Given that the weather forecast for Sunday was 20 degrees, we thought that a good way to resume Sunday Saving adventures was to head to Williamstown. I met Cara at Melbourne Central at about noon, and we headed off on the Werribee line.
Most of the trains on the weekend seem to go all the way to Werribee, so to get to Williamstown you need to change at Newport. At least there isn’t a long wait when you arrive at the station, because there’s a dedicated train that just runs between Newport and Williamstown ferrying people back and forth.
Our initial confusion of where to go when we got off the train was compounded by the fact that, given the shape of the peninsula, you can’t just head for the water. We decided that heading for shops was a good idea, as it was approaching lunch time, and walked down Thompson Street.
We found the Hobsons Bay Visitor Information Centre and stopped in to pick up a map (I love a good map). The friendly staff were full of suggestions of what to do and see – but possibly a little too enthusiastic, as we found ourselves struggling to remember all the places they had pointed out once we had left the building. They also seemed to find it very amusing when, after asking the obligatory, “So, where are you from?” I told them I lived in Carlton. They couldn’t quite understand how I’d never been to Williamstown before and, while their town is quite lovely, I didn’t know how to explain that I had simply had no need to go there before, and that travel for travel’s sake is a lot harder when you don’t have a car.
When we left the Visitor Centre, we stopped to take in the view of Hobsons Bay from Commonwealth Reserve, before almost getting blown down the road to our next destination. Although the sun was out, I don’t think the weather quite had the chance to reach 20 degrees, with the winds gusting in from the bay.
We walked down Nelson Place, admiring the renovated seaside houses, towards the Hobsons Bay Yacht Club, trying to remember the points of interest circled on our map. Amongst the shops, we found something that wasn’t on the map: the most intriguing ‘energy clock’ I’ve ever seen. With papier mache-like planets circling the top, it was like something out of a high school Science Fair. Sadly, however, it didn’t actually tell the time.
Back amongst the smaller ‘boutique’ shops fronting the bay, we found Ye Olde Suckers and stopped in to get some old-fashioned lollies. They also have pretty much every soft lolly you’ve ever seen (snakes, bananas, licorice allsorts etc) dipped in chocolate. We decided that lollies for lunch wasn’t exactly the healthiest option, and headed for The Town Fryer for fish ‘n’ chips instead. Because, of course, golden deep-fried goodness is so much better for you than a whole lot of sugar!
I managed to combine two past Sunday Saver adventures in one by having a South Melbourne market dim sim (see: Sth Melbourne, 25/5/08) and fish and chips (see: Sandringham, 13/7/08). We ate in the courtyard at the back of the shop, lest we be blown away by the wind out in the park.
After lunch, we headed out towards Point Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park, passing the Titanic theatre restaurant on the way. Outside, I had to stop for a photo with the pretend Statue of Liberty – which, apparently, is pulled past the window to give the ‘passengers’ inside the illusion of being in a ship sailing through New York. Genius! I am definitely going back there to dress up in 1912 period costume and eat at the Captain’s Table.
At the entrance to the coastal park, we found the Timeball Tower, where a large ball was lowered at 1pm each day so the ships could set their chronometers (surely just a fancy name for a clock) and make sure their instruments were accurate. Surprisingly, the icecream van that was parked by the water was doing a roaring trade, considering it is winter and it wasn’t exactly beach weather. We were suckered in too, I got a soft serve with chocolate dip and sprinkles, which the wind proceeded to blow all over my jacket and face before I could eat it. I also got a fair amount in my hair – you would think by now I would have learnt to feed myself. The station was just a short walk from the park, and the gale force winds were starting to rattle my brain so we headed back to shelter. Another change at Newport on the way back, and we were headed for Southern Cross station.
We decided to shelter from the wind a bit longer by stopping off at the DFO (any excuse to go shopping) and left as they were closing the doors at 6pm. A quick train back to Melbourne Central, and I headed home on the tram. I think that Williamstown is definitely deserving of another weekend trip, maybe when summer comes – and definitely when it’s not so windy!