Portland is in the far west of the state of Victoria, only seventy-five kilometres from the South Australian border. Over the last thirty years or so, this major provincial coastal town has become an important port, true to it’s name, though this was given long ago as two brothers, the Henty’s, landed here from Tasmania and this area became Victoria’s first permanent settlement.This was in eighteen thirty-four, a long while ago and there were aborigines in this part of the state.
As Australia was settled in Sydney, in seventeen eighty-eight, there was a period therefore of fifty-six years before Victoria became discovered and known and Portland was the place where this happened .It has a natural port and faces out to the Great Southern Ocean where there is no break between the continent of Australia and the continent of Antarctica. As the visitor to this region can imagine, there will be some wild coastal scenery in the area and even Southern Right whales can be seen swimming offshore.
Because of this natural beauty, it is a popular holiday retreat for those wanting challenging and magnificent coastal scenery. There are family beaches with safe water and smooth sand, to the wilder, surf beaches for the keen boardrider.The Lower Glenelg National Park falls in behind Portland and there are picturesque forest walks away from the beach, about thirty kilometres in a westerly direction. Here there are huge gorges and colorful wildflowers, as well as native birds and the visitor to this area will find a wonderland of nature here. The Princes Margaret Rose Caves are definitely worth a visit and the Mount Richmond National Park, in the same region, has an excellent show of wildflowers in the spring time.
As this area was the first to be settled in Victoria, there are many buildings still standing from the early period of the eighteenth century and these are classified by the state’s National Trust. Noteworthy and worth a visit are the Customs and Court House and the Steam Packet Hotel. Many people from Mount Gambier, in South Australia, come to the tiny hamlet of Nelson nearby, as a favourite holiday destination.
Ther easiest way to get here, from either Melbourne or Adelaide, whichever you fly into, is to hire a car and call in as part of an interstate drive. Just follow the Princes highway from either capital city; in the case of Melbourne, go west, and for Adelaide, go south-east. With it’s ten motels and six camping /caravan grounds, there is plenty of accomodation, so come visit Portland while in Australia.