Portarlington has been a holiday resort for more than 100 years, with thousands of Melburnian holidaymakers taking a one-hour trip on the steamer from Williamstown in the nineteenth century.
The township of Portarlington was formally surveyed around 1850 and was at that time named Drayton. It was renamed Portarlington in 1851, reportedly in honour of the English Peer, Sir Henry Bennet , 1st Earl of Arlington.
Mussels are the dominant shell species found in evidence around Portarlington, demonstrating the importance of mussels to the area, even in pre-historic times.
Real estate and design Portarlington, with a population of 3,100, is superbly placed on the north-eastern tip of the peninsula to provide sweeping views of Melbourne’s skyline and the You Yangs. The gently rising hills behind the town feature vineyards and olive groves, overlooking Port Phillip Bay.
In 2002, the Victorian Coastal Strategy report named Portarlington as a potential site for a multi-million dollar safe harbour development on the Bellarine Peninsula. In 2009 it was announced that the Portarlington safe harbour plan would provide state-of-the-art harbour facilities for recreational and commercial vessels and improvements to the foreshore, Including a proposed commuter ferry from Port Melbourne.
Shopping Famous for its sublime locally-harvested mussels, the town has a similar reputation for fine dining, with excellent restaurants and cafés and shops lining the main street and on the pier. The pubs are friendly and welcoming too.
Sports fitness and recreation There are plenty of boat ramps for those keen on fishing and sea-travel, lovely shady parks on the foreshore and a very scenic golf course. It is also well know for the Bay Cycling Classic and Portarlington Triathalon held every year.
Distance from the CBD and transport
Portarlington is located on the Bellarine Peninsula, 27km from the City of Geelong and 104 km south of Melbourne. Jetstar fly out of Avalon airport 47km south of Portarlington to Sydney and Brisbane.
Famous landmarks and attractions
Discover the local history at buildings such as the Portarlington Mill, built in 1857, and the Ol’ Duke, built in 1855, now a smart hotel and restaurant, or relax on the beautiful foreshore and enjoy fishing, boating and swimming.
Feast on freshly harvested mussels, enjoy a picnic on the foreshore reserve and take in the sweeping views of Melbourne’s skyline and the You Yangs. Taste fine wines and enjoy glorious views at one of many nearby wineries such as Scotchmans Hill, Bellarine Estate and Jack Rabbit.
Point Richards flora and fauna reserve is a local haven for wildlife and native vegetation around the wetlands on the western edge of the town.
Located within the Rotary Childrens Park at Point Richards is a miniature railway which operates at various times throughout the year.
The local pier and marina provide shelter to fishing and sailing vessels and fresh local mussels can be bought in town.
Restaurants and Cafes
Portarlington has a rich mix of heritage listed buildings, museums, pier and marina, hotels and restaurants. There are many wineries within a short drive of Portarlington – check out wineries such as Scotchmans Hill, Bellarine Estate, Leura Park and Jack Rabbit naturally, you’ll also enjoy fine dining in Portarlington’s diverse cafes and restaurants.
The peninsula’s reputation as a fine-wine producer grows with every vintage. From humble beginnings, the vineyards and wineries have blossomed overlooking Port Phillip Bay.
The wineries are open for cellar-door sales. Some have restaurants or barbecue and picnic facilities.
Schools & education
Portarlington’s local primary school is located in Newcomb Street.
Just 10 minutes up the road in Drysdale you will find a selection of prestigious private and public primary and secondary schools.
Bay Cycling Classic: Portarlington hosts a full day of events in this world-class criterium series held at select locations around Port Phillip Bay in the New Year.
Portarlington Mussel Festival: Summer food and festivities at Portarlington, the “mussel capital of victoria”, in mid January.
Tarxien social club: Xalata ta\’ san girgor (saint gregory): Maltese community gathering traditionally held over the Australia Day weekend in January.
Portarlington Triathlon: Described as one of the best courses in Australia, it is Victoria’s oldest running triathlon event, and is held in late Summer.
Bellarine Agricultural Show: Variety of displays and activities held annually in March on the Portarlington reserve.
National Celtic Festival: National festival of celtic folk music, dancing, and cultural activities held all around Portarlington in mid-year.
Sunday Market: Bustling market held around Parks Hall in Portarlington on the last Sunday in each month.