Footscray, Yarraville and Seddon
Dynamic Footscray is constantly changing, with a growing arts scene complimenting the existing and ever-fascinating multicultural make-up. Fill up on authentic Vietnamese, Ethiopian or Indian fare before immersing yourself in the arts precinct.
On the surface Yarraville is an immaculately preserved Edwardian village, but a closer look reveals a bustling, eclectic community with a passion for the finest things in life – cafes, restaurants, boutiques, bars and live music venues seemingly spring up by the week.
Tiny, vibrant Seddon will sweep you off your feet with its charm. A growing number of understated and excellent cafes beckon with their aromas of coffee and cakes, and a short but sweet list of wine bars and restaurants is bound to introduce a new favourite.
Williamstown and surrounds
Get the best of bayside with a western edge in waterside Williamstown, steeped in maritime history and heritage buildings. Splash about on the beach, take in a guided heritage walk, browse the bustling weekend market or cycle the extensive coastal bike trails.
Altona is framed by parks and a wide sweeping beach, with the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre and Tuesday Beach Market among the urbane highlights.
Nearby Newport and Spotswood offer further comforts to match Melbourne's edgy inner north.
Spotswood is best known as the home of the fascinating Scienceworks Museum, but one visit to Hudsons Road and it will be the explosion of quality cafes that have you planning your return trip.
Newport's gritty industrial heritage has been converted into a cutting-edge arts facility – there's always something to see at the former Substation, from music to theatre, dance, circus and visual arts.
Wild about Werribee
There's a surprising amount of wildlife and aviation history in this lively pocket just over the West Gate Bridge from the Melbourne CBD. While Werribee Park and Mansion and the stunning State Rose Garden are perennial drawcards, along with Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Point Cook Marine Sanctuary, there's plenty more to reward a longer visit.
Getting to know the west
You'll be rewarded for exploring a little further on each visit to Melbourne's west. Watching the trots at Melbourne's Tabcorp Park is a great night out, while Keilor's Organ Pipes National Park is breathtaking. The wineries around Plumpton and into Sunbury will have you stocking up for the future, and the Walter Burley-Griffin-designed Incinerator Gallery in Moonee Ponds is always worth a look.