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Top 12 Things To Do in Portland, VIC Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

20/08/2023
10 mins read
Portland
Source: Visit Victoria

Nestled along the stunning coastline of Victoria, Australia, Portland is a picturesque town located approximately 360 km southwest of Melbourne. Rich in history and natural beauty, this charming destination offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and unique experiences. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and lush forests, Portland is an ideal getaway for nature lovers and those seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and reveal the top things to do in Portland, VIC Australia, a captivating destination that promises unforgettable adventures. Immerse yourself in the area’s natural splendor, delve into its maritime heritage, and embark on a remarkable journey through the enchanting world of Portland.

Things To Do In Portland, VIC

1. Game On Charters – Reel in the Adventure with Expert Fishing Guides

Experience the thrill of fishing in the abundant waters around Portland with Game On Charters. Led by expert guides, these fishing charters cater to anglers of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned pros. Target a variety of species, including tuna, snapper, and kingfish, as you cast your line in some of the region’s best fishing spots.

The knowledgeable guides will share their tips and techniques, ensuring a successful and enjoyable day on the water. With all equipment provided, all you need to bring is your sense of adventure and a willingness to reel in the catch of the day. Whether you’re an experienced angler or new to the sport, Game On Charters offers a memorable fishing experience in Portland.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but summer offers better weather conditions
  • Address: Depart from Portland Marina, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: By appointment
  • Distance from town: Depart from Portland Marina

2. Point Danger Gannet Colony – A Bird-Watching Paradise

Observe the fascinating gannets at Point Danger Gannet Colony, a bird-watching hotspot near Portland. The colony is home to thousands of these beautiful seabirds, which can be seen diving for fish and nesting on the cliffs. The breeding season runs from August to April, making it the best time to visit the colony and witness the gannets in action.

Point Danger
Source: Visit Victoria

The area surrounding the colony offers stunning coastal views and walking trails, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the captivating spectacle of the Point Danger Gannet Colony during your visit to Portland.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but breeding season is between August and April
  • Address: Point Danger Rd, Portland, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: Accessible year-round
  • Distance from town: Approximately 5 km southwest of Portland

3. Portland Cable Trams – A Vintage Journey Through Time

Step back in time and experience Portland’s rich history aboard the Portland Cable Trams. These lovingly restored vintage trams take you on a scenic journey through the town, stopping at various attractions along the way. Hop off to explore the beautiful Portland Botanical Gardens, home to a diverse collection of plants and a historic cottage. Or, visit the World War II Memorial Lookout for panoramic views of Portland and its surroundings.

Cable Tram
Source: Visit Victoria

The tram journey itself is a delightful experience, with knowledgeable conductors providing insights into Portland’s past and present. The trams run daily, making it easy to plan your adventure around the town. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a unique way to explore Portland, the cable trams are a charming and memorable experience.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round
  • Address: Henty Park, Portland, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: Daily, 10 am to 4 pm (closed on Christmas Day)
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Portland

4. Portland Powerhouse Motor and Car Museum – A Nostalgic Journey Through Automotive History

The Portland Powerhouse Motor and Car Museum is a treasure trove for automobile enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Housing an impressive collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of transportation. Marvel at the beautifully restored vehicles, each with its own unique story and place in history.

The museum also features a range of interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the vehicles on display. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer questions and share their passion for all things automotive. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or simply curious about the past, the Portland Powerhouse Motor and Car Museum is a must-visit attraction.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round
  • Address: 23 Edgar St, Portland, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Portland

5. Great South West Walk – A Hiker’s Paradise

The Great South West Walk is a 250km loop trail that showcases the diverse landscapes and natural beauty of the Portland region. Beginning and ending in Portland, the walk takes you through stunning coastal scenery, lush forests, and dramatic river gorges. Along the way, you’ll encounter an abundance of native wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and a variety of bird species.

The walk can be completed in sections or as a multi-day adventure, with designated campsites available for overnight stays. The trail is well-marked and suitable for hikers of all skill levels, making it an accessible and enjoyable experience for everyone. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking to immerse yourself in nature, the Great South West Walk is a must-do activity when visiting Portland.

