Located just an over an hour out of Melbourne and just 28km out of Geelong on the Bellarine Peninsula, Portalington is an idyllic town whose beautiful beaches, laid back vibes, and multiple attractions make for a fantastic tourist destination. In the following article, we’ll explore a few things to do around Portarlington; there’s truly something for everyone here!
Portarlington Golf Club
If you’re after a spot of golf, the Portarlington Golf Club would obviously be your first choice around town! The fun doesn’t stop there with the golf club though – rather than just a basic club to hit the ball around with your mates on a quiet afternoon, Portarlington Golf Club is a bit of an institution in its own right. The club boasts a fully stocked bar and a charming bistro where you can dine with friends and family. Beyond that, the club is linked to Port Philip Ferries, and links in with them to host fantastic cruises. The golf club has plenty of indoor space, meaning that events are well-and-truly catered here too. Even Weddings can be booked at this multi-purpose venue.
When it comes to the Golf Course itself, Portarlington Golf Club has a public option of booking to play either 18 or 9 holes, and the course is open to the general public on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Weekends, so there’s plenty of opportunity to sneak in a couple of holes with your mates while you’re in the area.
Portarlington Caravan Parks
There are a number of options if you’re looking for a caravan park in the Portarlington area. Each of them vary slightly in pricing, location, and amenities, so we’ll take a look at the different options, place-by-place.
Bellarine Bayside is probably the best known and largest of the local caravan parks. Accommodation options onsite cater to a wide range of audiences and needs, from your graduates on schoolies week, to your family holidaymakers.Tent-based camping spaces are available at both Indented Head and St Leonards, with an option of beach front camping, onsite, or a space with additional en suite amenities.
This caravan park also offers adorable little beach pods to suit one or two people per pod, along with cabins that come in both couple and family sizes. Prices vary by season, type of dwelling, amenities included, and dwelling location. There are even pet friendly options.
Dylene Holiday Park Portarlington
Dylene Holiday Park offers Cabins, Villas, Powered Campsites and even sells van-cabin hybrid spaces at their caravan park. If you have a caravan of your own, you can use a powered site to hook it up, or just enjoy the power access as a bonus during your BYO tent stay. The cabins and villas are a little more basic than those offered by Bellarine Bayside, but include more size options too – if you’re after a budget friendly family vacay, these are the guys you’re looking for. Be sure to book ahead of time to ensure a place at your preferred accommodation type onsite.
Fairhaven Family Holiday Park
Fairhaven Family Holiday Park is a great option for those considering a timeshare-like option, where you can come and go to a holiday destination multiple times. This caravan park is unfortunately not open to tourist bookings, but regularly has annual sites available, for a more permanent holidaying option.Cabins start at $69,000 to buy, and are only 1km from town and close to the beach, making them a great option for long-term investors in the local holiday location.
Portarlington Grand Hotel
If you’re after the fanciest accommodation in town, book into the Portarlington Grand Hotel. Living up to its name, this hotel has beautiful classically styled rooms that will treat you to the very best in relaxation throughout your stay. The four room types available are as follows.
Grand Bay Rooms
These are lovely, spacious rooms for two, with a king size bed for extra comfort. You’ll love the balcony views, and these rooms even have rustic fireplaces in them. Chill out on the in-room couches and ottoman, watch some TV and enjoy the wifi and the mini bar.
The bay rooms are similar to the Grand Bay Rooms, but are a little more modern in style and don’t have the fireplace. Enjoy seating out on your private balcony or relax in the king bed. Drink in the beautiful wrought iron and tile details in the room, and marvel over the marble in the bathroom.
The mural room are slightly more affordable, with a queen bed instead of the king. There’s a great TV that sits right above the bed, and these rooms are located in a nice and quiet part of the hotel. These suit two guests, with wheelchair accessible rooms available on request.
