Winchelsea is a natural beauty…a lovely, historic township on the shady banks of the Barwon River, inland from the Surf Coast. The river is a renowned fishing haunt; brown trout, redfin and eels go on the bite here. Come early in the morning, and you might even spy a platypus. The riverside park is perfect for picnicking and letting the kids burn off some energy.
Wander through appealing antique shops, arts and crafts shops and explore the local gardens while you’re in town. Winchelsea is home to Australia’s largest ostrich farm and is a popular stopping point on the Otway Harvest Trail. On the Princes Highway near the Barwon River bridge, is the Winchelsea Visitor Information Centre open Friday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Local volunteers are ready to point out local highlights.
Long, long ago
There’s a century and a half of fascinating history to this area and Winchelsea has its share of historical sites. The signposted Heritage Trail takes you past the splendid National Trust listed Barwon Park Mansion, built in 1871 by Thomas Austin who famously introduced the rabbit to Australia in this very location. The historic railway station houses the only regular steam-hauled, mainline passenger train in Australia. Tours are available.
This picturesque township with its leafy roads, country lanes and welcoming B&Bs, is inland from the Great Ocean Road, mid-way between Winchelsea and Lorne. On the first Sunday of each month, Deans Marsh holds an organic produce market, and if you visit between November and April, drop by one of the farms in nearby Pennyroyal Valley and have fun picking your own berries.