The village suburb of Williamstown, just a 15-minute drive from the Melbourne CBD, is a heritage area that boasts of a charming seaport, vibrant maritime history, remarkable architecture and some of the best views of the city skyline.
It houses quaint shops and churches dating back to 1850's. But don't get the wrong notion here, since old the suburb may be but dreary it is not. It has a unique vibrant sense about it. Many buildings have undergone restoration, keeping the beauty of the place intact.
Where to eat:
Nelson Place is one of the most popular areas of the suburb, owing to its cosmopolitan food culture. There are alfresco dining spaces, cafes and restaurants catering to all cuisines. To name a few favourites:
Hobson's Choice (Ph. 03 9397 1891) – a popular café that serves great coffee, pastries and light meals.
Pelican's Landing (Ph. 03 9397 0155) – a great restaurant (excellent a-la-carte menu), bar (wide range of wines and spirits) and an impressive functions centre.
The Anchorage (Ph. 03 9397 7799) – specialises in seafood with indoor and outdoor dining and enjoys a great view of the bay.
The Rotunda Restaurant (Ph. 03 9397 7834) – great place for casual dining and stunning views.
Viva Zapatas (Ph. 03 9397 8365) – traditional Mexican food that comes in huge portions.
Sam's Boatshed (Ph. 03 9399 9959) – gourmet wood fired pizzas within an authentic century-old boatshed.
The Ice Cream Shoppe (Ph. 03 9399 9594) – offers 65 flavours of mouth-watering ice creams and gelati.
Enjoy a nice meal at one of the restaurants or cafes along the waterfront cycle and then walk down the clean and inviting beach or along the various footpaths or piers. On the other side of Nelson Place is the Commonwealth Reserve – home to the popular Williamstown Craft Market and a popular picnic spot. You can get some of the best views of the Melbourne skyline from there.
Attractions & Events:
On the monumental side of it, Williamstown is replete with historical buildings and sites. Some of the most famous tourist spots are: the Timeball Tower (also called Williamstown Lighthouse) at Point Gellibrand, The Old Morgue, Mechanics Institute, Gellibrand Fort, Breakwater Pier, Historical Museum, Tide Gauge House, The Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain, Gem Pier and the Historical Museum.
The annual Williamstown Festival that has been taking place for the past 33 years is held during March/April to celebrate the cultural singularity of the area. The fest offers a wide range of activities like heritage tours, rides, roving performances, food and merchandise stalls, craft activities and much more.
Williamstown Literary Festival, held every year in May, focuses on literature and writing from well-known and emerging writers.
Every third Sunday of the month from 10am to 4pm, the Commonwealth Reserve goes abuzz with people. It's that time of the month when the Craft Market is held. Everything homemade, home-cured and home-grown can be found here amongst the 100-odd stalls.
Surrounded on three sides by water, Williamstown is accessible by ferries that operate from St Kilda Pier and Southgate (from Berth 1). Alternatively, you can reach there by road (13 km from CBD) or train too.
For more details about Williamstown, contact the Hobsons Bay Visitor Information Centre (Ph. 03 9932 4310) at the Commonwealth Reserve from 9am to 5pm daily.
Rich in history, blessed with panoramic views and swamped with great eating places, Williamstown has it all.