Insider’s guide to Werribee
A local reveals the 10 best things to see and do in Werribee.
- Name: Linda Chukwuemeka
- Location: Retail sales consultant, Werribee RACV Shop
- Why she loves it: The vibrant and quirky people who make up the growing multicultural communities of Werribee.
- Absolute favourite: Enjoying the diverse local food with my family.
At the Beach
Werribee is such a huge place. If you pass the farming areas and Grahams Wetland Reserve, you’ll find Werribee South Beach. Families play cricket and go for barbecues on the lawn. There’s a lovely walking trail that passes a sculpture of a boy in silhouette (Boy by Matt Calvert) and you can see the You Yangs in the distance. I often bring my kids there on a sunny day and have fish ’n’ chips. You can walk from Werribee South Beach to Wyndham Harbour, a new marina. If you’re there, look out for Joe’s Corner Cafe.
I like to go to Dumpling Story at Pacific Werribee for lunch or dinner with friends. You can see the ladies making the dumplings behind a glass window. It’s amazing the way they do it so quickly, they make it look easy. The restaurant encourages conversation and the service is great. I enjoy the pork dumplings, fried and steamed. It’s one of the best restaurants for dumplings in the area.
The Chevron Market is held at the Italian Sports Club on Heaths Road every three months. It helps mums who want to become self-employed or entrepreneurs showcase their handmade products. There’s a great range of items on sale, from jewellery to artwork, clothes, skincare products and candles. The makers are so talented and it’s good to support them.
By the river
Werribee River Park is a place that only the locals know about. If you want to forget about the hustle and bustle of Werribee, it’s the place to go. The 260-hectare park is on the west bank and it runs to the mouth of the river at Port Phillip Bay. The walk has stunning views of the river, nature and water birds. You can walk up a slope to get better views. Look out for the threatened growling grass frog.
Werribee Zoo is an open-range, African-themed zoo. The African animals wander in large enclosures on the 200-hectare property and they also have some endangered Australian animals.
During the weekends and on school holidays children under 16 can get in for free. You can also do a slumber safari and stay overnight. My boys like the safari drive where we jump on an open bus that goes through the park where we see lions, hippos and giraffes.
Chatterbox on Watton Street is my favourite for coffee. It’s modern and friendly with seats outside and a great atmosphere. The food looks so good you don’t want to mess up the presentation by eating it. I always get eggs florentine with hash browns on the side. Before work I meet up with friends for coffee and breakfast. They’ve got sweet things too – it’s hard to resist the window of cakes and desserts.
Park and play
Presidents Park is a great park with lots of activities in Wyndham Vale. I take my kids to the huge playground there. You can go for walks along the Werribee River or feed ducks at the lake. There’s also a skate park and barbecue areas for families. There’s always something happening at the park because the various multicultural communities hold events there. They have rides, food stalls and food trucks and it’s open to everyone. Nearby is the Werribee Obedience Dog Club and a fenced area where dogs can run free.
Werribee Mansion is a grand Italianate house built in the 19th century by the Chirnside family. You can take a tour of the house for a real lesson in history. The last time we went there was for a teddy bears’ picnic on the big lawn. The gardens are gorgeous. When you work every day, it’s great to get out and see how beautiful things are around you. The Mansion Hotel is behind the historic house.
The annual Weerama Festival is held in March every year, with Watton Street closed for a parade. ‘Weerama’ means to play. The festival’s an opportunity for the diverse community to get together and it showcases local talent and creativity.
Pacific Werribee shopping centre is a place where you can enjoy everything under one roof. Now it has expanded and there are restaurants, cinemas and entertainment places for kids, so you can spend time there with family and friends.