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Top 11 Things To Do in Dartmoor, VIC Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

22/08/2023
10 mins read
Dartmoor
Source: Baz Richardson

Dartmoor, a quaint rural town in Victoria, Australia, is situated approximately 350 km west of Melbourne and 50 km east of the South Australian border. Nestled along the banks of the Glenelg River, this charming destination is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including the Lower Glenelg National Park and the picturesque Glenelg River Canoe Trail. Rich in history and brimming with outdoor activities, Dartmoor offers a serene escape for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and history buffs alike.

Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and reveal the top things to do in Dartmoor, VIC, Australia, a captivating destination that promises unforgettable experiences. Immerse yourself in the area’s natural beauty, delve into its rich heritage, and embark on a remarkable journey through the enchanting world of Dartmoor.

Things To Do In Dartmoor, VIC

1. Dartmoor and District Avenue of Honour – A Living Memorial

Dartmoor’s Avenue of Honour is a unique and moving tribute to the soldiers who served in World War I. This living memorial features a row of trees, each adorned with intricate carvings that depict the brave servicemen who fought for their country. Stroll along Wapling Avenue and take in the poignant scenes, which serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by these heroes.

The Avenue of Honour is not only a historical site but also a beautiful and serene place to spend an afternoon. The tree-lined street is perfect for a leisurely walk, with the carvings providing an engaging backdrop for contemplation and reflection. Visit during spring or autumn for milder weather and stunning foliage, enhancing the beauty of this remarkable memorial.

  • Address: Wapling Avenue, Dartmoor, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather and beautiful foliage
  • Directions: Located along Wapling Avenue in Dartmoor, look for the tree carvings dedicated to World War I soldiers

2. Fort O’Hare Campground – Riverside Retreat

Nestled along the banks of the Glenelg River, Fort O’Hare Campground is an idyllic spot for a relaxing getaway. The campground offers a range of facilities, including picnic areas and BBQs, making it the perfect destination for families and groups of friends. Set up camp and enjoy the tranquil surroundings, with the gentle sounds of the river providing a soothing backdrop.

Fort O’Hare Campground is also an excellent base for exploring the nearby Glenelg River Canoe Trail and Lower Glenelg National Park. Take advantage of the canoe launching area and embark on a paddling adventure along the river, or lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails in the national park. The best time to visit is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the scenery is at its most vibrant.

  • Address: Fort O’Hare Road, Dartmoor, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather, but the campground is open year-round
  • Directions: From Dartmoor, head west on Greenham Street, turn left onto Fort O’Hare Road, and follow it to the campground

3. Glenelg River Canoe Trail – Paddle Through Pristine Wilderness

The Glenelg River Canoe Trail is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure-seekers. This scenic trail winds its way along the Glenelg River, offering a unique perspective of the stunning landscape. Paddle through the serene waters, surrounded by lush vegetation and towering cliffs, and keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls the area home.

The canoe trail is moderately challenging, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced paddlers. The best time to embark on this adventure is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the water levels are optimal. The trail starts at the Moleside Creek Picnic Area in Lower Glenelg National Park, which is easily accessible via the Princess Margaret Rose Cave Road.

  • Address: Lower Glenelg National Park, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather and optimal water levels
  • Directions: The trail starts at the Moleside Creek Picnic Area in Lower Glenelg National Park, accessible via the Princess Margaret Rose Cave Road

4. Lower Glenelg National Park – A Natural Wonderland

Lower Glenelg National Park is a haven for nature lovers, boasting a diverse range of flora and fauna. The park offers a variety of opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting. Some popular hiking trails in the park include the Glenelg River Gorge Loop and Pattersons Canoe Camp via Nelson, which showcase the park’s stunning landscapes and provide ample opportunities for wildlife encounters.

The best time to visit Lower Glenelg National Park is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and wildlife spotting opportunities are at their peak. Located approximately 30 km southwest of Dartmoor, the park is easily accessible and offers a range of facilities, including picnic areas and campgrounds, making it the perfect destination for a day trip or an extended stay.

