Spectacular natural attractions - The Hinterland
Hopkins Falls are the largest falls on the Hopkins River and are accessed by a sealed road 15 minutes north-east of Warrnambool. They are simply spectacular during winter when water plunges 12 metres over the dark basalt rocks, leaving mist trailing in the wind.
Picnic facilities and amazing views make the Hopkins Falls Reserve an ideal spot to relax and unwind, with lookouts in the carpark ensuring you don’t miss a piece of the view. Keep a look out for juvenile eels (elvers), which can sometimes be seen jumping up the rocky ledges of the falls. The Hopkins River is an important waterway for eels during the winter migration period.
Kangaroos, koalas, emus, incredible bird life and other native animals find a safe haven at Tower Hill State Game Reserve.
A dormant volcano and fascinating geological landform that will take you back some 25,000 years in time to the active volcanic era in the region, the different layers of rock and ash can easily be seen as you enter the reserve. The crater edge of Tower Hill provides excellent viewing areas of the lakes and cones within the crater and a picturesque, sweeping view to the nearby coastline.
Since European settlement Tower Hill has undergone a rapid transformation. Famous artist Eugene Von Guerard painted the reserve and its indigenous flora, fauna and people in 1855. It was declared Victoria’s first National Park in 1892 but was not well cared for and was cleared for agricultural purposes including cropping and grazing. By the 1930s little wildlife remained and the landscape was barren. It was declared a State Game Reserve in 1961 and has since been restored and revegetated, with Von Geuerard’s painting used to identify species planted during the restoration program of the 1970’s. Since then more than 250,000 native plants have been established.
Tower Hill is now home to more than 150 bird species, koalas, grey kangaroos, and emus. There are established walking trails, an educational information centre and a variety of different natural attractions. Koalas are in abundance and in the late afternoon you can usually spot a small mob of kangaroos. The cheeky emus show no fear of humans and will steal a sausage from the barbecues given an opportunity. However, the rangers ask that you do not feed any of the animals. There are no rubbish bins in the park, mainly so that animals will not tip the bins over looking for food and we ask that you take all rubbish away with you. There are excellent facilities for visitors.
Take time to walk on some of the established trails and visit the information centre located within the reserve to learn more about the natural environment of Tower Hill. The centre has been redeveloped by local indigenous organisation Worn Gundidj, which now provides a range of bush foods and indigenous activities at Tower Hill. More information can be found at www.worngundidj.org.au
In 1892 Tower Hill was declared Victoria’s first National Park, before becoming a State Game Reserve in 1961.
Mount Eccles National Park is on the western edge of the Victorian volcanic plains. Access to the park is via a sealed road, 15 minutes drive south west of Macarthur. Another spectacular volcanic crater, the National Park is home to an abundance of native flora, fauna and wildlife.
The scoria material of Mount Eccles was formed when lava from volcanic eruptions 20,000 years ago was thrown into the air. Hidden within the crater is Lake Surprise, which can be viewed from a lookout at the carpark area. The lake is fed from underground springs and provides a unique habitat for flora and fauna within the volcanic landscape. A walking trail follows the shoreline of the lake and will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. Further information on the park can be obtained at the office, located within the picnic grounds, which includes barbecue facilities. The park also offers basic camping for those wanting to spend more time exploring the area.
Kanawinka Global Geopark
Moyne Shire is part of The Kanawinka Global Geopark, a region of amazing geological diversity stretching from Colac (on the Princes Highway 200 kilometres from Melbourne) to Millicent, in south-east South Australia. It is Australia’s first global geopark (a global geopark is an area with at least one site of scientific significance).
Volcanic activity is obvious throughout much of the Shire. In Port Fairy basalt boulders line the southern shoreline and have created sand fringed lagoons and bays. Many historic buildings throughout the area have been built using local basalt, which – when cut and dressed for building purposes – is called bluestone.
Our rich volcanic soil sees healthy, thriving gardens and has been largely responsible for the hugely successful potato crops of the Killarney and Koroit areas. Further information on the Geopark can be found at www.kanawinkageopark.org.au
Lake Cartcarrong is located 15 minutes drive north of Warrnambool and 10 minutes north of Koroit on the edge of the Winslow township. A scenic spot, it is an ideal place to observe water birds including Swans, Ducks, Grebes, Egrets and Herons. Birds of prey can often be observed hovering overhead. A revegetation program has commenced around the edges of the lake, which will continue to improve and enhance flora and fauna.
Ralph Illidge Sanctuary
The Ralph Illidge Sanctuary is a peaceful, relaxed and scenic reserve which is a safe haven for a variety of animals, flora and fauna.
Just 25 minutes drive east of Warrnambool, or less than an hour from Port Fairy, the sanctuary is easily found off the Warrnambool -Cobden Road.
Visitors are able to enjoy the native wildlife, many walking tracks, visit the information centre or have a picnic or barbecue (shelters, tables and gas barbecues are provided).
The reserve was donated to the Victorian Conservation Trust (now Trust for Nature) in 1975 by Ralph Illidge to ensure the long-term protection of the flora and fauna on the property. Additional land has been acquired and added to the reserve through public fund raising programs. The reserve was severely burnt during the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 but has regrown to now provide an important habitat for species such as the Potoroo, Powerful Owl, Rufous Bristlebird and White Goshawk.
Guided walks and group bookings can be arranged by contacting the sanctuary on 5566 2319 or Leader, Kevin Sparrow on 55626217. Further information can be found at www.warrnambool.org/bimbimbi/
Admission to the sanctuary costs just a gold coin donation. It is closed on days of Total Fire Ban.
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If coming from Melbourne by train/V-line coach you get the train or coach (depending on day) from Southern Cross to Warrnambool then the v-line coach through to Port Fairy. For more information on the V-line service phone 1800 800 007 or book on-line via their website at www.vline.com.au
If you need further information please contact the Port Fairy & Region Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5568 2682 or by email on email@example.com
Port Fairy & Region VIC
The Port Fairy and Region Visitor Information Centre are on hand 7 days a week 9am to 5pm (except Christmas Day) to help you with all your enquiries. We have friendly and professional staff who have extensive local knowledge and love...