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Williamstown, VIC – Accommodation, To Do & More

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Located at the mouth of the Yarra River, Williamstown, VIC, is a gem of Melbourne’s inner west. This historic suburb boasts a rich maritime heritage, stunning waterfront views, and a welcoming community. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or just soaking up the local atmosphere, Williamstown has something for everyone.


Williamstown, VIC, is a historic suburb known for its rich maritime past and picturesque waterfront.

  • Origin of Name: Originally named Port Harwood by John Batman in 1835, it was renamed Williamstown in 1837 by Sir Richard Bourke in honour of King William IV.
  • Known For: Its rich maritime history, including being Melbourne’s first port. read more
  • Tourist Friendly: Yes, Williamstown is perfect for tourists, offering scenic views, historical sites, and a variety of outdoor activities. read more
  • Where: Located southwest of Melbourne, at the mouth of the Yarra River. Nearby towns include Newport, Spotswood, and Altona. read more


Things To Do

Williamstown Beach

Fancy a beach day without the hassle of a long drive? Williamstown Beach, affectionately known as “Willy Beach” to locals, is your spot. This slice of sandy heaven offers stunning views across Port Phillip Bay and is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the city. Whether you’re up for a swim, a sunbathe, or a stroll along the shore, this beach has got you covered. And let’s not forget the people-watching – it’s top-notch. You’ll see everything from families building sandcastles to fitness enthusiasts doing yoga.

When the sun starts to set, the beach becomes a magical place with the sky painted in hues of orange and pink. Grab some fish and chips from a nearby takeaway and enjoy a picnic on the sand. Just remember to bring a towel – the seagulls are relentless! Willy Beach is the perfect spot to unwind and soak up some rays.

HMAS Castlemaine

Ahoy there! Docked permanently at Gem Pier, HMAS Castlemaine is a floating museum that served as a minesweeper during WWII. This grand old dame of the sea has seen it all – from wartime action to peacetime restoration. Now, she’s inviting you aboard to explore her decks and learn about the maritime history of Australia. You’ll find everything from vintage naval equipment to detailed displays about life at sea.

For a truly immersive experience, listen to the veterans’ stories as you wander around. Their tales bring the ship to life in ways you wouldn’t expect. Plus, the view of Melbourne’s skyline from the deck is pretty unbeatable. Just watch your step – those narrow passageways are a bit tricky!

  • Main Attractions: WWII minesweeper, naval history displays, veteran stories
  • Location: Gem Pier, Williamstown VIC 3016
  • Opening Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Website: HMAS Castlemaine
  • Entry Fee: Adults $8, Kids $4
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/2vK34Zr8JdHhtyYN7

Blunt’s Boatyard

Step into a piece of living history at Blunt’s Boatyard, where traditional boat building and restoration have been the name of the game since 1858. This isn’t just a boatyard; it’s a testament to the craftsmanship of yesteryears. Wander around and you’ll see skilled workers breathing new life into wooden boats. It’s a bit like stepping back in time, but with fewer pirates and more high-vis vests.

If you’re lucky, you might catch a launch day, where a newly restored vessel takes to the water for the first time. It’s a sight to behold and a real community event. And if all that maritime magic works up an appetite, Nelson Place is just around the corner with plenty of options for a post-visit snack.

Railway Museum

All aboard the nostalgia train! The Railway Museum in Williamstown is a treasure trove of locomotive history. Home to an impressive collection of steam, diesel, and electric trains, this museum is a must-visit for train enthusiasts and curious minds alike. The 1950s O scale model railway is a highlight – it’s like a mini world where trains rule supreme.

The museum offers a peek into the golden age of rail travel, complete with vintage carriages and even railway cranes. Kids and adults will love the interactive exhibits and the chance to climb aboard some of the old trains. Just try not to get too carried away with train whistles – they’re louder than you think!

