The main tourist town in Hobsons Bay is undoubtedly Williamstown, a suburb steeped in an impressive history. The town was founded in 1835, before Melbourne itself, and served as the city's main harbour until the turn of the century. Today, it's a popular seaside suburb with a nautical feel, home to a number of both historic and modern ships and more fish and chip shops than you could wish for!
Spotswood is another major tourist hub, home to the interactive Scienceworks museum, which sits along its foreshore. Newport is the area's bustling administrative centre, while Altona is another seaside suburb, and the home town of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The area is easily accessed by train services, with Newport serving as the area's public transport interchange. Williamstown is best reached by the railway line of the same name, with three stations: North Williamstown, Williamstown Beach and Williamstown. However, these are located in the suburban inland area, with the closest station to the tourist foreshore, Williamstown Beach, being about a 10-15 minute walk. Regular buses from Newport Station operate to the Williamstown waterfront.
Williamstown Ferries and Melbourne River Cruises run ferries along the Yarra River from Melbourne's Southbank (piers near Langham Hotel) to Williamstown from 3-10 times a day depending on the season. The trip takes 50-60 min and costs $12/22 one-way/return, and as virtually the entire trip is along the river, it's very smooth sailing.
Williamstown Ferries also has irregular services, mostly on summer weekends, to St Kilda, just half an hour away.
Williamstown is easily covered on foot.
- Breizoz, 139 Nelson Pl, ☎ +61 3 93972300. This French crêperie is so authentic that even the waitstaff are all natives. In addition to sweet crepes and tart Brittany cider, they offer savoury galettes with an array of toppings; for something different, try the boudin noir (blood sausage) with apple sauce. The building itself is worth a tour, as it was originally built as Williamstown's first church and then converted into a bank before being repurposed as a restaurant.
- Bed and Breakfast at Stephanie's, 154-160 Fergsuon St (300 metres west of Williamstown Town Hall). Has both B&B accommodation and self-contained accommodation. Great value romantic get-a-way with a good cooked breakfast and quiet and comfy rooms with ensuite. Whilst staying there you can use of their bikes, helmets and locks to explore the many waterfront bike paths at no charge.