Three and a half hours south-west of Melbourne at the end of the famous Great Ocean Road lies the pretty seaside town of Port Fairy. This quaint, fishing village lies on the banks of the Moyne River, where it meets the Southern Ocean. The town was voted the world’s most liveable town (under 20,000) in 2012 and it’s easy to see why. Historic buildings and cottages, stunning coastal scenery, beautiful beaches, great food, boutique shopping, surf and coffee make it a haven for tourists, fishermen, surfers, foodies and families wanting to escape the rat race.
One of our favourite things to do is walk the coast path around Griffith Island (connected to the mainland) to enjoy the secluded bays and coves, the historic Lighthouse and Australian wildlife, including wallabies and mutton birds.
The town also boasts what ELE considers to be Australia’s best ice-cream shop, Poco Artisan Ice-Cream, serving up deliciously mouth watering flavours such as Burnt Fig, Apple Pie, Classic Chocolate and Old Salty (the best salted caramel ice-cream you will ever taste).
Port Fairy is a popular tourist destination and events such as the famous Folk Festival, high season in summer and holidays throughout the year are very busy. ELE’s favourite time to visit is in February, when the ocean is still warm and perfect for swimming but the crowds have died down. Alternatively winter is perfect to rug up for bracing coastal walks, relaxing by the fire with a glass of red wine or (if you are lucky) sighting the Southern Right Whales frolicking in the waters off East Beach.
ELE top tip: Due to its location by the ocean, the breezes coming off the Arctic can be chilly- make sure you take enough warm clothes even in summer just in case!
Poco Artisan Ice Cream – Australia’s best ice-cream shop. 27 Cox Street, Port Fairy.
Coffin Sally Pizza and Bar – A great bar, open fire and pizza to rival any big city establishment (the Wilted Spinach is a must try!) 33 Sackville Street, Port Fairy www.coffinsally.com.au
Lemongrass Thai Restaurant – Super fresh Thai, serving all of the classic dishes. 55 Bank Street, Port Fairy
Warnambool Rail Trail – a 37 kilometre scenic rail trail for cyclists linking Warnambool, Koroit and Port Fairy www.portfairytowarnamboolrailtrail.com
Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel- situated right on the River Moyne this hotel boasts luxe accommodation and a beautiful verandah to take in the views. 41b Gipps Street, Port Fairy www.oscarswaterfront.com.au
The main form of accommodation in the town is self catering holiday homes and cottages. Visit stayz.com.au for a full range of options.