WILLIAMSTOWN was Melbourne's first port. Today, it remains
the first port-of-call for a weekend escape. Only 13km from the central
business district, Williamstown is still a suburb of Melbourne, but
walking along the wide waterfront boulevard you wouldn't think so.
Nelson Place is far removed from the rat-race of Melbourne's inner-city
laneways and the sterile domesticity of suburban shopping malls. It
has the feel of a small coastal town. Restaurants, cafes, galleries
and craft shops line one side of the road, and parks and dockyards line
Keep walking along Nelson Place and you will reach Port Gellibrand Coastal
Heritage Park - the ideal place to take a picnic and watch the yachts
go by. If you are looking for something more to do, pick up a brochure
from the information centre and do a self-guided walk around Williamstown's
historic sites. A good place to start is the HMAS Castlemaine on Gem
pier, which has been converted into the Williamstown Maritime Museum.
There are also unconventional historical experiences to be had. The
Enterprise is a timber replica of the ship that carried the first European
settlers up the Yarra to Melbourne, or you can pretend to board the
RMS Titanic for its maiden voyage in an interactive theatre dinner with
Children will enjoy the Science Works and Planetarium, there are lots
of hands-on activities to get involved with. Also, if you are in Williamstown
on the third Sunday of the month, visit the local craft market that
takes place at the Commonwealth Reserve, just off Nelson Place.
There is plenty of accommodation, with hotels and self-catering apartments,
but with Williamstown only 15 minutes away by car, an hour away by ferry,
or 30 minutes by train, it's also makes a great day trip.