  • Main Attractions: Extensive locomotive collection, 1950s O scale model railway, interactive exhibits
  • Location: Champion Rd, Newport VIC 3015 (near Williamstown)
  • Opening Hours: Saturdays 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Sundays during school holidays
  • Website: Railway Museum
  • Entry Fee: Adults $10, Kids $5
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/tjq6669NKjQ1FYvE9

Seaworks Maritime Museum and Discovery Centre

Ready to set sail on a journey through time? The Seaworks Maritime Museum and Discovery Centre is your port of call. Located in the heart of Williamstown’s maritime precinct, this museum offers an in-depth look at Victoria’s naval history. From colonial navy exhibits to dockyards and prison hulk cells, there’s something for every history buff and sea lover. The museum also hosts various maritime events, including tall ship visits and boat shows, adding a bit of extra excitement to your visit.

The interactive displays make it a fun and engaging experience. You’ll find yourself captivated by the tales of old sea dogs and the intricate models of historic ships. And don’t forget to check out the stunning views of the bay – it’s the perfect backdrop for your nautical adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a landlubber, this museum is sure to float your boat.

Williamstown Botanic Gardens

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, head to the Williamstown Botanic Gardens. Established in 1860, these gardens are a haven of tranquility with their rare trees, formal palm avenue, and charming Edwardian ornamental lake. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll along the gravel paths. The gardens are also home to various events throughout the year, including plant sales and gardening workshops, making it a dynamic spot for green thumbs and casual visitors alike.

Bring a book, lay out on the lush green lawns, and let the serene surroundings wash over you. The gardens are free to enter and open all year round, providing a perfect escape no matter the season. And if you’re lucky, you might spot some local wildlife making their rounds. It’s a botanical bonanza that promises peace, quiet, and a touch of nature’s beauty.

Point Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park

History buffs and outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice! Point Gellibrand Heritage Park is the spot where history meets nature. This park marks Victoria’s first permanent settlement and seaport, packed with historic sites like the Timeball Tower and old piers. The walking trails offer panoramic views of the coastline, making it a perfect blend of educational and recreational fun. Trace the steps of early settlers, explore the remnants of military fortifications, and marvel at the ingenuity of early mariners.

Bring your camera because the scenery here is Instagram-worthy. The park’s expansive views of the bay are stunning, and the sunsets are legendary. Whether you’re there for a morning jog, an afternoon picnic, or a sunset stroll, Point Gellibrand offers a little slice of history and natural beauty that’s hard to beat.

Commonwealth Reserve

Commonwealth Reserve is the heart of Williamstown, offering a perfect blend of green space and historical charm. Located right by Gem Pier, this park is a popular spot for both locals and visitors to relax and enjoy the outdoors. With its sprawling lawns, shady trees, and lovely views of the bay, it’s an ideal place for picnics, casual strolls, or simply lounging on the grass. The park is also dotted with historic buildings, adding a touch of heritage to your leisurely day out.

Throughout the year, Commonwealth Reserve hosts various community events, including markets, festivals, and outdoor concerts. It’s a lively spot where you can soak up the local culture and perhaps find a few treasures at one of the markets. Just make sure to bring your appetite – the nearby food stalls and cafes are worth a visit!

  • Main Attractions: Green lawns, historic buildings, community events
  • Location: Nelson Place, Williamstown VIC 3016
  • Facilities: Picnic areas, markets, nearby cafes and restaurants
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/F5WnbSBjzeHLBNX1A

Nearby Towns

Newport, VIC:

  • Distance from Williamstown: 4 km north
  • Highlights: Home to the Newport Railway Museum, this town is known for its rich railway history and vibrant arts scene, including The Substation, a contemporary arts space housed in a historic building.
  • Notable Sites: Newport Lakes, The Substation, and Newport Railway Museum.

Spotswood, VIC:

  • Distance from Williamstown: 5 km north
  • Highlights: Known for Scienceworks, a popular science and technology museum. Spotswood also offers the historic Spotswood Pumping Station and easy access to the Westgate Punt for a unique travel experience across the Yarra River.
  • Notable Sites: Scienceworks, Spotswood Pumping Station, and Westgate Punt.

