Port Fairy is a quaint little town in South Western Victoria on the Great Ocean Road and is by far one of the prettiest places I’ve visited so far since being in Australia. It’s one of the oldest coastal towns and is seeped in history dating back to the early nineteenth century when whalers and seal hunters landed in the area. The town Port Fairy was named by the crew of the whaling ship The Fairy that landed on the shores looking for shelter in 1828.
When visiting recently, I was lucky enough to stay in one of Port Fairy’s oldest buildings The Merrijig Inn, which is also Victoria oldest inn. It too is full of history having been used for many things over the years including a magistrate’s court, a police station and barracks, a boarding house and an antique shop before being turned back into an inn. Now owned and run by Liz and Tanya, the inn is everything you need and more when staying in Port Fairy. Located opposite the town wharf it’s the perfect location for exploring the town and taking the short walk out to the lighthouse.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving at The Merrijig Inn. I’ve stayed in places before where the ‘history’ takes over and everything looks a little worn around the edges and in need of some love and attention. However, from the first moment I walked into our room at the Merrijig Inn, I could see that this certainly was not that case here and this was run by people who not only cared about providing guests with beautiful rooms, but also took time to add those finer details that you only see when owners are truly passionate and love what they are doing.
From the lights being turned on for us so we weren’t fumbling around in the dark and lovely note on the door welcoming us (we arrived late after photographing the sunset at the Twelve Apostles), to the free wifi, immaculately made beds with beautiful crisp white sheets and the divine bath products to use that were a vast improvement on the usual hotel ones where the shampoo dries out your hair and the conditioner knots it up worse than before you applied it. It was these little touches that I really appreciated and that made my stay so much nicer.
My two favourite things by far were firstly the decanter of All Saints Rutherglen Muscat with a little note attached inviting us to “Enjoy a glass on us”. I’ve never tried this Muscat before and all I will say is that my friend travelling with me didn’t get a look in. It was delicious and a great way to start off an evening of relaxation. I retired to my room, popped on the stereo, and spent the evening relaxing on my incredibly comfortable bed – just what I needed after a long day driving the Great Ocean Road. I’m now on the hunt for a bottle or two to have at home. The other little touch that I loved was Priscilla, our Privacy Pig. Hand made from recycled woollen blankets, the Privacy Pigs are definitely one of the more quirky things you’ll find at the Merrijig Inn, and a great discussion topic, as well of course the way to let housekeeping know you don’t want to be disturbed in the morning. Each room has their own privacy pig to find, with different names and colours. It’s like a little treasure hunt.
Our suite consisted of the entrance hallway which led off of our private balcony and entrance way, a beautiful living room with TV and writing desk, the bedroom which had been turned into a twin for our stay but I would guess is also a king room. It had the beds, dressing table, side tables and a stereo/iPod docking station. This is also where Priscilla lived on the bedside table. The bathroom had a shower and separate bath and came with hairdryer and bath products like shower gel, shampoo and conditioner to use. The Merrijig Inn also has communal areas for guests to enjoy. Plush sofas and armchairs adorn these rooms and there are magazines and books as well as a TV room to keep you entertained during your stay. There is also a little kitchen where you can make yourself a cup of tea or coffee or grab a glass of chilled water.
The one thing we didn’t get to enjoy was the restaurant, which is closed on Tuesday’s – the night that we stayed. However, we did get to enjoy the scrumptious breakfast the next morning. All sourced from local growers and producers in the area it was a buffet fit for a king and queen. There was poached fruit and museli, freshly baked bread, homemade jams and honey, and fresh fruit and local juices (you have to try the apple juice – it’s amazing!). My favourite from the buffet were the delicious homemade berry muffins, which were recommended to me by another guest who was on his third when we got to the dining room. He loved them and his comment to me was “it’s like having dessert but for breakfast”. Once I tried them it was not hard to see why he was on his third and I had to try hard to resist doing the same as all this was only just the start. I would love to get my hands on the recipe though or just have to be content to wait until I stay at the Merrijig again next time. The cooked component of breakfast was bacon, eggs, tomatoes and avocado on freshly baked sourdough bread. It’s not surprising that we spent a good hour and a half at breakfast eating and talking enthusiastically to the other guests. If dinner is even half as good as breakfast was then I will definitely be back again to sample it next time I’m in Port Fairy.
It’s definitely the little things that go a long way when staying somewhere, and the Merrijig Inn will not disappoint. It’s been furnished beautifully whilst maintaining its charm and the sense of history, and is clearly a place that the owners and staff alike take a lot of pride in. It has all the hallmarks of luxury accommodation without the ‘luxury’ price tag that is usual attached to places like this. The Merrijig Inn is somewhere to enjoy in any season. It’s comfortable and a great base to head out and explore the town and surrounding area or even curl up with a good book on a cold and rainy day. My only regret is that I didn’t spend longer staying here. Booking are essential especially when events are being held in the town like this coming weekends Port Fairy Folk Festival which is on every year on Labour Day weekend, and I am looking forward to attending, but sadly won’t be staying at the Merrijig Inn as I didn’t get in quick enough. I will try and pop down for dinner one night though as I am definitely keen to sample what delicious delights they have on offer.
For more information about the Merrijig Inn and to book your fabulous stay with Liz, Tanya and their fantastic and friendly staff, go to www.merrijiginn.com. The Merrijig Inn is located at 1 Campbell Street, Port Fairy.