Five Fun Family Activities in Melbourne | Expedia Australia Travel Blog

Five Fun Family Activities in Melbourne


Five Fun Family Activities in Melbourne

Expedia travellers love Melbourne – it’s famous for great restaurants, laneway bars, striking architecture, culture, shopping and big ticket sporting events. All the elements you need for a perfect, very grown up, short break.

Not long ago I lived in Melbourne for 16 months but I had a toddler and a newborn baby in tow. My cultural and culinary experiences of the city were limited but I can tell you now, Melbourne is great to visit with children.

For a short family break in Victoria’s capital, I suggest staying somewhere in the city. You’re closer to all the action and attractions. Hotels on tramlines south of city are popular too but you’ll find plenty of options in the Melbourne CBD. The Adina Apartment Hotel on Flinders St is a short walk from Flinders St Station and has two bedroom apartments with kitchens and family friendly bed configurations.

Once you’ve checked in, here’s a few of my favourite family-friendly activities in Melbourne:

Ride a Tram

A truly Melbourne experience is the City Circle Tram and it’s free. The tram operates from 10am, 7 days a week, with trams running every 12 minutes on a loop around the CBD. The heritage W class trams are vintage machinery kids will love riding. Simply hop on and off, at designated stops, as often as you please.

Collingwood Children’s Farm

Just 5km from central Melbourne is this rural oasis where children can milk a cow, help feed some animals, pat a sheep in the paddock or look for chook eggs. Set on seven hectares of land nestled on a bend in the Yarra River, the Children’s Farm is a great place for kids to get their hands dirty and experience farm life. My daughter still talks about our visits here. The first Sunday of every month (except Dec and Jan) is family day – pony rides, tractor rides and guinea pig cuddles. The recently renovated Farm Café serves excellent sustainable food made from scratch. Daily 9am-4.30pm, families $16, adults $8, children $4 farm.org.au

Scienceworks

This hands-on science and technology museum makes learning fun for the whole family. There’s a number of permanent exhibitions, such as the ‘Nitty Gritty City’ where the kids can role play in a café or operate a construction site, and regular temporary exhibitions always offer something new. Also a part of Scienceworks is the Melbourne Planetarium – perfect for all budding astronauts. Scienceworks, 2 Booker St Spotswood, open daily 10am – 4:30pm, kids under 16 free, adults $10 to the main Scienceworks museum (entry fees apply for special events and planetarium)

Melbourne Zoo

Australia’s oldest zoo is north of the city centre but still easily accessible by public transport. Once you get to Melbourne Zoo, families will find it easy to walk around. I love the Orangutan Sanctuary which has boardwalks built up high so you can watch these amazing animals up close. The new indoor playspace, Keeper Kids, lets children dress up and role play being a  zoo veterinarian, a horticulturalist looking after the zoo’s gardens and exhibits, or a researcher working on conservation projects. There’s also a nifty audio trail spy mission led by Zooperman and his sidekick, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. Melbourne Zoo, Elliott Ave Parkville, children under 15 are free on weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian government school holidays.

Puffing Billy

When I was a young child we used to travel to Melbourne for Christmas and my cousin and I would celebrate our birthdays together with a ride on Puffing Billy (an old steam train) and a picnic. I still remember sitting with my legs dangling between the bars in the windows and the wind on my face as the old steam train wound its way through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. We would wave enthusiastically at the cars waiting at the crossings, peer down at the creek below as the train rattled across the famous timber Trestle Bridge and reach out trying to touch the giant trees of Sherbrooke Forest. Very little has changed 30 years on and kids will love a trip in this century old steam locomotive. Make the most of the journey and hop off the Puffing Billy at the township of Emerald for a picnic at the beautiful park by the lake. There’s a café, playground, paddle pool and paddle boats too. Or stay on the train all the way to Gembrook and explore the township. Puffing Billy is easy to reach by public transport – hop on a Metro Train to Belgrave Station from Melbourne CBD (approximately 70 minutes). From Belgrave, follow the blue line painted on the platform to Puffing Billy. If it’s just the adults, make a day of it and book on the Puffing Billy Steam Train Ride and Wine Country Tour.

Images by Scienceworks, Melbourne Zoo and Puffing Billy

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Linda Anderson

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