port fairy, victoria, australia
As with Hamilton, Port Fairy also has a claim on my heart having spent many summers in my childhood here scampering about the beaches. The end of the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy is a small town with a massive reputation for fun, frivolity and food. The annual Folk Festival is a great time to be there, you really can't beat the atmosphere but you would have to plan for it a couple of years in advance if you wanted to stay in town, it is that popular. Definitely go in the summer months to get the best out of your visit.
Some might say it is best in summer but the thunder of the Great Ocean Road in winter is a call that is hard to deny. Trussed up in knits and coats it's easy to traverse this small town to the doorstep of Fen and enter into the warm glow beyond.
Fen owners, Hatted Chef Ryan and Kirstyn Sessions have created a hushed welcoming atmosphere and an ambitious tasting menu that reflects the natural beauty and native flavours of the coast and Australia at large. Each dish, introduced lovingly, entices and satiates the senses. We couldn't pick a single favourite, they were all complementary and tied together so well. Fen is a perfect winter foodie adventure!
You won't head to Port Fairy's Coffin Sally for its decor, even though it is marvellously quirky; you'll be pulled down its long hallway by the incredible scent of sweet tomatoes and baking dough, be seated at one of several long communal tables and then settle in for a comfortable natter with friends, some delicious pizza and a refreshing jug of Pimms. You'll struggle to remember another night at the beach that felt so good.
There are hundred of superlatives that Poco deserves but this gourmet ice cream boutique should remain a little mysterious to entice you into a visit. To find Poco's in Port Fairy all you need do is look for the shop with the line out the door - White nectarine for me, to die for!
Port Fairy's Victoria Hotel has it all covered - a lush beer garden for the summer months and a cosy, fire-warmed bistro for cooler days. A menu to match as well - fresh, crisp salads to keep you cool or hearty meals like this seared salmon to heat you up from the inside out. All together a lovely experience!
When I was a wee lass Cobb's pastries for breakfast was the biggest treat and I was not passing up the opportunity to get stuck into an apricot strudel again! Rarely does revisiting our childhood memories live up to our expectations but Cobb's is a wonderful exception. Also perfect for stocking up on bread, buns or made-to-order sandwiches and rolls for a day at the beach.
Rebecca's is a local institution and for good reason. Featuring an ice creamery, take away coffee window and a cafe, it is easily one of the busiest eateries in town. My companion ordered the wild rice porridge with stewed rhubarb and it was gone in five minutes, must've been good! I had smashed avo, my old faithful go-to brekky. I found the service to be less than stellar to begin with, end of the morning rush I suspect, however, our server changed over in the latter half and we chatted to the nicest young woman who really made the meal a great experience.
There are a million places to stay in Port Fairy, b&bs, apartments, my Aunt's house, but I spent two weeks of school holidays every year at the Southcombe Caravan Park and stayed again on my most recent trip and I cannot fault it. Everywhere in town is walkable from the Park and in my opinion is right next to the best beach for families being cut off from the surf by a reef. Private sites, clean and free facilities, friendly guests and staff.