Manorola: Weekend Away: Fairhaven

Read our writer's views on this property below

Larissa Dubecki enjoys a beach haven with views at Manorola, FAIRHAVEN.

THE SETTING

Fairhaven is one of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it spots along the Great Ocean Road, devoid of shops and with a lifesaving club providing the township's social centre. Comprising about 550 houses clinging to the cliffs and hilly hinterland, it's being slowly joined to Aireys Inlet by the irrevocable tide of (environmentally aware) development. This consummate beach house, finished in 2011, belongs to the new Fairhaven - it's found in the Narani Way development, which appears to have some pleasing sensitivity towards the bush block tranquillity.

THE SPACE

A three-storey, modern white weatherboard home, Manorola cops a pretty eyeful across the inlet to the Split Point lighthouse. The covered balcony on the top floor living area makes the most of the views, the fittings are top-notch and the comfort factor is up there. Would I like this to be my beach house? Hell yeah.

THE KIT

Bring your own linen and towels, your surfboard and snags for the barbie. The rest is taken care of, with plenty of games, up-to-date magazines (Hello!, Vogue), a downstairs den with table tennis table and foosball, a bunkroom that sleeps four, and a separate TV area with cable, beanbag and comfy couches as well as the third bathroom. That's the kids taken care of, then. The middle level has another double bedroom and bathroom; the top floor has the open-plan living-dining-kitchen, with a broad balcony complete with gas barbecue and the brilliant views. Off to the side is the master bedroom with walk-in robe and en suite. Sweet.

COMFORT FACTOR

Narani Way is sparsely populated, with most of the blocks yet to be built upon. It's tranquil - the only noisy visitors were the local parrots - and the house has been designed around different zones, meaning a group of adults and children can share in harmony. Particularly appealing is the kitchen - it has everything you need for a happy trip away without having to make emergency dashes to the general store at Aireys.

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THE FOOD

The kitchen is brilliantly equipped in terms of hardware and stocked with all the bits and pieces essential to holiday living, from salt and pepper to cooking oils and clingwrap. Teabags, check; coffee, check; coffee machine, check. Heading out, it's only a short skip and a jump to Lulu and Mr Q, an Aireys Inlet foodstore and cafe serving Allpress coffee, while a little further up the hill there's the Aireys Inlet pub, a sprawling drinking barn with a great beer garden given a nice, low-key spruce-up after its rescue by a group of locals. Check their board for news about live music performances. Across the road there's restaurant A La Grecque, a modern-Greek institution with a hat in The Age Good Food Guide. Head in the other direction towards Lorne and pause to have your photo taken with the busloads of tourists at the official Great Ocean Road sign at Eastern View.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

The beach, of course. It's wild, it's woolly - the tide can come in mighty fast - and there are rockpools around the Split Point cliff base that make for fun kiddy exploration. Take a guided 45-minute tour of the lighthouse or just climb the 34 metres to the top. The six kilometre-long Fairhaven beach - the longest on the Great Ocean Road - has good surf breaks.

THE VERDICT

An easy-on-the-eye beachside pad with great views and all the mod cons in a quiet, leafy setting.

HOW TO GET THERE

Fairhaven is about 130 kilometres, or one and three-quarter hour's drive from Melbourne. Take the Princes Freeway (M1) to Geelong, follow it onto the ring road bypass, then take the Anglesea Road (C134). Just past the bridge marking the outer edge of Aireys Inlet you'll find Fairhaven.

ESSENTIALS

Manorola, 14 Narani Way, Fairhaven, accommodates up to eight people; there is a two-night minimum booking; priced from $225 a night off-peak up to a $7980 14-night minimum stay over Christmas. Bookings through Great Ocean Road Holidays,

phone (03) 5220 0200, see greatoceanroadholidays.com.au.