I recently spent a glorious, child-free weekend away in the gorgeous coastal town at the end of the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy. Port Fairy is a low lying coastal town in SouthWestern Victoria, 4 hours out of Melbourne. It has long been one of my favourite, beach side vacation spots in Victoria due to its beautiful beaches, picturesque historic riverfront port and thriving arts and food scene.
Port Fairy is a beautiful, quiet town to spend a weekend away in peace and tranquility. Here is why.
- The Beach. The beautiful beach. I love visiting the beach at any time of year because there is something therapeutic about taking in the endless, natural power of tides and waves and sand. Port Fairy has a wonderful assortment of beaches spanning the wildly carefree, to the peaceful, enclosed lagoons. Try East Beach, South Beach or Pea Soup beach (a rocky lagoon style beach). There are also lots of wonderful beach spots to visit in surrounding towns. Be sure to find patrolled beaches in Summer and wear a hat and scarf in Winter- it can get cold.
- The River and its historic working port. Fancy a amble along the historic, sheltered port? You will find beautiful architecture, working boats, ancient trees and peaceful views toward sea. In the warmer months I have also attended an excellent market in this gorgeous spot.
- The fantastic accomodation. I stayed in town at the wonderful Victoria Apartments. This is perfect accommodation for a family and it was walking distance to most things that town had to offer. There are plenty of other great options too.
- Fen Restaurant. Having received one hat in the Age Good Food Guide, Fen restaurant is well worth a visit. Set in a beautiful bluestone building within historic Seacombe House, it features Australian, foraged produce served under the watchful eye of head chef, Ryan Sessions. A truely unique dining experience.
- Basalt Winery. Change gears and head just a little bit out of town until you find this award winning, biodynamic winery and cafe. You will be surprised by the quality of wine and food on offer in this windswept location on a hill. Be sure to say hello to proprietor Shane, this man knows how to tell a tale and will make you feel at home. You can read more by going here.
- Pizza at Coffin Sally Pizza Bar. Ok, this is just the best kind of pizza restaurant. Chewy, crunchy base covered with the most delicious assortment of ingredients. Sit fireside at the bar to really take in the unique atmosphere at this great eating space. You can read more about Coffin Sally here.
- The Art Gallery trail and Limestone Gallery and Cafe. Port Fairy certainly punches well above its weight when it comes to creative talent. Talented artists seem to congregate here, perhaps inspired by the peaceful tranquility and beautiful setting. Whatever the reason, the art scene is thriving in this town and Limestone Gallery is a beautiful spot to have lunch and view art by local artists. You might even like to wander through the stunning sculpture garden. You could also try the Art Gallery Trail.
- The Port Fairy Folk Festival is held in March and is one of Australia’s largest music festivals. Earlier this year it celebrated 40 years with an amazing line-up of over 20 International and 100 Australian acts.
- Summer. Most Aussies do not need to be convinced to visit the beach in Summer when Australia is at its best. Well Port Fairy pulls not stops with its beautiful beaches, long warm days, and its great High St shopping and eating. Just to really excel at beachside Summer living they also have a annual Moynena Festival with events happening every day from Christmas Eve until Australia Day, including markets, a New Years Eve parade, an ocean swim race, vintage cars, art shows and last time I was there, an excellent backward running race. Go!
- Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. This is the site of a volcanic formation known as a nested mar. Visit for a great opportunity to spot birds, kangaroos and koalas. There are also BBQ’s you can use and a visitors centre designed by architect Robin Boyd which is open daily. You can learn about the local indigenous people the Worn Gundidj, who have a special connection to Tower Hill. Wildlife abounds so bring your camera.
- The great gift shops and cafes. Wandering the main street of Port Fairy is an excellent way to pass a morning in my opinion. Boutiques, gift shops, clothing, craft, books, coffee, local produce and more. Don’t forget the local markets. I always enjoy a wander.
- Beautiful buildings. There are over 50 classified historic buildings dating back to the 1840’s in Port Fairy and boy are they beautiful to look at. Some can be viewed by taking the Maritime Walk or the Shipwreck Heritage Walk. Visit Captain Mills Cottage which is believed to be the oldest house still standing in Victoria.
- The Whales. A whaling station was established here in 1835 and the town was eventually settled from there. Now every year in Winter you can see breaching Southern right whales off Port Fairy’s coast when the whales come in to mate and calve. The locals make it easy by flying a blue flag on the village green whenever a whale is spotted.
- Lighthouse on Griffiths Island The lighthouse was built c.1859 and is made of local bluestone. A photographers delight, it is also a great place to take a walk through the wild gardens that once surrounded the lighthouse keeper’s home.
- The Walking Trails. Port Fairy is home to an interesting and diverse group of walking trails including the Maritime and Shipwreck Heritage Walk, Shipwreck Trail, the Port Fairy- Warrnambool rail trail, Port Fairy Historic Town Walk and the Griffiths Island Lighthouse Walk.
So why not plan yourself a road trip to beautiful Port Fairy to take a walk, connect with nature, buy some art, enjoy some coastal hospitality and check out what the town has to offer?
Dani B is a food and lifestyle blogger and she writes at Eat My Street.
You can read more about her time in Port Fairy by going here.
Or take a look at some of her favourite recipes. Chocolate anyone?
Everybody loves a Chocolate Mud Cake Recipe
The divine White Chocolate Mud Cake.