Best things to do in Williamstown for a family day out

Welcome to Williamstown, a seaside suburb nestled just outside Melbourne that blends maritime charm with a charming village feel.

Whether you're looking to explore the open seas aboard a tall ship, wander through lush botanical gardens, or uncover the past at a ghostly night tour, this historic suburb has something to enchant every member of the family.

Check out Tot Hot or Not’s itinerary of the best things to do in Williamstown with kids for a memorable family adventure.

Featured Event - Steve McCurry ICONS

Icons exhibit at Seaworks photo by Joyce Watts


Step into the world of one of photography's luminaries at the ‘ICONS’ exhibition, featuring the renowned works of Steve McCurry.

The expansive exhibition showcases over 100 large-format photographs, including the iconic 1984 portrait of the Afghan Girl by Sharbat Gula, which graced the cover of National Geographic.

Whether you're a photography enthusiast or looking for a meaningful cultural outing with the family, this exhibition promises a compelling and enriching experience for all ages.

The retrospective is at Williamstown’s Seaworks Maritime Precinct from Wednesday 28 February 28 to Saturday 25 May 2024.

Steve McCurry ICONS, Seaworks Maritime Precinct, 82 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 3 9397 8528


Itinerary For A Perfect Family Day Out In Williamstown



Arrive in style at the heart of Williamstown

If you’re visiting Williamstown there are many transport options. We recommend doing something different and arriving by boat!

Melbourne River Cruises’ ferry service runs from Southgate in Melbourne CBD to Gem Pier. It offers a unique and scenic way to reach Williamstown, with breathtaking views of the harbour and city skyline along the 1-hour trip.

If you’re coming from Port Melbourne’s Beacon Cove or the St Kilda Pier, then St Kilda Ferry can transport you to Williamstown.

The Westgate Punt is a ferry service that runs between Westgate Landing in Port Melbourne to the Scienceworks jetty in Spotswood. You can take bikes on the punt, so once you land in Spotswood just take a leisurely cycle down to Williamstown along the water.

You can also arrive in Williamstown by train. Williamstown Station and Williamstown Beach Station are both approximately a 10-minute walk to the heart of Williamstown.

If you are driving, paid and free timed street parking is available on nearby streets.


Feed your appetite at Nelson Place and The Strand

Start your day in Williamstown by exploring the charm of Nelson Place and The Strand, where historic buildings now house quaint eateries and shops.

We recommend the coffee at Carter Smith Devlin & Co and the fluffy pancakes at Tick Tok Cafe.

If you’re in Nelson Place at lunch or dinner time, then there are many waterfront dining options that provide delicious meals and stunning views of the city across the water.

Some of our favourites include Customs House Hotel, Pirates Tavern (check opening hours before making plans) and the uniquely decorated Titanic on Nelson. All of them offer kids menus, high chairs and pram access.

And for dessert, leave room for deliciously sticky Greek doughnuts from Lukumades!

For more dining options check out Where to eat in Nelson Place.


Carter Smith Devlin & Co, 3016/215 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393973907

Tick Tok Cafe, 181 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393975152

Customs House Hotel, 161 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393978888

Pirates Tavern, Rear of/82 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 403702734

Titanic on Nelson, 1 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 391930778

Lukumades, 177 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 391003597


Play at Commonwealth Reserve

After a leisurely breakfast, stretch your legs at Commonwealth Reserve, on the foreshore adjacent to Gem Pier.

The elegant park is formed with formal avenues of elms and provides great views across a row of yacht masts to Melbourne.

There’s a cute playground near the tennis courts, a rotunda that often hosts music and other activities and the Williamstown Craft Market is held on the third Sunday of every month.

Commonwealth Reserve is also the location of the Hobsons Bay Visitor Information Centre, with friendly staff who can provide local insights and tips.

Commonwealth Reserve, 181A Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 399321000

Hobsons Bay Visitor Information Centre, 1 Syme St, Williamstown VIC 3016,+61 399323016

Williamstown Craft Market, 181a Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 402811756

Commonwealth Reserve, Williamstown


Sample fresh seafood from Gem Pier Seafood

Looking for the best lobster rolls in Melbourne? It doesn’t get any fresher than the rolls by Gem Pier Seafood.

This family business docks at Gem Pier every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a selection of fresh seafood, including mussels, prawns, oysters, scallops and freshly cooked crayfish.

