Port Fairy holidays & travel guide Port Fairy holidays & travel guide

The Ultimate Travel Guide toPort Fairy

Get swept away by the historic charm of this quaint coastal town (population 3,340). Located right at the end of the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy isn’t quite as overrun with tourists as other parts of the famed region can be. But those who turn around and drive straight home after visiting the 12 Apostles are missing out: this tiny town has so much to offer.

 

From glorious sweeps of white sand to a swathe of beautiful bluestone buildings, a rich food and drink scene, plenty of local maritime history, a first-class golf course, and an abundance of waves to catch. And that’s just the start.

 

Whether you’re travelling en masse with the family and searching for a wholesome, upmarket break, or looking to set aside some time for a romantic getaway with your other half, Port Fairy almost certainly delivers.

Getting to Port Fairy

Port Fairy is located some 290 kilometres west of Melbourne (approximately a three-and-a-half-hour drive). Public transport options are extremely limited, so driving is really the only way to do it. Melbourne’s Avalon Airport is the closest to the coastal town, at 236 kilometres away, but few choose to drive direct; instead take to the Great Ocean Road, a 664-kilometre feat of engineering that traces Vic’s rugged coastline from Torquay to Port Fairy.

Best time to visit Port Fairy

The ocean winds keep winters warm and summers cool on the Great Ocean Road. Port Fairy is typically at its hottest between January and March, with March arguably providing peak conditions: not only is the weather rather lovely, but with kids back at schools it’s a lot less busy. The Port Fairy Folk Festival, one of Australia’s largest music festivals, is also on in March. For whale watching, head to the Victorian coastline between May and October.

 

Top things to do in Port Fairy

Attractions

Keen golfers need to schedule in a round of golf at the highly-rated Port Fairy Golf Club. With green fees of $49, this challenging, 18-hole links golf course is also wildly good value for money.

 

Go for a brisk walk in the briny sea air to the Griffiths Island Lighthouse: a prominent feature of the Port Fairy landscape since 1859. From town it’s a 30-minute stroll to this serene, and sometimes wind-whipped location, often frequented by wallabies.

Surfing & nature

Grom or pro, there’s a surf spot for all levels on this slice of Victorian coastline. Experienced surfers should try The Passage, a right-hand break at the old entrance to the Moyne river, or East Beach, which has right and left beach breaks; while The Lighthouse, a right-hand point break off Griffiths island, is suitable for all. East Beach also happens to be a great place to while away a sunny summer’s day, home to a crescent of white sand and invitingly calm turquoise water. See also the lovely Killarney Beach.

 

Fishing is a popular pastime in these parts. Make for Martin’s Point, where the river meets the ocean, and you might land bream, king george whiting or mullet. Or try your hand at beach fishing on Killarney.

Markets & shopping

Most of Port Fairy’s shops (and restaurants) are clustered around Bank and Sackville Streets. Those who love nothing more than a leisurely peruse around boutique stores will feel at home here. Pick out bespoke designs from local silversmith LUONE, rifle through the menswear and lifestyle wares at The Passage, pick up some reading material for the beach at Blarney Books and Art, or go hunting for treasures at the handful of antique stores.

 

There’s also a fortnightly farmers’ market held on Bank Street every other Saturday, where you’ll find fruit, veggies, flowers, honey, preserves, wine, cheese, cakes, eggs, and more.

Best places to stay in Port Fairy

Camping & caravan parks in Port Fairy

The owners keep things spick and span at Port Fairy Holiday Park, which offers powered and unpowered sites. Trees and shrubs dot the manicured grounds offering shade, shelter and a bit of privacy, plus there’s a heated indoor pool and a tennis court.

 

Located just a few minutes’ walk from town, on the banks of the Moyne River, the Gardens Caravan Park Port Fairy is in a plum spot, and is known for keeping its on-site facilities super clean. Both aforementioned caravan parks are also dog-friendly.

Luxury accommodation in Port Fairy

You’ll feel instantly at ease in the minimalist suites atop the Oak and Anchor Hotel. Featuring a calming neutral colour palette paired with natural textures such as stone walls and timber accents, many of the suites also come with freestanding tubs.

 

It doesn’t get more boutique than Drift House: a four-star bolthole with six individually designed suites and lashings of style. Think open fireplaces, solid stone baths and private walled courtyards at this adults-only property.

 

For something cosy, character-filled and very reasonably priced, try the rooms and suites at The Merrijig Inn.

 

There’s a number of quaint and cosy Airbnbs in Port Fairy, like this contemporary one-bedroom bungalow, or this beautifully decorated Victorian cottage, both of which are pet-friendly.

Restaurants & pubs in Port Fairy

A bright and airy space, Conlan’s Wine Store dishes up Modern Australian dishes with a heavy focus on the Mediterranean. There’s an affordable four-course tasting menu and a stellar line-up of wines plucked from across Australia.

 

A local favourite, Bank St + Co excels at all the brunch classics: eggs benny with local bacon, smashed avo on toast, smoked salmon with crispy chat potatoes. The lunch options are a touch more eclectic at this Port Fairy cafe; expect beautifully plated fusion fare.

 

Enjoy a carefully curated wine list and a seasonal farm-to-fork menu at The Merrijig. There’s a thoroughly French feel to the menu at what is said to be Victoria’s oldest inn, think bisque, rillettes, parfait, cassoulet, steak tartare.

 

Sensitively restored, but featuring a few modern touches, the heritage-listed Oak and Anchor Hotel is a beautiful place for all-day dining. You’ll find all your favourite elevated pub classics at lunch (fried chicken bao, pork tacos, Sichuan squid) and gastropub-style dining at night (12-hour slow cooked pork belly, sous vide chicken cutlets).

 

For top-notch seafood, you can’t go past Blakes and its sought-after seafood platters.

 

Strolling around town, you won’t be short of pick-me-ups between meals either. Settle in at artisanal chocolatier Audley & Hall for a hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, or pick up some salted caramel truffles for the road. Drop into popular Poco for a scoop or two of creme brulee or tiramisu ice cream. Or head to Time & Tide for a spot of high-end high tea.

Tours & packages for Port Fairy

The beauty of Port Fairy is that most of this little town’s treasures can be unearthed without the need for a tour or package. But one option for further exploration is to take to the waters of Port Fairy Bay for a chance to spy pods of dolphins, or humpbacks and southern right whales along this so-called ‘whale corridor’. Head to the Port Fairy & Region Visitor Information Centre for details on local boat operators.

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