Melbourne has plenty of wonderful and engaging attractions to offer to everyone visiting, but it’s especially entertaining for family trips. After all, there are a lot of amazing places to choose from when it comes to keeping the little ones happy. So, if you’re planning a family trip to this city relatively soon, it would be useful to get a little insight into the most popular kid-friendly spots.
See Native Australian Animals
Kids always enjoy spending time surrounded by animals, and Melbourne won’t leave you disappointed in this regard. Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, and Healesville Sanctuary are great places to take your kids to. Not only will they get the chance to see some of the most exotic and cute animals, but the kids can also play and rest as the zoo is designed with family fun in mind. This is not all though. You can also take your kids to the children’s farms such as Collingwood Children’s Farm or the Bundoora farm where they can see interesting farm animals. Moreover, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is definitely something to look forward to as well.
Visit a Museum
You may think that museums are not all that fun for kids, but Melbourne Museum has a lot to offer to the little ones. There’s a special Children’s Gallery that features plenty of kid-friendly attractions and activities. Kids can freely touch whatever they want and take part in various educational games. Aside from this, there’s also a science museum called Scienceworks that will truly amuse the little explorers. Just remember to equip yourself with Go Travel accessories, especially if you’ll be attempting to explore a couple of fun attractions in one day.
Enjoy the gardens
Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens is definitely one of the most memorable attractions for both tourists and locals. And, luckily, the so-called Children’s Garden is also part of this attraction. As you can imagine, this is an area that’s specially designed for kids and families to enjoy. Lovely plants, waterways, interesting paths and statues, a kitchen garden and more await you all on this magical trip so don’t hesitate to spend some of your sightseeing family fun at this stop.
Go for a Ride
Fun parks are always enjoyable for kids, and luckily, Melbourne can provide them with just that. Starting with the Melbourne Star wheel, your family can enjoy views of the whole city. Then there’s the Wonderland Fun Park, where your kids can pick between a few different rides. There’s also the iconic Luna Park, which is a theme park with rides for children of all ages. And for the little train enthusiasts, there are several miniature railways around the city that kids can actually ride as well.
Jump with Joy
Trampoline parks are a very popular family outing choice in Melbourne. If your kids have some excess energy, this may be the right place to take them. After all, who doesn’t like to jump up and down on trampolines? Bounce Inc parks as well as Latitude Melbourne seem to be the best choices for families with children of all ages. There truly is something for everyone, even for preschool kids.
Kid-friendly ice bar
IceBar Melbourne is a fun place for both kids and adults. Kids are allowed Thursday to Monday from 11am – 7pm! Obviously, everything is made of ice and children will definitely enjoy this particular arrangement. As the adults get their drinks at the ice bar, kids can have their fun while playing and climbing in the ice. Also, warm gear is provided on the spot so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own. Located at 319 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
The Dinosaur Park
The Dinosaur Park in Melbourne may be small but that doesn’t make it any less fun for the children. With the tall dinosaur sculpture called Mimi the Muttaburrasaurus and its tail that is actually a slide, children will find their own unique ways to enjoy this installment. After all, the Dinosaur Park is considered to be one of the most popular playgrounds in the city.
Get Lost in the Graffiti Alleys
Cheap Things to Do in Melbourne
It’s not always easy to stick to a budget in a city, but visitors will find that Melbourne has plenty to offer those who are short on money but have some time to spare. For those short on time too just follow the cardinal rule of slow travel: don’t try to fit too much in. Take it easy and Melbourne’s engaging atmosphere will do the rest.
Ride the Trams Through Melbourne’s Neighborhoods
Trams are by far the best way to explore around Melbourne, and as they generally go from one side of the city to the other they’re a great way to see what a few different areas are like in one go.
Try the 112 to go from the pretty, affluent inner south to the grittier, offbeat streets of Fitzroy and multicultural Preston; the 8 to see the ritzy mansions and shopfronts of Toorak, Melbourne’s most expensive suburb, and the contrasting suburban landscapes of Coburg and Moreland; or the 72 for a journey from the university through a variety of different high streets to Camberwell, where the excellent Camberwell flea market is held every Sunday from 7am-12.30pm. Riding a tram from end to end will take an hour or more, depending on the length of the route.
Tickets can be bought at newsagents and other outlets or on the tram, but the machines on board only accept change. Two hour tickets cost $3.70 and daily ones $6.70, but for the best deal go on a Sunday (making sure to pre-buy a Sunday Saver ticket from a Metcard outlet) when a daily pass only costs $3.10.
Seek Out Melbourne’s Cheapest Meals
The gong for the best cheap meal in the city would have to go to Bimbo Deluxe in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, where the legendary $4 pizzas are available Sunday-Friday from noon-4pm and 7pm-11pm (excluding Friday nights). Lovers of Vietnamese food shouldn’t miss Victoria St in Richmond, where shop after shop serves up cheap, authentic food – go for the ones that are busy to avoid disappointment.
The Moroccan Soup Bar on St Georges Rd in North Fitzroy is an experience as much as a great meal, as anyone who has encountered its charismatic owner can tell you. Choose from the spoken menu (there’s no written one) or get the three-course vegetarian banquet for only $16.50 ñ it’s not the cheapest meal around but it would be hard to find better value anywhere.