  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather
  • Address: Starts and ends in Portland, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: Accessible year-round
  • Distance from town: The walk begins and ends in Portland

6. Cobboboonee Horse Riding – A Picturesque Adventure on Horseback

Experience the beauty of the Cobboboonee National Park on horseback with Cobboboonee Horse Riding. This unique adventure takes you through the park’s stunning landscapes, including lush forests, open plains, and winding trails. The guided rides cater to all skill levels, making it an enjoyable experience for both beginners and experienced riders.

The knowledgeable guides will share their passion for the area and its flora and fauna, ensuring an informative and memorable journey. As you ride through the park, keep an eye out for native wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and a variety of bird species. Cobboboonee Horse Riding offers a truly immersive experience in nature, creating lasting memories of your time in Portland.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but avoid extreme weather conditions
  • Address: Cobboboonee National Park, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: By appointment
  • Distance from town: Approximately 40 km northwest of Portland

7. Fawthrop Lagoon Circuit – A Tranquil Escape in the Heart of Portland

Take a leisurely stroll around the picturesque Fawthrop Lagoon, a serene oasis in the heart of Portland. The Fawthrop Lagoon Circuit is a gentle walking trail that meanders around the lagoon, offering beautiful views and a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the town. Keep an eye out for the abundant birdlife that calls the lagoon home, including ducks, swans, and pelicans.

The well-maintained trail is suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities, making it a perfect activity for families or those seeking a relaxing outdoor experience. With picnic facilities and a playground nearby, the Fawthrop Lagoon Circuit is an ideal spot to spend a leisurely afternoon in Portland.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round
  • Address: Fawthrop Lagoon, Portland, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: Accessible year-round
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Portland

8. Basalt Wines – A Delightful Winery Experience

Visit Basalt Wines, a charming winery nestled in the picturesque countryside near Portland. Sample their delicious wines, including Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Tempranillo, while enjoying the serene atmosphere of the vineyard. The venue offers a tasting plate to complement your wine experience, making it a perfect destination for food and wine lovers alike.

Explore the vineyard and learn about the winemaking process from the friendly and knowledgeable staff. The beautiful setting and delightful wines make Basalt Wines a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to indulge in the local flavors of the region.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round
  • Address: 1131 Princes Hwy, Killarney, VIC 3283
  • Opening Hours: Daily, 11 am to 5 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 80 km west of Portland

9. Crawford River Wines – Taste the Fruits of a Renowned Winery

Sample the exquisite wines at Crawford River Wines, a renowned winery near Portland. Their Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon are particularly popular among visitors, showcasing the unique flavors of the region. The picturesque vineyard offers a serene setting for wine tasting, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing afternoon.

Learn about the winemaking process and the history of the vineyard from the friendly staff, who are always happy to share their passion for wine. With a range of exceptional wines to taste, Crawford River Wines is a must-visit attraction for wine enthusiasts exploring the Portland area.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round
  • Address: 1274 Condah-Hotspur Rd, Condah, VIC 3303
  • Opening Hours: By appointment
  • Distance from town: Approximately 60 km northwest of Portland

10. Pierrepoint Wines – A Family-Owned Vineyard with a Passion for Wine

Discover the wines produced at Pierrepoint Wines, a family-owned vineyard near Portland. The vineyard offers a range of delicious wines, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris, showcasing the unique flavors of the region. The picturesque setting and friendly atmosphere make Pierrepoint Wines a delightful destination for wine enthusiasts.

Learn about the winemaking process and the history of the vineyard from the passionate owners, who are always happy to share their love for wine. With a range of exceptional wines to taste and a charming setting, Pierrepoint Wines is a must-visit attraction for those looking to indulge in the local flavors of the Portland area.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round
  • Address: 271 Pierrepoint Rd, Tarrington, VIC 3301
  • Opening Hours: Daily, 11 am to 5 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 100 km northeast of Portland

11. Portland Maritime Discovery Centre – Dive into Portland’s Rich Maritime History

Learn about Portland’s maritime history at the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre, a fascinating museum that showcases the town’s connection to the sea. The museum features a range of exhibits, including displays on the region’s Aboriginal heritage, early European settlers, and the development of Portland as a maritime hub.

