Depending on where you park, at first glance, or even second or third, this may not appear to be an island. In fact it isn't, it is two islands (Merri is the other one). The one of main interest though is a wildlife sanctuary with wooden paths to walk on so the area isn't damaged.
Best accessed during the low tides, escpecially in winter, so you don't get your feet wet, it gives you a different perspective of Warrnambool as a bonus.
It is also a haven for the enchanting fairy penguins though you should know, if this is your first experience with them, that they are very shy creatures and, under no circumstances should you try and handle them. Just watch and enjoy.
From Melbourne to Warrnambool there are two roads, the A1 Princes highway or the Great Ocean Road, i recommend the latter for the scenery and the wildlife. The sound of the parrots will have you looking in all directions for them as they flit from tree to tree but the really sharp eyed may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of a wild Koala, this one was sitting by the roadside and was really easy to spot, it was a lot bigger than i expected.
When we lived in Warrnambool we always spent a lot of time at the beach. The ocean at Warrnambool is magnificent. There are some great fishing spots and some nice walking tracks.
We would often park at Thunder Point car park and go exploring along the top of the cliffs and along the walking tracks. There is a beach not far from the Thunder Point car park that the locals call Shelly Beach - sometimes you can pick up some nice shells from this beach. Another time we went there we found a dead seal - that was a bit sad - he looked like he had lost a fight to a shark. Natures little quirks!
Just a few k's out of Warrnambool, in the direction of Port Fairy you will see Tower Hill, Koroit sign post.( approx 13 k's)
Here you can do a Aboriginal tour of the area. This is a one hour walk.in the extinct volcano.
You can then head into Koroit and have a look at the second hand shops.
Go out to Tower Hill and have a great day out. Watch out for emus and don't feed them because they get wildly excited. At Tower Hill you might be lucky enough to view some of our natural fauna - kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, wombats, and yes the emus. There are some walking paths and picnic areas. There is a heritage information centre in the middle of the reserve. A good day out just out of Warrnambool, heading towards Port Fairy.
A few miles from Warrnambool is a 614 hectare game reserve called Tower Hill.
The reserve is around the remains of an extinct volcano.
A one way road circles the crater lake. Driving along this road we stopped several times to take pictures of birds and especially ducks.
The reserve has many emu running around,
beautiful birds, and we were lucky enough to find a Koala sleeping in a tree, on one of our walks.
Wildflowers were in bloom because it was springtime.
In Central Victoria, Tower Hill is absolutely the best and easiest place to see numerous Koalas in the wild (unless you live near Melbourne, in which case French Island is probably a bit closer)
Often they can be quite low down in the trees too, such as this one (only about 2.2 metres off the ground)
For more Koala pics, see my Tower Hill pages.
This gift shop is excellent, with a huge section devoted to Aboriginal art products, particularly material of aboriginal design but in very vibrant colours, which is available in a range of items from silk scarves to pillowcases to bed linen, aprons and much more.
There is also an area where you can sample and buy 'bush tucker' herbed cooking sauces.
This is the best place I've seen to buy modern, good quality, interesting and especially the practical Aboriginal products in many years.
Wildlife was reintroduced back into the recreated habitat, and today, kangaroos, koalas and many different species of birds can be found here. Nocturnal creatures have also been reintroduced successfully, such as the Squirrel Glider (a possum type creature which is on the Endangered Species list)
You can take a drive through the crater area, picnic, bushwalk, take a summit walk or one of the boardwalks out over the lake to view birdlife not easily seen from the shore.
You can particularly see many curious emus here, who will come right up to you.
Please obey the signs not to feed them. It's bad for them and they don't just want to share your picnic, but will not rest till they have it ALL.
This is one of Victoria’s largest dormant volcanoes.
Within the large crater is a lake and wetland islands (currently though the lake has receeded dramatically and is dry in many places due to the drought)
A lot of forest clearing took place here in the past, to such an extent that the crater slopes were laid bare, but in the 1960’s the lake and surrounds were classified as a Game Reserve.
Since then over 300,000 trees have been planted, plus native grasses and other flora.
You can find Tower Hill about 15 kms west of Warrnambool, on the coast.
From June to October each year, the coast off Warrnambool becomes the Southern Right Whale breeding nursery, and you can view these magnificent creatures from the viewing platform at Logan’s Beach.
Binoculars are a MUST, even if the brochures don’t say you definitely need them.
The whales may be 100 metres or more offshore, so you may see almost nothing without binoculars (sometimes very little even WITH them...and you may need a lot of patience too)
Wear warm clothing there, as often even in summer it's cold at these exposed points. They don’t call it ‘Windy Warrnambool’ for nothing!
We were out walking, really looking for birds, when we spotted this Koala asleep in the branch of a small tree.
We tried to be very quiet so we wouldn't disturb it.
There were Emu running all around the picnic area. They were looking for something to have for their picnic, no doubt.
This centre is a must see. It's really good and informative, with interesting displays, such as on the geology of the region, forest and native animal conservation and more.