A long weekend in Western Victoria (Portland and Port Fairy) - 17-20 February, 2024

The occasion of Kylie's sister, Marni's, 50th birthday was cause enough for us to head down to Portland to celebrate with her and we decided to tack on a couple of days in one of our favourite spots, Port Fairy, on the way home to make a long weekend of what is a long trip out West.

We headed off early on Saturday 17th February, stopping off at Feast in East Geelong to pick up the vegan birthday cake we'd pre-ordered as well as some takeaway for lunch. From there, it was an uneventful sub-three hour drive to Port Fairy, where we stopped to meet Joan and Al (on their return trip from Portland) at about 12.30pm. We handed Lola over to them (as we couldn't secure dog-friendly accommodation for the weeked, unfortunately) so she got to enjoy the big drive all the way back to Geelong with them! Meanwhile, we enjoyed our vegan sandwiches and an excellent coffee from Port Fairy Coffee Roasters before hitting the road to complete our trip. Our destination was the tiny area of Tarragal, near the Bridgewater Lakes, about 20km out of Portland, where Marni and friends were gathered on a friend's bush block for a camping weekend. The weather and location were glorious, the peaceful spot overlooking the lakes was lovely. It was good to catch up with Marni and her family and particularly good to also spend time with our good friends Jos and Adam who made the big day trip in their Tesla! As the day wound down, a big camp fire kept us very cosy before we crashed for the night in the basic cabin on the block while the others retreated to their vans, camper trailers, tents and swags.

It was a leisurely start on Sunday morning and the fire was rekindled while the day took its time warming up after a clear night. We went for a walk to the nearby Tarragal Caves, huge limestone caves with views across to Cape Bridgewater. After lunch back at the bush block, it was time to pack up and we then drove the short distance to Cape Bridgewater for a walk on the expansive beach. It had been several years since we last visited this beach and it's a gorgeous spot on a sunny day. The afternoon was quite hot so the sea breezes on the beach were welcome and invigorating, before we headed off. It was less than an hour's drive to our home for the next couple of nights, a cabin at the BIG4 Port Fairy Holiday Park. After unloading and freshening up, we walked into the heart of Port Fairy in about 25 minutes. The town was quiet late in the afternoon and we enjoyed a leisurely stroll along East beach before returning to our cabin for dinner (making do with some leftovers from our bush BBQ the evening before).

+PF

It was a cloudy start on Monday but nice enough to tempt Lee into jumping onto his fold-up bike for a ride along the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail towards Koroit. This pleasant trail had been surfaced since our last visit so it was much easier riding and it was a very enjoyable hour-long ride, returning to the cabin via the town centre. Walking into town after that, the morning had fined up beautifully and it was yet another opportunity to visit Port Fairy Coffee Roasters before shopping for supplies at IGA and heading back to the cabin for a hard-earned lunch. We then walked back into town to make the most of the opportunity of travelling without Lola to enjoy the walk around Griffiths Island (where dogs are permanently banned due to the wildlife there). It was a lovely warm afternoon for this 3km walk around to the lighthouse and back - and we even got to spot some kangaroos! Back in town, we stopped for coffee at Pelicans before another long walk along East beach. This stunning location and impressive beachfront properties is always a great spot to wander. With weary legs, we finally walked back to our cabin to cook dinner.

We were in no rush to head off on Tuesday morning, so Lee went for the same bike ride along the rail trail towards Koroit and then back via Port Fairy. The day warmed up quickly as we packed up to leave the park by 10am. Ky headed into town, while Lee hung around to do an online meeting in an undercover outdoor area of the park. Meeting concluded, we met up in town, grabbed coffee from Port Fairy Coffee Roasters again and then had a nice picnic lunch down by the Moyne River. We started our drive home at about 1pm, stopping off in Leopold to pickup Lola after her little holiday with Joan & Al before arriving home about 5pm.

We never need much of an excuse to spend time in Port Fairy so it was great to help celebrate Marni's 50th down in Portland before relaxing in Port Fairy for a couple of days.