Portland

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Portland is located in the far south-west of Victoria on the coast, mid-way between Warrnambool and the city of Mount Gambier in the neighboring state of South Australia. Portland was the site of Victoria's first permanent settlement back in 1834, with the town quickly prospering due to fishing, pastoral and agricultural industries. Portland is the only deep-water sea port between Adelaide and Melbourne, making it a major center for sea transport of goods and produce from the surrounding areas. A large sheltered harbor provides calm waters for a marina, wharves and shipping berths.The Portland Cable Tram offers visitors a scenic and informative journey through the foreshore, providing views along the coast and passing attractions such as Botanic Gardens, Portland Powerhouse Car Museum, Maritime Discovery Center, Whalers Bluff Lighthouse, and the World War 2 Memorial Lookout Tower at Anderson Point. South of Portland is Cape Nelson which includes a 210 hectare state park bordering rugged cliffs with the Cape Nelson Lighthouse located on the coast's southern tip. To the west is Cape Bridgewater, which marks the start of the Discovery Bay Coastal Park that stretches 50 kilometres north-west along the coast to the small town of Nelson, close to the state border with South Australia. The seaside resort of Queenscliff is located just inside the entrance to Port Phillip Bay on the Bellarine Peninsula near Point Lonsdale. Queenscliff was settled in the 1850s and soon became a strategic defence post given its proximity to the entrance of Port Phillip Bay which provides shipping access to the cities of Geelong and Melbourne. Legacies to Queenscliff's defence and maritime history can be found at Fort Queenscliff where tours are available, and further insights into Queenscliff's past can be discovered at the Queenscliffe Historical Museum in Hesse Street and the Maritime Museum on Weeroona Parade. The commercial centre of Queenscliff, characterised by historic shop fronts and buildings, is situated on Hesse Street, dominated by the ornate Vue Grand Hotel which was constructed in 1881. Grand hotels and guest houses can also be found along Gellibrand Street which is separated from the cliffs along the coast in this area by extensive parkland. Queenscliff is surrounded on three sides by water, giving the town large stretches of coastline, consisting of a combination of sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, cliffs and historic piers. At Shortlands Bluff is the Queenscliff Lighthouse which was built in 1862 and includes a lookout near the base. Further north along the coast is the Black Lighthouse, unique in Australia, having been constructed from bluestone. The Queenscliff Harbour, situated along Larkin Parade, consists of several wharves and is home to several fishing fleets, some of which offer direct sales to the public from their boats. At the eastern end of the harbour is a car and passenger ferry service which operates between Queenscliff and Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, providing an alternative to the road route via Melbourne. The Bellarine Peninsula Railway operates a collection of heritage trains from around Australia on 16 kilometres of restored track between Queenscliff and Drysdale.

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