‘The Great Ocean Road’s Port Fairy is a playground frozen in time’

Aug 03, 2019
Julie writes of her nostalgia trip to Port Fairy, Victoria. Source: Julie Grenness

Time travelling, a couple of years ago, I ventured for a holiday in the picturesque playground of Port Fairy on the Princes Highway in the Western District of Victoria. It was a long car ride from Melbourne (roughly 3.5 hours), but the trip was well worth it.

In Port Fairy my companion and I discovered many interesting and entertaining pastimes. The actual township is quite historical. Charming and beautiful bluestone cottages, larger Georgian houses and vintage hotels are mingled with the millionaires’ luxurious beach houses. Those are built adjoining breathtaking beach scenery, wide golden sands and aquamarine blue bays.

Visitors can explore and take lots of photos on the walking history trails or spend sunny summer hours swimming or surfing. In winter, there are whale watching tours. We enjoyed the famous wharf area, where the mighty Moyne River flows into the Southern Ocean. This wharf is still the home of a thriving fishing fleet. A real delight is the popular fish and chip shop, right on the jetty, alongside a fish restaurant. The hungry lunchers can repast on fresh fried or grilled fish, with great chips. Or tourists can dine in luxury in the restaurant on wonders such as crayfish, straight from the fleet, caught that morning. Oh, delicious!

This wharf area can also feature family attractions such as camel rides, or open air markets on the grassy lawns, or trippers can view a wonderful array of yachts and small boats, like a jigsaw scene, in real life. Actually, all the cafes and restaurants in Port Fairy serve a terrific range of mouth-watering meals, some of the best dining in regional Victoria. The Caledonian, for example, is one of the oldest hotels in the state. The challenge for the diners here is to even finish munching through the giant, tasty, locally produced steaks.

Port Fairy really comes alive during the long weekend in March. This is the time of the Port Fairy Folk Festival. The whole town plays host to a vibrant variety of free street concerts, nightly music festivals, street performers, and any wandering acts. Music is in the air! The main street is blocked off, everyone is welcome to sit and listen to talents old and new, and enjoy the tempting treats from the roadside food stalls.

The weather for the festival is usually great. Sea breezes are in the air.

One evening, we wandered away from the beaten track. We found our own beach on a late hot afternoon. This is my most treasured memory of the Port Fairy playground. We sat on deck chairs, reading books, sipping tea from a thermos. A whole blue bay, like an arc of love, with a spread of golden-white sand. No one else there, no crowds, no radio, no television, no traffic, only a few seabirds. Only serenity and tranquillity, as we sat there until the sun set into the Southern Ocean, gazing at the gentle waves lapping the shoreline. The sky turned into vivid shades of pink, orange and gold.

Yes, it was such picturesque peace in the wonders of the playground of Port Fairy, a trip back in time.

Have you been to Port Fairy in Victoria? Do you plan your holidays around a destination’s major events?

Been travelling? Travel at 60 wants to publish your story. Simply sign up as a contributor and submit your stories. When your story is published, you’ll go into the draw to win some great weekly prizes. You can also join the Travel at 60 Travel Lovers Club on Facebook to talk to other travellers in the Travel at 60 community.

Stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox

Sign up to our daily newsletter for more great stories

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…