The rainy days are beginning to thin and the flowers bursting into bloom, spring has finally arrived on our door step and along with that comes many options to explore as the warmer weather approaches. If you’re a local or a new visitor to Portland (Victoria) you will be surprised at the range of activities and adventure awaiting for you to discover; put on your walking shoes and get ready to adventure the birth place of Victoria.
I haven’t lived in Portland for many years so I am still exploring and learning about what the town has to offer, so this blog is as much to you as it is to me a fresh adventure and experience.
Start the morning at a cafe in town and see the sunrise over the Port. There are a range of places to choose from. After a full breakfast begin your adventure. When I decided to explore Portland for the first time and experience living like a tourist, the first place I went to was the Portland Cable Tram to gain an understanding of history. The tram ride along the foreshore, past the Botanical Gardens, Visitor Information Centre and up to the War Memorial Tower Museum. An insightful and educational understanding will be given by your conductor, truly remarkable.
If you’re interested in history check out the Portland Powerhouse Motor and Car Museum which features a range of old cars and machinery. One Friday afternoon my partner and I decided it would be a good idea to look at old cars ( clearly his idea not mine…), to my surprise it was actually really good. Being able to walk around and see with your own eyes early man made inventions was incredible, so much history and stories within each vehicle. If you’re a car fanatic then this is a place you want to be checking out. Other notable historic museums and exhibitions are the Maritime Discovery Centre which features a massive 14 meter Sperm Whale skeleton! and the War Memorial Tower ( which can be visited on the Cable Tram).
Next on the spring things to do list is Portland Strawberries, fresh and all natural selection of hand picked berries. How many places will allow you to take part in picking your own produce? They sell a range of natural products such as jam,lollies,ice cream and even strawberry alcohol for those who like a fruity beverage. Located just 5 minutes drive from the town centre of Bolwarra this is definitely a drive worth taking. If you find yourself in late November famous Trelaor Roses will be open conducting tours and showcasing flowers.
Something I love to do to finish the day exploring is to grab a picnic basket and head to the Portland Botanical Gardens for a relaxing afternoon. Traipsing through the rows of dahlias and rose beds immersing yourself in the smell. The Portland Botanical Gardens are the second oldest gardens in the state and first gardens outside Melbourne, also featuring native plants from the Glenelg Shire region. Located on the site is the authentic, small bluestone cottage that belonged to the garden keeper. The gardens are also used for recreational purposes such as croquet and connect with walking tracks to Fawthrop Lagoon and the Foreshore and Nuns Beach.
If you’re more of the adventurous type then look no further than the back yard of Portland, it is full of hiking and walking tracks such as the Mary McKillop Pilgrim Trail, Major Mitchell Trail and the Great South West Walk that spans across 250km. If your not keen on a quest journey then stick to your smaller National Park walks, Lower Glenelg National Park that surrounds the Glenelg River, Mt Richmond an ancient volcano, Cobboboonee National Park, Discovery Bay Marine National Park and Coastal Park ( spreads from Portland, Cape Bridgewater to S.A. border).
The Coastal Parks link in with Cape Nelson State Park and Cape Nelson Lighthouse, built in the 1800’s and stands 32m tall. You can book tours to climb the lighthouse and learn more about its history and use today. One of my favorite parts I have discovered about Cape Nelson State Park is its unique beaches and the Enchanted Forest ( sadly no fairies have been spotted yet). The Enchanted Forest exhibits a range of nature’s wildlife, scenery and flora, it truly is magical. and the hidden beaches to check out are Murrels, Yellow Rock across to Point Danger ( the gannet colony), Crumpets, Black Nose Point and Pivot Beach. Some of these beaches you can surf at if you’re and experienced surfer. there are also fishing spots. Surfers! This is your link! * click http://www.visitportland.com.au/surfing/ for a map*
On the other side of Cape Nelson is Cape Bridgewater, a quick 15 minute scenic drive to Bridgewater Bay, one of the most widespread and beautiful beaches in Victoria. Situated at the beach is the Bridgewater Bay Cafe ( who have exquisite scones mind you), and its friendly neighbors who share the beach; Seals. There is a seal colony that can be visited via boat operated by Seals by the Sea tours. Not only are there seals that can be seen but during these spring months whales can also still be sighted along this coastline. Whale watching is one of Portland’s most popular attractions during the winter months and continues into spring.Continuing along the the road you are led to the Blow Holes and the Petrified Forest. Did you know Cape Bridgewater use to be a volcanic island? Neither did I. Another spectacular thing about Bridgewater is the Bridgewater Lakes and Caves. The lakes are used mainly in the summer times with skiing and kayaking, but you could still go out on a hot day and test your skills. There are other notable beaches near Cape Bridgewater and they include Shelly Beach, Discovery Bay, Blacks Beach and Whites Beach.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a relaxing day filled with shopping and eating two of my most favorite things! Portland’s main two streets are filled with boutique and variety stores for the thrifty shopper and big spender, in between is a range of eateries, restaurants, pubs and cafes. While you wander the streets you really get a taste of what Portland has to offer.
Finally to end my list of spring things to do is the newly registered UNESCO world heritage listing site Budj Bim. Over 32,000 years old this is the ancient site that formed the traditional owner of the land and Gunditjamara country. Now this is a bit further to drive too, but to miss out on a cultural experience like this would be a shame. Tours can be booked through Budj Bim Tours where you can finally understand and have a proper appreciation to our first nation people. I haven’t had the opportunity to experience these tours yet but it is certainly on my to do list. I hope to get there soon so I can talk on it further.
UP COMING EVENTS NOVEMBER
- The Upwelling Festival ( cup weekend), to celebrate the natural wonders of the Bonney Upwelling.
- – Great Victorian Bike Ride ( passes through Portland 25- 26th), group of riders riding from Robe S.A. to Torquay Vic.
- To wrap up these spring things to do, I would like to thank those who kept reading to the end.
- It hasn’t been easy writing my first blog, it has been a journey and I hope you find this helpful. Till next time..
To book tours and learn more www.visitportland.com.au
Follow me as I explore Portland on Face of the Southwest