Altona is a suburb of Melbourne, 13 km southwest of Melbourne CBD. It is home to Julia Gillard, the first female Prime Minister of Australia.
Catch the train on the Werribee line. Make sure you board the Werribee train that goes through Altona and that does not run express from Newport to Laverton or vice-versa. Altona is served by 3 Zone 1 train stations - Seaholme, Altona and Westona. Westona is a Zone 1+2 station. The train service from Altona to Melbourne CBD takes about 22-30 minutes and runs every 20 min.
The Altona Train Station is right at the heart of Altona in the middle of Pier Street, with a 5 minutes walking distance to the sea, beach, pier, Hobsons Bay Civic Centre, Altona City Theatre, murals, Altona Homestead Museum, Logan Reserve, Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre and Altona Library. Westona Train Station is next to a local shopping centre, Harrington Square and Mount St Joseph Girls' Secondary College.
Altona is serviced by the bus routes 411, 412, 415 and the smartbus 903.
Exit M1/Princes Freeway at Millers Road, Grieve Parade or Kororoit Creek Road to go to Altona. Altona connects to Williamstown and Laverton via Korororoit Creek Road, to Altona North via Millers Road and to Altona Meadows via Queen Street.
- Altona Beach. This is one of only two swimmable beaches in Melbourne's western suburbs. You can watch a lot of aquatic birds, Norfolk Island Pines, sunset/sunrise and people carrying out recreational and sport activities such as kitesurfing, swimming, sandcastles building, jogging and so on.
- Altona Pier. This is located at the end of Pier Street. You can often see people strolling on the pier, enjoying the sea breeze or fishing leisurely. There is a good view of Altona Beach, Williamstown, Dandenong Mountain Ranges and Point Cook Coastal Park from the Pier. On a clear day, you may be able to see the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsula.
- Seaborn. A harmonious arrangement of five bronze marine creatures (Cuttlefish, Weddy Sea Dragon, Leatherjacket, Crab and Shell), made by the artist Pauline Fraser, at the start of Altona Pier.
- Altona Beach Market. Held every Tuesday from 9am-3pm in Pier St, Railway St and Logan Reserve, it sells everything from fresh eggs, fruit and vegies to plants, jewellery, children’s clothing, sarongs and handmade soap. There is even a tarot reader and occasionally, a children’s farm in Logan Reserve.
- Altona Bayside Festival. This is held annually, over a weekend in March, with many activities listed in the “Do” section below. The main highlights are a Concert in Grant Reserve on Saturday followed by a Firework over Cherry Lake at around 9 p.m. as well as a Grand Parade on Sunday that starts around 11 a.m. from the beach end of Pier Street to Cherry Lake. The Parade has a different theme each year – “Rhythm of the Jungle” in 2010 and “Fantasy and Magic” in 2009. It is represented by bands, cultural groups, sporting clubs, churches, schools, service clubs and a host of recreational organisations. This parade is also a competition in which the winners are chosen based on effort, theme, originality and presentation. The best viewing place is at the roundabout where Pier Street joins Civic Parade.
- Logan Reserve. This reserve offers spectacular views of the sea, beach and Pier. It has a number of gigantic Moreton Bay Fig Trees with monstrous girth. It is the site of the Altona Homestead, Tuesday Altona Beach Market and sometimes has a Children’s Animal Farm.
- Altona Homestead. Located at 128 Queen Street on Logan Reserve, it is the oldest standing building in Altona. It is now a museum, managed by the Altona Laverton Historical Society and contains objects and images specific to the Altona area as well as many rooms arranged to depict the style of living in the 1920s and 1930s. The courtyard contains an eclectic mix of farm implements and objects relating to household, recreational and outdoor activities. The Homestead is open every Tuesday from 11am to 2pm and the first Sunday of the month from 2 to 4pm as well during Altona Bayside Festival. A small entry fee applies ($2 for adults and 50c for children) contact [email protected] or 0447840895.
- Pier Street Murals. Two beautiful murals, painted by local artist Vladimir Bykovec and commissioned by the Altona Village Traders Association, were located at Pier Street, near Altona Railway Station. They accurately represent life in and around Altona, one mural depicting life in the past and the other the present.
- Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre. It has an art gallery that regularly features exhibition of various themes such as paintings, photographs, fashion, sculpture, quilts, jewellery and other art works.
- Cherry Lake. This is a large, beautiful lake in the northern part of Altona and accessible by cars from the Millers Rd carpark as well as from the end of Fresno St from Civic Parade. The lake and associated salt marsh vegetation provides habitat for pelicans, black swans, Purple Swamphens and the endangered Altona Skipper Butterfly. Aquatic birds can be viewed from a bird hide at the north-western end. To the north of Cherry Lake, you can climb up a mound to take in a bird-eye view of the entire Lake from the summit.