The centre also serves as the starting point for the Great South West Walk, a 250km loop trail that showcases the diverse landscapes and natural beauty of the region. With engaging exhibits and a wealth of information on Portland’s maritime past, the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and curious visitors alike.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round
  • Address: Lee Breakwater Rd, Portland, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Portland

12. Cape Nelson Lighthouse – A Beacon of History and Scenic Beauty

Cape Nelson Lighthouse stands as a testament to Portland’s maritime history, guiding ships safely along the rugged coastline since 1884. The lighthouse offers guided tours, where you can learn about its fascinating past and the lives of the lighthouse keepers. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs and ocean, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale during their migration season.

The area surrounding the lighthouse is a haven for nature lovers, with walking trails that meander through the Cape Nelson State Park. The park boasts diverse flora and fauna, including native orchids and a variety of bird species. The picturesque coastal scenery, combined with the historic charm of the lighthouse, makes Cape Nelson a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Portland.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but whale watching is best between June and September
  • Address: Cape Nelson Lighthouse Road, Portland, VIC 3305
  • Opening Hours: Grounds open daily, guided tours available
  • Distance from town: Approximately 13 km southwest of Portland

Towns Nearby Portland, VIC

Here are some nearby towns and suburbs around Portland, VIC, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Portland, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Hamilton, VIC (58 km from Portland): Known for its beautiful parks and reserves, such as the Hamilton Botanic Gardens and the Wannon Falls Reserve. It’s a great destination for nature lovers and those interested in exploring regional Victoria.
  2. Port Fairy, VIC (52 km from Portland): A charming coastal town with a rich maritime history, Port Fairy is home to beautiful beaches, the historic Griffiths Island Lighthouse, and a variety of boutique shops, galleries, and cafes.
  3. Cape Bridgewater, VIC (20 km from Portland): This picturesque coastal area offers stunning beaches, the unique Petrified Forest, and the Cape Bridgewater Seal Walk, where you can observe a local seal colony.
  4. Heywood, VIC (38 km from Portland): A small town surrounded by beautiful countryside, Heywood is a great base for exploring the nearby Cobboboonee National Park and the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape.
  5. Narrawong, VIC (16 km from Portland): This coastal village is home to beautiful beaches, the Narrawong Flora and Fauna Reserve, and the picturesque Surrey River.
  6. Nelson, VIC (68 km from Portland): Located near the border of Victoria and South Australia, Nelson is a gateway to the Lower Glenelg National Park and the Discovery Bay Coastal Park, offering opportunities for hiking, fishing, and boating.
  7. Dartmoor, VIC (95 km from Portland): A small town surrounded by forests and the Glenelg River, Dartmoor is a great destination for fishing, canoeing, and exploring the nearby Princess Margaret Rose Cave.

These nearby towns and suburbs offer a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to explore while staying in or around Portland, VIC Australia.

Getting To Portland, VIC

To get to Portland, VIC from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Melbourne CBD:

  • By bus: Take the V/Line bus service from Southern Cross Station to Portland. The journey takes approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes. Check the V/Line website for schedules and ticket information.
  • By car: Drive west on the M1 (West Gate Freeway) and continue onto the A1 (Princes Highway) towards Geelong and Warrnambool. Follow the A1 until you reach Portland. The drive takes approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

From other nearby towns:

  • From Warrnambool: Drive west on the A1 (Princes Highway) for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or 104 km.
  • From Port Fairy: Drive west on the A1 (Princes Highway) for about 45 minutes or 52 km.
  • From Hamilton: Drive south on the Henty Highway (B160) for about 45 minutes or 58 km.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website (https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on bus routes, schedules, and ticketing. Keep in mind that public transport options may be limited, and driving might be the most convenient way to reach Portland from nearby towns.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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