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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Perfect Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Voted as one of the world's most livable cities, Port Fairy is a coastal town in south-western Victoria, 28kms west of Warrnambool and 290kms west of Melbourne.

Establised around 1828, it was originally known as Belfast, with the name changing in 1887 to Port Fairy (after the sealing cutter The Fairy, captained by James Wishart).

The 2016 census lists the population as 3,340. This number swells during the annual Folk Festival. Held in March each year since 1977, over 3.500 acts have performed in this time, to over 1,000,000 visitors.

Sailing and fishing boats line the river and this is a popular part of town to walk along the jetties and foreshore. The Moyne River flows through town and enters the Great Australian Bight. This part of the coastline is very popular with surfers, fisherpersons, and anyone who loves seaside holidays and coastline living.

Walking down the main streets of town, you notice the shops are a mix of both new and preserved buildings. On a rainy day, it was glorious to see this double rainbow over the shops.

There are 50 buildings in Port Fairy that are protected by the National Trust of Australia. Some are small cottages, others are palatial homes and public buildings. A map is available from the Visitor Information Centre. This self guided walk takes you around town and gives a brief description of each building.

The Caledonian Inn is the oldest continuously licensed hotel in the State, having operated without interruption since 1844. This was a great place to stop in for a beer when on the walking tour. The staff greeted me as I walked in the door and locals chatted to visitors, welcoming me to town.

The former St Andrews Presbyterian church was built in 1854 and is an austere and rare example of the Primitive Greek Revival.

It was lovely and peaceful strolling around the town looking at the historical buildings. It is a gorgeous town and I can see why many people like living and holidaying here.

Many of the streets in town are lined by large pine trees.

There is variety of food venues in town to choose from. I visited Coffin Sally, a pizza restuarant and bar with a friend. Not only was the pizza absolutely delicious, the venue has a great vibe. On a cold winters evening, the roaring open fire in the bar was a welcoming and warm sight. In the old days they made coffins here, hence the name Coffins Alley became Coffin Sally.

In the centre of town, at the roadabout intersection is The Hub, a favourite coffee shop of both locals and visitors. I enjoyed their delicious coffee and very filling meals. Their serving sizes are large and you can ask for a take away container for your uneaten portions. The staff were happy to chat away with diners when they weren't busy and it was nice to know several of them had moved to Port Fairy from other places, they really love it here.

It is the sign of a good coffee shop when the armchairs have indentations in them from the many coffee cups placed here over time. The warm fire is a perfect vantage point to sit and sip while watching people pass by outside. Yes, I did spend quite a few relaxing and enjoyable hours here when visiting the town.

There are so many beautiful sights in and around town. Stopping at a carpark on the oceanside, I sat in my warm car and admired the surfers as they braved the cold waves.

My favourite walk was along the Moyne River, lined with waterfront homes, sailing boats bobbing on the water, people enjoying the walkways and the sight and smell of the nearby ocean. Too cold for me to swim in during winter, I can definitely see why this seaside paradise attracts so many people to visit pefect Port Fairy!

Happy Travels!

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1 Comment

Jan 10, 2023

What a beautiful town. There really is nothing like a coastal town & this is another one I'm adding to my list of places to visit.

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