Altona, VIC:

  • Distance from Williamstown: 8 km southwest
  • Highlights: Famous for Altona Beach, this town offers a relaxed coastal vibe with beautiful walking trails along the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail. It’s also known for the Altona Homestead and Cherry Lake, a popular spot for birdwatching and picnics.
  • Notable Sites: Altona Beach, Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, and Altona Homestead.

Yarraville, VIC:

  • Distance from Williamstown: 6 km north
  • Highlights: A trendy suburb with a vibrant community atmosphere, Yarraville is home to the iconic Sun Theatre, a beautifully restored art deco cinema. The village-like main street offers boutique shopping, cafes, and restaurants.
  • Notable Sites: Sun Theatre, Yarraville Gardens, and various cafes and boutiques on Anderson Street.

Footscray, VIC:

  • Distance from Williamstown: 8 km north
  • Highlights: Known for its multicultural vibe, Footscray offers a diverse array of dining options, vibrant markets, and cultural festivals. The Footscray Market and the Footscray Community Arts Centre are popular attractions.
  • Notable Sites: Footscray Market, Footscray Community Arts Centre, and Heavenly Queen Temple.


  • 1835: John Batman names the area “Port Harwood” after exploring the region.
  • 1837: Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales, renames the town “Williamstown” in honor of King William IV.
  • 1837: The first land sales take place in Williamstown.
  • 1838: Construction of the convict-built stone jetty at Gem Pier begins, establishing a ferry service between Williamstown and Melbourne.
  • 1839: Shipbuilding activities commence in Williamstown.
  • 1842: Williamstown’s first lighthouse is constructed, aiding navigation in the busy port.
  • 1850: The Williamstown Post Office, the oldest post office building still standing in Victoria, opens.
  • 1854: Australia’s first telegraph line operates between Melbourne and Williamstown; the railway to Melbourne also opens in the same year.
  • 1855: Fort Gellibrand is constructed during the Crimean War to defend against potential Russian invasion.
  • 1856: The Victoria Yacht Club is established, and Williamstown’s first baths complex is built at the end of Garden Street.
  • 1857: The first government line in Australia runs from Point Gellibrand to Spencer Street, Melbourne.
  • 1860: The Alfred Graving Dock, Victoria’s first graving dock, is completed.
  • 1864: The Williamstown Racing Club and Williamstown Football Club are established.
  • 1865: CSS Shenandoah, a Confederate States Navy warship, docks at Williamstown for repairs.
  • 1873: The Royal Yacht Club of Victoria is founded.
  • 1886: Williamstown is proclaimed a town.
  • 1919: Williamstown is proclaimed a city.
  • 1950s: Post-WWII, Williamstown becomes an industrial town but retains its historical charm.
  • 1994: Williamstown, Altona, and sections of Laverton and South Kingsville are combined into the City of Hobsons Bay.

Information Centre

Williamstown has a dedicated Visitor Information Centre located at Commonwealth Reserve, corner of Syme Street and Nelson Place, Williamstown. For assistance and local information, you can contact them at (03) 9932 4310. The centre offers maps, brochures, and advice on attractions, accommodations, and events in the region. It is open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Getting There

How to Get to Williamstown, VIC

Williamstown, VIC, is easily accessible from Melbourne using public transport. Here’s how you can get there:

By Train

  • From Flinders Street Station: Take the Williamstown Line train directly to Williamstown. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, and trains run every 20-30 minutes.
  • Destination: Get off at North Williamstown or Williamstown Beach stations for easy access to the main attractions.

By Bus

  • Alternative Route: If you prefer taking a bus, you can catch the 471 bus from Newport Station, which will take you directly to Williamstown.

By Ferry

  • Ferry Service: For a scenic route, take the ferry from Southbank or St Kilda Pier to Gem Pier in Williamstown. This is a relaxing and picturesque way to travel, especially on a sunny day.


  • From Melbourne CBD: Williamstown is about 13 km southwest of Melbourne CBD. The drive typically takes around 20 minutes via the West Gate Freeway.


  • Cycling: Williamstown is also accessible via bike paths along the Yarra River and through the Westgate Park. There are bike parking facilities available throughout Williamstown.
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