The last stop on the Great Ocean Road and Victoria’s rugged Shipwreck Coast is a charming fishing village with heritage buildings, great beaches and a folk festival.
Experience Port Fairy’s 19th-century charm when you stroll down portside promenades lined with whitewashed cottages. Watch boats rocking in the wharf as fishermen unload the daily catch and make your way down to the beach for a swim. Port Fairy has a captivating local arts scene, with plenty of boutiques, galleries and antiques stores to explore. The town is no stranger to visitors, with thousands flocking to the annual folk festival to see local and international acts.
Get acquainted with Port Fairy’s intriguing history. The town’s waterfront has a large collection of heritage homes that formerly belonged to whalers, seamen and port merchants in the 1800s. Follow the Port Fairy Maritime and Shipwreck Heritage Walk to uncover this fascinating past. Victoria’s oldest licensed hotel, the Caledonian Inn, has offered a place for weary seamen to enjoy a pint since 1844.
Wander down to the Fisherman’s Wharf, which is one of Victoria’s busiest fishing ports. Crayfish and abalone are among the haul that local fishermen bring in daily. From here, you can join a guided fishing charter, board a sightseeing cruise to the seal colonies on Lady Julia Percy Island or spot southern right whales in the cooler months. If the sun is shining, it’s time to hit one of Port Fairy’s three main beaches. Try stand-up paddleboarding in the still waters or join a surfing class if the swell is right.
Some of the town’s best outlooks are from the historic fortifications at Battery Hill and the charming Port Fairy Lighthouse on Griffiths Island. For a green escape, explore the 19th-century Botanic Gardens.
Each Labor Day Weekend in March, the town swells with people arriving for the Port Fairy Folk Festival. See international acts and local folk personalities at this popular and long-running celebration.
Port Fairy is situated on Victoria’s southwestern coast. It is approximately 3.5 hours’ drive from Melbourne and a half-hour drive from Warrnambool. It is accessible from both by public transit.