Official tourism website of Port Fairy and Moyne Shire

Toll free number: 1300 656 564

Koroit is a historic village that echoes its Irish Heritage

This historic town is set nestled in the lea of a dormant volcano called Tower Hill.   Koroit has a fascinating Irish charm. A large number of Irish immigrants made Koroit their home in the 1840s and 1850s, with one of the most obvious links between Koroit and Ireland the potato crops grown in the rich volcanic soil surrounding the town. The Koroit Irish Festival is held annually on the first weekend in May to celebrate the town's heritage.  The population of Koroit is 1,958.

What should I do?

  • Walk or drive the town’s Heritage Trail, which has 30 places of interest. Eight sites in the town are listed on the Register of the National Estate
  • Relax, enjoy a picnic and the playground at the lovely Botanic Gardens, designed by renowned landscape gardener and horticulturalist William Guilfoyle
  • Visit the art gallery, antique shops, stores and eating venues throughout town
  • Take a walk or bike ride along the spectacular Port Fairy-Warrnambool Rail Trail, which includes Koroit
  • Visit the absolutely superb State Game Reserve and dormant volcano, Tower Hill (further information can be found at or )
  • Take a drive through Killarney and the lush green countryside that lured the Irish to their new home

Further information on Koroit can be found at the town’s official, comprehensive website,

Koroit and Tower Hill's history
At the time of European settlement the place we now know as Tower Hill and Koroit would have looked vastly different.

The land was thickly forested with drooping she-oaks and manna gums with ferns and other under storey plants thriving in the rich chocolate brown soil.

The local aboriginal men of the Peek Whuurong tribe - there were about 120 of the tribe living in the area - were described as being almost six foot tall and of stout build. This is not suprising, as their diet was rich and varied, with shellfish, kangaroo and native plants in abundance. It is this fertile volcanic soil that is still the very essence of Koroit.   

The name Koroit was given to the area around Tower Hill by Robert Hoddle, Chief Surveyor for Port Phillip, when surveying the Port Fairy area about 1845. The exact meaning of the word is unclear. It is certainly from the language of the Peek Whuurong but whether it means fire, or is the word for Tower Hill itself - or has yet another meaning - is still a matter of debate.

Europeans were in the region from the late 1830s and by the early 1840s small pockets of land were under cultivation, mainly by farmers from the Port Fairy area. In 1843 William Rutledge, a Protestant from County Cavan, obtained from the crown 5120 acres at £1 per acre.

This parcel of land was known as the Farnham Special Survey.

It stretched from Killarney, south of Tower Hill, to the Merri River and perhaps more than any other occurrence had a great impact on the Koroit district. Rutledge encouraged Irish immigrants to become tenant farmers on his lands by offering them 14 year leases for small holdings and good incentives to clear the land and plant crops.

The discovery of gold in Victoria (1851) was also a catalyst for the region. The rapidly growing population on the goldfields required food and agricultural workers were in great demand to ensure these needs were met. These were the years immediately following the Irish potato famine (the mid 1840s) and the opportunities offered in Victoria at that time were grasped with both hands by many Irish families. By the late 1850s the Irish population in this district easily outnumbered the other settlers, who were generally Scottish and English.

In 1855 the Government Surveyor was asked to select a site for a National School; up until this time all schools were south and west of Tower Hill. He selected crown land to the north of Tower Hill along a track which now serves as one of the main entries to the town - High Street.

Two years later, in 1857, he was instructed to lay out a small town again to the north of Tower Hill. Up until this time there had been no real town, even though the area was quite densely settled with farming families on small acreages. The town was laid out on unalienated Crown land, which included the site of the National School.

The newly surveyed township was laid out with allotments for various church denominations, allotments for civic purposes, residential blocks, even a 20-acre site for public gardens. The township developed quite rapidly and by the 1870s Koroit was a flourishing town, with shops, banks, hotels and all the indications of a vibrant and thriving community.

Koroit Shopping, Dining and Accommodation

Koroit Country Bakehouse

ADDRESS: 126 Commercial Road, Koroit, 3282
PHONE: +61 3 5565 8958
EMAIL: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Offering the best quality baked goods and a unique cafe/art gallery experience that stimulates the senses. Bakery: best quality baked goods at the best possible price with better than expected service. Cafe: the best relaxing enviroment to enjoy good food and beverages in Koroit. Gallery: to provide exceptional everchanging art exhibitions to enhance and encourage visitation.The bakery/cafe/gallery will -  without compromise - stimulate taste, sight, smell and touch to enhance and add value to any visit to our business. Take the time... experience it!

