The weather today was perfect for a visit to Port Fairy, a beautiful little town on the south-western coast of Victoria, Australia. The sun was shining, there was a very slight breeze, and it was a glorious 19 degrees Celsius.
I walked slowly along the boardwalk which extends along the bank of the Moyne River, where the fishing boats moor. The water sparkled, lapping against the banks and the boats as we walked and enjoyed the scenery. Boats bobbed. Seagulls hovered and swooped. Fishermen tended to their boats and chatted with people as they passed by. Two teenagers enjoyed the sunshine, sitting on the side of the boardwalk and dangling their feet over the water, holding hands and chatting happily.
I made my way to the main street of town, where small shops offer their wares, cafes invite visitors to enjoy coffee, cake or ice-cream, and everything has a rustic feel to it. There are no department stores or fast food chains here. The cafes sell food that is made on the premises. There are two bookshops – I believe that this is always a very good recommendation for any town. Other shops sell handcrafted gifts, boutique clothing or old-fashioned sweets. The supermarket still has staff that will carry your bags to your car for you.
Whenever I visit Port Fairy, I visit Rebecca’s Cafe. The freshly baked cakes and slices are mouth-wateringly good, and their thickshakes are incredible. The coffee here is also excellent. However, those aren’t the only reasons I visit here. I visited here shortly after the passing of my beautiful friend, Rebecca. She wasn’t connected with the cafe or the town in any way, except by sharing the name, but it occurred to me then that she would have loved the place, too, and the connection has stayed with me ever since.
Many of the buildings and houses in Port Fairy date back to the early years of the settlement that was originally named Belfast by its strongly Irish population. They add to the strongly reminiscent sense of days-gone-by that characterises the township. It may seem odd that a place can be rather old-fashioned and quite up-to-date at the same time, but this beautiful town manages to achieve that balance very nicely.
Lake Bullen Merri is a crater lake just south of Camperdown, Victoria.
You can drive all the way around the lake on local roads, but it is only the southern shore of the lake that is accessible to visitors. It’s popular for picnics, water skiing and boating.
As the sun sets, the hills that surround the lake take on a golden glow, most distinctive in summer and autumn when the grass is dry.
The area is renowned for lakes that have formed in the craters of dormant volcanoes. From the northern ridge of Lake Bullen Merri, you can also see Lake Gnotuk just a little further north, nestled in farmland just south of the township of Camperdown.