Great Ocean Road Places


Port Fairy

Hiking and Walking

There are several walks around Port Fairy that highlight the town's historical aspects and and the area's great beauty. Pick up a Historic Walks map from the visitor center and follow a trail past some 30 beautiful buildings; it takes about an hour. The Port Fairy Maritime & Shipwreck Heritage Walk is a 2-km (1.2-mi) trail that passes the sites of several shipwrecks: the bark Socrates, which was battered by huge seas in 1843; the bark Lydia, which wrecked off the coast in 1847; the schooner Thistle, which went down in 1837; and the brigantine Essington, which sank while moored at Port Fairy in 1852. Other historic attractions en route include the town port, the lifeboat station, riverside warehouses, cannons and gun emplacements at Battery Hill, and Griffiths Island Lighthouse. The walk is well marked.

Griffiths Island is another good place to walk. You can stroll around the entire island in about an hour, visiting the lighthouse and perhaps spotting a black wallaby along the way.

Ten minutes or 14 km (9 mi) east of Port Fairy is Tower Hill State Game Reserve, nested in an extinct volcano. There are several walking trails and plenty of chances to see emus and kangaroos. About 40-minutes northeast is Mount Eccles National Park, another extinct volcano. Here there are four walks, including one to the crater rim and lava caves.

Tower Hill State Game Reserve. This reserve, packed with native Australian animals in their natural state, is co-managed by Parks Victoria and the Worn Gundidj Aboriginal Co-Operative, an organization that conducts cultural interpretative walks. Take its one-hour personalized bush and nature walk to learn about indigenous lifestyles, bush food, and medicine, and hear about the local inhabitants, which include emus, sugar gliders, koalas, kangaroos, birds, and reptiles. The standard tour is A$37; also ask about the availability of other occasional specialist tours, including night-time visits. Parks Victoria's Web site also has a map of the reserve and self-guided walking trails. Tower Hill State Game Reserve, Princes Hwy, between Port Fairy and Warrnambool, Tower Hill, Port Fairy, VIC, 3283. 0428/318876 mobile.