We are not strangers to a small county town.
Having lived in one and visited many on road trips across this great state, we’d be happy to say we are avid country town appreciators. So it is no surprise that Port Fairy, has been on our list of small towns to visit for a long time.
Situated on the West Coast of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy has been rewarded with the acclaim of best small town world-wide by over a staggering 20,000 towns vying for the title. Upon arriving, I’m already starting to see why.
A sleepy fisherman’s village no more, Port Fairy boasts attractions of many varieties that will keep you as busy as you need to be, yet feel relaxed and chilled at the same time. As a family of four we explored what Port Fairy had to offer families.
Griffiths Island – Situated just a short walk from town, Griffiths Island is a perfect outdoor experience to give you a glimpse of Port Fairy iconic landmarks. The island itself is only accessible by foot (or bike) and the landscape is a rugged, natural beauty. We even were enchanted by a few wallabies. Your aim is to get to the lighthouse and there you are are rewarded with a most spectacular vista. Top tip – hire some bikes from the visitor Information Centre and ride from town to the Island.
Farmers Market – Each Saturday there is a farmers market at the old railway station. It alternates between a market selling produce and handicrafts, but either way, this is a great spot to visit and enjoy some local spirit.
Cragg’s lookout – if you are a keen photographer or enjoy a coastal lookout drive a bit further to Cragg’s lookout some wonderful coastal scenery.
Tower Hill Conservation Walk – Just out of time is Tower Hill this revegetated wildlife reserve offers guided and self guided tours through bushland giving you a chance to admire the wetlands, aboriginal heritage and be sure to keep a close look out for a koala or emu.
Blarney Books – the most quaint bookshop I have visited in some time. A mix of new and second-hand books, lots of cozy chairs to sink into and while a way a few hours reading, and a great play space for the children.
Town shops – nothing beats a good stroll down a country main street and Port Fairy shops are diverse and intriguing. From art galleries, boutiques, bookstores and homewares.
Pea Soup – A funny name, but nevertheless a great spot to visit if it happens to be warm and you want a great swimming spot for the kids. Just a short drive out of town, it’s a protected little inlet perfect for wadding and paddling in the sea.
Port Fairy Wharf – Pop down to the wharf and marvel at the boats docked at the pier. The Wharf restaurant is a place you can get a great casual meal for the family.
Part of any great weekend away is finding fabulous food, and Port Fairy has this in abundance. We could have gladly stayed longer to get to all the eateries, but here are some we did get to.
Rebecca’s Cafe – Great causal spot for lunch – highly recommend the smoked salmon bagel and also the bucket of mini yo-yo’s as a takeaway treat!
Merrijig Inn – One of the finest places to dine in Port Fairy, Merrijig Inn boasts a seasonal menu, meaning that you never quite know what will be on offer the night you visit. We were impressed with a selection of seafood (the calamari and zucchini flower starters were heavenly). If your children lean to the fussy side of the eating scale, perhaps call ahead and see if they can cater for your needs as this is one food experience not to be missed!
Bank St & Co Cafe – Of course I’m happy if my coffee is good and poached eggs are runny, and Bank Cafe ticked the boxes! The smashed sweet potato and duhkah on sourdough was surprisingly delightful.
Coffin Sally – as you walk past in the evening, the smell of pizza’s cooking lures you in. A team are throwing dough in the air and laying out toppings in perfect unison. Highly recommend this as a great take away option! Or, if you are up for a glass of wine, head down the side entrance to the great seating area at the rear.
We were hosted at Magnetic Cottage (managed by Langley’s Port Fairy and Warrnambool Accommodation), which is right in the centre of town. It’s perfectly located so you can park the car at the accommodation and walk everywhere. Magnetic Cottage was an old Whalers Cottage and has undergone a complete renovation, making it ideal of families to stay and relax.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.