Gem Pier Seafood, 1 Syme St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 435200157

Gem Pier Seafood photo by Joyce Watts


A rare ship museum: HMAS Castlemaine

The HMAS Castlemaine is permanently docked at Gem Pier and is open to the public on weekends and public holidays.

This minesweeper was launched in 1941 and saw active service in New Guinea and Northern Australia during WWII. Classed as a Heritage Honour Ship, the Castlemaine is now a floating museum and you can inspect a fascinating collection of nautical exhibits and memorabilia.

HMAS Castlemaine, Gem Pier, Syme St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393972363

HMAS Castlemaine


Explore the Seaworks Maritime Precinct

Continuing with the maritime theme, the Seaworks Maritime Precinct in Williamstown is a hub for naval history and marine exploration.

The Seaworks Maritime Museum exhibits artefacts, models and bells that tell the story of Melbourne’s maritime history. The museum also includes an extensive library of maritime books and a collection of ship photographs.

The venue and waterfront area also hosts an impressive calendar of family-friendly events - from outdoor cinema, music festivals, makers markets and a Winter Solstice Festival.

Seaworks Maritime Precinct, 82/82 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 417292021

Seaworks photo by Joyce Watts


Take off with Melbourne Seaplanes

Experience Melbourne from an extraordinary perspective with Melbourne Seaplanes.

Taking off from Gem Pier Williamstown, these flights provide a thrilling adventure as you soar above the city, coastline, and surrounding areas.

We recommend the 20-minute Circuit Flights for families, which flies across the bay to Port Melbourne then past Albert Park, St Kilda, the iconic Luna Park, Elwood Beach and back to Williamstown.

Children of any age are welcome to go on the seaplanes and children 7-12 years old are half-price.

Relive your Melbourne seaplane memories with ‘Seymour the Seaplane’ a children’s picture book created by the co-owner of Melbourne Seaplanes that features Melbourne landmarks.

Melbourne Seaplanes, 126 Syme St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393975388

Melbourne Seaplane.jpg


Sail on the Tall Ship Enterprize

Gem Pier is also the embarkation point for public sails of the Enterprize, Melbourne’s replica tall ship.

The Enterprize provides a unique platform to understand the challenges and adventures of Victorian sea explorers, making history come alive.

Kids can help raise the sails, learn about navigation, or simply enjoy the ride along Melbourne’s scenic waterways.

Melbourne Tall Ship Enterprize, 2 N Wharf Rd, Melbourne VIC 3008, +61 396211294



Build sandcastles at Williamstown Beach

Williamstown Beach offers an easy seaside escape just a short trip from Melbourne CBD.

Known for its broad sands and calm waters, it's an ideal spot for families to relax, paddle and build sandcastles. Active kids will also enjoy clambering on the small Sadler Reserve and Hatt Reserve playgrounds too.

If you need a bite to eat, head to The Kiosk d’Asporto for beach snacks that are a cut above the average (from the family that runs the popular Pizza d’Asporto in Williamstown North), enjoy French-inspired cafe fare at Fifi’s by the Beach or soak up the sun with a relaxed meal on the deck of Sebastian Beach Grill.

Williamstown Beach, Williamstown, VIC 3016

The Kiosk d’Asporto, 99 Esplanade, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 3 9397 6839

Fifi’s by the Beach, 81 Esplanade, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 404 157 571

Sebastian Beach Grill, 26 Esplanade, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 3 9088 8989

Williamstown Beach photo by Joyce Watts


Explore marine life at Jawbone Flora & Fauna Reserve

West of Williamstown Beach is Jawbone Flora & Fauna Reserve, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and families looking to explore the great outdoors.

The reserve offers rich biodiversity, including native plants and birds, set against the backdrop of scenic marine sanctuaries.

Walk the trails, use the bird hides for spotting local species, go snorkeling and learn about environmental conservation.

Jawbone Flora & Fauna Reserve, 29 Sandpiper Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 131963

Jawbone Reserve photo by Joyce Watts


Stroll through the Williamstown Botanic Gardens

On the other side of Williamstown Beach is the tranquil world of the Williamstown Botanic Gardens.

Established in the 1800s, these gardens are a peaceful retreat with lush greenery, ornamental ponds, and winding paths.

Families visiting the gardens can look forward to educational walks where informational signs provide insights into the plant species and garden design.

