Williamstown, or Willy as it’s lovingly referred to by its local residents, is Melbourne’s first port settlement. The suburb that was once a thriving maritime hotspot is now a spot for sailing with yachts often docked against Melbourne CBD’s picturesque skyline. It has a swimming beach, parks and wetlands, bustling shopping strips on Douglas Parade, Ferguson Street and Nelson Place, and a thriving restaurant scene.
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What’s Williamstown known for?
Its rich history is filled with maritime tales, maritime museums and colonial landmarks like the Timeball Tower, which served as what’s likely to have been Victoria’s first lighthouse in 1840. It’s also home to the annual Williamstown Literature Festival (AKA Willy Lit Fest), one of Australia’s most respected word festivals that gets some of the country’s most notable authors making the trek to the west.
How do I get to Williamstown?
Catch the train all the way to the end of the line at Williamstown Station, or drive along the coastal route past waterside mansions via the Strand. You can even cruise down on the ferry with a one-way or return ticket from Southgate in Southbank with Williamstown Ferries.
Why do the locals love it?
“It’s a bit of a small country town mixed with a beachside feeling that’s close to the city. It’s nice feeling away from all the hustle and bustle but being only a few stops away from the city by train. There are lovely wide streets and beautiful older houses with a proud and close-knit community,” says Alex Brawn, resident of Williamstown and co-owner of beachside restaurant and bar Sebastian.
Map of Williamstown
If you only do one thing …
Well, technically this is a whole day, but we recommend that you take the ferry down to Williamstown’s pier, then walk along the Strand, through the Botanic Gardens and head to Sebastian’s dining room for a sit-down meal, followed by Il Melograno gelati on Williamstown beach and drinks in town at open-air container bar Peachy Keen.