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TheWanderingCamel Says: A glimpse into the past isn't the only thing Port Albert has to offer visitors. As you would expect from a place with "Port" in its name, boats are an integral part of life here. Whether you hire a boat and take it out yourself into the inshore waterways or charter someone...
TheWanderingCamel Says: ...and miles and miles of pristine white sands and long rolling surf - Australia went metric a long time ago but this will always be the 90 Mile Beach - the 144 Kilometre Beach just doesn't have the same ring to it.The beach begins just a few kilometres from Port Albert and...
TheWanderingCamel Says: The sea has always figured largely in the life of Port Albert and Gippsland. Shipping, navigation and lighthouses, shipwrecks and rescues, fishing and sailing, immigrants arriving, sending out gold and produce from the hinterlands, all this and more have been the lifeblood...
TheWanderingCamel Says: Small and spread out as it appears to be, Port Albert has a significant stock of historic buildings dating back to the 1850s and 60s when it was the major centre in this region of Victoria. Whilst many of the town's buildings have vanished and others are in a ruinous state,...
TheWanderingCamel Says: This is exactly the sort of place I love to stay in when I'm travelling, always hope I'll find, and sing the praises of to all and sundry when I get home. A dear little house, steeped in history, lovingly and meticulously restored to provide comfortable, uncluttered luxury...
Although Port Albert's famous fish and chip kiosk might have bitten the dust for the present ( it's due to be rebuilt in time for summer 2007/8) and the pub's offerings are good meals in a typical country pub style (ie hearty serves and not much style, though the Phillip Island scallops we ate were just great), there is another option. The old General Store is now a very pleasant cafe open for lunch and dinner. With only 4 tables, you do need to book, but both the food and the atmosphere are worth it. Glowing wooden floors, warm brick walls and subtle lighting create a welcoming atmosphere. The menu is small but tempting, and as it's just across the road from where we were staying, the location is perfect.
Favorite Dish: We were boring enough to all order the same thing - but the promise of freshly-made flathead fishcakes from that morning's catch was too good to pass up. Cooked Thai-style and served with rice and lightly steamed bok choy, they were delicious.
The heaped plates of steaming lamb shanks and mash heading for the next table looked so tempting we thought we'd head back there next night, but we left it too late to get a table, even on a wet and windy day in May - booking is definitely the way to go.
Updated May 25, 2007
Address: Tarraville Road, Port Albert
Phone: 03 5183 2359
Port Albert is 225 km from Melbourne. Head out of town along the South Gippsland Highway and after about an hour's driving you can take a short detour off the road at Cranbourne and visit the new Australia Garden being created there as an offshoot of Melbourne's Royal Botanic Garden. Allow yourslf an hour or so to walk around this stunning site and then have a coffee in the cafe before continuing on your way south.
Your next stop could be Coal Creek Heritage Village at Korumburra, about half way along your route to Port Albert, but you could end up spending all day there, there's so much to see in this historical village that recreates the early days of Gippsland's coal industry. Better perhaps to pick up a few brochures and leaflets on Port Albert and Gippsland from the information centre and then keep on driving down the highway, passing through small towns and villages such as Foster and Port Welshpool, until you reach the Port Albert turnoff.
Updated May 25, 2007
What to buy: Shopping is just so much part of our lives these days that it's a rare bird indeed that comes home from a trip of any length without something they didn't take with them. Like everywhere else that attracts tourists and visitors, Port Albert has its retail therapy outlets. Even if you're not staying at Rodondo B&B, you can pop in to check out the small gift gallery there - homemade jams and chutneys, quirky ceramics made by a local artist, bits and pieces such as old prints and toy boats and capacious bags made from interesting fabrics are just some of the things you'll find here. Owner Sue will have her bags hanging on the verandah if she's open.
Across the road the General Store has more jams and such, plus other gift items with a mainly foodie theme. The Maritime Museum has model boats and lighthouses and other nautical knick-knacks.
Updated May 25, 2007
Amazingly enough, none of the escorts carrying gold down to Port Albert was ever bailed up (held up) by bushrangers, though there are reports of supply wagons being held up between Port Albert and Tarraville. Maybe this roadside mailbox is in memory of some local Ned Kelly. You'll find him along the road to Yarram, just before you reach the Port Albert roundabout.
Rest assured, the rest of the locals are a friendly lot - the only bailing up they're likely to do is keep you chatting in the pub or the museum as they tell you, with great pride, tales of their small town.
Updated May 25, 2007
The fields and forests of Gippsland may look wonderfully green and lush but the truth is Victoria is in the grip of a ferocious drought. As this photo shows, dam levels are at an all time low and things really are desperate. Please be aware of this and use water frugally - even as visitors. Long showers and soaking baths may be bliss after a day spent hiking, especially when chilly winter winds are blowing in from the Bass Strait, but keep it short and your hosts will really appreciate your consideration.
Written May 26, 2007
TheWanderingCamel Says: Well off the beaten path from Port Albert is the small mountain village of Walhalla, 116 kilometres to the north but the two towns are inextricably linked by their history. Gold was discovered at Walhalla is 1863 and people poured into the steep-sided valley in their quest...