Visit Williamstown Botanic Gardens, Victoria’s Oldest Public Gardens

Did you know that Williamstown Botanic Gardens is one of Victoria’s first public gardens?

It was opened in 1860 and was created due to the efforts of the citizens of Williamstown, as they were not only able to persuade the State Government to set aside 10 acres of land for this project, but they also donated plants to help its development. 

In fact, Williamstown Botanic Gardens are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register for their historical, aesthetic, scientific (horticultural) and social significance. It is one of Victoria’s most intact and original botanic gardens, complete with authentic Victorian and Edwardian designs. They are also listed on the National Register and classified by The National Trust of Australia (Vic.)

Williamstown botanic gardens melbourne

A walk through the ornate cast-iron gates and a stroll around the gardens uncovers shrubberies, a pinetum, marble statuary, an intricate path system, an ornamental lake, a formal palm walk and rare and significant trees. You can see the layout of the site here – Williamstown Botanic Gardens map.

Williamstown Botanical Gardens is a popular site for many birthday parties, picnic celebrations and family gatherings. For children, the gardens are a great place to learn about the beauty of nature and the importance of preserving it as it is also home to bats, possums, birds and more than 150 species of insects.

Family-friendly events and activities in the gardens include storytime, a Reading Corner and Shakespeare in the Gardens, often run by Friends of Williamstown Botanic Gardens. The gardens have good accessibility for prams and wheelchairs with firm gravel paths. You’ll also find toilet and water facilities.

Williamstown Botanic Gardens are also a popular backdrop for wedding photos and family photoshoots; the garden’s collection of palms, exotics and shrubs make it very photogenic.

Visit during Autumn and Spring and you’ll be rewarded with particularly magnificent colours – and if you go in the late afternoon (‘golden hour’) then there’s perfect natural lighting too. (Note if you’re taking photos for weddings at Williamstown Botanic Gardens you will need a Council permit.)

Even better, it’s one of the few botanic garden locations that are just right along Port Phillip Bay so you’re sure to feel a cool breeze or you can pop over to the boat ramp and Williamstown Beach when you’re done at the gardens. If you want to play ball games or have a barbecue then head to nearby Williamstown parks at Fearon Reserve and Hatt Reserve.

The Williamstown Gardens are located within an easy 10-minute walk from the ferry service in Commonwealth Reserve, is just a few minutes’ walk from the Williamstown Beach Railway Station, and is just 20 minutes away from the city. It’s open daily 24 hours a day.

Take a picnic and while away a day away from the bustle of the city at the Williamstown Botanic Gardens. Or if you didn’t come planned with a picnic you can head to eateries along the Esplanade such as Sebastian and the Kiosk d’Asporto.

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class=”thon-hot-tips-panel”]Tips for Williamstown Botanic Gardens:

  • walking bikes through the gardens;
  • keep dogs on a lead;
  • take ball games to Fearon Reserve adjacent to the gardens or to the Hatt Reserve on the Esplanade;
  • Barbecues and shelters of any kind are not permitted;
  • electric barbecues are available at Hatt Reserve on the Esplanade;
  • Accessible paths of firm gravel;
  • Picnic Tables;
  • Shade Areas;
  • Toilets;
  • Water Fountains;
  • Residential street parking nearby.


About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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