Known as the first permanent settlement in Victoria, Portland prospers as a coastal enclave with green parks, heritage architecture, botanical gardens and windswept sandy beaches. Museums reflect the region’s history, while a fascinating discovery centre highlights Portland’s maritime connections.
Things to do in Portland
One of the area’s only deep-water seaports, Portland provides access for game-fishing expeditions and southern bluefin tuna charters. Head over to Portland Bay Marina for recreational boating, sightseeing tours and whale-watching adventures.
More than 200 buildings in Portland hold National Trust designations, many constructed with basalt bluestone and clustered around the historic waterfront. Stop by the Customs House to see its cellar collection of confiscated curios. At the 1886 Rocket Shed, you can view genuine ship-rescue paraphernalia, a rocket, launcher, tally boards and a rocket-carrier powder box.
Take a stroll down Percy Street for shopping and dining, then rest along the green space on Bentinck Street to admire views of the marina and Nuns Beach. You can ride the Portland Cable Tram along the coast, which passes some of the town’s best attractions, including the Maritime Discovery Centre, Portland Powerhouse Car Museum and Botanic Gardens.
Enjoy the area’s state and coastal parks, such as Cape Nelson, where 210 hectares of natural landscapes harbour the Cape Nelson Lighthouse. Discovery Bay Coastal Park lines the coast for 50 kilometres, while Cape Bridgewater beckons with scenic hiking and fur seal sightings. Stop at the area’s numerous lookouts for expansive views of Bridgewater Bay or follow paths down to secluded beaches.
Getting around Portland
You can pick up a rental car at Portland Airport, about 14 kilometres from the city centre, or use public buses or taxis to get around. Hop aboard the cable tram for stops at major tourist attractions.