Weekend trip to Port Fairy

Weekend Trip at Port Fairy (2023)

My first solo travel ever was to a place called Port Fairy in Victoria state of Australia. I was alone living in Melbourne and I wanted to travel. It is difficult to find travel buddies when you are living all by yourself in an unknown country. So, I decided to take the step and decided my first solo travel.

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Where is Port Fairy?

Port Fairy is coastal town in the state of Victoria in Australia. It is about 290 kilometres from Melbourne and the nearest train station is at Warrnambool, which is 28 kilometres from Port Fairy. Port Fairy is named after a small boat called the Fairy captained by James Wishart. The town was renamed to Belfast and then renamed back to Port Fairy.

According to 2016 census, there are only 3340 people in Port Fairy. The town survives on tourism and fishing.

The traditional owners of Port Fairy are the Eastern Maar people. Eastern Maar people are the aboriginal people who identify themselves as Maar. The town was initially used by whalers and seal hunters in the 19th century.

I selected this town only because there was a Youth Hostel Association (YHA). I know, pretty lame reason but I think I did make the right decision at the end for my first solo travel as I loved staying at the hostel and meeting fellow travelers.

Port Fairy

How to get to Port Fairy?

  • Public transportation – There are frequent trains between Southern Cross in Melbourne and Warrnambool. The train journey is close to 3.5 hours. And then there are buses between Warrnambool train station and Port Fairy.
    • The train tickets can be booked on Public Transport Victoria (PTV).
    • The fare for the train can be paid using the MyKi transportation cards.
    • For bus fares, check at the Warrnambool train station.
    • The total journey takes about 5 hours.
    • I took the public transport when I visited Port Fairy.
  • Driving – Port Fairy is around 290 kilometres from Melbourne city. And the drive takes about 3 hours 30 minutes. This is definitely the quickest and easiest way to get to Port Fairy.
    • You can hire a self driven car in Australia. All you need is a valid full driver’s licence (in English) and a credit card.

Where to stay?

  • Hostel – As I mentioned before, I stayed at YHA Port Fairy. The hostel is very close to the beach and a beautiful place to stay. The hostel was neat and very comfortable.
    • A bed at a female dorm costs as low as AUD 30 per night. For up-to-date information on availability and prices, check their website.

You can also stay at Warrnambool and then come down to Port Fairy as a day trip.

Things to do in Port Fairy

The coastal town has plenty to offer in spite of being such a small town. It is an amazing place for whale watching during the whale season (between the months of May and October every year). There are lookout points where one can spot whales.

Note that a walk along the Moyne River is awesome and you can spend a few hours just watching and sun bathing near the river.

Griffiths Island and Lighthouse

Griffiths Island is a low lying island that is just 1.5 kilometres long and 0.8 kilometres wide. The island lies at the mouth of Moyne River, a place where the river enters the Southern Ocean. It now does not have any permanent inhabitants.

Even though nobody lives on the island, it is a very popular spot for walking. I recommend visiting the island in the morning for a walk as the scenes from the island are very pretty and the air is crisp and beautiful.

The other notable thing to see at Griffiths Island is the Port Fairy lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in the year 1859 and is a great spot for photographers to catch the sunrise or sunset.

Lighthouse at Port Fairy

Port Fairy Town

The town itself is cute and buzzing with cafes and restaurants over the weekend. You can have a lazy and beautiful breakfast at these cafes that overlook the beaches. Or you can walk around the town and shop for authentic local souvenirs and products that are available in the little shops.

Wharf at Port Fairy


Port Fairy has a 6 kilometres long beach stretch. And this makes a perfect way to spend an evening. Definitely walk along the coast watching the pretty beaches and soaking in the fresh breeze that comes from the ocean.

Beach at Port Fairy

Port Fairy Folk Festival

An annual 4 days music festival called Port Fairy Folk Festival happens at Port Fairy every year in the month of March. You need to buy tickets to visit this festival which can be bought online or at the Box office.

Safety for solo female travelers

This was my first solo travel ever and I had a great time traveling to and in Port Fairy. The coastal town is absolutely safe and I did not have any issues or concerns whatsoever. And that is one of the reasons why I started solo traveling more.

With the lighthouse in Port Fairy
With the lighthouse

However, like any other town, be cautious and know your surroundings. I generally avoid exploring out alone after dark and I try to be in my hostel or hotel before it gets too late. This way I avoid getting into trouble much, especially in quiet towns like Port Fairy.

Closing Notes

Port Fairy is one of the most beautiful towns I have seen. The coast, river, restaurants and the people, everything is nice about this place. It is a little historical fishing town. So, I definitely recommend visiting this amazing town if you have time when you are in Melbourne.

For other things to do in Victoria, refer Victoria travel diaries section on my blog.

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