Noorat, Port Campbell and Warrnambool. LOOKING FOR MORE THINGS TO DO IN WESTERN VICTORIA? VISIT SOUTHERN GRAMPIANS REGION.

The Great Ocean Road and South West Victoria offers some of the most spectacular beaches in Victoria, holiday destinations, luxury accommodation, coastal towns and waves for surfing in Australia.

Anglesea.

Anglesea is a beautiful, family friendly, seaside town on The Great Ocean Road in south west Victoria. It is one of the most popular holiday destinations along The Great Ocean Road, partly due to its close proximity to Geelong and Melbourne.

Learn to surf, kayak, ride a SUP by local experts. The patrolled and protected beach is fabulous for families of all ages. The river mouth offers more gentle wading for younger children. Depending on the tide, the ocean can be great for surfing, body surfing, kayaking, SUP and often just floating around. There is plenty of sand for the ever loved sandcastles to be constructed as well.

Anglesea has everything you need from a supermarket, to boutique shops, take away options, chemist, newsagency, banks, butcher, bakery. As well as lovely dining choices as well as the family friendly local pub.

Accommodation options are endless. Air BnB options are popular for longer stays, however, there are several apartment style offers close by to the beach, multiple caravan parks and holiday houses to rent through local agencies. The Big 4 Anglesea is a very popular choice for the hours of entertainment within the park, available to children and families.

Derrinallum.

At the foot of Mount Elephant sits the lovely country town of Derrinallum. For volcano enthusiasts, and those who enjoy a fantastic view, a walk up Mount Elephant is a must with a well maintained trail owned and operated by the local community.

Cycling along the old stone walls of the district is a great way to see the area, followed by some fishing or water sports on one of the nearby lakes.

There are dine-in and take-away options when you get hungry, with Front Paddock a favourite amongst locals and visitors. They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch, great coffee and have friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere.

Accommodation is available at the Mount Elephant Hotel Motel, who also serve up pub meals in the evening. Air BnB have several local choices; or, alternatively there is camping at the Deep Lake Reserve.

Lorne.

Perched above a beautiful golden beach overlooking Loutit Bay, Lorne has long been a holiday destination for those seeking a seaside break from the big smoke of Melbourne. As one of the larger towns along The Great Ocean Road, Lorne remains a popular stop off point for those driving Australia’s most famous road.

Though fairly compact Lorne has plenty to keep you occupied. At the entrance to the town is The Great Ocean Road Story. This small museum documents the backbreaking effort that went into building the iconic road by returning soldiers after the First World War.

Lorne Pier

Lorne’s gorgeous beach is also a popular surfing spot, whilst Lorne Pier is a great place for fishing. As with much of the coastline along The Great Ocean Road, Lorne Pier is also a great place to look out for whales as they migrate during the winter. Just above Lorne is the famous Teddy’s Lookout, a wonderful vantage point with spectacular views over the sea and the winding Great Ocean Road.

Teddy’s Lookout

There’s plenty to explore just outside Lorne. There are walking trails through the forests near Teddy’s Lookout where you might spot koalas in the wild. There are also a number of spectacular waterfalls nearby in the Great Otway National Park. Erskine Falls and Shoak Falls are both just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Lorne.

Lorne is also blessed with a number of great places to eat. The Bottle of Milk is the perfect place for a healthy breakfast or brunch. Sat right on the beach, the Lorne Beach Pavillion has the best views in town, as well as a great range of cocktails.

Lorne Pier Seafood also has a pretty special view as well as the best seafood menu in town. The best pizza in Lorne can be found tucked away next to the Erskine River at the excellent Pizza Pizza.

Lorne Beach and Loutit Bay

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Lorne either. The Lorne Hotel is one of the best in town and also has a great restaurant and bar. The historic Grand Pacific Hotel is full of character and charm and has fantastic ocean views. The Sandridge Motel is another great option, with good sized comfy rooms and the entire town and the beach right on its doorstep.

By James Davies. Where You’re Between.

Koroit.

Koroit is a pleasant little township in south west Victoria, just a short drive off The Great Ocean Road. Koroit is known to be one of Australia’s best representation of early Irish settlement. The town itself is full of history, charm and has a genuine sense of community.

There is lots on offer in Koroit. It is home to a number of events which bring crowds to this popular western Victorian village. The most popular being the Koroit Irish Festival which is held annually.

Tower Hill is well worth a visit; a dormant volcano thought to have last erupted 30,000 years ago, was declared Victoria’s first National Park. Koroit has lovely Botanical Gardens, a Heritage Walk through the towns most historic points; an Art Gallery and is part of the newly developed Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail.

