Beach Warrnambool is the largest coastal town in western Victoria. The city has a population of 25 000 and is also a very popular holiday destination. The entire western foreshore is given over to recreation, with extensive parks, lakes, caravan parks and additional facilities.The beach fronts the foreshore reserve and forms the shoreline of Lady Bay. It is 3.5 km long and faces south, but swings around to face east in lee of Middle Island and the harbour breakwater. Since breakwater construction began in the 1850s, the western end of the beach has built out a few hundred metres. To the east of the surf lifesaving club, the beach is backed by grass covered sand dunes.Today the beach extends from Point Ritchie in the east to the western breakwater. Due to the change in orientation and degree of protection, wave height is low at the breakwater averaging less than 0.5 m. This increases to about 1.3 m at the Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club and over 1.5 m at Point Ritchie. Likewise the beach adjusts to this change in wave height, with a narrow, continuous bar near the breakwater. The first rips occur near the surf club, and these increase in size and intensity toward Point Ritchie.The Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club, one of the oldest in Victoria, was formed in 1930, and averages 10 rescues a year.
Swimming A moderately safe beach at the surf club and toward the breakwater, where waves are usually lower, rips less common and the bar wide and shallow. Do not bathe further up the beach as waves and rip currents intensify. Stay in the patrolled area between the flags. Best in the morning, as afternoon westerly winds can intensify the waves and rips.
Surfing Best up the beach where the waves are more consistent, the most popular spot being The Flume, where some rock and reef in the surf generate a more reliable break. There is a car park here and a short walk across the dunes that provides good access. Toward Point Ritchie is a reef break called Granny's, while in front of the caravan park is a beach break called Maginines. In addition, there are several beach breaks along the beach.
Fishing The breakwater is very popular, with a boat ramp for offshore fishers. The best beach fishing is up the beach where the rip holes and gutters are more prevalent.
General Warrnambool and its beach offer everything for the holiday maker, bather, surfer and fisher, with a range in waves, beach type and fishing locations. As a result, this is a very popular summer holiday destination.