Natural Warrnambool

We enjoy, love, respect and care for the natural environment. Warrnambool will restore, maintain and enhance its natural environment, drawing on the best scientific and Traditional Owner knowledge.

We will build our knowledge, skills and involvement in protecting biodiversity, waterways and the coast for the benefit of current and future generations of people, flora and fauna. We will reduce the impacts of pest plants and animals and offer protection from damaging land uses and practices.

Warrnambool is located in a significant cultural landscape and surrounded by waterways, wetlands, coastal areas and native grassland reserves.  Dunes along Lady Bay have been revegetated over recent decades by willing volunteers and this effort has resulted in increased numbers of native animals, including wallabies, echidnas and a range of birds that now inhabit this area. Thunder Point Coastal Reserve contains Middle Island and the internationally famous project protecting its Little Penguins. The coast contains numerous Indigenous cultural heritage sites, including Moyjil - Point Ritchie which has national significance. Threatened Hooded Plovers and other beach-nesting birds nest on Levy’s and Logan’s beaches. These areas are fragile and threatened by damaging practices such as illegal motorbike riding and 4-wheel driving.

The banks of the Merri River and its tributaries, and to a lesser extent, the Hopkins River have been a focus for revegetation activities in recent years. Both rivers are in poor health from post-colonisation land clearing, de-snagging, species decline, bank erosion and agricultural, industrial and storm water run off. However, there is now a concerted effort from community and agencies to turn this around. Lake Pertobe and the Merri Wetlands are significant habitats, particularly for birds, including the threatened Orange Bellied Parrot.

The Australian Plants Society – Warrnambool & District Inc. have published Nature Reserves of Warrnambool & District, a guide to reserves of Warrnambool and surrounds. Hard copies are available from the Warrnambool Visitor Information Centre.

Indigenous plants guide for Warrnambool

Gardeners guide: Growing Warrnambool's native coastal plants

Invasive plant and animal framework

Key programs 

Moyjil Point Ritchie

Point Ritchie or in Aboriginal language, Moyjil, is a rocky headland at the mouth of the Hopkins River in Warrnambool, Victoria.

For thousands of years Aboriginal people visited the area to gather food including eels from the Hopkins River and shellfish from the ocean.

A record of this extended period of human occupation is preserved in the rocks and in the sand dunes of Point Ritchie-Moyjil.

The indigenous community and scientists have been working together to help tell the story of this site which is recognised as having great heritage significance.

find out more at

Middle Island Penguin Project

The Middle Island Maremma Project began in 2006 when there was a sharp decline in the colony size of Little Penguins on Middle Island due to fox predation. Maremma Guardian dogs were trained and placed on Middle Island to protect the penguins from foxes during the breeding season.

The Project is widely recognised as an innovative world-first and has received a number of awards and attracted huge media attention. Highlights include the filming of multi-million dollar movie production “Oddball” based on the Project and starring Shane Jacobson (released in 2015), filming of documentaries by Erebus Productions (viewed by 1.5 million people in Italy), National Geographic, Nippon TV (Japan) ITV and the BBC (both UK), a feature documentary on ABC’s Catalyst and receiving the 2010 Australian Government Coastcare Award.


Wild Warrnambool Bioquest

There’s an exciting new mission for local citizen scientists: The Great Aussie Bioquest

Bioquest, is an opportunity to photograph and document native plants and animals in and around Warrnambool.

In the latest version of Bioquest, participants join a clan and for those living in Warrnambool, it's the Wild Warrnambool clan.

Warrnambool City Council collaborates with nature mapping game, QuestaGame to deliver the Wild Warrnambool Bioquest.

To participate in the bioquest is easy. Simply download the free QuestaGame app for your device, sign up and start submitting your wildlife photographs to the Bioquest. Players can also choose to share their information with national and global biodiversity databases for scientific research including the Atlas of Living Australia, a free online atlas hosted by the CSIRO.

If you don’t have or use a mobile phone, don’t worry, images and notes can be uploaded directly from a camera to the Wild Warrnambool website. The Questagame app is available for Android and Apple phones. 


Key information, guidelines and policies


Indigenous Planting for Warrnambool

Plants that are native to a specific area are referred to as indigenous plants, which are best for planting in your garden.

