Mikkayla reviews: Port Fairy — ‘I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this place’
Click PLAY to hear her rave review with Ross and Russel!
Stunning, postcard-perfect settings. Charming, historic structures everywhere you turn. A quaint main strip full of delightful stores and eateries. A cultural landscape brimming with history that is etched in its bluestone buildings and ingrained in the roots of its national parks. I’m of course referring to the town of Port Fairy.
A two-night stay was long enough to fall completely in love with this scenic area and its surrounds, yet I could’ve easily spent a week and not tired of the place. There is too much to see, do, eat, experience and explore, as well as being the perfect setting to just relax and take some time away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.
Located three-and-a-bit-hours from the heart of the city, the drive is a tad long but worth it to have your own vehicle to get around and explore the Great Ocean Road and get yourself to the beaches, rainforests and heritage attractions. Once you hit the town, you’re surrounded by colonial architecture which you can learn about through the many galleries, museums and tours.
Also not lacking is the bountiful array of eateries. Of course the region stars in seafood but with so many other options, there is certainly something for all tastes and cravings. Before you even get to Port Fairy, stop in Dixie (between Terang and Timboon) and check out Keayang Marr Vineyard. The boutique, family-run winery in the hinterland specialises in cool-climate Pinot, Shiraz and Chardonnay, and serves up delicious wood fired Italian pizzas. Have a tasting , choose a bottle, order a couple of pizzas, and enjoy the picturesque views stretching out before you before heading into Victoria’s famed Shipwreck Coast.
The wide streets of the township are dotted with cafes, restaurants, bakeries and speciality stores. The Port Fairy Confectionery is full of childhood favourites and boutique chocolates and truffles. Poco Artisan ice cream will delight the senses with fantastic flavours such as lemon meringue, honeycomb, mascarpone and cherry, and caramel coffee with Black Sea salt… but only if you’re there on Saturday and Sunday between 1pm and 5pm. For all the other times, head to Rebecca’s Cafe for a double scoop caramel cookie dough cone, or get your flavour of choice made into a thickshake!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a visit without checking out the local charcoal chicken spot! The Red Hen is family owned and operated, incredibly kind to the wallet, and generous with servings. All the standard favourites are available including quarter and half-chook packs, a selection of hearty burgers, and fresh salads on display. I got a huge schnitzel, massive serve of chips and gravy, a small salad and a can of drink with change from $20, and was full to burst when finished. A source of humble pride for the locals – as any good chicken spot is – the Red Hen is a reliable favourite for lunch on the fly.
The Oak and Anchor is the crown jewel of Port Fairy accommodation, boasting six luxurious suites filled with beautiful, designer touches and thoughtful inclusions. The heritage-listed building has been a part of the town since 1857, and is now a popular meeting place with warm, friendly service manning its cafe, bar area, courtyard and outdoor spaces. Popular for breakfast, the hum of the coffee machine blends into the background noise of chatter and laughter every morning as visitors tuck into egg and bacon rolls, toasties, potato hash, and lemon meringue pancakes. From midday, check out the share plates with plenty of vegetarian and seafood options… but please don’t forgo the fried chicken bao buns!
Another popular breakfast option is Bank St and Co, but fair warning – it can get crowded! The menu is reflective of the extensive travel the owners have experienced and uses only the best, freshest produce. The portions are generous, the prices are fair, and the service, whilst busy, is friendly and welcoming. What more could you want?
In prime position on the main fisherman’s wharf, The Wharf is so much more than a regular fish and chip shop. The kitchen is helmed by Shaun who takes pride in sourcing the best local produce and allowing the natural flavours to star as much as possible. Fish and chips for takeaway are available Friday to Sunday from 11am, but definitely head in for dinner service and check out the seafood platter! The Wharf has only been in business for two years (including the 17 week shutdown last year) but has quickly firmed as a local favourite – made clear by the packed restaurant.
Finally, make sure you check out Blake Restaurant for ambient, fine dining quality food without any pretension. The atmosphere is intimate yet cheerful, and the food is of spectacular quality – in fact, Ross declared his lamb the best he’s ever had!
Port Fairy is truly a worthy destination for singles, couples and families alike. Completely magical, it’s easy to lose yourself in the history and sights with the place forcing you to slow down and appreciate every aspect of the community. Try and plan your trip to coincide with some of the various festivals and annual events around the region and I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the place. I sure have.
The Breakfast team visited Port Fairy as guests of Visit Victoria. Mikkayla was not asked to write this piece.