Comedian Dave Hughes’ guide to Warrnambool

Travelling Well | Megan Whitfield | Posted on 23 August 2019

Much-loved Aussie comedian Dave Hughes’ guide to the best of his home town.

For the first 20 years of his life, Dave Hughes called Warrnambool home. The beloved Aussie comedian, radio presenter and author – whose new book, How (not to) Annoy Dad, inspired by his children’s antics, hit shelves in June – still makes time every few months to head down to his Great Ocean Road home town.

He’s passionate about the underrated beauty of both the landscape and the locals, so ahead of Father’s Day, we asked Hughesy to tell us his favourite places to go and things to do in Warrnambool.

Slides: Pavillion cafe, breakfast at the Pavillion, Warrnambool foreshore, Tower Hill, whales spotted off Warrnambool coast, Warrnambool Golf Course.

We asked him to reveal his favourite local hangouts. 

Where I go

For a great cup of coffee…

I’d head down to the beach, to Pavilion Cafe and Bar, near the breakwater. You can look right out onto the waves from there.

For a long lunch…

I’d probably go to Fishtales Cafe, in the main strip close to Civic Square. The food is great, it’s not too fancy and the service is always really friendly. For a drink, the Whalers Hotel is the place to go to meet the locals and have a quality pub meal. They often have live music as well.

To get back to nature…

I’d head up to Tower Hill. It’s a natural reserve and inactive volcano. It’s a really nice spot to drive around, check out the lookout, and take in the natural beauty. You can even see emus roaming around. Or Cannon Hill is great too, at the top of the main part of town. It’s the kind of spot to have a picnic, sit back and just smile at the prettiness that is Warrnambool. There’s a monument there called the Dirty Angel. You’ll understand why once you get up there.

To treat myself…

I’d grab my fishing rod and head down to Hopkins River and try and catch a bream. My father used to fish there a lot; many a Sunday afternoon was spent there with him. He caught a lot more than I do. Now, I like to take my kids down with me.

Outside view of theatre building lit up at night.

Lighthouse Theatre is Warrnambool’s arts hub.

Comedian Dave Hughes wearing a suit

Dave Hughes grew up in Warrnambool.

Aerial view of Warrnambool coastline

Aerial view of the spectacular Great Ocean Road coastline.

For a culture hit…

The Lighthouse Theatre does some great shows. It’s a mix of shows coming in, and local and student performances. There’s always something good on – theatre performances, comedy gigs, concerts.

For a special occasion…

Bojangles Restaurant, the pizza place. It’s been there forever; I used to go there with my family when I was growing up. I always get the marinara.

For a nice gift…

Oh god, I don’t know! Anywhere that sells my book? (Laughs)

To unwind…

The Warrnambool Golf Course is an absolute ripper. I like to hack around there sometimes. It’s [golfer] Marc Leishman’s home club. He grew up down in Warrnambool too, you can see him playing there sometimes. 

Otherwise Lake Pertobe is a really great spot. It’s an adventure playground with flying foxes, a maze, boat rides – the kids just love it. I get down to Warrnambool about three or four times a year and it’s always beautiful, but summer really shows the lake off.

I genuinely think Warrnambool is underrated. It’s a beautiful town, filled with beautiful people.

While you're there: RACV member benefits along the Great Ocean Road

Go Ride A Wave: Save 10 per cent on surf lessons and lesson packages
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures: Save 10 per cent on general admission 
Dinny Goonan Winery: Show your card and save 15 per cent off cellar door sales
Tiger Moth World: Get 10 per cent off Great Ocean Road adventure flights 

Explore the Great Ocean Road from RACV Torquay Resort