  • Address: Lower Glenelg National Park, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather and optimal wildlife spotting opportunities
  • Distance from town: Approximately 30 km southwest of Dartmoor

5. Glenelg River Scenic Drive – Discover Breathtaking Landscapes

Embark on a leisurely road trip along the Glenelg River Scenic Drive and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the region. The drive follows the Glenelg River, offering stunning views of the river, lush forests, and dramatic cliffs. Stop at various lookout points along the way to take in the breathtaking panoramas and snap some memorable photos.

The Glenelg River Scenic Drive is a fantastic way to explore the area at your own pace, with plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the surroundings. The best time to embark on this adventure is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the foliage is at its most vibrant. The scenic drive starts from Dartmoor and heads west towards the nearby town of Nelson.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather and beautiful foliage
  • Directions: The scenic drive follows the Glenelg River, starting from Dartmoor and heading west towards Nelson

6. River Cruises from Nelson – Relax on the Glenelg River

Experience the beauty of the Glenelg River from a different perspective by embarking on a relaxing river cruise. Departing from the nearby town of Nelson, these cruises offer a unique way to explore the region’s stunning landscapes and wildlife. Sit back and enjoy the serene surroundings as you glide along the river, taking in the sights and sounds of this pristine wilderness.

The best time to enjoy a river cruise is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the river conditions are optimal. The cruises depart from Nelson, which is approximately 50 km west of Dartmoor. This unforgettable experience is perfect for families, couples, and nature enthusiasts alike.

  • Address: 1001 Nelson-Portland Road, Nelson, VIC 3292
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather and optimal river conditions
  • Distance from town: Approximately 50 km west of Dartmoor

7. Princess Margaret Rose Caves – Journey into the Earth

Delve into the fascinating world of the Princess Margaret Rose Caves, a series of limestone caves located near Dartmoor. These natural wonders are adorned with intricate stalactite and stalagmite formations, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Join a guided tour to learn about the caves’ geological history and the unique ecosystem that thrives within their depths.

The Princess Margaret Rose Caves are open daily from 10 am to 4 pm, except Christmas Day, making them an accessible attraction for visitors. The best time to visit is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder. Located approximately 30 km southwest of Dartmoor, the caves are a must-visit for anyone seeking an unforgettable subterranean adventure.

  • Address: Princess Margaret Rose Cave Road, Lower Glenelg National Park, VIC 3304
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm, except Christmas Day
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather
  • Distance from town: Approximately 30 km southwest of Dartmoor

8. Dartmoor Heritage Trail Walk – Step Back in Time

Discover the rich history of Dartmoor as you embark on the Dartmoor Heritage Trail Walk. This self-guided walk takes you through the town, identifying 25 places of historic interest. As you stroll along the trail, you’ll gain insights into Dartmoor’s past, from its early days as a timber town to its role in World War I.

The Dartmoor Heritage Trail Walk is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, making it an enjoyable activity for the whole family. The best time to explore the trail is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the foliage is at its most vibrant. The trail starts at the Dartmoor and District Avenue of Honour, making it easy to combine both attractions in a single visit.

  • Address: Dartmoor, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather and beautiful foliage
  • Directions: The trail starts at the Dartmoor and District Avenue of Honour and identifies 25 places of historic interest around the town

9. Major Mitchell Trail/Fort O’Hare Canoe Launching Area – Paddle and Explore

Combine your love for paddling and exploration at the Major Mitchell Trail/Fort O’Hare Canoe Launching Area. This launching area provides easy access to the Glenelg River, allowing you to embark on a canoeing adventure through the pristine wilderness. Paddle along the river, taking in the stunning scenery and keeping an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area.

The best time to visit the Major Mitchell Trail/Fort O’Hare Canoe Launching Area is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the water levels are optimal. The launching area is located on Fort O’Hare Road, making it easily accessible from Dartmoor.

