The end of the Great Ocean Road
We had visited the historic fishing village of Port Fairy at the end of the Great Ocean Road on many trips before. Originally we only intended to stop and give the” Pawesome Foursome” a walk. Instead we ended up spending a morning rediscovering the popular tourist spot.
Originally a port for sealers and whalers back in the nineteenth century, today it is a thriving fishing village and a popular tourist destination. During the warmer months holidaymakers flock to the seaside town to fish, swim and enjoy the food and art culture.
National Trust buildings
Strolling along the main street of Port Fairy and along the riverside, restored bluestone cottages sit side by side with modern holiday homes. More than 50 buildings are national National Trust classified and many have been lovingly restored.
We enjoyed exploring the streets lined with Norfolk Pines, admiring the old seafarers cottages, historic stone churches and old whitewashed buildings. A heritage walking trail takes you past most of the significant buildings, with story boards detailing their history.
Victoria’s oldest pub, the “Caledonian Inn” dating back to 1844 is one such whitewashed relic, the name itself a nod to the area’s original Scottish immigrants. Maintaining its traditional corner position, it still serves a refreshing pint and an excellent counter meal.
The Pawesome Foursome enjoyed a stroll along the Fisherman’s Wharf, admiring the fishing boats, luxury yachts and the row of old riverside homes, many of which have been restored into guest accommodation.
Strolling along the wharf
Shady picnic and swimming areas abound, but on a cold, blustery July day, the dogs wanted nothing better than a frolic in the offleash area.
From here charters head out for a day’s fishing, whale watching or exploring the Mutton Bird and seal colonies on Lady Julia Percy Island.
Battery Hill Port Fairy
On the other side of the river, you can’t miss the landmark flagstaffs on Battery Hill. In fact they were strangely the thing I remembered most about the town.
Established back in 1861 as a volunteer coastal fortification, many of the canons are still in place. Concrete bunkers and cartridge recesses surround them in the bluestone fortifications. The flagstaffs previously used to signal passing ships are still standing proudly at the top of the hill today. Climbing to the top gives spectacular panoramic views of the Moyne River and the Southern Ocean at the end of the Shipwreck Coast.
Historic stone churches
Our heritage walk through the town brought us past many of the historic buildings. St John’s Anglican and the Wesleyan churches, built from local stone in 1856 are located across the road from each other on John Street. Many whitewashed buildings such as the Common School building remain from the 19th century.
St John’s Anglican Church Port Fairy, and the Wesleyan (now Uniting Church) across the road were both built in 1856.
Dating back to 1844, the Caledonian Inn, Port Fairy is Victoria’s oldest licensed hotel. Strolling along the historic streets cape you will find a diverse range of galleries and antique stores where we enjoyed a morning browsing. There’s also no shortage of cafe’s and pubs to enjoy a relaxing coffee or a quick counter meal.
From Port Fairy you can enjoy ocean cruises and sightseeing tours, as well as day trips to surrounding national parks and hiking trails. Many years on, I still found it to be one of the prettiest towns along the Great Ocean Road.