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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

Rebecca Russo
Written 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

  • Restaurants
  • Filipino
  • Werribee

Restaurant and bakery Mama Lor (187 Watton St) is serving up a little slice of Filipino culture out in Werribee. A fresh selection of ube pandesal (Filipino bread rolls with a purple yam and cheese filling), hopia baboy (a pork-filled mooncake-like pastry), fudgy brownies, chocolate crinkles, pan de leche (milk buns) and more Filipino sweets and breads are pumped out from the venue’s in-house bakery daily. Then, the restaurant. Mama Lor stands out for its barbecue dishes — the very heart and soul of Filipino street-food culture.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Werribee

Corked Wine Bar opened its secret sliding door in 2021, offering a casual atmosphere for the folks of Werribee to drink wine and chill out on Watton Street. Finding the venue is half the fun. Enter the seemingly innocuous apartment building corridor near pizza joint Teddy Picker and turn right to find the wooden wine bottle wall. There’s a hidden button on the wall you’ll need to find – press it and slide the door open. The wine list is what you’ll be seeking out first – in it, you’ll find a robust collection of international fine wines, many from Italy and Germany, and drops from local vineyards in the King and Yarra Valleys.

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  • 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. 

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  • Bars
  • Wineries
  • 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. 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 is open every day from 11am-5pm. 

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Werribee South

On one side of the grand Werribee Mansion, you’ll find the Refectory Parlour (South Drive). This venue is managed by award-winning caterers Bursaria Fine Foods, who are known for putting on stunning weddings across the Werribee Park precinct since 2015. In the past couple of years, the Refectory has begun offering more intimate dining experiences, including catered picnics in the delightful Rose Garden. The Refectory also offers an all-day outdoor dining menu served on the Werribee Mansion Terrace.

Coffee

  • 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?

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  • 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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  • 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. 

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Attractions and fun things to do

  • 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.

  • 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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  • 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.

  • Travel
  • Werribee South
  • price 3 of 4

Just 30 minutes from Melbourne, the Lancemore Mansion Hotel in Werribee feels like another world – and another time. The avant-garde modern wing of the Lancemore Mansion Hotel was opened in 2000, and it offers larger rooms, with some of the same attention to detail and historical appreciation you’ll find in the old part of the property. If you book directly with the venue, you’ll also get two complimentary mini bar items, early check-in or late check-out, plus a complimentary upgrade if available. 

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  • Hotels
  • Werribee

Located just a short stroll from Watton Street is Werribee’s Holiday Inn, a 150-room hotel in Melbourne’s suburban west. The hotel takes up the top four floors of 22 Synnot Street meaning guests can enjoy stunning views over Werribee and towards the CBD skyline. The open lobby has multiple spaces for guests to relax, including a lounge area and an E-Bar, where there is access to computers, wireless printing and powerpoints for charging. Each room is great for short-stay accommodation, with rooms consisting of large comfy beds, large televisions and free, unlimited Wi-Fi. 

Arts and culture

  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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Explore the outdoors

  • 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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  • 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.

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  • 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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