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K Road Cliffs Werribee
Photograph: Supplied/David Mulli

A local's guide to Werribee

From scenic walks to fabulous food, here are the best things to do and see in Werribee and surrounds

By Rebecca Russo
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If you've been to Werribee you've probably visited the Open Range Zoo or whiled the day away at Werribee Mansion – but there is so much more to this diverse destination. It's a bustling township bursting with eateries, scenic outdoor adventures and cultural attractions. 

How do I get to Werribee?

It’s the end of the line for the eponymous southwest train line, but the suburb and its surrounding areas are just off the M1, so it's very easy to reach via car. 

What’s nearby?

Keep heading west from Altona and you’ll end up in Werribee, which is also surrounded by Point Cook and Port Phillip Bay to the south. Hop back on the M1 and you’ll be in Geelong in 40 minutes. 

Map of Werribee

Food and drink

Wolf on Watton egg burger
Photograph: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Wolf on Watton

Restaurants Cafés Werribee

Wolf on Watton (90A Watton St) is a café by day, a restaurant by evening, and a bar by night. And around the clock, this place dishes up unbeatable neighbourhood lounge bar vibes. Here you can start your day with house-brewed Five Senses coffee and refined breakfast options like a bagel with citrus-cured salmon, or sriracha chilli scrambled eggs with bacon and roasted peanuts. For lunch and dinner, there’s juicy burgers to choose from, like the WFC “Watton Fried Chicken” burger with the chef’s special herb and spice mix, and the slow-cooked 48-hour Korean beef rib burger. 

Shadowfax Wines
Photograph: Supplied/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Shadowfax Wines

Things to do Werribee South

Want the full boutique-winery experience just a stone's throw from Melbourne? Hop on over to Werribee's Shadowfax Wines (K Rd). Part of the Werribee Park precinct, it's the closest vineyard to Melbourne's CBD, and it's got a fine selection of varietals to boot. Shadowfax's winemaker, Alister Timms, has a hyper-local focus: he keeps things grounded in the essence of Werribee Park and its regional surrounds. The wines have distinct personalities, developed through the specific combination of a vineyard's soil, weather and the grapes cultivated there. Plus, Shadowfax's cellar door and restaurant (helmed by chef Ben D'Arcy) is open every day from 11am-5pm.

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Joseph's Restaurant and Bar
Photograph: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Joseph's Restaurant and Bar

Restaurants Werribee South

Joseph's Restaurant and Bar (Gate 2, K Rd)– situated inside the luxe Lancemore Mansion Hotel Werribee Park – is a European-style restaurant and bar with all the trimmings. The paddock-to-plate concept keeps it grounded in regional Victoria and its menu is curated to perfection by executive chef David Green along with local experts. For dinner, try some crisp veal sweetbreads to start, move on to Port Phillip Bay snapper with inventive accoutrements such as summer corn dashi and lion's mane and linger over the local lamb roasted over coals.

Truck Stop Deluxe

Restaurants Werribee

Truck Stop Deluxe (98 Watton St) is the brainchild of Josh Lefers (Grand Trailer Park Taverna), Dani Zeini (Dandenong Pavilion) and Jimmy Hulston (Jimmy’s Burgers, Easey's), and together they’ve created a patty-flipping diner that's inspired by the truck stops of the west coast of the USA. Plus, the truck-stop vibe extends well beyond the menu. You can book for lunch or dinner and dine in the cab of a truck or in the cargo hold. Don't want your meal on wheels? You can also eat out the back in an open barn-type area decked out in AstroTurf, festoon lighting and hazard flags.

Coffee

Chatterbox Café
Photograph: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Chatterbox Café

Restaurants Werribee

We wouldn't blame you if you were suddenly overcome with a bit of choice paralysis when trying to decide on a lunch spot in Werribee. The main street has a lot to offer, but Chatterbox Café (63 Watton St) is the spot for hearty fare with a flavourful twist. The Chatterbox hollandaise sauce is a house special: you can have it smothered on the Benne burger – featuring bacon, hash browns, a fried egg and spinach – or take it drizzled on the Hash Royale, a sumptuous feast of housemade potato hash topped with smoked salmon, poached eggs. Oh, and did we mention they serve breakfast all day?

Notorious Espresso Werribee
Photograph: Carmen Zammit/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Notorious Espresso

Restaurants Cafés Werribee

Melbourne is known the world over for its coffee, but why should the inner city get all the best beans? That's what Hadi Chami thought when he moved from his specialty café on Collins Street in the CBD and decided to open Notorious Espresso (81 Watton St) in the western suburbs. Notorious Espresso is now one of the best cafés in the thriving restaurant, café and bar scene in Werribee. It has become a must-visit for discerning locals who need that morning coffee hit from Veneziano Coffee Roasters.

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Black Seed Café eggs and mushrooms on toast
Photograph: Carmen Zammit/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Black Seed Café

Restaurants Cafés Werribee

There’s a reason Black Seed Café (2/133 Watton St) is a favourite among westsiders. The café, which sits pretty on Watton Street, is located a stone's throw from Werribee River, meaning it’s a great stop after a walk around the river trail if you’re in need of a caffeine or sugar hit. Take your pick from menu favourites including the chicken bao bun, a spiced fried chicken breast served with kimchi mayo, pickled cabbage, mix seed and chilli aioli in a soft white bun. There’s also the devilishly sweet brioche French toast, which comes with butterscotch sauce, housemade raspberry jam, caramelised banana and topped with crumbed granola, mascarpone and fresh fruit. 

