Volcanic Crater and Garden of Eden

Warrnambool, the seaside city about 3 hours drive west of Melbourne, is famous for its historic port origins, and increasingly its strong dairy industry.  Aside from this, it holds a very unexpected local discovery being Tower Hill.  Tower Hill, about 10 minutes drive out of Warrnambool, is a nature reserve located within an extinct volcano.  According to the attached website, it erupted some 30000 years ago. https://www.warrnambool.vic.go...

 It is an absolute wonderland of natural wildlife and flora, and outside of a zoo, you are not likely to see so many species of birds, kangaroos, koalas, emus and wallabys in such abundance and close proximity.

As we drove in, we were treated to the amazing sight of emus running with the car, something I havent experienced in the wild since I was a child, some decades ago, exploring the Grampians on a remote dirt track.  

There are a number of walks one can do.  We were pressed for time, so chose a brief 40 minute walk that included a boardwalk over marshes.  To be expected, we saw a snake curled up just under the boards, but we didnt bother him, nor him us.  Not a personal fan of snakes, I was happy to see him still, and for our kids growing up in an urban environment, their first visual encounter.

We also had the pleasure of spotting a wallaby in the scrub watching us, as well as koalas in the carpark.  So when you park your car, dont forget to look up!

The emus wandered through the picnic areas.  One of the locals demonstrated to a nervous picnicer how to handle their presence, by standing up and holding an arm high in the air, rather than confronting or chasing the emus, as one renegade child was doing.

If you have time, spend a few hours here and enjoy a meal at the picnic tables.  There is a walk that follows the rim of the volcano which we are saving for our next visit.

For a relatively brief stop and without spending any money at all, Tower Hill was a particularly rewarding experience.  To experience so much Australian wildlife in such a small geographical area was a very special and rare treat.


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