Take a non-stop ride on the Portland Cable Tram or stop off at many of the places along the way.
The coastal town of Portland was Victoria's first permanent settlement. The bay was full of fish, the land rich and fertile and the climate good. It attracted many squatters and in 1933 a whaling station was established.
The town developed and swelled to great numbers during the 1850s gold rush. Increased shipping activity at Portland Bay saw 11,000 assisted immigrants arrive over a seven year period. Apart from gold hopefuls, many business opportunities were there for those willing to face numerous hardships but unlimited possibilities.
Substantial buildings were erected, including many of beautiful bluestone. The Wesleyan Chapel, St Stephen's Church of England, a hospital, a substantial pier, private school and a newspaper all came into being, as did a tram which was used for carrying timber.
With tram tourism becoming popular worldwide, Portland has jumped on the wagon with a new cable tram which is not exactly a cable tram. It is really powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine, but cable tram sounds better! It had to be converted to cope with the many twists and turns of the steep hill.
A non-stop ride on the tram takes about 1½ hours, but there are many places of interest along the way, and most people hop off and on to explore what the town has to offer.
With six trips a day there is plenty of opportunity to do this.
The tram has an open grip car where the driver sits, and an enclosed saloon car. The whole operation exists thanks to volunteers and enthusiasts.
The Vintage Car Museum was once a gas-fired power station. It holds a collection of 45 vintage cars, motorbikes, toys, tractors and engines.
The Portland Maritime Discovery Centre is a large, modern building with a massive sperm whale skeleton as its main attraction. It's very much a hands-on place, with many specimens of weird and unusual creatures.
The World War II Memorial Lookout was once a water tower which was set to be demolished. It was saved and five years later, became what it is today. The landing of each of its seven flights of steps has an exhibition of war memorabilia and the 360 degree view from the top is worth the climb.
Portland 360 kilometres west of Melbourne
The Portland Cable Tram costs $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Portland Cable Tram
2a Bentinck Street, Portland 3305
Ph: (03) 5523 2831www.portlandcabletrams.com.au
Portland Maritime Discovery Centre
Lee Breakwater Road, Portland 3305
Ph: (03) 5523 2671
Fax: (03) 5521 7287www.maritimediscovery.com
Best Western: Ph: 131 779www.bestwestern.com.au