Our choice dining option and somewhere that offers something for everyone, is Izzy’s Restaurant. The restaurant was established by Izzy’s Group in 2007 and after extensive renovation in August 2019, the restaurant re-opened with a striking new interior. The cosmopolitan menu includes moreish European style pizzas, a delicious list of starters that can be shared with a glass of wine in front of the fire, sizzling steaks from the grill, and an incredible selection of seafood dishes and vegetarian options. A comprehensive takeaway menu is of great appeal to holiday-makers and locals wanting an easy night in. Izzy’s Restaurant is open on Wednesday through to Sunday from 5pm until late.

Accommodation options are not short! From hotels, to holiday or farm stays and bed and breakfasts.

Mortlake.

Mortlake is a nice little town in the South West of Victoria. It is well presented, maintained and boasts some beautifully restored hotels and buildings.

Take a break from the trail to shop for vintage treasures and antiques, dine at one of the restaurants or cafes, or enjoy a famous Clarke’s pie sitting in the Market Square.

Accommodation options range from the two equally charming restored hotels, Macs Hotel and Mt Shadwell Hotel, as well as holiday houses and nearby Air BnB options.

For camping or caravan families, the very clean and friendly Mortlake Caravan Park, is an excellent option. Located alongside the picturesque Tea Tree Lake, which has a well made walking or cycling track around – a fantastic place for the kids to ride their bikes. The skate park and playground are also sure to keep the kids entertained.

Picnic under the sheltered areas, or throw a rug under a large shady green tree. There are tables and chairs to be used and electric BBQ’s available.

Known as the Olivine capital of Australia, this green crystal can be found in the volcanic bombs ejected from nearby Mount Shadwell thousands of years ago. More recent history is celebrated in a large number of bluestone buildings dating back as far as 1857 with a well-established heritage trail to follow.

On the road between Mortlake and Noorat (and Terang), you will be amazed by the Terang – Mortlake Road Wall. This interesting attraction is part of the western Victorian Dry Stone Wall Heritage Trail.

On the road between Noorat and Mortlake. Mt Noorat ahead and the Terang – Mortlake Road Wall to the right.

Noorat.

Noorat is a small town, in South West Victoria, nestled into the base of Mt Noorat. Mt Noorat is a dormant volcano considered to have the largest dry crater in Australia.

A popular walk is this western Victorian town, is the Alan Marshall Walking Track to the crater and a superb lookout. You can also walk around town to see buildings and locations significant to Alan Marshall.

Food and accommodation needs are taken care of at the beautifully restored Mount Noorat Hotel. Head in for a well-earned drink, a hearty meal, a charming place to sleep and a chat to locals and visitors alike.

Across the road from the hotel, you’ll find Maryland Store, a well loved store where you’ll find vintage items and plants and very friendly customer service. For something a little different visit successful local milliner Georgina Conheady in the historic town hall for a bespoke hat.

Port Fairy.

East Beach

This gorgeous South West town, on the Great Ocean Road, is a must for all Victorian travellers. Port Fairy oozes history with its nineteenth century stone cottages, charm, community and creativity. It is a popular family holiday destination, girls weekend away or romantic escape for couples.

The hub of Port Fairy is based around the Fiddler’s Green, which intersects the main streets for shopping, cafes and restaurants. The ‘Village Green’ is a popular meeting point, a great spot for a picnic and for enjoying the performances or live music that take the stage.

Port Fairy boasts some of the most magnificent Victorian beaches. East Beach is popular for surfers, stand-up paddle boarders, kayaks and the popular Surf Life Saving Club. During the Summer months, the beaches are buzzing with tourists who are lapping up the beautiful waters. East Beach extends to the east and many locals and tourists alike, enjoy the long beach walks to start their day. To the west, is a picturesque stretch of beach with the Port Fairy Lighthouse on Griffiths Island to admire.

Griffiths Island is a beautiful way to enjoy a quiet part of Port Fairy, take in some unique views and find some small sandy beaches to splash and paddle in – these, however, are not patrolled, so care must be taken. The views are stunning and the walk is easy and very enjoyable. The track leading directly to the Lighthouse is wheelchair accessible, however, a full lap of the island unfortunately, is not possible.

South Beach

A little further west is South Beach, otherwise known as Pea Soup. This lovely little protected beach is very popular for families to swim, paddle, float and snorkel; however, this beach is not patrolled.

Port Fairy Surf School is a great option for learning to surf and stand-up paddle board; they also offer snorkel safaris and kayak adventures. Daktari Sports runs the SurfGroms program is available for booking in Port Fairy and Warrnambool.

Off the water, you can join Historic Town or Wharf Walking Tours, which depart from the Visitor Information Centre. If you are an Art lover, follow and explore the local Art Map, which is a collection of galleries and studios open to the public.

Port Fairy Geo Tours is an eco-tourism company offering tours in this unique volcanic hinterland on the Southern Ocean coast of The Great Ocean Road. Port Fairy is home to regular markets, with the Farmer’s Market and the Community House Markets, both being very popular.

