Once a strong rival to Melbourne as the commercial capital of Victoria, Portland survives as a deepwater port and a town studded with historic landscapes which reflect its rich heritage.
More than 200 National Trust-listed buildings date back to the 19th century. A standout in the old-age stakes is the Steam Packet Inn, which began life in 1840 as a police barracks and subsequently saw service as a bordello and guesthouse before being pensioned off as a hotel.
Much of the past is reflected in the Portland Maritime Discovery and Visitors Centre whose collection includes the Portland Lifeboat, the oldest surviving vessel in the country.
Once home to highly efficient whaling fleets, Portland remains a busy port handling cargo worth more than $1 billion a year and also hosts a large fishing fleet.
A 10-minute drive out of town takes you to the Cape Nelson State Park, whose rugged coastline marks the final resting place of a number of ships. High seas still crash into the soaring cliffs of the park which supports a diverse range of bird life. In the park, there are walks and picnic areas as well as the Cape Nelson lighthouse, the last manned lighthouse in the state.