  • Address: Fort O’Hare Road, Dartmoor, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather and optimal water levels
  • Directions: From Dartmoor, head west on Greenham Street, turn left onto Fort O’Hare Road, and follow it to the canoe launching area

10. Dartmoor Rail Trail Loop – Scenic Hike Through History

Lace up your hiking boots and hit the Dartmoor Rail Trail Loop, a 2.9-km circular hiking trail that takes you through the town’s picturesque surroundings. The trail follows the path of the former railway line, offering a glimpse into Dartmoor’s past as a timber town. As you hike, enjoy the beautiful scenery and keep an eye out for native wildlife.

The Dartmoor Rail Trail Loop is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, making it an enjoyable activity for the whole family. The best time to explore the trail is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the foliage is at its most vibrant. The trail starts near the Dartmoor and District Avenue of Honour, making it easy to combine both attractions in a single visit.

  • Address: Dartmoor, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather and beautiful foliage
  • Directions: The trail starts near the Dartmoor and District Avenue of Honour and is a 2.9-km circular hiking trail

11. Dartmoor Waterfall Gardens – A Tranquil Oasis

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life at the Dartmoor Waterfall Gardens. This serene spot within the town of Dartmoor features a picturesque waterfall, providing a peaceful setting for relaxation and reflection. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, admiring the lush greenery and listening to the soothing sounds of the waterfall.

The Dartmoor Waterfall Gardens are suitable for all ages, making them an enjoyable destination for the whole family. The best time to visit the gardens is during spring and autumn when the weather is milder and the foliage is at its most vibrant. The gardens are located within the town of Dartmoor, making them easily accessible for visitors.

  • Address: Dartmoor, VIC 3304
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather and beautiful foliage
  • Directions: The gardens are located within the town of Dartmoor and feature a serene waterfall

Towns Nearby Dartmoor, VIC

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Dartmoor, VIC, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Dartmoor, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Heywood, VIC (39 km from Dartmoor): A small rural town known for its agricultural and timber industries. Heywood is home to the beautiful Fitzroy River and offers a range of outdoor activities, including fishing, bushwalking, and birdwatching.
  2. Nelson, VIC (50 km from Dartmoor): Located near the South Australian border, Nelson is a charming riverside town that serves as a gateway to the Lower Glenelg National Park. The town offers river cruises, canoeing, and fishing opportunities along the Glenelg River.
  3. Portland, VIC (72.6 km from Dartmoor): A coastal town with beautiful beaches, historic buildings, and a vibrant arts scene. Visit the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre, explore the Cape Nelson Lighthouse, or enjoy a leisurely walk along the Portland Foreshore.
  4. Casterton, VIC (80 km from Dartmoor): Known as the birthplace of the Kelpie, Casterton is a picturesque town surrounded by rolling hills and the Glenelg River. Visit the Australian Kelpie Centre, explore the historic town center, or enjoy the scenic beauty of the region.
  5. Mount Gambier, SA (100 km from Dartmoor): A vibrant city in South Australia, Mount Gambier is famous for its stunning Blue Lake, volcanic landscapes, and fascinating caves. Explore the Umpherston Sinkhole, visit the Engelbrecht Cave, or take a walk around the beautiful Blue Lake.

These nearby towns and suburbs offer a range of attractions and activities, making them worth a visit while exploring the Dartmoor region.

Getting To Dartmoor, VIC

To get to Dartmoor, VIC from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Melbourne CBD:

  • By public transport: Take the V/Line train from Southern Cross Station towards Warrnambool and get off at Hamilton Station. From Hamilton, take the V/Line bus towards Mount Gambier and get off at Dartmoor. The total journey takes approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes.
  • By car: Drive west on the M1 (West Gate Freeway) and continue onto the A1 (Princes Highway) towards Colac and Warrnambool. Turn left onto the C194 (Dartmoor-Hamilton Road) and follow it to Dartmoor. The drive takes approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

From other nearby towns:

  • From Heywood: Drive east on the C194 (Dartmoor-Hamilton Road) for about 30 minutes or 39 km.
  • From Nelson: Drive east on the C192 (Nelson-Dartmoor Road) for about 50 minutes or 50 km.
  • From Portland: Drive north on the A1 (Princes Highway) and turn right onto the C194 (Dartmoor-Hamilton Road). The drive takes approximately 1 hour or 72.6 km.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website (https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on train and bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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