Commercial Hotel

ADDRESS: 180 Commercial Road, Koroit 3282
PHONE: (03) 5565 8510

Family friendly bistro. Traditional pub fare meals. Great steaks and parmas. Fresh salad and vegie bar nightly. Best beer by far. Bar open 7 days.

Harmony at Tower Hill

ADDRESS:  Princes Highway & Lakeview Road, Tower Hill 3283
PHONE:  (03) 5565 9439
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Immerse yourself in an environment perfect for personal rejuvenation or romance your way through a well-earned break with someone special.

The hosts provide stylish roomy and comfortable accommodation positioned with your privacy in mind.

Explore the remarkable natural beauty of the region while you are there.

Saint Patrick's Luxury Boutique Hotel

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Saint Patrick's Luxury Boutique Hotel - Koroit - Port Fairy - Victoria - AustraliaADDRESS: 55 Anzac Avenue, Koroit
PHONE: 0428 416 104

Saint Patrick's offers a choice of 5 beautifully furnished bedrooms and features a cosy lounge with open fire, library with books/CDs/DVDs and internet access, formal dining room with log fire, beautifully restored chapel for weddings or functions, and 2 acres of park like gardens.

Each, generously proportioned bedroom is individually styled with luxurious, private bathrooom, opulent fittings and decorated with eclectic furnishings providing the ultimate in comfort.

This impressive, well preserved historic Convent building is located in picturesque Koroit, on the northern slopes of Tower Hill, approximately 15 minutes drive from Warrnambool and 10 minutes from Port Fairy.

Tower Hill Gallery

ADDRESS: 126 Commercial Road, Koroit, 3282
PHONE:  0438  155 352
OPENING HOURS: 9am to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 4pm weekends

Tower Hill Gallery is above the Koroit Country Bakehouse with entry being from within the bakery.  You will be surprised by its interesting collection of art work from local artists of the region. 

Birch House

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birch_house_koroit_2ADDRESS:  25 Station Street, Koroit, Vic 3282
PHONE: 0414 810 420 (+61 414 810 420)
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"Birch House Koroit" is a circa 1880's cottage which is centrally located and luxuriously appointed.  It has been lovingly maintained and sympathetically restored to reflect a bygone era with all the conveniences of a modern home.  Birch House generates a warm, relaxed feeling as the character of the building shines through.  Birch House has 3 bedrooms - 2 x queen beds and 1 x 2 single beds, all with 5 star quality linen, a large fully equipped country kitchen with a woodfire, and open fire in the lounge room and air-conditioning for those warmer days.  Offering privacy and extensive gardens, the property provides a perfect escape for couples, familiies or a group of friends to relax.

Birch House and Birch Studio combined make a great package for groups of family or friends, check out our package deals on our website.  (Catering for up to 8 people).

Mickey Bourke's Koroit Hotel

ADDRESS: 101 Commercial Road, Koroit, 3282

PHONE: +61 3 5565 8201

FAX: +61 3 5565 8203

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Established in 1853, this famous hotel has retained its Irish integrity and character. Take pleasure in a good yarn with a local over a smooth Guinness on tap, enjoy live music or dine in the hotel's unique home-style resaurant, where Irish favourites are a feature. B&B accommodation is also available to experience the charm of the hotel. Open seven days for lunch and dinner.

Koroit-Tower Hill Caravan Park

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koroit_caravan_parkADDRESS: High Street, Koroit, 3282
PHONE: (03) 5565 7926 or 0429 382 427


Relax and unwind while you enjoy the Irish charm of historic Koroit.   On the doorstep of the free to enter Tower Hill nature reserve and only minutes from sheltered swimming beaches, Koroit is a quaint yet progressive town which provides the perfect blend of old and new.

Facilities: 25 powered sites, 31 unpowered, playground, excellent amenities block, pets allowed, walking distance to shopping centre, adjacent to botanical gardens and sporting facilities.