Attractions and fun things to do

Werribee Open Range Zoo giraffes
Photograph: Supplied/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Werribee Open Range Zoo

Things to do Werribee South

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped through a portal to the African savannah when visiting the Werribee Open Range Zoo (K Rd). This world-leading zoo just around 30 minutes from the city and features sprawling enclosures and up-close animal encounters. As well as the African savannah and walking trail featuring lions, gorillas and meerkats, the zoo features the Australian Journey grasslands where you can wander at your own pace and spot kangaroos and other native fauna. You’ll find the greatest hits of native wildlife here – including koalas, mountain pygmy-possums and emus.

Victoria State Rose Garden
Photograph: Supplied/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Victoria State Rose Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens Werribee South

You can’t tiptoe through the tulips, but you can definitely ramble through the roses at Victoria State Rose Garden (Gate 2, K Rd). In fact, “garden” feels like it just doesn’t do the attraction justice. “Floral mega attraction” seems more appropriate, given the space is home to more than 5,000 roses (!) and is internationally acclaimed. Located adjacent to Werribee Park Mansion, the Victoria State Rose Garden makes for a low-risk, high-reward date idea, with entry to the gardens only costing you a gold coin donation.

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Mansion at sunset
Photograph: Supplied/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Werribee Park Mansion

Attractions Werribee South

Just 30 minutes from Melbourne, Werribee Park Mansion and Formal Garden (K Rd) feels like another world – and another time. The wealthy Chirnside family built the 60-room Italianate mansion in 1877, and at one point there were 55 staff to look after five family members. Friends of Werribee Park offer self-led audio tours and guided tours of the mansion. Much of the original furniture and clothing from the Chirnside period are displayed in situ, with helpful plaques to give you some historical context.

The pool at the Mansion Hotel and Spa at Werribee Park
Photograph: Supplied/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Lancemore Spa

Health and beauty Spas Werribee South

Inside the mansion you’ll also find Lancemore Spa. The spa offers a variety of facials, body treatments and massages, along with manicures and pedicures. Opt for a visit to the private hammam, which also comes with a DIY scrub and mud application.

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RAAF Museum Visit Werribee
Photograph: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

RAAF Museum

Museums Point Cook

The Royal Australian Air Force Museum (480-490 Point Cook Rd, Point Cook) is located at the RAAF Base Point Cook, about 30 minutes west of Melbourne’s CBD. It’s the birthplace of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), which was renamed the Royal Australian Air Force after World War I. The Point Cook base was the RAAF’s only base from 1912 until 1925, when the Richmond and Laverton bases were built. These days, the RAAF Museum is a tribute to the history of Australia’s Air Force.

Arts and culture

Wyndham Art Gallery
Photograph: Supplied/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Wyndham Art Gallery

Art Galleries Werribee

Melbourne is a city of galleries and not all of them are smack bang in the middle of the CBD. Out west is the Wyndham Art Gallery (177 Watton St), a diverse suburban gallery that showcases the character of the area. The gallery is located in Wyndham Cultural Centre, the go-to spot for the city’s performing arts scene. The gallery hosts additional events too, with each exhibition featuring an artist or curator talk as well as tours and workshops for larger exhibitions. 

Werribee Public Art Trail
Photograph: Supplied/Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Werribee Public Art Trail

Things to do

Werribee has a stunning collection of public art murals to explore if you’re ever in the mood to jazz up your weekend walking habits. The public art walking tour directs you towards some of Werribee’s finest street art, sculptures and more. You can see work from outdoor mural specialist Ash Keating on Watton Street, who’s best known for doing colourful large-scale works with paint-filled fire extinguishers. Close by at Troupe Park you can see the stainless steel sculpture by Karen Casey that was acquired by Wyndham recently, and a beautiful black-and-white mural at Kelly Park on Synnot Street by Mina Leunig.

Explore the outdoors

Wyndham Park
Photograph: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Wyndham Park

Attractions Werribee

Renovated in 2020, Wyndham Park is a riverside gem ideal for recreation and a breath of fresh air. The $13 million renovation created exciting playgrounds for the little ones, exercise equipment for fitness fanatics, picnic facilities and plenty of gorgeous walking and cycling tracks. The main playground has everything kids could want to play on, including an 11-metre slide tower, a fun climbing frame, flying foxes, swings and a Sof'fall. Older children will love the fast-paced equipment and the tall climbing structure, while littlies are catered for too with gentler equipment.

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View of the K Road cliffs overlooking the Werribee river
Photograph: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

K Road Cliffs

Things to do Walks and tours Werribee South

The impressive K Road Cliffs (K Rd) wind above the Werribee River (‘Werribee’ actually means ‘backbone’ and is the name given to the river by the region’s traditional Indigenous owners) and are a popular spot for walkers and photographers, especially at sunset.

Wyndham Harbour
Photograph: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Wyndham Harbour

Attractions Werribee South

Werribee is right on Port Phillip Bay, so you can head to Wyndham Harbour (50 Quay Blvd) for sailing, kayaking, speed-boat racing, jet skis and fishing. The Werribee shoreline is a gorgeous part of Port Phillip Bay, with a narrow strip of coastal sand, picture-postcard views across the bay to Melbourne, the Bellarine and the You Yangs. There are beaches on the northern and southern parts of Wyndham Harbour, and both are lovely spots for swimming and sunbathing. Wyndham Harbour includes a luxury apartment complex and restaurant precinct, with eateries including Wyndham Harbour Restaurant and Bar and Ohana Pizza

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