Beautiful Barwon Heads
Barwon Heads is only a small coastal town but it offers so much variety- not only has it been the setting for a popular Australian television show, but the area also caters for golfing enthusiasts, and provides sanctuary for hundreds of different species, in water and on land. In addition to these drawcards, it's a pretty and tranquil little town, which really comes alive during the summer months.
Extend your Coastal Drive
Officially, Barwon Heads lies before the start of the Great Ocean Road, on the Bellarine Peninsula, but some travellers like to take in the whole West Coast from Queencliff right through to Portland.
The first thing you’ll notice when you drive into town from Ocean Grove is the Barwon Heads Bridge. The timber road bridge was completed in 1927 and is the longest wooden bridge in Victoria.
Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, the bridge crosses the Barwon River and links the town with Ocean Grove.
There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the bridge over the last few years- traffic into town has significantly increased since the bridge was first built and this has taken its toll on the structure. This prompted the Victorian Government to commission the building of a secondary bridge alongside the original, much to the disgust of many locals, who believe the new concrete structure ruins the coastal feel of the town. Although it’s sad that such an important part of the town will be dismantled for progress, it will soon be rebuilt a short distance away so that people can once again enjoy walking, riding or fishing from the bridge.
Barwon Heads is perhaps most famous for being the hometown of fictional character Laura Gibson in the hit ABC television show, Seachange. Screening from 1998 to 2000, the series introduced Barwon Heads to the rest of Australia, and sparked a craze for people wanting to move from the city to the coast! If you loved the show and want to experience a bit of television history, it’s possible to rent Laura’s cottage, located in the Barwon Heads Caravan Park. The town also featured in the 1959 Hollywood film On The Beach, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, and showcases their less-than-inspiring attempts at our Australian accent!
A treat for Golfers
If you’re handy with a golf club, you might want to check out the two fine golf clubs the town has to offer. Barwon Heads Golf Club is an eighteen-hole links golf course, which has a rich history of over 70 years. There are fantastic views from the clubhouse, and the ‘natural’ course is quite challenging for those who fancy a game. 13th Beach Golf Club is made up of two 18-hole courses- the Beach Course and the Creek Course- and was rated in the top 25 Australian golf courses by Golf Australia Magazine. As it’s name suggests, the club backs onto popular surf beach 13th Beach, and is also a residential complex for those who can’t get enough of the seaside views.
Discover the Wetlands
Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve is a fantastic place to stop for a picnic, go boating or go fishing. The area is home to a large wetlands and lake system, and was declared a “wetland of international significance” by the Victorian Government in 1983. The reserve is a natural habitat for many species of protected flora and fauna, as well as a picturesque place to experience the great outdoors.
If you’d prefer to see a different side to the area, and don’t mind getting your head wet, take a drive down to the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary. Here, you can snorkel or swim among the strands of Giant Kelp and view the sea creatures in their natural habitat. There is also an abundance of easily accessible rockpools for those who want to see marine life but would rather keep out of the water. Just remember that Parks Victoria protects all the creatures in the Sanctuary, and you could get into serious trouble if you’re caught removing something from the area.
Australia’s is home to some pretty unique land animals. So if you want to have an up-close-and-personal experience with our marsupial friends, look no further than Jirrahlinga Wildlife Sanctuary. It takes less than five minutes to drive there from the centre of Barwon Heads, and when you arrive you can see a wide variety of native animals, including koalas, kangaroos, possums, reptiles and birds. Jirrahlinga receives no support from the government, and relies on the donations and support of the community to help them rescue sick and injured wildlife. So not only will you be seeing our native Aussie animals, but you’ll also be contributing to a good cause!
Barwon Heads --> Great Ocean Road Homepage
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