williamstown botanic gardens

How to Spend a Day in Williamstown, Melbourne

If you’re looking for a charming coastal escape from Melbourne’s bustling CBD, Williamstown is the perfect destination. With its rich maritime history, scenic waterfront, vibrant local scene and beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings, Williamstown is a great place to visit for a day trip or leisurely weekend.

How to Get to Williamstown from Melbourne CBD

Williamstown is conveniently accessible from Melbourne CBD, making it an ideal spot for a day trip from Melbourne.

The quickest way would be to drive with the journey taking 20 minutes without traffic. For public transport options, the quickest way would be to catch the Williamstown line from Flinders Street Station. Trains are frequent and only take 30 minutes. The main attractions are just a short walk from Williamstown Station.

For a more unique and scenic journey, take the ferry from Southbank or Docklands. It’ll take around an hour but you’ll get amazing views of Melbourne’s skyline and Port Phillip Bay.

What to Do in Williamstown

The Maritime Museum

If you’re looking to get a better understanding of the area’s nautical history, definitely check out the Seaworks Maritime Museum. The museum showcases fascinating exhibits, including maritime artefacts, model ships and history of the local shipbuilding industry. The museum cost $5 for an adult ticket and is only open on Sundays and Wednesdays, so plan your trip accordingly if you want to visit this. Check out their official site for more information.

Stroll Along the Waterfront

Walk along the scenic Gem Pier and take in the beautiful views of the city skyline and docked boats. The pier is a great spot for photography, and you can also visit the historic HMAS Castlemaine, a World War II-era minesweeper now turned museum ship.

Explore Williamstown Beach

If you’re wanting something slower-paced, enjoy a day at Williamstown Beach. It’s a pretty sandy beach, with calm waters, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. There’s also a number of cafes and restaurants nearby, where you can easily grab a bite to eat.

Williamstown Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is still the most beautiful in my opinion, however, the Williamstown Botanic Gardens is definitely worth checking out. Established in 1856, the Botanic Gardens are home to several rare trees, a palm tree avenue and an Edwardian ornamental pond. Such a nice place to go for a walk or to have a picnic.

Another pretty park worth checking out is the Commonwealth Reserve. It’s located right by the water and is filled with nice lawns, picnic tables and playgrounds. I went over a weekend and there were local markets on, selling foods and crafts.

Enjoy the Many Eateries

Williamstown boasts a variety of dining options, from classic fish and chips along the water to fine dining restaurants. Enjoy fresh seafood, local produce and – like everywhere in Melbourne – a vibrant café scene. I had been recommended Pelicans Landing, for lunch with a view. I also loved the colourful architecture in this area too.

Bike Ride Along the Bay Trail

If you’re looking to do something more active, rent a bike and ride along the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail. This scenic 23km path follows the coast, offering beautiful views of the bay and the Melbourne skyline. It’s a great way to explore Williamstown, along with other places in the area like Altona. I walked a little of this Bay Trail and it was very pretty, flat and surprisingly not too busy! I imagine it gets chilly on a windy, cold day so have appropriate clothing depending on the time of year.

Visit Scienceworks

Just a short drive away (or one train stop) in Spotswood is the Scienceworks Museum. It features interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and live demonstrations that make science exciting and easier to understand. It’s open everyday from 10am-4:30pm and ticket prices vary depending on what you’re wanting to see at the museum. cost For more information on Scienceworks, what’s on and specific ticket prices, check out their official site.

Grazeland Melbourne

Right next to Scienceworks is Grazeland Melbourne. This is a covered, outdoor area filled with a variety of local and international food and drink stalls. Although I found it to be a little expensive, it was definitely worth checking out and I had an amazing sourdough pizza.

grazeland melbourne

Grazeland Melbourne is only open on weekends (fri-sun), with a quieter, family feel during the day. Whereas, in the evening it was much more buzzing with crowds and a live band.

Other great day trips to consider are Port Nepean (and the surrounding Sorrento area) or the Great Ocean Road!

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