Arriving in the quiet waterfront suburb of Williamstown and Melbourne's first port sets an appropriate tone for the host of maritime attractions that await.
Start by viewing Melbourne's city skyline through the masts of moored boats over a meal by the water at Nelson Place, a bustling pocket of arts, crafts and other speciality shops in historic buildings. You'll find everything from galleries to classic vinyl and music shops and a monthly craft market.
The Williamstown Maritime Museum at Gem Pier, housed in the World War II minesweeper HMAS Castlemaine, details the life of the precinct since it was established as Melbourne's first port in 1837. The Time Ball Tower on Point Gellibrand was built by convicts in the mid-1800s to tell ships the time and is still in use today. Join a public sail on the Enterprize, the first vessel to carry European settlers up the Yarra.
There are activities for the whole family in Williamstown. Scienceworks offers an exciting, interactive science experience. Grab your bucket, pack a picnic and paddle in the shallows at the lovely Williamstown bay beach. Take a ferry ride across the bay to St Kilda or down the Yarra River to Southbank.
Williamstown is approximately 14 kilometres from Melbourne, or around 20 minutes from Melbourne via the West Gate Freeway. Weekday ferries from Southgate take about an hour, or take the half hour ferry ride from St Kilda Pier on weekends. Williamstown is a 30-minute train journey from Flinders Street Station.