Lying just off the Princes Highway in Barwon River territory on the eastern edge of the volcanic plain which spreads over much of Victoria’s Western District, the small town of Birregurra is graced by some interesting old buildings.
The standout is Christ Church, which was built from local sandstone and granite in 1870 and whose bell once summoned Aborigines to prayers at the Methodist Mission which operated in the town until 1848.
Birregurra is 20km east of the major regional city of Colac and the lake of the same name which is a popular fishing and water sports location.
The majestic Otway Range and the Melba Gully State Park, which back the Great Ocean Road, are just a 40km scenic drive to the south.
A 25km drive north east takes you to Winchelsea and Barwon Park, a 42-room, bluestone mansion built in 1869 for Thomas and Elizabeth Austin. Set in expansive grounds, Barwon Park is finished in magnificent cedar and is furnished with priceless antiques.
Unhappily Austin is remembered not for his stately home, but for having his brother in England send him 24 wild rabbits, 72 partridges and five hares ‘for a bit of sport’. Rabbits have since wreaked untold damage to the Australian landscape.