Destination South West Victoria
From the iconic 12 Apostles and the Great Ocean Road to the Goldfields of Central Victoria and world renown wine regions of South Australia, this is your guide to best this region has to offer. Information on culture, shopping, dining, regional experiences travel and accommodation.
Although South West Victoria and the Great Ocean Road may not see any snow during winter, it still has a a multitude of winter attractions which lure tourists to the region. Apart from sporting events and festivals the biggest attraction is still sightseeing with the spectacular coastline along the Great Ocean Road proving to be the biggest drawcard, in fact local experts say the time to visit the 12 Apostles is during winter when the seas are at their roughest.
One other attraction which might come as a bit of a surprise, is fishing, as during June and July massive schools of Southern Blue Fin Tuna gather off shore between Warrnambool and Portland and the tuna in turn attract large numbers of game fishing enthusiasts to the coastal cities and towns of Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland.
Boat ramps at all venues are packed with huge trailers and big boys toys as their owners chase the excitement of landing fish up to 150kg in weight.
Slow Start to Whale Watching Season
21st July 2016
Despite several sightings in the past few weeks there still isn’t a resident mother and calf at Logan’s beach in Warrnambool and although there is a lot of information available on the internet about whale sightings along the Great Ocean Road , what isn’t disclosed is the importance of sighting a mother and calf.
This is because when a Southern Right whale gives birth, the mother and calf then tend to remain close to one location and don’t move far afield, meaning they will quite possibly remain close to that location for a number of weeks, which in turn translates into a great probability whale sightings, whereas a single whale spotted in one location could be up to 4 kilometres away one hour later.
At present there is a mother and calf at the Dutton Way (close to Portland) and the sightings have been consistent for the past three days and there is every possibility they will remain close to this area for the next few weeks. There has also been a mother and calf sighted at Logan’s beach last Monday however they had had disappeared by Tuesday and there has not been a confirmed sighting since then. So the real whale watching season in Warrnambool will only begin when we have a mother and calf resident in the bay at Logan’s beach and that hasn’t happened quite yet
Fun 4 Kids Festival coming soon - 26th June - 2nd July 2016
Construction of the Fun 4 Kids site on Warrnambool’s civic green began last week and the site is now beginning to take shape in preparation for the opening of the festival on the 26th of June.
Fun4Kids is Australia's largest Children's festival - now in its eighteenth year, is expected to attract between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors to the city to participate in a broad range of performance, creative and interactive arts, hands-on workshops and exceptional live entertainment.
The Festival is a not-for- profit event assisted by local sponsors, an army of volunteers and the generous support of the Warrnambool community and is staged in a 2.5 acre purpose-built, indoor village located in the centre of the city. The site is close to accommodation, restaurants and entertainment venues.
This years festival will be held during the first week of winter school holidays (26th June −2nd July) and highlights of this years Fun 4 Kids Festival will include the "Taylor Swift tribute show”, “Bollywood dance show”, “Splashdance show”, “How To Be A Rock Star”’ , the Star Wars themed “Live and Learn the Jedi Way” plus the ever popular Peter Combes “ Wash Your Kids in Orange Juice show” Tickets for Warrnambool’s Fun 4 Kids festival are now available and the committee have released a full list of the performers at this years event. This years event will feature over 80 live performances, plus dozens of activities over the 7 days of the festival. See more information on our Fun4Kids Page
Getting The Best Accommodation Deals
ABC’s program “The Checkout" recently did a very entertaining story on the role played by On-Line accomodation booking companies, in particular the large commissions charged by the two international giants, Booking.com and Expedia. The program gave a very clear picture of how these booking companies work and exposed some of the myths about pricing, by revealing they were able to save on average, about 25% by booking direct with individual properties.
For years we have been told “by the booking companies” they have the cheapest prices and no one has come out and disputed their claims with the result that most people now believe their claims.
The report done by “The Checkout” goes a long way in addressing this misconception and the suggestions contained in the show should help travellers make significant savings when booking accommodation.
What “The Checkout” failed to mention was how they obtained their direct booking discounts and who they contacted, and we offer these suggestions on how you can get similar savings.
1. Firstly not all properties will offer a discount for booking direct, as many large accommodation businesses usually have fixed prices and the person answering the phone may not have the authority to offer you a discount, but it is always worth mentioning that you are booking direct. Simply ask the question “ I see your rooms are listed on Booking.com for $XX per night - can you offer me a discount if I book direct with you?”
2/ Smaller motels/hotels are more likely to offer a discount but you still have to ask the question,”can you offer me a discount if I book direct with you? and you should know what they are charging on other booking sites as it is not uncommon for owners to say they are offering you a discount when they are actually quoting you the same price as their on-line price.
Lastly, booking direct will help Australia’s accommodation industry. The current duopoly now controls over 85% of the countries on line accommodation and being oversea owned means they take their profits out of the country and do precious little in return to promote Australian tourism
Race an Audi R8 along the Great Ocean Road
Or your Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren MP4-12, in fact you can choose any one of 350 super cars to drive along this iconic route. Fortunately ( for other road users) you will be dong it in front of a computer screen. Makers of the video game Forza have chosen Australia as the location for version 3 of their popular driving game and have included the Great Ocean Road as one of the “tracks” you can navigate.
However you can forget any graphic representations of the 12 Apostles or other tourist locations for that matter, the game is aimed at gaming enthusiasts and not tourists, in fact the makers of the game have altered the Australian geography to make a more playable environment, notably by placing the Great Ocean Road in between Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village was established during the 1970’s to serve two roles, the first as a local tourist attraction and also to preserve the maritime history of the rugged ( and dangerous) coastline along the Great Ocean Road.
The village is a recreation of what a typical coastal port would have looked like during the 1880’s and while quite a lot of the buildings are new, there are a number of historic buildings that have been dismantled and reassembled on the Flagstaff Hill site.
Flagstaff Hill has also been very careful in maintaing the historic aspect of the village and while there has been pressure to make the village more appealing to tourists by adding theme park type activities, so far these have been resisted, this has however come at the expense of giving Flagstaff Hill a museum like atmosphere with people just wandering around peering into buildings and reading plaques on walls.
Recently Flagstaff Hill has made some concession to tourism and added an evening laser sound and light show which tells the story of the wreck of the sailing ship “The Loch Ard” The show uses a laser projector to project an image onto a large water mist screen in front of the harbour buildings at Flagstaff Hill. Unfortunately, like the old Drive-In movies, the show can’t begin until it is dark enough to see the image, which means that during peak summer holiday season the show doesn’t start until after 9:30 at night..