The first permanent European settlement in Victoria is a picturesque coastal city, dotted with heritage architecture, maritime attractions and pleasant beaches.
Portland is a cosy little city by the sea and marks the site one of Victoria’s earliest settlements in 1834. Stroll through Portland’s heritage city centre and learn about the area’s Aboriginal and European history or explore beautiful local beaches and botanical gardens. The city’s waterfront is an exciting hub of maritime industry and history and its nearby shores are known around the state for fishing and surfing.
Take the Portland Historical Buildings Walk to get a closer look at Portland’s collection of over 200 National Trust buildings. See old hotels, shops and houses, many of which were constructed from bluestone. Check out the waterfront and watch big ships come into Portland’s natural harbour. A visit to the Maritime Discovery Centre will uncover a treasure trove of history and information about Portland’s fascinating seafaring industries.
Climb aboard the foreshore Cable Tram, a historic tramway that takes passengers along a scenic route past Henty Park, the Botanic Gardens, the Portland Powerhouse Car Museum, the Maritime Discovery Centre, Whalers Bluff Lighthouse, the World War II Memorial Lookout and the North Portland Water Tower. You’ll also be able to see the tidal wetlands of Fawthrop Lagoon Park and the city’s coastal cliff tops.
Grab a meal on Bentinck Street, the city’s foreshore boulevard, where pubs and restaurants overlook the marina and the open, sandy expanse of Nuns Beach. In the cooler months, head to Cape Bridgewater to spot seals or Cape Nelson for the chance to see migratory blue whales. Fans of fishing will love the King George whiting, flathead, snapper and tuna that can be caught from Portland’s beaches or offshore boats.
Take a stroll along some of Victoria’s highest cliffs at Bridgewater Bay, a coastline formed by an ancient volcano rim. Keen hikers might want to take on the Great South West Walk, a 250-kilometre (155.3-mile) loop that begins and ends at the Maritime Discovery Centre.
Portland is just over 4-hours’ drive from Melbourne. Victoria’s regional V/Line railway and bus services connect Portland to other cities in the region. Visit Portland in summer to make the most of the city’s beaches or in winter for your best chance at spotting whales.