Historic Waterfront

Great Ocean Road

The grassy precinct overlooking the harbour has several heritage bluestone buildings. The Customs House (1850) is still a working office, but on weekdays you can ask to see its fascinating display of confiscated booty in the cellar, including a stuffed black bear. Also here is the 1845 courthouse and the 1886 Rocket Shed, with a display of ship rescue equipment.

Up the hill is the 1889 battery with its cannons, built as a defence against feared Russian invasion.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Great Ocean Road attractions

1. History House

0.02 MILES

Located in the former town hall (1863), this interesting museum details Portland's rich colonial and maritime history. There's also info on the drama…

2. Botanical Gardens

0.21 MILES

The third-oldest botanical gardens in Victoria (behind those in Melbourne and Geelong), this peaceful spot is a lovely place to stroll or enjoy a picnic…

3. Portland Cable Tram

0.23 MILES

This restored 1886 cable tram (now diesel powered) does four to five trips a day, plying a circular 7.4km route on a track laid in 2002 that links the…

4. Powerhouse Motor & Car Museum

0.27 MILES

Set in a massive shed decorated with motor paraphernalia is this car enthusiast's dream, featuring 40 vintage and classic Australian and international…

5. Portland Maritime Discovery Centre

0.44 MILES

Visit for excellent displays on shipwrecks and Portland's whaling history. Other highlights include a sperm-whale skeleton that washed ashore, a giant…

6. Whale-Watching Platform

1.29 MILES

Set along the Great South West Walk is this superb purpose-built whale-viewing platform that looks out to stupendous views of the ocean. Free mounted…

7. World War II Memorial Lookout


While the old water tower (c 1932) houses an interesting WWII collection donated by locals, it's of most interest for its commanding 360-degree views of…

8. Point Danger Gannet Colony

3.64 MILES

Bird-lovers won't want to miss the opportunity to visit Australia's only mainland gannet colony, which can be viewed from a platform at Point Danger…