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Published January 27th 2013
It really is a gem of a place to go
While piers are always a good place to wander, Gem Pier in Williamstown is something of a standout for the variety of its views and the range of activities it hosts. From seafood to a seaplane, this pier has got it all.
Ferry services run from Gem Pier to Southbank or St Kilda. For schedules see Bay & River Cruises, Williamstown Ferries and Melbourne River Cruises. Tall Ship Enterprize offers one hour sailing trips from Gem Pier in 19th century style. See their website for available dates. There are also boats available for charter for fishing or sightseeing trips.
Toward the end of the pier is the historic HMAS Castlemaine, a World War II warship which has been restored by volunteers and is open to the public on weekends and public holidays for a small fee.
Bring your own fishing rod and bait and you can fish from the pier (though the weekends are not the best time for fishing as the pier is pretty crowded). Alternatively, on Sundays you can buy seafood - fresh mussels, prawns and oysters - from the Seabounty boat.
If boats are not your favourite thing, on the land side of the pier there are quadricycles for hire or you can take a seaplane ride with Melbourne Seaplanes. On the second Sunday of the month the Williamstown Farmers Market is held in Commonwealth Reserve and on the third Sunday of the month you can browse the Williamstown Craft Market. Occasionally concerts are held in the Rotunda in the reserve, particularly in Summer.
There are plenty of shops, galleries, cafes, restaurants and ice cream parlours within a few minutes walk if you get hungry, thirsty or in need of retail therapy.
Gem Pier is at the end of Syme Street (and adjacent to Commonwealth Reserve) in Williamstown. By car it's approximately 15 minutes drive from the city. By public transport take the 471 bus towards Williamstown from Newport Station and get off at Nelson Place, or you can walk from Williamstown Station (approx 10 minutes) or Williamstown Beach Station (approx 15 minutes). Ferry services run from Southgate and St Kilda to Gem Pier. If you want to cycle the Westgate Punt can take you across the river from Port Melbourne to Spotswood and it's an easy ride from there.