Port Fairy

Moyne River, Ken Stepnell / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 2835

Port Fairy was once a centre for the whaling industry and one of the largest ports in Australia. Today many visitors are attracted to its charming old-world feel, its legacy of historic bluestone buildings, the small fleet of fishing boats that line the old wharf, and its great beach and lively atmosphere in summer. The town truly comes alive in March, when the Port Fairy Folk Festival is held.

Visitor Information

Railway Place, Bank St; (03) 5568 2682 or 1300 656 564


Nearby national parks

  • Mount Eccles National Park

    Mount Eccles National Park is Victoria’s first co-managed national park, being managed by the traditional owners,...more

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

Nearby towns

  • Warrnambool

    Warrnambool lies at the end of the Great Ocean Road on a notorious section of coastline that has seen over 80 shipwrecks. The best known was...more

  • Portland

    Portland is the most westerly of Victoria's major coastal towns and the only deep-water port between Melbourne and Adelaide. It was also the...more

  • Terang

    Terang is in a fertile dairy-farming district. It is a well-laid-out town with grand avenues of deciduous trees, and is known throughout the...more

In Town

History Centre: displays relating to local history housed in the old courthouse; Gipps St.

Battery Hill: old fort and signal station at the river mouth; end of Griffith St.

Port Fairy Wharf: sales of fish and crayfish when in season.

Historic buildings: many are National Trust–classified, including the splendid timber home of Captain Mills, Gipps St; Mott's Cottage, Sackville St; Caledonian Inn, Bank St; Seacombe House, Cox St; St John's Church of England, Regent St; and the Gazette Office, Sackville St.


Griffiths Island Connected to town by a causeway, this island is home to a large colony of short-tailed shearwaters. Each year they travel across the Pacific Ocean from North America to nest in the same burrows (Sept–Apr). Also on the island is a much-photographed lighthouse.

The Crags: rugged coastal rock formations; 12 km W.

Yambuk: a small township centred on an old inn with Yambuk Lake, a popular recreation area, nearby; 17 km W.

Lady Julia Percy Island: home to a fur seal colony; charters can be arranged from Port Fairy Wharf; 22 km off coast.

Codrington Wind Farm: Victoria's first wind-power station; 27 km W.

Mahogany Walk to Warrnambool: a 6–7 hr walk (one way, can return by bus) taking in a magnificent stretch of coastline; details from visitor centre.

Historic Shipwreck Trail: between Port Fairy and Moonlight Head with 25 wreck sites signposted along the way.

Fishing spots near town

Port Fairy 1 km

Port Fairy is an unimposing historic seaport between Warrnambool and Portland. While it might come across as a sleepy, seaside resort, Port Fairy always seems to attract exciting piscatorial headlines. During the 1960s... Find out more

Warrnambool 22 km

Warrnambool is a big, tidy city. It’s a great place to take the family for a holiday, particularly if you have fishing on your mind. All forms of angling are available, but the most popular water is the Hopkins... Find out more

Portland 54 km

‘I reckon Portland is Victoria’s best kept angling secret,’ local angler Bob McPherson told me in 2004. At the time, I believed he was right. Within two years Portland was no longer a secret, becoming... Find out more

Peterborough 61 km

Peterborough has beach and estuary fishing. The estuary system is Curdies River, a noted bream river with fish to 1.5 kg common. The best place to access the river is upstream at a place called Boggy Creek – a name... Find out more

Lake Bullen Merri 78 km

Lake Bullen Merri at Camperdown is less than 20 mins drive from Lake Purrumbete. A deep, volcanic lake with saline water, it is stocked with brown and rainbow trout, Atlantic and Chinook salmon, and Australian bass.... Find out more

Lake Purrumbete 88 km

The bulk of the serious trout-fishing action in Victoria is in the Western District crater lakes. Of these, Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown ranks in the top half a dozen trout lakes in the state in terms quality,... Find out more

