Part way between Portland and Casterton on the Princes Highway, Heywood is a place of significant cultural importance, and is also home to the popular Wood, Wine and Roses Festival.

The town of Heywood services a wide area, and has a bustling town centre, complete with lovely streetscaping and an abundance of rose bushes

Located 30kms from Portland, Heywood is situated on the Fitzroy River.  The river was initially founded and named by Major Thomas Mitchell.  Heywood however was given its name from a Government Surveyor by the name of Lindsey Clarke who named it after his hometown back in England.  Samuel Evans built one of the first buildings along the river in Heywood which was known as the “Bush Inn” or “Bush Tavern” later to be more commonly known as Bilson’s Inn.  

Heywood managed to see itself placed amongst criminal history with notorious Bushranger Frank Gardiner not only visiting Heywood but being arrested here as well. 

On that note whilst you wander the areas of Heywood and the Fitzroy River be sure to take in the historical value of the area.


Surrounding Heywood is the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape, where for thousands of years Gunditjmara people engineering and constructed an extensive aquaculture system along the Mt Eccles/Tyrendarra Lava flows and wetlands. The area shows evidence of a large, settled (not nomadic) Aboriginal community systematically farming eels for food and trade in what is considered to be one of Australia’s earliest and largest aquaculture ventures. Today the Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation and Budj Bim Tours of Heywood help organise tours of the area to explore the remains of stone house sites and eel traps, as well as highlighting the Aboriginal culture and their way of life. Be sure to pack a picnic when you visit Heywood — the region offers some of the Discovery Coast’s best bushland and picnic settings. Surry Ridge Picnic Area, situated off the Cut Out Dam Road in the Cobboboonee State Forest, or the picnic area beside the Fitzroy River in Heywood are good spots for a home-packed meal.

Things to See and Do

On the last Saturday in February join with the Heywood Community to celebrate at their family event, the fabulous Wood Wine and Roses Festival.In and around Heywood: Explore Heywood and surrounds on bicycle. For suggested routes see the Visit Glenelg Vic App. Swim at the Heywood Swimming Pool in Hunter Street. Stroll alongside the Fitzroy River walking tracks in Heywood to visit the Timber Heritage exhibitions. Visit the Heywood Youth Park in Scott Street, featuring a a skate park, BMX track, a half basketball court and children’s playground. Have fun with the family at the Apex Park in Cameron Street, with a riverbank children’s playground, BBQ, picnic area and shady spots to rest and relax by the picturesque Fitzroy River. Use the internet facilities at the Glenelg Regional Library Branch at the Glenelg Shire Customer Service Centre, 77 Edgar Street. Visit the Budj Bim Orientation Centre exhibition ‘Yarkeen Gunditj — Seeing Country’to learn about Gunditjmara heritage along the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape at 21 Scott Street. From here you can also arrange a Budj Bim tour of this significant landscape. Freshen the sanitary of your caravan / motor home by visiting the Effluent Dump Point in Hunter Street. Play golf at the Heywood Golf Club in its elevated bush setting on Mt Clay with views of surrounding hinterlands.

Have your picnic lunch at the Surry Ridge Reserve in the Cobbobonnee Forest and walk through the deep forest setting of the Surry River. Experience the north-eastern views of Mt Eccles and Mt Napier by driving up and along the Mt Clay Road. Drive through the Mt Clay forest to the Sawpit Picnic and Camping Ground for elevated views across Portland Bay from the Whalers Lookout. Visit the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area, Taylors Road Tyrendarra and walk the self-guided walk through the volcanic stony landscape and learn of the world renowned Gunditjmara cultural landscape. Travel to nearby Mt Richmond, which hosts a vast array of animals, birds and plants. The area is particularly popular with koalas and kangaroos. The Glenelg River is a short drive away with boating and fishing activities amid camping grounds nestled in the Lower Glenelg National Park.

Heywood APEX Park

Enjoy a picnic at this free day use area. Heywood’s APEX park is a dog friendly barbecue area nestled on the Fitzroy River.

Budj Bim Tours

Budj Bim Tours is an authentic, indigenous owned tourism company that offers exclusive guided tours through the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape, in south-west Victoria.

About The Author


Corey is a gentleman who works for the Portland Visitor Information Centre. With this role he has learnt a lot about Portland and can give a great insight on where to go and what to see with limited time.

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.