These plants have evolved here over many hundreds of thousands of years and are therefore suited to the environmental conditions that exist - such as water availability, salt tolerance, nutrients and temperature. Indigenous plants will attract native wildlife and increase biodiversity.

To assist in the selection of indigenous plants, a Plant Selector Tool has been developed. This tool allows you to search plants based on your garden requirements, such as size, light and soil conditions along with biodiversity benefits. The tool contains over 100 species and also includes some native plants that are known to thrive in Warrnambool conditions.


Environmental Weeds of Warrnambool

Warrnambool’s coastline, wetlands, rivers and creeks, farmland and public spaces are all infected with environmental weeds. These are also our greatest natural assets. The Environmental Weeds of Warrnambool booklet provides information on the impacts of weeds on our natural environment by providing a tool to identify weeds of concern in Warrnambool and suggest appropriate methods of treatment and prevention.

Hard copies are available from the Civic Centre at 25 Liebig Street.


Warrnambool Coast Vegetation Management Plan

The Warrnambool Coast supports extensive native vegetation with significant natural, cultural, economic, educational and recreational values. The Warrnambool Coast Vegetation Management Plan assess the existing vegetation and provides a management strategy for the coastal reserve.


Warrnambool Coastal Management Plan

Warrnambool City Council is the Committee of Management (CoM) established under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 to manage Warrnambool’s coastline which stretches approximately 12.7 km from Levy’s Point Coastal Reserve in the west, to Logans Beach in the east.

The Warrnambool Coastal Management Plan provides for the future use, development and management of Warrnambool’s coastline. The plan identifies the most prominent environmental, cultural and recreational values found along Warrnambool’s coastline, defines management precincts, identifies key management issues affecting the coastline and provides prioritised management strategies aimed at achieving the plan’s vision.


Merri River Landscaping Guidelines

The Merri River Landscaping Guidelines aim to ensure a consistent and strategic approach to revegetation and landscaping along the Merri River, in order to achieve sound ecological and social outcomes. They assist in implementing the Merri River Parklands Framework, South of Merri Open Space Precinct Plan, and Green Warrnambool Plan.

The guidelines recognise that different sections of river and different contexts within a section of river require different revegetation approaches, all of which assist in building a connected, accessible and restored river corridor. The guidelines identify different character zones along the length of the Merri River, with associated recommendations for planting. Recommendations include identification of key view lines, treatment for areas where there are walking trails, and appropriate species for planting according to the associated natural and built environment.

The landscaping guidelines are to be considered alongside Council's revegetation policy and guidelines.


Revegetation Policy & Guidelines

Council encourages and supports revegetation on Council-managed land. When planned and implemented appropriately, these works can provide a range of environmental and social benefits. However, there are also risks associated with this work such as inappropriate siting and design, plant mortality and insufficient maintenance.

To address these issues, Council has developed the Revegetation Policy and the Warrnambool Revegetation Guidelines. The policy and guidelines are designed to provide clear direction regarding Council’s requirements for the planning and implementation of revegetation activities on Council owned and managed land. This guidance will ensure the provision of consistent and successful revegetation projects.

The Revegetation Policy provides overarching policy principles to ensure a consistent approach to the planning and management of revegetation sites and to encourage the planting of local indigenous species in the open space network to improve the regional landscape. It is the role of Council to ensure any changes to the community’s assets, including public open space, are safe and consider any interconnected infrastructure.

The Warrnambool Revegetation Guidelines aim to ensure a consistent approach to revegetation within Warrnambool. The guidelines are designed to:

  • Provide an overview of key considerations when planning and implementing revegetation projects; and
  • Provide clear direction regarding Council requirements for revegetation proposals.

The guidelines include key steps involved in planning and implementation of revegetation projects along with examples of plans to be submitted with applications, a Revegetation Application and a Memorandum of Understanding template.

All open spaces of Warrnambool have been prioritized for revegetation based on a biodiversity principle. Revegetation projects should be carried out within areas classified as ‘very high’ or ‘high’ as depicted in the Revegetation Priority Map at Appendix 1 of the Guidelines.


Revegetation applications

A Site Assessment and pre-application meeting is required with Council’s Natural Environment Officer to discuss the proposed works prior to the submission of a Revegetation Application.

Revegetation Applications can be submitted via email to: or in person at Council Offices 125 Liebig Street Warrnambool.