If you're looking for a summer holiday destination that provides entertainment for the whole family, you can't go far wrong with a visit to the Warrnambool Foreshore. Located less than three hours drive from Melbourne, this stunning coastal precinct offers a huge range of fun things to see and do, many of which are free, making it a top spot for a priceless holiday experience that won't break the budget.
On the Warrnambool Foreshore, the beach is just the beginning.
Start your stay with a visit to the Cannon Hill lookout and get a bird's eye view of the foreshore area. With a single glance, you'll get a good idea of all that is waiting for you below – and start to wonder if you've got enough time to get through everything. If you've got kids, you may be hard pressed to keep them settled after they've had a look at the Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground, but if you can, check out the monuments just off the path from the Cannon Hill BBQ pavilion, and see if the kids can spot the bunnies cavorting in and out of the bushes.
Next on the holiday agenda has to be Lake Pertobe (if the little ones have anything to say about it). Quite possibly the biggest and best free park in the country, this huge recreational space is spread out over more than twenty hectares, and is comprised of a series of playgrounds, green lawns complete with man-made hills, picnic areas and walking tracks around the lake.
Lake Pertobe is a memorable feature of the foreshore area.
All sorts of birds, including pelicans and ducks, can be seen from the dedicated huts, the banks of the lake or from a seat in one of the boats available for hire. The play areas are spread all throughout the park, with equipment suitable for very young children through to children over twelve years of age.
Human kids aren't the only ones playing at Lake Pertobe.
It may take some time to explore Lake Pertobe, but once that's done, it's time to head down to The Warrnambool Breakwater. While summer is not the season for whale watching in Warrnambool, there are some very cute creatures that can be seen in the harbour. Australian fur seals are regularly spotted hanging around the pier, where visitors can witness their antics at close range. The Breakwater is also a great place to check out the boats, do some fishing, investigate the rock pools or go for a swim.
As far as swimming goes, Worm Bay and Stingray Bay at The Breakwater end of the Lady Bay are relatively wave-free spots for families with little kids, while the main Warrnambool Beach, which is patrolled in summer, is great for the whole family, and The Flume at the opposite end is good for surfers with its wilder waves.
Also lighting up the night is the Shipwrecked Sound and Laser Show at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, which runs for 70 minutes from dusk every night except Christmas night, and involves a theatrical 'journey' of shipwreck tales. Show tickets are $26 for adults, $13.95 for children and $67 for families (two adults and two children; tickets for additional children are $9 each).
The smaller lighthouse overlooking Flagstaff Hill.
Alternatively, visitors can explore the 1870s-styled village during the day and take part in many interactive activities, such as feeding the Flaggy Farmyard Animals, while learning all about maritime history. Day passes to this award winning attraction cost $16 for adults, $6.50 for children and $39 for families, and are valid for two days between 9am and 5pm.
Surfside Holiday Park is within short walking distance of all foreshore activities.
With so much to do, you'll need a place to call home for the duration of your visit. Surfside Holiday Park is the best value and most convenient accommodation around, as it is located smack bang in the middle of all the best foreshore activities, and offers powered and unpowered camp sites for around $300 a week. Also available are a variety of self-contained family cabins (ranging from comfortable cottages to more basic six-person units) for less than $1000 a week – excellent value for accommodation just metres from the beach.