Everything you need to know about the last stop on the Great Ocean Road: Port Fairy.
You’ve done it. You made it the length of the greatest Aussie road trip. Named the world’s ‘Most Liveable Town’, Port Fairy is home to the one of the busiest fishing ports in Victoria. The streets are filled with nineteenth century buildings and old stone churches. And the town is surrounded by heritage walks to get yourself stuck into.
What to Do
Griffith Island Lighthouse Walk
A relatively short trip coming in at just over an hour, this ruggedly beautiful walk takes in secluded beaches, a shear water colony and the 1859 lighthouse. It’ll guide you along all the best scenic locations of Port Fairy.
Griffith Island is home to the Mutton Bird colony, so make sure to keep on the track because birds are making their nests in burrows in the sand. And sorry, this isn’t a walk suitable for dogs.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Set in an extinct volcano with striking scenery, the reserve is home to emus, koalas, wallabies and abundant birdlife, plus you can learn about the region’s rich Aboriginal history via guided hikes.
The Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve was declared Victoria’s first national park in 1892. With guided tours available everyday between 11am and 1pm, walk amongst more than 300,000 trees and over 200 kangaroos that live around the visitor car park.
Take a cruise out to Lady Julia Percy Island
Although entry to the island is prohibited due to its nature reserve title, Salty Dog Charters tour group does send out boat tours to circle the off-shore volcano. Lady Julia Percy Island (or Dhinmar is their Aboriginal name) is Australia’s only submarine volcano which was formed an estimated seven million years ago. Home to the largest breeding colony of fur seals in the southern hemisphere, it’s considered a hunting ground for the Great White Shark.
Port Fairy Jazz Festival
Port Fairy holds an annual Jazz Festival every February. Tourists and locals gather around the streets to hear emerging and established musicians play the blues. The festival is not for profit and is entirely run by volunteers in the community.
Mahogany Walking Track
Victoria’s south coast is known for their incredible walking tracks. The Mahogany Walking track is a beach walk from Port Fairy to Warrnambool. Spot a plethora of wildlife along the tracks, with echidnas, rare-hooded plovers and mutton birds often making appearances. If you’re lucky in winter or spring you’ll see a southern right whale frolicking in the waters. The track is 6 hours one-way, so you’ve got to leave a whole day for this activity.
Where to Eat
A 10 minute drive away from Port Fairy’s town centre, this pretty cellar door offers wine tasting with their own blends along with local charcuterie and cheese. If you’re a little more peckish, choose a meal off their seasonal menu to be blown away. While you’re dining in, see if you can spot their own winery dog, Paddy.
Address: 1131 Princes Highway, Killarney.
The Farmers Wife Harvest Café
Set back from the street, this hidden gem is the top pick for inventive cafe fare and great coffee. The traditional Australian breakfast café has gotten rave reviews, especially their pork belly eggs benedict on a brioche bun. The Asian-flare has got locals singing high praises.
Address: 47 Sackville Street
Always buzzing, this stylish pizzeria and bar nails great cocktails and a laid-back holiday vibe. All pizzas are made from scratch and cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven for that crunchy taste. But you can’t leave Coffin Sally without ordering a late night Negroni or a craft beer on tap.
Address: 33 Sackville Street
Bringing a rich sense of Tuscan home-styled cooking to Port Fairy is Bottega Toscana. This artisan pasta bar is a central Italian hub of delicious feasts. Not only just serving up pasta, but making up a mean spezzatino d’agnello (boneless lamb stew), this is one for the books.
Address: 26 Bank Street
Where to Stay
Contemporary restoration of a classic two-storey 1850s bluestone manor with luxurious finishes, delicious locally sourced breakfast hamper and designer touches aplenty. It isn’t for the budget-friendly, but if you splash some cash, you’ll get to experience the 5-star private pool out on the deck.
Address: 98 Gipps Street
Filled with old school coastal charm, the Belfast Cottages will quickly feel like home to any visitor. These self-contained cottages are only two minutes from the town centre and lay along 1.5 acres of land. For additional charges, guests can choose to book the Swim Spa Room where the luxury hot spa pool is located.
Address: 5 Thistle Place
The Merrijig Inn
This cosy, historic bed and breakfast feels a little like staying with your quirky, worldly, gastronome aunt. Dine on home grown produce and savour a cooked breakfast in the sunny, garden-facing atrium. Opt to stay in their iconic Attic Room, overlooking Port Fairy’s Wharf this smaller room is definitely unique.
Address: 1 Campbell Street
Options are the name of the game here at Douglas Riverside. Choose from B&B rooms, self-contained houses and self-contained apartments. Located along Moyne River, you’re right in the middle of the peace. Previous guests claim that it is the ultimate waterfront relaxation location.
Address: 85 Gipps Street
Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel
This heritage-styled Boutique Hotel is located in the heart of Port Fairy, right opposite the Moyne River Marina. Breakfast is served every day, cooked by the head chef, only using the freshest seasonal produce. Get yourself ready for caramelised banana hotcakes.
Address: 41B Gipps Street
Port Fairy is located 289 kilometres west (approximately 3 and a half hours drive) of Melbourne at the end of the Great Ocean Road.
Planning a trip along the Great Ocean Road? Check out the ultimate travel guide to one of the best road trips in Australia.