Nyul Nyul artist, Lowell Hunter, grew up along Victoria's southwest coast, swimming with whales and jumping off the breakwater. With life and art inspired by this beautiful coastline, Lowell lets us in on his and his family's favourite spots on the Great Ocean Road.
1. Warrnambool Art Gallery
Found on lively Liebig Street, this small but longstanding gallery punches above its weight when it comes to showcasing local talent. 'The gallery is doing a really great job of making sure that Aboriginal people and cultures have a platform to showcase their stories,' says Lowell. Drop in for Artist Talk sessions, as well as hands-on workshops and special exhibitions.
2. Salt Cafe
Serving up bubbly lasagne, comforting soups and all manner of decadent baked treats, Salt Cafe on Liebig Street is a great spot for a lazy breakfast or lunch. 'I discovered owner Ash Bennet is a Yorta Yorta woman, and they're really proud to promote Indigenous artists,' says Lowell. You can admire Lowell's own photographic work inside the cafe as you wait for your morning coffee.
3. Fishtales Cafe
One of Lowell's morning rituals is to stop in at Fishtales Cafe for a laidback yarn with owner Tamara, while waiting for his morning coffee. 'To have a genuine conversation with someone is important,' says Lowell. The cafe serves everything from healthy breakfasts, to grilled chicken burgers and fish and chips, to enjoy on the Warrnambool foreshore.
4. Logans Beach
Just outside of Warrnambool town is Logans Beach, which is famous for its special whale nursery just offshore. Southern Right Whales have been migrating to Warrnambool for hundreds of years, arriving from June to September to give birth to their calves in this spot.
5. Port Campbell
Conveniently close to the iconic 12 Apostles, Port Campbell is an ideal pitstop on the Great Ocean Road or somewhere to stay a little longer. Lowell recommends taking time to explore Two Mile Bay, popular with surfers, and the harbour, an ideal fishing spot for keen anglers.
6. Stingray Bay
At Stingray Bay, on the eastern side of the Merry River mouth, you'll find entire underwater worlds hidden among the rockpools. Take care, and look out for the tide, as you discover starfish, crabs, tiny fish, and molluscs.
7. Worn Gundidj at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Victoria's largest dormant volcano is found just west of Warrnambool, along with some of the country's most popular wildlife. Guided tours also provide a unique insight into Aboriginal history and heritage in the area. 'There's just so much to see and do on the Great Ocean Road, but it's also important to learn about the local history and understand the cultural stories that might exist within those places as well,' says Lowell.
8. Bells Beach
Known for hosting the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition in April, Bells Beach is popular throughout the rest of the year as a surfing spot and lookout. The broad beachfront makes it a great place for Lowell to create his unique style of sand art.