- Cherry Lake Sunday Market. The Altona Lions Club holds an outdoor market on the first Sunday of every month on the Miller Street frontage of the park, selling trash & treasure, toys, clothes, preserves, home-grown and home-made goods.
- Hobsons Bay Civic Chambers. This heritage-listed architecture with its distinctive dome is a landmark of Altona. In front of the Civic Chambers are a Cannon, a World War II Memorial Plaque topped by a burning torch as well as the National, State and City Flags. This is an ideal background for a photo shoot.
- Altona Coastal Park. This is a 70 hectares intertidal and salt marsh that provides habitats for a large biodiversity of flora and fauna, including the rare Orange-bellied Parrot, White Mangroves and many marine birds. The park is carpeted with large areas of Carpobrotus glaucescens or pigface which blooms in late October, resulting in swathes of pink flowers – a phenomenal sight! It was formerly the site of the Williamstown Racecourse, where a lone date palm tree, rising out of the flat landscape and some ruins of the grandstand are reminders of its nineteenth century grandeur.
- Requiem for a Champion. A 4-metre sculpture, created by the artist Yvonne George, featuring a bronze Stint perched on top of a galloping horse, was installed in Altona Coastal Park, as a historical marker to commemorate the location of this once third largest racecourse in Victoria, graced by Australian thoroughbred champions, including Phar Lap.
- Truganina Park. This is a 25-hectares recreational and conservation park, 'recycled ' from the former Altona Landfill Tip, which was closed in 1998. A key feature of the Park is the 100 Steps to Federation, a stone staircase made from basalt rocks recycled from the Tip. The steps lead to the highest land point between Melbourne and the You Yangs mountain ranges, where you can take in sweeping panoramic views of Melbourne City, Port Phillip Bay and the adjoining Cheetham Wetlands. The 17-metres high mound is topped by a sculpture called the Time Beacon, created by the artist Cameron Robbins, that resembles a pair of loudspeakers overlooking Port Phillip Bay.
- Truganina Explosives Reserve. This is a 17 hectares of fenced-in area at the mouth of Laverton Creek, used for the handling, storage and shipping of explosives from 1901 to 1962. The Reserve is now open to the public after decontaminating the soil surrounding the keeper’s residence/homestead.
- Truganina Swamp. This is a 175 hectares wetland, comprising grasses, salt marsh and sedges, is fed mainly by water from Laverton Creek. Truganina Swamp provides habitats for 2 endangered species – the Altona Skipper Butterfly and the Orange-bellied Parrot. The wetland is an important habitat for many migratory wading birds and fishes. A walking and cycling trail encircles the swamp and there is a bird hide which can be accessed from the entrance to Truganina Swamp on Bell Avenue.
- Altona Beach. Recreational activities on Altona Beach include walking, cycling, fishing, swimming, kitesurfing, windsurfing, jet skiing and snorkeling. The Western Suburbs Triahlon Club hold triathlon Races that comprise a swim around the Altona Pier followed by a multi-loop bike ride and finishing with a run along the Esplanade. Altona Sea is a favourite haunt for kitesurfers with their bright and colourful kites dotting the sky on a windy day. There are plenty of chairs and benches for picnics and a shared walk/cycling path (part of the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail) along the beach for strolling and cycling activities.
- Altona Pier. The Pier is a favourite spot for fishing. At low tides, you can cross under the Pier from one side to the other and take a photo of the underside view of the Pier showing white-coloured shelled marine forms growing around its stilts.
- Altona Bayside Festival. The activities are spread out from Logan Reserve, Pier Street, JK Grant Reserve and Cherry Lake. They include concerts, performances by professional entertainers, pet shows, antique car exhibition, a spaghetti eating competition, showcasing of artists’ works from the western suburbs at the Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre, children's workshops where they learn how to create handicrafts using recycled materials, bloke’s activities such as sports, gizmos and carpentry at the Finnish Hall, handmade exposition at the Senior Citizen’s Centre, roving buskers at Logan Reserve and multicultural food stalls and children rides at Grant Reserve. You could even hop on a free historic double-decker bus ride around Altona in which the bus driver will give commentary on the various places of interest in Altona. The Altona Homestead and various sporting clubs hold their free Open House during the Bayside Festival. The Altona City Theatre plays a Children's Pantomine during the Festival.
- Logan Reserve. It is a hotspot for community activities, festive carnivals, open-air concerts and movie nights, family gatherings, picnics, etc. It has a children playground, barbeque facilities, picnics tables, toilet and a rotunda (used by bands during the Summer Sounds Concert organized by the Hobsons Bay City Council). Visit the Altona Homestead or patronize the outdoor market stalls on a Tuesday.
