Local Attractions

There's plenty to do in and around Portland when you stay at the William Dutton Motel.

There are very few Australian communities fortunate enough to be so happily located amongst so many natural beauties and historic structures.

In Portland itself, you will find literally dozens of elegant old bluestone homes and civic buildings, many dating back to the 1850s or earlier. The local history society or the visitor centre will provide you with a self-guided walk pamphlet so you can discover this treasure trove of the past for yourself.

Just a couple of blocks from the William Dutton Motel is a stop for the historic Cable Tram, a delightful way to view Portland’s harbour, foreshore and lagoon from the comfort of a 19th century tram car. Friendly volunteers can answer all your questions. Also close by is Portland Marina, with convenient launching facilities for boats filled with visitors eager to take advantage of Portland’s exceptional fishing opportunities. Next to the marina is the stylish Maritime Discovery Centre, where you can get ample information on the district as well as destinations throughout Victoria and South Australia (the state border is just an hour away).

Victoria’s far southwest is heaven for those who enjoy the outdoors. No less than seven national parks or major reserves are right there for you to explore, each within 90 minutes or less drive from Portland.

You won’t want to miss:

  • Mt Richmond National Park, with its four pleasant heathland walks and abundant wildlife, especially koalas.
  • Cobbobboonee National Park, preserving the forests and wet fern gullies just inland from Portland. The delightful Wood Wine & Roses Drive takes you though the heart of the park
  • Discovery Bay Coastal Park, practically on Portland’s doorstep, is a world of long empty beaches and dramatic headlands like Cape Bridgewater jutting into the Southern Ocean.
  • Lower Glenelg National Park (45 minutes to the west) is the place to go for river cruises, impressive cliffs and the nearby Princess Margaret Rose Cave, with its eerie formations.
  • Cape Nelson Park is marked by a soaring lighthouse (the set for a very recent Australian film), a pleasant café, easy coastal walks and jagged offshore rocks.
  • Narrawong Beach is an undiscovered gem, a long and clean beach just 15 kms east of town with good swimming.
  • Mt Eccles National Park, once an ancient volcano, now boasts a lovely forested lake with a pleasing walking track around its shoreline. It’s just over an hour away by road through Macarthur.

In Portland itself, these attractions are definitely worth visiting:

  • Powerhouse Motor and Car Museum (Glenelg St) houses a stimulating array of veteran and vintage autos and motorbikes
  • WW2 Memorial Lookout Tower (Wade St) is not just a fine tower with 360 degree views of the city. It’s also home to displays bringing to life the city’s 20th century history.
  • The Arts Company (Julia St) is the place to buy paintings, photos, textiles, ceramics and other top-quality works by local artists.
  • Botanic Garden (Cliff St) displays flowers from all over the region plus a croquet lawn.
  • Fawthrope Lagoon is where you’ll see a variety of bird life. Easy walking tracks take you through reed groves and other aquatic plants.
  • Mary MacKillop Walk is a self-guided walk highlighting locales where Australia’s first saint lived and worked.

There are many other attractions and festivals, some of them seasonal. Check with the Maritime Discovery Centre for details.

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