52 weekends away

52 weekends away

Great Ocean Road, VIC

3/43 Gipps Street, Port Fairy

Phone: (03) 5568 3150

Email: accommodation@hearns.com.au

Web: portfairyaccom.com.au/accommodation/25

The Location Port Fairy, about 3.5 hours' drive west of Melbourne, is one of Victoria's oldest ports.

Much of its history is alive and well, and the picture-postcard charm of its colonial past remains largely untouched. The port area, where Johansson's Perch is located, outdoes all the Great Ocean Road destinations for sheer beauty.

The Place Johansson's Perch is set right on the Moyne River. There are three separate apartments overlooking the pretty boardwalk that follows the waterway down to the port area. Built over four levels, there are three double bedrooms - each with ensuite - a fully serviced kitchen and large living/dining area.

The main bedroom on the top floor has a private deck with spectacular views over the river. Each has a garage with internal entry, and there is a generous deck at the front that's perfect for alfresco dining (barbecues supplied).

The Experience Ideal for two or three couples travelling together, Johansson's Perch offers as much privacy as needed. The view from the living area and deck is easily good enough to make one's time well spent without leaving the apartment. For the more adventurous, though, there is plenty to do and see within a very short distance. Turn left at the boardwalk for an easy stroll across the river to the oceanfront (including a safe, patrolled family beach). Turn right and head for the wharf, fish and chips, the historic lighthouse and a nature walk around Griffiths Island. Here, each year around September, mutton birds fly in from Alaska to nest.

Don't Miss Tower Hill (13 1963), just 10 minutes east of Port Fairy, is a wildlife reserve situated within the crater of a volcano. It last erupted 30,000 years ago, so don't fret - it should be quite safe. If you feel the need for some courage, however, you could stop in at the Caledonian Inn Hotel (41 Bank Street; 03 5568 1044; info@caledonianinn.com.au). Consider also the luxurious high-tea option at Time & Tide (21 Thistle Place; 03 5568 2134), where lavish food is served amid attractive surrounds perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking breathtaking blue waters.

Need to know

Cost: from $300 per night.

Where: 290km (3.5 hours' drive) west of Melbourne.

Children: Generally, no.

Pets: No.

Wheelchair access: No.