Journey into a Volcanic Crater at Towerhill
Just out of Port Fairy on your way back to Warrnambool is the magical, picturesque Towerhill. There is something magical about driving down the road into the crater of a dormant volcano. Driving past ash deposits, large hills, and vibrant flora and fauna.
Towerhill Nature reserve is only 14kms from Warrnambool, right on the main road. The crater itself is 4kms across and 80 metres high, and when you are inside it, you are immersed in a beautiful vibrant wetland reserve.
Back in 1892 it became Victoria’s first National Park, and later in 1961 was declared a state Game reserve.
This nature reserve is a must have stop on your trip down the great ocean Road. It is full of wildlife from Koalas, Emus, Kangaroos and other waterbirds, just watch out for the Emu’s if you decide to pack a lunch as we learnt first hand that they love to steal your lunch. Our children watched in shock as an emu made a beeline for our table and decided that our Lunch would make a tasty treat. The ensuring panic as four children made a very hasty exit with the remaining untouched food would have been very comical to all those watching.
Whilst emu’s are not supposed to be that violent, we where not willing to risk it, and we sat eating the rest of our lunch in the safety of the car.
The Nature reserve is the Centre of the Tower hill Maar volcano crater, inside this large crater there is also a visitor centre that is run by the Worn Gundidj Aboriginal Cooperative. The visitor centre was commissioned back in 1962 to be designed by Robin Boyd. Finishing 7 years later in 1969. Robin Boyd simple circular structure made from Stone with a sloping roof is reminisce of the Towerhill’s volcanic island hilltops that surround it.
The visitor Centre is a great place to grab a refreshing drink, whilst looking at a range of cultural displays and local aboriginal art and craft, that you can purchase, as a lovely keepsake. The visitor centre is open from 10am – 4pm daily.
Whilst camping in Camper vans, Tents and Caravans is prohibited, the area itself is open 24 hours.
Their are Electric BBQ’s, picnic tables and toilet facilities, but be prepared with plenty of water and to take all your rubbish home with you, as their are no Rubbish bins, or drinking taps.
Walks around the reserve.
Towerhill Nature reserve is so much more than a fun place to enjoy Lunch. It is also a great place to enjoy some walks in the area. Many people don’t realise until they start driving down the The Great Ocean Road that is a fantastic place to get active with great walks like the Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave walks all around the area. The Towerhill reserve is no exception. From long walks to shorter walks perfect for all ages.
Explore some of the amazing walks around the reserve. Parks Victoria have some great links to walks in the reserve. There are some self guided walks, as well as guided interactive walks led by experienced guides, both during the day and night. The nighttime walk opens your eye up to the huge range of nocturnal animals in the reserve.
If you manage to head into the Visitors centre you will see it features a great range of cultural displays and local aboriginal art. Whilst the reserve has access at all times, the visitor centre is open from 10am – 4pm daily.