The Wharf is an absolute gem in Port Fairy and you must take yourself down to have a look. Wander along the walk way, admire the boats and lovely accommodation options, go fishing, take a boat trip out along the Moyne River past the Lighthouse or simply ‘stop and smell the roses’. At the Griffiths Island end of the Wharf, there is a great playground for the kids to enjoy, public toilets and plenty of space for a picnic.

You can hire bikes from the Port Fairy Information Centre in Bank St, for 4 hours or a full day. Enjoy exploring the streets, or if you are up for a bigger challenge, take yourself on the Port Fairy-Warrnambool Rail Trail, which takes you through the Irish inspired town of Koroit.

This lovely little Great Ocean Road town is well known for the Port Fairy Folk Festival. Tourists come from all directions to enjoy fabulous music which line the streets and a great festive feel over the March Long Weekend. Tickets into the main stage events and accommodation, are fast to sell out for this event, so you must get in early to avoid disappointment.

Your dining options in Port Fairy are endless! From lovely cafes to eat-in or take-away, great restaurants to enjoy a sophisticated meal out, bars and pubs and higher end dining.

For the best pizza and great atmosphere catering for everyone, is Coffin Sally. The menu is extensive, the service if friendly and it is a place that you want to continue to go back to.

For great coffee, brunch and lunch our recommendations are The Farmer’s Wife and Bank St + Co. For more of our recommendations, see our Trip Advisor reviews.

View from Moyne Cottage

Accommodation options in Port Fairy are everywhere! From self contained apartments, to caravan parks, hotels, motels, holiday stays and Air BnB options. For families who are looking for great value, location, family friendly, space and character, our recommendation is Moyne Cottage – between the river and the sea.

Port Campbell.

A trip to south west Victoria along The Great Ocean Road is incomplete without a trip to Port Campbell. Home of Port Campbell National Park and the exquisite point for a visit to see the wonders of Twelve Apostles.

With plenty of accommodation options to match all budgets, it is a great place to base yourself for an exploration of the 12 Apostles Food Artisans Gourmet Trail.

There are great food and drink options in town if your prefer to stay. These include Forage on the Foreshore and The Sow and Piglets Micro Brewery.

Family fun is well catered for with free activities available from the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre. There is the Crater to Coast Discovery Activities: ranging from Wind Hunter; Digital Detectives; Quick Snap Scavenger Hunt; and Stargazers. You can also pop in and loan binoculars.

Terang.

Terang is a small town in the Western District of Victoria. It is just a short drive from the popular and well known town of Warrnambool. The main road that goes through Terang, is wide divided road, with a beautiful grassed medium strip.

Large shady trees line the middle of the road, making it a nice place to stop for a picnic, sit and read a book or take in the historic buildings surrounding you.

Award winning pies and all of your bakery needs.

Terang has all of your everyday essentials, including an IGA supermarket. Make sure you stop in at the Bakery, for award winning pies and/or vanilla slice!

Warrnambool.

Found at the western end of the Great Ocean Road, Warrnambool is famous for its rugged beauty and the Southern Right Whales that arrive every winter for their annual calving. Between June and September, these magnificent whales birth their calves in the “nursery” areas close to the shoreline. The best place to spot them is from the specially built viewing platform at Logans Beach.

By Audrey Chalmers – Gumnuts Abroad

Warrnambool is situated on the Shipwreck Coast and its spectacular coastline is the final resting place for dozens of shipwrecks. Visitors to the region can hear the stories of the crewmen and passengers whose lives were lost, at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village and Museum.

A highlight of the museum is the fabulous reconstructed outdoor village that gives visitors a taste of what life was like for Australia’s early settlers. While you’re there be sure to stop by the cute Tea Rooms for scrumptious scones with jam and cream. In the evenings the museum holds a Sound And Light Show where visitors can learn about those who braved the Southern Ocean in search of a new life.  

Lake Pertobe is an absolute must stop for families and one of Warrnambool’s best kept secrets. There are playgrounds for all ages, a great space to run, picnic, BBQ and enjoy some quality family time. From the slides, swings, maze, climbing frame and flying fox, you could literally spend an entire day there. You can also hire a paddle bike or boat for some time on the lake.

A trip to Warrnambool wouldn’t be right without stopping by Allansford Cheese World. Here visitors can sample award-winning cheeses and browse a variety of local produce and wines.

The Cheese World museum is a trip back in time with a collection of farm machinery, household items, and mementos from the early 1900s. There’s a lovely café onsite that serves breakfast, light lunches and snacks. 

One of the best places to eat in this lovely south west Victorian town, is Bohemia Cafe and Bar. The food is absolutely sensational! With a creative menu, bohemian space, family friendly and great customer service, it is no surprise it is always busy. Located in the town centre, there is plenty of parking, walking distance to all essential shops and boutique stores.

With Warrnambool’s museums, gardens, walking trails, nature, and stunning beaches, this south west sea-side town is the perfect place to spend a few days in western Victoria.

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