Port Fairy

Historic Fishing Village

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A pretty fishing village west of the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy is home to Victoria’s oldest licensed hotel, the 1844 Caledonian Inn, and has more than 50 buildings classified by the National Trust.

Today it is a popular holiday destination, with great ocean beaches and fishing as well as a bevy of restaurants, boutiques and craft shops.

Named after a whaling vessel, The Fairy, in 1828, Port Fairy was a bustling whaling station in the early 19th century before being developed by an Irish-born solicitor, who briefly renamed it Belfast after his home town. Indeed, this whole region was settled by people fleeing the Irish potato famine and the nearby village of Koroit maintains its Celtic roots.

Port Fairy is the home port for one of Victoria’s largest fishing fleets and a focal point of the town is the Fisherman’s Wharf area along the Moyne River, which is lined with fishing boats and leisure craft.


* Buy fresh fish, crayfish and abalone at the fisherman’s coop or throw in your own fishing line from the jetty.

* Head out to sea on a guided fishing trip or take a cruise out to the 23,000-strong Australian fur seal colony (the largest in the Southern Hemisphere) on craggy, barren Lady Percy Island, which is also home to mutton birds, fairy penguins, seabirds, crayfish and sharks. In winter you’ll also likely see southern right whales.

* Explore the town’s wide streets, lined with white-washed cottages, great Norfolk pines, old stone churches, Georgian-style merchants’ homes and grand public buildings. At the Information Centre pick up details of the Heritage Walk that takes in all the town’s historic highlights.

* Walk along the pedestrian causeway out to Griffiths Island a natural oasis with delightful small sandy bays, at the mouth of the Moyne River. It is home to a large colony of mutton birds and on its eastern tip is the Port Fairy Lighthouse.

* Port Fairy has three diverse beaches.

– East Beach is the only lifeguard-patrolled beach. It faces Port Fairy Bay, parallel to the Moyne River, and is accessed via Beach Street. Lifeguards operate during summer. Please bathe between the red and yellow flags, which designate safe and supervised swimming areas. In winter, the Surf Lifesaving Club is a great whale watching vantage point!

– Along Ocean Drive and fronting the Southern Ocean are pockets of sandy beaches, including pretty Pea Soup Beach.

– Further afield, sheltered Bluestone Bay features a series of spectacular bluestone lagoons accessible by walking along the beach from the township.

* Nearby, visit the Tower Hill State Game Reserve
which sits inside an extinct volcano and is a haven for wildlife with koalas, emus, kangaroos, echidnas and many species of water birds roaming freely. More than 300,000 indigenous trees have been replanted using a detailed 1855 painting of Tower Hill by renowned artist Eugene von Guerard. There is also an indigenous interpretive centre that offers a bush survival walk.

* Do a tour of Codrington Wind Farm, Australia’s largest and first wind power station, just 20 minutes from Port Fairy.


* The Drift House offers for superb contemporary apartment style suites inside a beautifully restored Victorian town house.

* Fen Restaurant offers superb contemporary cuisine from local seafood, produce and foraged fare in one of Port Fairy’s oldest buildings.

* Rebecca’s Café is a fine spot for country breakfasts, including her famous wild rice porridge, cakes and ice cream.

* Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel offers attractive bed and breakfast accommodation in French Provincial-inspired rooms overlooking the Moyne River.

* Merrijig Inn offers whimsical dishes with produce from the kitchen garden and meat and fish from a host of local suppliers. You can stay in the rustic heritage rooms in the 19th century inn.

At A Glance

Port Fairy

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