Aquatic activities and wildlife experiences abound in Barwon heads, a holiday destination nestled between lagoons, farmlands and the mouth of the Barwon River. The town started in the 19th century as a small fishing settlement, but quickly attracted wealthy Melbourne holiday-makers with its stunning natural beauty.
Get your bearings at Barwon Head's commercial centre, along Hitchcock Avenue. Join a population of around 3,500 permanent residents mingling around this collection of shops, cafés and restaurants.
After breakfast, spend the heat of the day by the water. The Barwon River shoreline has the best swimming, with calm, cool waters lapping against its sandy banks. Alternatively, tackle the waves at beaches along the Bass Strait coastline. Sign up to a local surf school and learn how to ride the waves.
Walk to the Bluff Lookout on Point Flinders for a panoramic view of the township and the Bass Strait. Otherwise, enjoy the view from the Barwon Heads Golf Course, located along the foreshore reserve.
For a foodie experience, take a winery tour of the surrounding vineyards. Local grapes are paired and complemented with cheese platters. See stretches of farmland from above with an adventure flight in a supercharged military fighter plane. Hold your stomach; these pilots love to pull some heart-pumping aerobatic manoeuvres.
Shift gear with a relaxing tour of the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, which hosts a thriving diversity of water plants and fish. See one of Australia's iconic native animals being nurtured at the Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary.
Spend a day enjoying the marshy vistas of Lake Connewarre, just outside town. Go boating, fish for bream and mulloway or camp by the water. This area is also perfect for birdwatching, with ibis and spoonbill amongst the most regular winged visitors.
Barwon Heads is located on the south coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, 90-minutes’ drive southwest from Melbourne. Visit in March to see the Festival of the Sea, an annual celebration of the town's history, environment and culture.