Olde Courthouse Inn Bed & Breakfast

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olde_courthouseADDRESS: 100 Commercial Road, Koroit, 3282
PHONE: (03) 5565 8346
FAX: (03) 5565 8145
EMAIL: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Experience a little touch of Ireland closer to home when you visit the Olde Courthouse Inn, Koroit's first pub. Built in 1852, it later became known as the Drumfernline Inn, operated by a Scotsman from Aberdeen. Fully restored with the original metal linings, high ceilings, open fireplaces and antique furniture, visitors can enjoy Queen size beds with ensuites, beautiful gardens and a heated pool. The Olde Courthouse Inn is an award-winning, four-star AAA rated accommodation.

The Hogarth Collection

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hogarthADDRESS:  136 Commercial Road, Koroit
PHONE:  (03) 5565 7933

 A unique and eclectic mix of art, statues, antiques, porcelain and old and new lamps and funiture combine with designer label clothing and ethnic fabrics! by the metre and already made into cushions and throws!!  added to this is "vintage vinyl" and a collection of rare collectables such as comic books, cassettes, cd's and movies on VHS!  We also feature or leather (recycled ) handbags and backpacks (+computer bags) allongside our exclusive range of sterling silver jewels!! so come prepared to open your mind to an exclusive range of one off items!! and ART for ART'S SAKE!

Birch Studio Koroit

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ADDRESS: 25 Station Street, Koroit, Vic 3282
PHONE: 0414 810 420  (+61 414 810 420)
EMAIL:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
"Birch Studio" is a mud brick unit nestled in the extensive private gardens of Birch House Koroit.  This luxurious couple accommodation is fully self contained, has a queen bed, a fully equipped kitchen, cathedral ceilings and a wood fire.  It has a charm and character all of its own.  With total privacy, extensive gardens, a large paved outdoor entertaining/bbq area all set in the shadows of the enormous 100 year old trees, this makes a tranquil relaxing setting for a romantic getaway.

The Bookworm Gallery

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ADDRESS: 133a Commercial Road, Koroitbookworm_gallery
PHONE:  0439 179 044
BUSINESS HOURS:  Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm.   Closed Sunday and Monday.

The Book Worm Gallery is a great new addition to Koroit and its many interesting shops.  The gallery sells second-hand books and original art work in a very casual setting.  You can even sit on a comfy couch with a cup of coffee and a book to browse plus there is a box of books for the children as well.  If love books and art you will love this gallery.

Little Thaihouse Restaurant

ADDRESS:  169 Commercial Road, Koroit 3282
PHONE:  (03) 5565 8093
OPENING HOURS:  7days:  Thur-Sun 11am to 3pm for lunch, 
Sun-Thur Dinner from 4:30pm to 10pm and Fri & Sat 4:30pm to 11pm

If you love Thai cuisine you will love the Little Thaihouse Restaurant in Koroit.  Eat in or take away our dishes are reasonably priced.  They offer gluten free curry and stir fried dishes and a small number of other gluten free choices from their menu.

The Cop Shop Holiday Cottage

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ADDRESS: 118 Commercial Road, Koroit, 3282  copshoptownhouse
     PO Box 191 Koroit, 3282
PHONE: +61 3 5568 7268 / +61 439 687 268
EMAIL: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it                              

Currently being renovated, this trendy, historic, fully self-contained one-bedroom townhouse is right in the centre of town! Nearing completion, this former historic shop has undergone a full restoration and will soon be available for holiday or medium term accommodation. Surprisingly spacious, the townhouse now features a large lounge with reverse cycle heating, solid jarrah kitchen, master bedroom with BIR & Queen Sized bed, and dining room with French doors leading to the rear courtyard. There is loads of character throughout, such as polished baltic pine lining boards, Art Nouveau fretwork, ceiling roses and old time colour schemes. Off-street parking is available and you can walk to all facilities! The Cop Shop Townhouse is ideal for couples, but will accommodate up to four people. Great cooked breakfast facilities are available literally across the road!

What's On?

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Getting Here


If coming from Melbourne by train/V-line coach you get the train or coach (depending on day) from Southern Cross to Warrnambool then the v-line coach through to Port Fairy.  For more information on the V-line service phone 1800 800 007 or book on-line via their website at



If you need further information please contact the Port Fairy & Region Visitor Information Centre on  (03) 5568 2682 or by email on


Port Fairy & Region VIC

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The Port Fairy and Region Visitor Information Centre are on hand 7 days a week 9am to 5pm (except Christmas Day) to help you with i_logoall your enquiries.  We have friendly and professional staff who have extensive local knowledge and love...

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