It’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic under the shade of historic trees.

Williamstown Botanic Gardens, Giffard St &, Osborne St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 3 9932 1000

Williamstown Botanic Gardens photo by Joyce Watts


Ride or walk the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail

Bring your bikes or go for a longer walk to explore the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, a path that offers not only exercise and fresh air but also panoramic views of Melbourne's skyline across the bay.

This trail, winding along the coastline, is rich in both natural beauty and historical significance. For instance, it passes through Port Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park and landmarks such as the Timeball Tower and Point Gellibrand.

Signage along the route provides interesting facts and stories, making the walk both fun and educational.

The trail is also accessible for strollers and suitable for all ages, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for the entire family.

The Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, Esplanade, Altona VIC 3018

Port Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park, Battery Rd, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 131963

Cyclist along Williamstown foreshore


Get spooky with Lantern Ghost Tours

If you’re in Williamstown at night, then Lantern Ghost Tours is the way to experience the spookier side of one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs.

This tour takes families through the historic and possibly haunted locales of Williamstown, blending local lore with ghostly tales.

Suitable for families with older children, this tour not only introduces Williamstown’s ghostly past but also teaches about the town’s historical significance. It’s a perfect blend of fear and fun that will captivate the curiosity of both kids and adults.

Lantern Ghost Tours, 12/16 Parker St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 1300390119


Explore more in Williamstown

Discover these other family-friendly locations around Williamstown!


Clip ‘n’ Climb Williamstown

Clip 'n Climb Williamstown offers an array of over 30 climbing challenges that cater to all ages and skill levels. From colourful walls to interactive climbs, every aspect of the venue is designed with both fun and fitness in mind.

Clip n Climb Williamstown, Warehouse 2, 134 Maddox Road, North Williamstown 3016 Victoria, (03) 9448 8642

Clip and Climb photo by Joyce Watts


Tumbles Playhouse

Tumbles Playhouse offers an impressive three-story play structure complete with tunnels, slides, a Burmese bridge, a ball pit, a double astro slide and inflatable castles!!

For the littlest adventurers, a dedicated zone with gentler play options keeps the fun safe and accessible.

Tumbles Playhouse, 1/197 Champion Rd, Williamstown North VIC 3016, +61 393970811

Tumbles Playhouse photo by Joyce Watts


Zan Zanz Cafe

Zan Zanz offers a fantastic range of gourmet paninis and bowls. To cater for their youngest clientele there’s an indoor kid's play area with a chalkboard and even a small jumping castle set up on Saturdays.

Zan Zanz, 2/110 Maddox Rd, Williamstown North, +61 404926926


3 Grains Pizza

Experience the delightful taste of Rome at 3 Grains Roman Artisan Pizza. This charming pizzeria offers a deliciously unique twist on traditional pizza with a menu built around three organic stone-ground grains—soft wheat, spelt, and rye.

Their kids menu is bellissimo too, with pizza, pasta and dessert options guaranteed to delight mini gourmands.

3 Grains Pizza, 68 Stevedore St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393976601


Hobson’s Bay Hotel

A mix of modern comforts and traditional pub charm, the Hobson’s Bay Hotel offers elevated pub dining along with breathtaking views of Williamstown from its rooftop.

While the beautifully renovated interiors are sophisticated, Hobson's Bay Hotel is a relaxed venue that caters for their littlest diners with a small kids menu, high chairs and pram access on the ground floor.

Hobson’s Bay Hotel, 28 Ferguson St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 391168695

Hobsons Bay Hotel photo by Joyce Watts


Book and Paper

Book and Paper is a charming local bookstore that offers a carefully curated selection of books for all ages, from the latest bestsellers to timeless classics.

Whether you're a voracious reader eager for your next great read or searching for the perfect gift, Book and Paper provides a shopping experience that celebrates the joy of books.

Book and Paper, 36 Douglas Parade, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393977784


Enchanted Years

This independent children’s boutique offers a delightful selection of kids' toys, clothes, and room decor.

Specialising in high-quality items from beloved brands like PlayMobil, Schleich, and Rock Your Baby, this store creates a magical shopping experience for both kids and parents alike.

Enchanted Years, 23 Ferguson St, Williamstown VIC 3016, +61 393971154

Want more local family-friendly inspiration? Check out Tot Hot or Not’s picks for the best waterfront restaurants and cafes in Hobsons Bay.