Gellibrand River 88 km

A little further west from Aire River are Castle Cove and Johanna Beach; both produce fishing similar to the beach at Aire River. There is also good beach fishing at Princetown, at the mouth of the Gellibrand River. ... Find out more

Lake Bolac 91 km

One of my favourite fishing activities after a hot summer day is to wander along the banks of the Barwon River in Geelong, casting lures for redfin. Redfin are feisty, competitive fish that bite readily and taste great.... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Picnicking at Lake Pertobe Reserve 22 km

Lake Pertobe Reserve on Warrnambool’s foreshore is known as one of the best adventure playgrounds around, with plenty for kids of all ages. There are paddleboats and canoes, a maze and flying fox, free barbecues... Find out more

Mount Eccles National Park 42 km

At Mount Eccles you can walk for 2 kilometres around the rim of a volcanic crater then descend for a swim in the lake at its heart. It is a great spot for a picnic, with koalas and kangaroos, and the camping facilities... Find out more

Diving and snorkelling - Port Campbell, Peterborough and Warrnambool 72 km

Best known in diving circles for its multitude of shipwrecks, most of which are reached by boat dives, this area also has some great snorkelling and shore dives. Recommended spots include the Port Campbell jetty, Wild... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Port Fairy Golf Club 5 km

An endearing quality of the great links layouts of Britain and Ireland is their natural setting. Wild, windswept holes rolling between sand dunes that have stood tall for centuries are the norm. The links of Port... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town


Housed in former council offices, this space has undergone major renovations, including polished floorboards, a gorgeous oak bar, romantic lighting and comfy lounges. There is no pool table, TV, TAB or jukebox – it... Find out more

Merrijig Inn

New life has been breathed into the Merrijig Inn, with an acclaimed menu of imaginative and well-crafted food that changes every few weeks and attracts food lovers from far and wide. For starters, you might find... Find out more

Portofino on Bank

Transformed from an old 1868 bank building, Portofino on Bank is an elegant and popular restaurant serving fragrant and zesty dishes that display strong Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Ingredients are... Find out more

Time & Tide 'High Tea by the High Sea'

This wonderful gallery-cum-cafe is a well-kept secret, located away from the tourist bustle of Port Fairy’s main streets. The town has so much to offer that you could easily miss this oceanside gem tucked away off... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Flying Horse Brewery 27 km

Whales and ales are now the twin attractions for the pretty seaside Victorian city of Warrnambool, following the development of the sprawling Flying Horse Bar & Brewery complex by joint owners Matt Monk, Matt Stewart... Find out more

Purrumbete Brewing Company (Red Duck) 88 km

Scott and Vanessa Wilson-Browne are another couple of ‘ale changers’ who swapped busy Melbourne careers to move to the country, bring up their young family, and brew and market craft ales. Along the way, they... Find out more

Campsites around town

Port Fairy Gardens Caravan Park 1 km

This large caravan park is huddled around a sportsground off Griffiths St in the pretty town of Port Fairy, famous for its 19th-century cottages and the hugely popular folk festival it stages in Mar. Flowing along the... Find out more

Killarney Beach Camping Reserve 8 km

Killarney Beach has grassy, sheltered campsites. There’s safe swimming here, while the surrounding rural region is notable for its peacefulness. A short drive east is Tower Hill Reserve, a shallow crater of an... Find out more

Yambuk Lake Caravan Park 16 km

In Yambuk township, take the signposted turn off the Princes Hwy onto Yambuk Lake Rd and drive for 3 km; alternatively, take the Carrolls Rd turn-off to the east of Yambuk. This campground is at the southern end of Lake... Find out more

Surfside Holiday Park 22 km

Across the road from this campground is a huge family-friendly park, centred on a lake and festooned with playgrounds. Nearby is the Merri River, beyond which you’ll find the enticing sheltered waters of Stingray... Find out more

