THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD DIARIES - PORT FAIRYby Jess Zarnow
Port Fairy was our first stop in Victoria as part of our Great Ocean Road trip. I had heard from several people that it had been their favourite place to visit on the road, and now I know why. It’s such a glorious little town and it quickly became our favourite too.
Nestled by the seaside, this town is full of character and has a rich history. Buildings and cottages, some from as long as 1844, still remain in the town today. We stayed in Port Fairy for only two nights, but we tried to cram in as much as we possibly could. Here’s how we spent our two nights-
It’s time to rest your head
We found an absolute gem on Airbnb for our accommodation in Port Fairy. We stayed in this eco house, which was on a quiet suburban street, just back from the beach. If you don’t mind walking, it was around a 25 minute stroll from town or a 5 minute car ride.
We had our own private entry way attached to the main dwelling, which was super cosy and had modern facilities. With a ensuite to swoon over, I wanted to take pretty much everything in this place home with me. And one of the best things about this place- it was less than $100 a night. Bargain. We would stay here in a heart beat and would recommend this place to couples or a 2 mates happy to share a big (comfy) bed.
It’s time to eat
When you only have 2 nights in town, you don’t want to be wasting your time eating bad food. Here are some of our top picks in the town-
Port of Mexico– Cosy little restaurant, serving lunch and dinner. The salt and pepper squid was amazing as were the tacos and beef burrito bowls. Lovely staff and great vibe. Definitely one to visit!
Bank Street Co– If you like a typical Melbourne brunch, then you need to pop into Bank Street Co. Top notch coffee, delicious sweets and really good brekky food. We loved their smashed sweet potato and avo and their eggs benny- that hollandaise was so tasty!
Time and Tide– If you like high tea, scones with jam and cream, fritatas and ploughmans platters, then pop this on your list. Time and Tide is nestled on the beach, with huge glass windows to take in the view. We shared a platter filled with local produce and a serving of scones- if you are a scone fan you need to try these, they are so light and fluffy. High Tea is on weekends and bookings are recommended
Basalt Wines– A cute little winery, about 20 minutes out of the Port Fairy township. Here you can taste their range of biodynamic wines, as well as dabble in a few craft beers or a latte if you feel so inclined. If you’re feeling snacky they also have a food menu, but we stuck to the liquid stuff. Top pick for us were their award winning Riesling and Shiraz.
Coffin Sally– This place came recommended from a best friends mum, trip advisor and almost every blog I read about Port Fairy- and it lived up to the hype. Coffin Sally sells pizza, and my god they make a mean pizza. The setting is rustic and casual, but oozes so much charm- its hard to put it into words, but its not just somewhere to eat for dinner, its more of an experience. We tried 4 different pizzas and couldn’t fault any, and also dabbled in a few beers- if you are a craft beer fan you should come here for the beer list alone. A must visit in Port Fairy.
The Farmers Wife– This café is hidden town a pathway just off the main drag of town and offers inside and outside seating, perfect for when the sun is out to play. We loved their coffee and fresh juices, as well as their rather massive breakfasts. I had their buckwheat pancakes with natural peanut butter and fresh berries- they were super filling and very tasty!
Conlans Wine Bar– If you are looking for fine dining, somewhere to have a glass of vino or a spritz, or are looking for a bottle to take home then this is the place for you. We nestled into a couch here and had a few glasses of red and it was lovely. We also wished we stayed for dinner- the food coming out of the kitchen looked divine.
Explore the town and its surrounds
With so many gorgeous buildings around the town, it was fair to say that my camera was well and truly in my hand at all times. One of our first stops after settling in was to the Tourist Information Centre, where we got ourselves a map of the town, as well as a map of all the historic buildings in the area. The staff here were lovely and were more than happy to point out some of the towns highlights.
Some of our favourite places to visit included
Port Fairy Marina
We took a few strolls down to the marina in the late afternoon and it was glorious. The decking goes along the waters edge so you can get up close to all the boats, as well as spy on all the fancy houses on the water front (and take a few sneaky photographs).
The Crags Lookout
Just outside of town, but worth the drive. The Crags takes in some of the most incredible coastline, giving the 12 Apostles a run for their money.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
About 15 minutes out of town, Tower Hill is a wildlife and nature lovers dream come true. There’s no entry fees and it is one of the biggest and beautiful reserves I’ve ever visited. We were greeted by wild wallaby’s, emus, koalas and even 3 snakes (the snakes were terrifying but all was okay). There’s plenty of bush walking to be had, so make sure you wear your closed in shoes and bring a camera for all the animals you’ll be spotting.
Griffiths Island and Griffiths Island Lighthouse
The walk around Griffiths Island took us about a hour and was worth every minute. There were two options for the walk- we took the trail that took us around the whole island, including on the beach, but there is a shorter and easier option for those that would like it. The lighthouse itself was very photogenic, and a snap in front of it is obligatory.
Nothing makes me happier than a little bit of vitamin sea, and Port Fairy definitely gave me that.
We didn’t get in the water because it was rather chilly, but we still spent plenty of time seaside. Some of our favourite beaches included Pea Soup (close to our Airbnb, rock pools and great to explore), The Main Beach (perfect for swimming and patrolled on occasions) and The Passage (where you’ll find surfers). The whole coast of Port Fairy is charming and there’s plenty of places to dip your toes in.