I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published June 10th 2019
Yarra Cruise to Williamstown
A unique Melbourne daytrip is the ferry ride from Southbank to Williamstown and return with Melbourne River Cruises. While the boat ride is a big attraction the two faces of Williamstown are equally inviting, the historic maritime village and the vibrant entertainment precinct.
Commonwealth Reserve and HMAS CASTLEMAINE are at the heart of Williamstown's historic maritime precinct. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Sitting as it does on Hobson's Bay at the mouth of the Yarra River Williamstown is also a major player in Victoria's recreational boating industry.
Departing Southbank your ferry will take you past South Wharf with the Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Polly Woodside museum and countless bars & restaurants. Passing under the Bolte Bridge you'll have Australia's largest container port, Swanston Dock on the right and the Port of Melbourne Control tower on the left. The Westgate Bridge looms ahead then it's past the Newport Power Station and the mouth of the Yarra River before passing through hundreds of moored boats and berthing at Gem Pier just in front of the floating museum HMAS CASTLEMAINE.
Williamstown is home to Melbourne Seaplanes who provide a great aerial sightseeing opportunity. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
You're now in one of Victoria's premier historic precincts but more than that it's also a great place to eat out or enjoy a drink in one of the many pubs and bars – everything from fine dining to fish & chips on the foreshore.
There are several great pubs to enjoy along the Williamstown foreshore. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Nelson Place, the fashionable end of town, is a long and impressive collection of 19th Century buildings, 'the front' as it was known in the 1880s.
Williamstown's Time Ball sits on the site of Victoria's first lighthouse. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Historic sites include the Time Ball on the site of Victoria's first lighthouse, Fort Gellibrand, Commonwealth Reserve, the SEAWORKS maritime precinct and the floating museum HMAS CASTLEMAINE.
If you're lucky you might see one of the majestic 'tall ships' that frequently call at Williamstown, Melbourne's own Tall Ship ENTERPRIZE or the vessels of the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling fleet that make Williamstown their home port.
Gem Pier is home to the museum ship HMAS CASTLEMAINE and is the arrival & departure point for Melbourne River Cruise services. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Far removed from its rough working-class days the old and new Williamstown combine to provide a rewarding insight into one of Victoria's premier historic precincts and makes for a perfect day out.
Tickets from Southbank to Williamstown and return cost Adults $35, Concession $30, Children (3 to 12 years) $20 and a Family (2A 2C) $90.
Nelson Place is home to a great variety of cafe's bars and restaurants. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Why? Visit one of Victoria's premier historic precincts and a great place to eat out or enjoy a drink in one of Williamstown's many pubs and bars - everything from fine dining to fish & chips on the foreshore.
When:Melbourne River Cruises run several services daily too and from Williamstown.