Along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is a charmingly named place, Port Fairy. This is one of the oldest ports in Victoria and there is still a large fishing fleet that brings in the catch daily. The town itself has the river and ocean and, along with the sheltered beach area, an historical feel about it which attracts tourists in their droves.
This used to be known as a whaling and sealing station, before it became politically incorrect, and now it is fishing that brings in money. There is a distinct Irish feel about the place too with merchants’ homes and public buildings nestled amongst the cottages and warehouses. Indeed, the place used to be called Belfast so it is this that adds extra charm.
For those who want to feel the hustle and bustle of the town, it may be a good idea to find accommodation in Port Fairy so that the fishing fleet coming in can be witnessed. It goes without saying that seafood is high on the menu here so this is the ideal way to taste it straight from the ocean.
Of course, those of us who come in from colder climes make the beach the first stop. This is to just laze in the sun or take a boat ride out to the seal colony on the outcrop called Lady Julia Percy Island. The Tower Hill State Game Reserve has plenty of other wildlife to see and this is great for those who want to see indigenous animals of this great nation. There are bush walks available in the nearby rainforests so this is also a good way to spot the odd koala or two.
In winter, which is usually the exact opposite to the British summer, a bay cruise may well reward the visitor with sight of a whale on its way to the mating grounds. This is the migratory route so expect to see dolphins playing amongst the waves too.
Kids may also like to visit the Griffiths Island Lighthouse and Rookery since this is very much a step back in time. Those who have found holiday accommodation on shore nearby will be able to work out when the best time is to visit and see seabirds and other wildlife from this great vantage point.
There are several festivals going on here around March and December to January. The Port Fairy Folk Festival (Labour Day) attracts thousands of people from the whole world with shows from international artists and local artists both. Add to this the Spring Musical Festival and other events and one can see that music is very close to the heart of most Australians.
As already mentioned, when thinking about Australia, think opposite seasons to the UK. December through to February or March is probably the hottest time but it seldom gets cold by English standards. Light clothing is advised for cooler months but there is no need to pack the parkas!
All along this coast the visitor will find accommodation to suit even the fussiest of tastes. Try to avoid public holidays because Australians are keen travelers too and will swamp some of the more charming areas like this. However, there are plenty of holiday homes, rental apartments, serviced apartments and private accommodation with own personal swimming pools available as well as backpackers places.
As with all Australian destinations, there is a host of different airlines plying this route these days and as such, fares have come down to attainable levels. Flights will be out of Heathrow to Melbourne or Victoria and from there transfers are easy to arrange from home. There is a train service from Melbourne so, for those who want to see some of the countryside on the way to Port Fairy, this is the way to do it.
Some people will want the freedom of their own transport and - since there is plenty to see and do in this location - this is possible the best way to get around particularly for families. Try to buy up excursion tickets, transfers and car hire fees and accommodation in Port Fairy from home to save on the fuss when landing in Australia. It also means that less money is needed on the trip and the visitors can relax knowing that everything is put in place for when they arrive. People also get better deals this way since there are always special offers online to tempt the visitor.