When driving down Pertobe Road on the way to the Breakwater you will find Stingray Bay on your right hand side. It is easy to find. If you start to see the penguin island (Middle Island) to your right then you are at Stingray Bay. The beach is located at the mouth of the Merri River and creates tidal pools. It is a fantastic place to sit and watch the large crashing waves on both sides of the islands.
This is an amazing beach where the tide recedes so far you can walk all the way across to the islands (although access is no longer allowed). If you do walk across keep a close eye on the tide as many people have been caught out and had to be rescued and several not so lucky. I take the view that if the tide is on the way in then I am on the way out. People do swim here but the signs indicate strong undercurrents so take caution. Safest place to dip is probably in the tidal pools left in front of the rocks where the footbridge crosses.
Good news is that there are toilets in the carpark open 7 days a week. There is limited parking on the beach edge next to the toilets but if they fill up you can park in the middle of the road. If you don’t feel like walking on the beach park in the middle of the road facing the beach, roll down your windows and breath in the sea breeze. My favorite spot for takeaway in Warrnambool.
This is the beach that goes to the right of the Hopkins River Mouth (unless your viewing towards the beach which would be a silly place to be). The beach has high cliffs rising above with a deep sandy beach. Very strong currents with large waves and I have yet spotted anyone taking a swim or surf on this beach. The tides can be quite high here so I don’t know if the beach gets totally covered at some high tides so if you like a beach walk check first.
The main reason people go to Point Richie Beach is for the lookout and carpark on the top of the cliff. There are two carparks with the first one back further from the beach giving spectacular views over the Hopkins River Mouth and the second overlooking the cliff edge out to sea. It is well worth getting out of the car and walking out on the lookout to see the craggy rocks and rock face that rise up from the beach. My first visit to Point Richie a spotted a seal looking up at me. We locked eyes until I rushed back to the car to get my wife and he went back to fishing. We watched him for some time before he left.
To get to Point Richie drive along Hickford Parade until it turns right and leads to the Hopkins River Lookout. You can just turn right before you cross the bridge as well. Good news there are toilets in the car park albeit a little spartan. Access to the beach is down a set of wooden steps to the right of the car park. If able I recommend descending to the beach as the waves crashing into the beach are spectacular both visually and to listen to.
I consider this the best beach in Warrnambool. McGennans Beach is part of Main Beach Warrnambool that extends from the lifesaving tower back towards the city. This a Great Ocean Road family friendly beach (stick to swimming between the flags though guys). Access is from Pertobe Road with plenty of sealed parking overlooking the beach but if full park in Pertobe Road and walk up to the beach. I did a lot of research on the name but alI could find is the beach is named after Peter John McGennan a councillor near the end of the nineteenth century.
McGennans beach is my favourite beach in Warrnambool. Long sandy beaches that rise into a dune up towards the carpark with several breaks giving access down steps (and one with disabled towards the end). A great beach for a swim or a surf with adequate parking even at the peak of the season. It is classed as strong currents, large surf and a steep drop off so it is wise to swim between the flags at the surf life saving club but as a bodyboarder I have never had any problems here.
Every fine day you can watch groups of body boarders and board riders catching the waves into shore. From kids to people in their eighties, this beach is very popular nearly all year around. Also there is less chance of being hit by a surfboard here as the serious surfers tend to prefer the larger waves at Surfside.
Once again there is a walking track in between the carpark and the beach so you can take a very long stroll in either direction. There are showers along the walking track but if you are in need of a toilet (and don’t want to use the ocean) you will need to walk down to the toilet in Pertobe Road (less than a 5 minute walk)