The Atrium rooms have a modern feel, again with a queen bed. These rooms include a separate bathroom from the main room too.The furnishings are by Zuster and include a lovely little breakfast table next to the bed. All rooms include daily housekeeping too.
Probably the main attraction of Portarlington is Portarlington Pier. This area is council managed by Parks Victoria and is divided into specific sections to safely cater for swimming, fishing, and boating. You can fish directly off the pier, just make sure that you have a fishing licence and adhere to any local catch limits! Significant fines can apply if you don’t follow these rules – to keep the local wildlife safe. If you have a disability pension card you can fish without a licence (at the time of this writing), just make sure that you have it ready to display.
Swimming is easily accessible from the beach at the front of the pier, where there is a small shark netted area for you to splash around with friends and family alike. For those wanting to get out onto the ocean, there are multiple options for cruises, hire, and even the ferry to choose from.
You’ve checked into your hotel, put down your bags and now it’s time for a few cold ones. The local pub might stir some nostalgia for you from the start of this article, because the best pub in town also doubles as a hotel. If you’re staying at the Portarlington Grand, simply head downstairs to check out the indoor-outdoor pub and get some refreshments! For those not already staying on-site, you might also be happy to hear that the pub here includes a dog-friendly beer garden, so you really can bring your best mate along.
Once you’ve had a beer, wine, or mocktail, head over to the on-site bistro if you’re a fan of seafood. They also offer more traditional pub fare. If you’re after cafe-style eats, check out their atrium too.
If you’re wanting to explore the town beyond the Portarlington grand Hotel, you’ll find plenty of other locations where you can whet your appetite. There are some hidden gems around town, specialising in the local seafood, along with more diverse tastes from abroad. Let’s take a look at a few of the best.
The Little Mussel Cafe
This lovely little cafe near the beach is sure to surprise. If you’re after superbly fresh local produce over a cuppa at lunch time, The Little Mussel Cafe will be a real winner in your books. Head over to 40 Newcombe Street and have a taste of what they have to offer.
Right near the beach, you’ll find Pier Street restaurant – this is a great family restaurant that specialises in locally sourced and made foods, open during the day along with dinnertime. Dogs are welcome here, and it’s a great place for the environmentally conscious too – check out their huge solar panels on the way in! The seafood is a standout here, along with the local beers and wines, making this a place not to miss.
Portarlington Chinese Restaurant
If you’re after some decent Chinese fare, check out the Portarlington Chinese Restaurant. This place opens for dinner service around 5pm every day but Tuesday, and opens for lunch Thursday-Sunday too. It can be found at 20 Newcombe street in town.
Portarlington Mussel Festival
Returning again on January 13th 2024 is the event of the season for this little tourist town – the Portarlington Mussel Festival. The town of Portarlington has been producing Victoria’s premium mussels since 1982, and they love them so much that they want to celebrate them (hint: you will too). This celebration features a swathe of local artists, producers, and live music, along with mussels of course! Cooking demonstrations and heaps of entertainment for the kids are also a key feature.This is a one-day food and wine festival that runs annually from 9.30am-5pm, so make sure that you book ahead with your accommodation if you’re heading down around that weekend! It’s well-worth the trip.
Portarlington Charity Festival
Located at the Portarlington Foreshore Reserve for one month during the Chirstmas school holidays, the Portarlington Charity Festival is a unique family attraction that is not to be missed! This festival usually closes at the end of January, but check times closer to the event for confirmation. It’s open every night and some days, and has all the traditional carnival fare, from rides, to showbags, to animals; a perfect activity for the kids.
As you can see, Portarlington really has something for everyone for a town so easy to get to from the Melbourne CBD. It’s a perfect combination of quiet town, ocean views, fun for the family and bougie eats. No matter who you are, you’re sure to feel well rested and entertained having visited this place.
Summary: Discover Portarlington: Idyllic coastal town near Melbourne and Geelong. Gorgeous beaches, golf, caravan parks, fine dining, festivals, and more. Perfect getaway!