Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Port Fairy is an attractive fishing and holiday town located in lee of Griffiths Island. A fishing fleet operates out of the Moyne River, that enters the sea through the two entrance walls constructed in the 1870s. The town has all holiday facilities, with a large caravan park located behind the beach. Houses back the southern end of the beach, while dunes and the golf course back the centre and northern end.
The beach is 5.8 km long, extending in a broad, curving arc from Reef Point in the east, where it faces south, to the North Mole or harbour entrance wall in the south, where it faces east. Erosion along the southern end has resulted in the construction of a rough seawall and several wooden groynes. The Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club, founded in 1950, is located on the foredune 1 km north of the north entrance wall. Its members average 10 rescues each year.
The beach is composed of fine, white sand. It receives waves that average less than 0.5 m in the south, about 1 m at the surf lifesaving club (where it is also called East Beach) and up to 1.7 m by Reef Point. In response to the changing waves, the beach is fronted by a single, continuous, attached bar in the southern corner, with rips rarely present. However, by the surf club the surf is over 150 m wide with two bars. The inner bar is cut by rips every 250 m, while the outer bar has more widely spaced rips. Further up the beach, the waves and rips intensify. During and following high seas, a 300 to 400 m wide surf zone and a third outer bar can form.
Summer conditions are moderately safe, when waves tend to be lower and rips less frequent and intense. However, always bathe in the patrolled area between the flags, and avoid the northern end of the beach where rips can be very intense. Be careful if on a bodyboard or surfboard as westerly winds will blow you out to sea.
There are numerous beach breaks in the wide, shallow surf zone, with shape depending on waves, bars and wind. A popular spot called Oigles, just south of the surf club, works in a big swell, as it breaks over an old shipwreck.
Port Fairy usually has a wide and shallow surf, so look for rip holes and gutters north of the surf club. There is also good fishing off the harbour walls, into either the river or ocean.
Port Fairy is a very popular summer holiday destination offering all facilities. It has a moderately safe patrolled beach at the southern end, with a more energetic beach toward the north.
- Formal parking area