Dairy farmland around Port Fairy region
Drought in Victoria being so serious at the moment, seeing this lush countryside around Port Fairy and Warrnambool was a welcome respite from short, dry grass only 2 1/2 hours away at home.
This is prime dairy farming country. They also have water shortages, but obviously at least it's still been raining a little.
Between Warrnambool and Port Fairy lies the tiny town of Killarney. I was attracted to it because of its Irish name. It's a very small place to be even called a town, with a pub, hotel, a couple of guest houses...but it does have its own beach down the road, which seems interesting enough that we'll check it out on our next trip when we're not so pressed for time.
Nearby Koroit is also a very Irish town, going so far as to have Shamrocks erected out of tinsel on the top of the street lights in the main street, and many irish signs on the pub (may not be permanent though, as their annual Irish Festival, which is quite a big event, is coming up in a few days time.)
Port Fairy - The End of a "Great" Ocean Road
"Dinner, and 2.5 hours of driving..."
Our time in Port Fairy was very short. We had driven through Warrnambool unable to find a good spot to drop in and grab a bite of dinner, and our accommodation was 200kms away through the mountains. So with a 2.5 hour drive on our minds and hunger in our bellies, we headed to Port Fairy for dinner!
I definitely hope to head back sometime soon!
Port Fairy - at the end of the Great Ocean Road
Port Fairy is a small seaside town (these days they're calling it a 'seaside village) at the end of the Great Ocean Road, about 30 kms west of its much larger cousin, the city of Warrnambool.
I'd never been there before, or remembered passing through, or I would have stopped for a closer look, as many of the buildings in the centre of town and towards the waterfront are quite historic (by Australian standards - some 1850's). Indeed, a sign at the entrance to the town says that there are 50 historic/heritage buildings in the town.
At the beach, the part of the shoreline we visited is rather rocky, and seems to be a popular surfing spot.
There are swimming beaches too, though we didn't have time to go and check them out.
Port Fairy's main claim to fame is that every year it has been holding its nationally famous, long running Folk Music festival.
Numbers for 2002 were stated at around 65,000 visitors, to give you an idea of the size of it.
(see www.portfairyfolkfestival.com for more info.)
The 2004 festival, (its 28th) which was held at the beginning of March, featured 22 international and 100 national performers over 300 performances.
At nearby Koroit, there is also another important event, the annual Irish Festival.
While Irish heritage in Australia is extremely common, large festivals such as this to celebrate it aren't, so this is one reason why it's so special, I guess.
It's being held from April 30, 2004 till May 1, including Irish history, music and dance.
Port Fairy also has its fair share of Irish heritage, which seems to become increasingly evident during the Folk Festival (many celtic/irish performers and an Irish pub or two)