Get Smiling at Melbourne’s Happy Hours
Like most cities Melbourne’s alcohol is not cheap, so it pays to know when pubs and bars have their specials. On Little Lonsdale St Horse Bazaar has $2.50 pots, $5 pints and $5 house wines from 4-7pm Mon-Fri as well as free wireless internet and digital art exhibitions; Hoo Haa in Windsor (105 Chapel St) has a spacious, stylish interior and a happy hour from 4-7pm on Fridays, with cocktails for $10, jugs for $9, pints for $4 and pots for $2; and Eurotrash on Corrs Lane in the city has half price drinks from 5-7pm, 8-9pm and 10-11pm on Thurdays, cheap dumplings on Tuesdays and various drinks specials on other nights too.
Of course, most venues serving alcohol will have specials at least one night a week, so it pays to have a look at their blackboards and other advertising. A few websites list happy hours and special deals in Melbourne, including My 24/7 and The Happiest Hour, but keep in mind that venues can change these regularly so they may not be up to date. And for anyone staying awhile, individual bar mailing lists can also be a good way to keep abreast of deals and promotions.
Browse Melbourne’s Unique Shops
Shopaholics should probably leave their wallets at home for this one, because Melbourne has many amazing designers and craftspeople who are very adept at separating people from their cash. Little Salon on Little Collins St is one of the cutest shops in town, with rows of adorable necklaces, earrings and brooches – think hummingbirds, bicycles and windswept trees – as well as a small but fine selection of clothing.
The two National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) bookstores ñ one in Federation Square and one on St Kilda Rd ñ are both wonderful, with many books on art, architecture and design as well as limited addition ceramics, beautifully crafted toys, children’s craft and activity sets, unique picture books, jewelery, notebooks and more.
For an atmosphere that’s more museum than place of business head to Wunderkammer on Lonsdale St. This ‘Chamber of Wonders’ specializes in, as they call it, scientific curiosities, including fossils, antique medical instruments and botanical prints, beetles, butterflies, maps, preserved animals and many other weird and wonderful objects.
Romantic Things to Do in Melbourne
In Melbourne we are almost spoiled for choice when it comes to the possibilities for romantic outings. We have some of the best restaurants and cafes, theatres and clubs, beaches and bushwalks, and galleries and gardens in Australia, and checking out what’s on in the city and suburbs for a romantic Valentine’s day event with the one you love is always an exciting experience.
See a Show
Going to the theatre together for Valentine’s Day is always a great date idea for something different to do: you get an eveningís entertainment, and plenty to talk about afterwards. Plus the Australian theatre scene is so diverse that thereís always something on to suit all tastes. Melbourne cabaret is particularly vibrant and exciting at the moment and thereís lots of unusual and entertaining options to choose from, plenty of artists are previewing shows around town for the upcoming Melbourne Comedy Festival at The Famous Spiegeltent and The Comicís Lounge, and musicals like Hairspray and Mary Poppins or plays like The Comedy of Errors are playing in the city centre.
Cinema Under the Stars
Melbourne is home to some wonderful and unusual movie venues, and this time of year the romantic outdoor cinemas are still running. If the weather is fun, hire lounge or deck chairs and enjoy a romantic movie for a balmy evening under the night sky at the Moonlight Cinema in the Botanical Gardens or the Rooftop Cinema in Swanston Street: there are some great films both the weekend before and the week of Valentineís Day to check out. If the weather is looking unkind, thereís always the grand old Astor Cinema that is a theatrical experience all its own, and has the best choc tops in town.
Dinner at a Winery
Taking a sunset drive to explore some of Melbourneís famous wineries is a lovely way to spend an evening: heading out on the freeway and zipping down to the Yarra Valley region or Mornington Peninsula to the beautiful vineyards and gourmet restaurants makes a special night a real event. Most of the best wineries like Yering Station or De Bortoli or charming little Kellybrook offer special Valentineís Day menus or events, and some places also have delightful accommodation options to make wining and dining into a romantic overnight getaway.
Picnic in the Park
Melbourne boasts some of the most beautiful gardens in Australia, and now is a wonderful time of year to see them. The Royal Botanic, Fitzoy, and Treasury Gardens in the CBD are all gorgeous to visit by day, relax in at sunset or wander through by moonlight, though most of the cityís inner suburbs boast some lovely greenery for romantic picnics and star-gazing. At Studley Park you can hire a rowboat for a romantic trip down the Yarra, or book in for dinner at the boathouse, or check out some of Yarra cruise boats that offer Valentineís Day specials.
Romantic Night In
Donít succumb to the pressure and commercialism of Valentineís Day! ñ as the examples above show, something special, intimate and different doesnít have to cost the earth or involve a lot of planning. Plus, a great night together doesnít need a lot of trappings or romantic glitz ñ ultimately a romantic evening should be about you and the one you love, not the other “stuff.” So sometimes the most romantic gesture can be organizing a quiet night to yourselves: a great bottle of wine and a home-cooked dinner, maybe a romantic movie or two, and just making time to spend with each other.
If you’re still looking for your family holiday destination, Melbourne should definitely be at the top of the list. Aside from the well-known attractions, there are always some interesting events happening that will definitely sit well with the youngsters. Of course, you should always try to create some type of itinerary in order to make the whole experience better organized and easier on yourself. But the fact of the matter is that your itinerary will definitely be full as there’s no way that your kids will be bored. And neither will you, for that matter.