- Cherry Lake. It has a 3.7 km shared walking and bicycle path that encircles the lake that will take about 1 and an half hour of walking time. This path is linked to the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail. View the birds from the birdhide or from the boardwalk near the Millers Street carpark. Recreational activities on the lake include boating, windsurfing, angling and remote-controlled model boat racing. There is a big barbeque area with sheltered seats near the Millers Road carpark, a children playground nearby and a skating park. The undulating, well-manicured grassfields with majestic-looking trees on the southern shores of the Lake makes an idyllic, picturesque spot for picnics.
- Kooringal Golf Course. This is a 18-holes, 6.1 km long, Par 71 golf course. The Clubhouse has a restaurant with views of the Golf course and facilities for functions and weddings.
- Altona Miniature Rail. Established and run by a team of passionate miniature steam train enthusiasts, Altona Miniature Rail is the only miniature steam train park in western Melbourne. The 9.3 acre site, located in Paisley Park, features a tunnel, three trestle bridges and the only Zig Zag/Switch Back on a miniature railway in Australia. Since 1986, the doors have been open to the general public on the third Sunday of each month, providing adults as well as kids the opportunity to ride the five-inch and seven and a quarter inch scale model trains powered by live steam or petrol. The park is under continuous development and available for birthday parties and social club bookings. There are also picnic tables, barbecues and a kiosk offering light snacks.
- Altona City Theatre. Located at 115 Civic Parade, Altona, this is an amateur theatre group that produces live musical theatre productions in Melbourne western suburbs. Its performance season generally includes a children’s pantomime in March to coincide with the Altona Bayside Festival, two major theatrical productions in July and October and a theatrical production by its youth division, ACTion, in October.
- Altona Boat Ramp and Safe Boat Harbour. This is quite possibly the finest large boating facility in Victoria. Three twin lane ramps with floating pontoons are completely protected by a breakwall which forms a safe harbour.
- Pier Street. This is the main shopping street in Altona, with increasing number of cafes, restaurants and bars.
- Harrington Square. Shopping centre besides Westona Train Station.
- Outdoor Markets. There are two outdoor markets in Altona. Altona Beach Market is held every Tuesday from 9am-3pm in Pier St, Railway St and Logan Reserve while the Altona Lions Club holds an outdoor market on the first Sunday of every month on the grasslands between Cherry Lake and Millers Street.
- Supermarkets. Coles supermarket at Pier Street, open daily from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight. Foodworks supermarket at Harrington Square.
- Hick’s Shoes. This shoe shop at 72 Pier Street is a reminder of bygone days. Boxes upon boxes are stacked along the shelves, accessed by one of those old-fashioned ladders on a rail. There’s a huge selection of contemporary and more traditional styles from which to choose.
- Cycling supermarket & Le Velo Cafe. Hybrid bike store cafe, which serves delicious Diamattina blend Espresso and a bike supermarket behind the cafe, stocking everything from training wheels to BMX racers.
- Bistro at Altona Sports Club. This sells nice lunches and dinners at very affordable price and offers a good view of the sea. You can sit either inside the restaurant or use the outdoor tables. The Sunday breakfasts are very popular.
- Charcoal Chicken. Located at 73 Pier Street, this serves large portions meals and a variety of salads.
- Creme Lounge. Located at 60 Pier Street, this is a big open restaurant which offers gluten free and vegetarian options.
- Dragon Temple Restaurant. Located at 25 Somers Parade, this is another highly-rated Chinese restaurant.
- Harbour Inn Restaurant. Located at 52 Pier Street, this is a highly-rated Chinese restaurant.
- Melissa Cakes. Located at 34 Pier Street, this is another restaurant frequented by Julia Gillard.
- Phung Restaurant. Located at 69 Pier Street, this humble-looking restaurant serves rather good Thai and Chinese food.
- Stella Pizza Cafe. Located at 56 Pier Street, its Stella Pizza Special is the best as it contains many ingredients. Julia Gillard prefers its Mexicana pizza.
- Restaurant at Kooringal Golf Club. This provides a good view of the golf course and sells two-courses lunches and dinners.
- Altona RSL. It conducts meat raffles, Sunday trivia sessions and there’s a roast with dessert every Wednesday. The club is a great place for a weeknight meal and the modern outdoor area is a good option in fine weather. There’s also a mosaic memorial on the wall outside by a Footscray-based artist.
- Salt n Pepa. Located at 57 Pier Street, this is the place to go for pies of all descriptions, including curried scallop, tuna, corn and asparagus and veal and chicken. They also serve Lavazza coffee for a taste of urban cafe society.
- Pier Lounge. Located at 22 Pier Street
- Mosaic Restaurant. Located at 48 Pier Street
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