Warrnambool Holiday Park 25 km

Filled with amenities, this holiday park is situated 2 km east of the centre of Warrnambool. Within its confines you’ll find a reasonable number of sites shaded by large trees, as well as a playground, a pool and a... Find out more

Fitzroy River Public Purposes Reserve camping area 36 km

Surrounded by coastal scrub at the mouth of the Fitzroy River, this campground is only a short walk from lovely ocean beaches. You’ll find it 4 km down Thompsons Rd, which is 32 km east of Portland on the road to... Find out more

Lake Surprise camping area 45 km

Set in serene manna gum forest not far from an equally serene crater lake, this is a delightful place to stay. Walking tracks guide you along lava canals, around the rim of a crater and down to Lake Surprise itself.... Find out more

Narrawong Holiday Park 48 km

This scenic place is 13 km east of Portland on the Princes Hwy. It has its own natural moat, the Surry River, which circles the campground before flowing out past the local beach. Many of the grassy campsites are... Find out more

Sawpit camping area 50 km

This old sawmill site attracts campers because of its access to ocean views. Take the easy track to Whalers Lookout and see if you can spot some passing cetaceans. To reach the site, follow the signposted Boyers Rd from... Find out more

Cubbys Camp (walk-in camping) 57 km

Cubbys Camp is a 20 km trek north-west of Portland. It’s located in the eastern fringe of Cobboboonee Forest.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

BIG4 Port Fairy 1 km

This quality, owner-operated park has large shade trees and informal grassy sites, and is conveniently located alongside the Princes Highway just 1.5 km from the town centre. The park has very good amenities including... Find out more

Port Fairy Gardens Caravan Park 1 km

This is a large council-owned park about 5 minutes’ walk from the town centre and just 200 metres from the beach, with level grassy sites, good amenities and a tennis court. Bookings are required at Christmas,... Find out more

Belfast Cove Caravan Park 1 km

This is a lovely boutique park with magnificent gardens. It has very good facilities including a tennis court and a boat parking area. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends, with a minimum-stay... Find out more

Discovery Holiday Parks – Warrnambool 22 km

Across the road from the beach, this well kept park is ideal for a holiday or just a few days away. With its excellent facilities, including a popular undercover camp kitchen and a movie room, the park can be busy.... Find out more

Surfside Holiday Park – Warrnambool 22 km

This is a large, very good-quality council-owned park right on the beachfront. Great for a family beachside holiday, the park has good facilities and is just 1 km from the city centre and close to Flagstaff Hill.... Find out more

Fig Tree Holiday Village 23 km

Centrally located about 600 metres from main shopping precinct, this is a very good quality and good value park in a quiet off-highway position. It has a heated indoor pool and a tennis court but cannot fit big rigs.... Find out more

Narrawong Holiday Park 48 km

This pretty park is in a fabulous, quiet beachside and riverfront position off the Princes Highway. Offering a range of accommodation, it is close to Portland and has good fishing and swimming, and a range of facilities... Find out more

Henty Bay Beachfront Van and Cabin Park 54 km

This large, spacious park is located on the beachfront 6 km north-east of the centre of town. The park has a well-stocked shop with takeaway food and a good selection of fishing tackle and bait. Bookings are required at... Find out more

Portland Tourist Park 55 km

Set in a residential area of town about 1.6 km from the town centre, this owner operated park has good facilities and a corner store is conveniently located opposite the park. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter... Find out more

Great Ocean Road Tourist Park 62 km

Situated just off the Great Ocean Road at the mouth of the Curdies River, this park is popular with those keen on fishing. It is just a short walk from the centre of town and the beach and has good facilities. Bookings... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Hearn’s Beachside Villas

The waterfront location affords ocean views so proximate they could be considered furnishings. But all that blue, no matter how gloriously wild, is not the only feature. The polished wood floors, stainless-steel kitchen... Find out more

Merrijig Inn

Historically and architecturally, the Merrijig Inn is a very significant building; in fact, it is one of the oldest surviving hotels in the state. Originally constructed in 1845–47, it has survived fire, closure... Find out more

