Four of the tall ships are arriving at Seaworks on the 7th September at around 10.30am with an official welcoming ceremony at approximately 11.30am. Seaworks will be open from 9.00am and it's a really good idea to book tickets in advance as a large crowd is expected to welcome the ships.
Beautiful by day, magical by night (Image courtesy of Seaworks)
A full program of attractions over the weekend and the week following includes:
Opportunities to view and possible opportunities to board the tall ships (Saturday and Sunday offer the best chance of opportunities to board the ships - a gold coin donation may be required), displays of wooden boats, model boats (some in their own pool), Seaworks boat builders at work, music, food, stalls, kids activities, re-enactment groups, sea kayak tours, canon firing and fireworks. Not to forget the Maritime Museum and art displays. You can also have a drink and listen to music at The Pirates Tavern. See the program for what's on when.
For some real life nautical tales, there are talks by the ships' Captains on several nights over the week. On Sunday night it's Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Monday night has talks by Paralympic sailor Michael McLean and Captain Barbara Campbell of the Lord Nelson and on Wednesday night it's the Captains of the three Dutch tall ships. On the Thursday night the talk turns literary, with Angus Curry, author of The Officers of the CSS Shenandoah and Evan McHugh, author of Shipwrecks: Australia's Greatest Maritime Disasters. Bookings are ESSENTIAL for these talks and can be made through Seaworks.
While it's great to look at the tall ships and hear about their adventures, it's also pretty exciting to go sailing on one and experience your own tall ship adventure. Bookings can be made through Cruiseabout Williamstown (9397 3177 or 1300 610073) and there's more information on the Melbourne International Tall Ships Festival site for trips ranging from an hour or two through to joining a ship for an actual voyage.
On Friday 13th September a Cultural Farewell Event will be held in the Big Shed at Seaworks from 6.00pm. This is a free event with music and entertainment and it's followed by a spectacular fireworks display at 8.30pm.
Enjoy a fireworks display (Image courtesy of Seaworks)
Fulfil your inner pirate or adventurer with a visit to Williamstown during the festival and immerse yourself in all things maritime.
By car Williamstown is approximately 15 minutes drive from the city. Parking can be hard to come by when events are on so you might like to consider public transport. The 471 bus towards Williamstown from Newport Railway Station has a stop at Nelson Place, or you can walk from Williamstown Station (approx 10 minutes) or Williamstown Beach Station (approx 15 minutes).