TRAVEL FEATURE || Port Fairy for Australian Traveller

Exciting times. My very first travel feature for Australian Traveller magazine just got published. Proper print! Real pages! Stuff even my Mum can read! What's even cooler is that the story was about my old stomping ground (and hometown to two of my three brothers), Port Fairy in south-west Victoria. So let's just say the subject matter was pretty dear to my heart.

If you've never been to Port Fairy, I reckon any time is a pretty good time to go. Summer is great for all things aquatic, beachy and camping, autumn is festival time, while winter holds its own wonderfully romantic, windswept nautical charm - particularly when liberal lashings of excellent local food and wine are thrown into the mix.

Accom wise, you've got the pick of some great little owner-operated lodgings, including one of Victoria's oldest and most characterful inns, The Merrijig Inn. This place really embodies homely, quirky comfort, and the gals running the show (Liz and Tan) are all about making sure you're well fed, well wined and having a nice time. The highlight of my recent stay was the gorgeous little tray of proper tea, proper milk and proper home-made bickies that was brought to me as I sat hunched and blue by the open fire, attempting to thaw-out after an afternoon spent surfing in freezing, Arctic-like ocean waters. Never tasted a better pot of tea in my life.

The Fez is also home to the winner of the 2014 Qantas Australian Tourism Award for Best Luxury Accommodation, Drift House.  Located a stone's throw from the lovely Moyne river, East Beach and Port Fairy's best restaurants, this stunningly remodelled old mansion is the kind of place where you might start fantasising - pinot gris in hand - what life might be like if you bought all your clothes at Husk and were a really cashed-up, stylish version of yourself. All the little touches really add up - Grown Alchemist bathroom amenities, gorgeous bed linen, great magazines, plus home-made yo-yos, good coffee, local yoghurt and local wine in the 'maxi bar'.

Food wise, the place is cranking. My old mate, Ryan Sessions has taken over The Stag and is elevating the bountiful local seafood and fresh produce to incredible new heights. In fact, one of the dishes I ate there recently almost made my friend Ange and I cry with happiness. Yup, it was that good. Gemima Cody from Good Food got super excited about it on her recent visit, and the guys debuted with a healthy 1 Chef's Hat at the recent Age Good Food Guide awards too.

This assignment was awesome for a bunch of reasons, most of all because I got to do actual stuff - fishing for tuna, circumnavigating a wacky island I'd never been to, not getting seasick on a bumpy boat ride, and learning to surf on the most BITTERLY COLD goddamn winter's day imaginable. Dedicated to the craft, or what??

IMAGE: Here's me and my brother Shane and the 13kg Southern Bluefin Tuna we caught (ahem... that *he* caught) on our jaunt out with Salty Dog Fishing Charters,

IMAGE: Here's me and my brother Shane and the 13kg Southern Bluefin Tuna we caught (ahem... that *he* caught) on our jaunt out with Salty Dog Fishing Charters,

This feature appeared in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Australian Traveller magazine. Read online here >> 

Clance x