One perfect day in Port Fairy, Victoria

Pack a picnic and walk to the lighthouse on Griffith Island.
Pack a picnic and walk to the lighthouse on Griffith Island. Photo: Rob Blackburn/Visit Victoria

The Good Food team share their favourite places to eat and drink in their second homes.

Port Fairy is a leprechaun-sized Irish outpost at the end of the Great Ocean Road, surrounded by fields of potatoes, shipwreck remains and bluestone whalers' cottages. Like most country towns in the wake of the Great Regional Cafe Revolution, there are almost too many options available for morning coffee.

If you fancy breakfast by an open fire (tip: this is Western Victoria, you should) head for the Oak and Anchor, which is a cafe by day, pub by night, or Bank St and Co, which both stoke a mean fire and pull a fine latte.

The beer garden at the Merrijig Inn.
The beer garden at the Merrijig Inn. Photo: Robert Blackburn/Visit Victoria

We have a holiday house in this fishing hamlet and have spent 15 years getting to know it, from which rocky reefs harbour the best green-lipped abalone to what time to hit the Saturday Farmers' Market before the organic veg sells out at the Merri Banks stall.

The sun does shine (fairly) frequently and if it is, I recommend a picnic lunch. Walk to the Griffiths Island lighthouse, toting supplies from the The Village Bakehouse, watch the azure waves that look like the Carribean and feel like the Southern Ocean crash into the black volcanic rocks that ring the island.

At weekends, cross your fingers that the fairy light-festooned beer garden attached to the Merrijig Inn is open. Let Leroy furnish you with a local gin, some spiced olives and watch the sun dip through the Norfolk Island pines and crayfish pot-loaded fishing boats at the wharf.

There is a very decent Thai restaurant, Lemongrass, and a fantastic burger joint, Randy's Burgers, run by former two-hat chef Ryan Sessions, but to sit down and graze on the best from the local farming community, head to Conlan's Wine Store. Chef Matt Dempsey converted a solicitor's office into a cruisy bistro serving the likes of gnocchi strewn with roasted beetroot and hazelnuts and dotted with buffalo yoghurt from a nearby buffalo farm.

You could finish your day with a cocktail at the loftily named, snugly appointed Ministry of Ombibulous Studies. Or head to bed to get up for an early stroll along East Beach, the main swimming beach, where after a big storm it is still possible to find whale bones washed onto the sand, then return to town for a retail hit at clothing stores Penny and Reiby and The Golden Store.

Insider's tip: Ryan Sessions loves nothing better than a four cheese pizza and a negroni at Coffin Sally pizzeria in the main street. "My hot tip though is that there is a Greek patisserie opening, called Keik, next door to a new coffee roastery and cafe." Just in time for Easter.


Oak and Anchor, 10 Bank Street, Port Fairy,

Bank St and Co, 28 Bank Street, Port Fairy,

The Village Bakehouse, 22 Bank Street, Port Fairy

Lemongrass, 55 Bank Street, Port Fairy,

Randy's Burgers, 24 Bank Street, Port Fairy

Conlan's Wine Store, 34 Bank Street, Port Fairy,

Ministry of Ombibulous Studies, shop 2/32 Bank Street, Port Fairy,

Penny and Reiby, 2/10 Bank Street, Port Fairy,

The Golden Store, shop 1, 10 Bank Street, Port Fairy,

Coffin Sally, 33 Sackville Street, Port Fairy,