Port Fairy : Australia

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What it's Like to Retire in Port Fairy

Port Fairy is a small coastal town on Australia's south coast. It became wealthy as a haven for whalers and sealers and then popular with Irish immigrants, it is Victoria's oldest port. The town is located between Melbourne and Adelaide, just above the Great Ocean Road. It was named the "Most LIvable City in the World" and the title is well deserved. Many retirees from Australia choose to live here for those reasons. It has fantastic wide sandy beaches with real waves but safe for swimming. The Moyne River runs through town, which provides a very pleasant walk along the many sailboats ties up along the boardwalk on both sides. Downtown there are several wide and busy shopping streets filled with cute shops (at least 2 bookstores within 10 meters of each other), art galleries, and restaurants of all types. People come here for holidays and also to live in this ideal town. Retirees say that they like it here because they can walk to everything, there is a wonderful hospital with many caring doctors, the beach, the shops, and the restaurants.

The town has a number of important festivals throughout the year that attract many attendees. Those include the Port Fairy Art Festival and the Port Fairy Folk Music Festival. Performers like Buffy St. Marie and Sinead O'Connor highlight the 2015 Festival in March. For more about retirement see our Retirement Guide to Australia.


Where to Retire in Port Fairy and Home Prices

There is one small retirement community in Port Fairy, the Port Fairy Senior Citizens Retirement Village.  Otherwise retirees live in one of the many beautiful cottages, homes, or apartments in the town - all within walking distance of everything.  Prices have seriously escalated in the last 10 years as the word has got out that Port Fairy makes a wonderful retirement destination. There is also a caravan park where you could live for part of the year. Home prices are rarely below $120,000 for a very small fixer-upper, and most nice homes will be in the $400s and above. Places on the river will be over $1 million.


What is special about Port Fairy

Being chosen as the "World's Most Livable Community under 20,000 Inhabitants" by the international LivCom award was quite an honor.  Its music and art festivals, its beaches, shops, restaurants, art galleries, river, surfing, and above all, its walkability make this an ideal retirement town. There is a community sports complex with indoor pool and other resources that is very nice.


What is not special about Port Fairy

There are really only 2 drawbacks that we can see to Port Fairy: It has become quite expensive, and it is hundreds of kilometers from either Adelaide or Melbourne.  Other than that, it is ideal.


Who will like retirement in Port Fairy

People who want to live in a small, walkable town on the ocean with plenty of cultural opportunities will like it in Port Fairy.


Local economy is driven by

Tourism is very important, as are the frequent festivals.  Many Australians come here for a holiday - there are many weekly and monthly rentals. It is also the commercial center for the area.


Climate and Physical Environment

Port Fairy has a relatively mild year round climate, moderated by the Tasmanian Sea.  The average January temp is in the 20s (centigrade) and the July temp in the teens. The town is on the coast about 3.5 hours from Melbourne and 6.5 hours from Adelaide, just north of the Great Ocean Road.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Port Fairy has a thriving artist community with at least 15 galleries in town. The Art Festival attracts throngs and special exhibitions. The Port Fairy Folk Festival in March is the biggest event in this part of the country.  There is a plethora of interesting restaurants, pubs, and hotels for all kinds of dining experiences.  The lovely Port Fairy Public Library is in the heart of the downtown. The Reardon Theatre shows films and has concerts often on the weekend.



Crime is very low in Port Fairy.


Medical facilities

The locals are very proud of the local hospital which has a number of doctors who have chosen to live here for the lifestyle.



It is 6.5 hours to Adelaide and 3.5 hours to Melbourne by car.  Hamilton and other nearby towns have airports with limited service.


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Facts about PORT FAIRY
  • State: AU
  • Environment: Coastal,Small Town,Boating Community,
  • City Population: 10,000-25,000
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 61 +
  • Avg July Temperature: 41-60
  • Median HH Income: 41,001-60,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $200,001-$300,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: NA
  • Total Crime Index: <80 (Very low)
  • Cost of Living Index: 111-120 (high)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: No
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: boomer1

Can you add to or correct these Facts? Or do you have a photo of this community we could use? If so, please click on Edit these facts

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