Moyne Mill Townhouse

This three-bedroom riverside accommodation was once a flour mill and the (part) bluestone facade right by the Moyne River has aged gracefully and spreads over four floors. The two main bedrooms have river views, though... Find out more

Oscars Waterfront 
Boutique Hotel

Guests could almost change a yacht’s spinnaker from the verandah of this hotel, as it is right by a marina on the Moyne River. There is a French Provincial style here, which comes in part from the courtyard and the... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Killarney Beach camping area 8 km

T/O at Killarney

Near the foreshore 2km east of the highway.

Fitzroy River rest area 45 km

23km E of Portland (R) or 48km W of Port Fairy (L)

Well off the highway under trees on the riverbank.

Lake Surprise Camp Area 45 km

T/O at Port Fairy

Large campground located 48 kilometres north of the highway (9 kilometres east of Macarthur) in a pleasant open forest setting near Lake Surprise in Mount Eccles National Park. Good facilities and shade.

NOTE: Access road part unsealed.

The Sawpit camping area 50 km

T/O at Narrawong

In the forest 3km (partly unsealed) north of the highway.

Penshurst park area 57 km

At Penshurst

Just off the highway and adjacent to the caravan park.

Mortlake park area 61 km

At Mortlake

Adjacent to the highway, in the middle of town.

Peterborough park area 62 km

At Peterborough

On the foreshore, just off the highway.

Branxholme park area 69 km

At Branxholme

Adjacent to the recreation area in the middle of town. 

Annya Forest camping area 70 km

T/O 81km E of Mt Gambier (L) or 7km W of Heywood (R)

In the forest 7.5km (partly unsealed) north of the highway.

Twelve Apostles park area 82 km

86km W of Apollo Bay (R) or 10km E of Port Campbell (L)

Just off the highway at the interpretive centre near the lookout.

Nigretta Falls park area 85 km

T/O 17km E of Coleraine (L) or 18km NW of Hamilton (R)

Large grassed area 9km north of the highway at the falls lookout.

Wannon Falls camping area 86 km

T/O 17km E of Coleraine (L) or 18km NW of Hamilton (R)

Large grassed area 9km north of the highway at the falls lookout.

Nine Mile Creek rest area 86 km

41km E of Hamilton (R) or 33km W of Lake Bolac (L)

Just off the highway under some large trees.

Wickliffe park area 88 km

At Wickliffe

Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.

Picnic Point camping area 92 km

T/O at Lake Bolac

Under shady trees on the shores of the lake 2km south-east of the highway via Mortlake and Frontage rds.

East Beach camping area 93 km

T/O 3km E of Lake Bolac (R) or 48km W of Skipton (L)

On the shores of the lake 3km south of the highway.

Lake Bolac rest area 94 km

2km E of Lake Bolac (R) or 49km W of Skipton (L)

Just off the highway under trees on the shores of the lake.

Fishermans Point camping area 95 km

T/O 3km E of Lake Bolac (R) or 48km W of Skipton (L)

On the shores of the lake 500m south of the highway.

Cavendish camping area 97 km

At Cavendish

Adjacent to the recreation area on the north side of town.

Fort O'Hare camping area 97 km

At Dartmoor

Under shady trees on the east side of town.

Deep Lake camping area 97 km

T/O at Derrinallum

Large grassed area among trees on the edge of the lake. Located 4km north of the highway via Chatsworth Rd.

Glenelg River park area 98 km

33km SE of SA border (L) or 40km NW of Heywood (R)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Derrinallum park area 100 km

At Derrinallum

Adjacent to the highway, in the middle of town.

What's on around town

Farmers market: village green, cnr Sackville and Bank sts; 3rd Sat each month.

Folk Festival: Mar.

Spring Music Festival: Oct.

Annual show: showgrounds, Hamilton Rd; 1st Sat in Nov.

Moyneyana Festival: family entertainment; Dec.

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