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Thinking of visiting Melbourne this year but you’re not quite sure what you’ll do with the kids while you’re there?
Never fear, there’s a lot going on all-year-round in Melbourne for kids of all ages, just ask our six-year-old Kalyra.
Every time we came back to Melbourne on our 3-week on-off visit and rounded the corner and ahead of us, still several kilometres away, appeared the Melbourne skyline and she would scream,
“Is that Melbourne?”
“Yes. I love Melbourne!!”
Kalyra became quite attached to Melbourne during the period we spent there. She loves big cities and wants to live there one day, with the only downer being the inconsistent and awful weather.
“Melbourne is so much fuuuunn, Mum!”
She is not wrong there. Melbourne has a lot by way of fun to offer kids. Here are our top 10 things tio do in Melbourne with kids:
Things to do in Melbourne with kids
1. Kid-friendly bike riding trails
on the St Kilda to Brighton path
Melbourne is made for cyclists.
Whilst you do have to watch the die-hard crazies riding like they are in the velodrome, the numerous biking trails are great for kids. We loved exploring the Yarra River and Bayside foreshore from St Kilda to Brighton on our bikes.
One of our accommodation stays was at South Yarra and every afternoon we used to ride into the city following the Yarra River. I’ll never forget Kalyra bouncing on the seat of her bike as we rode down Swanston St, through the centre of Melbourne. “This is the best fun ever!” she said.
I, on the other hand, rode behind her having mini-heart attacks as trams passed her by and pedestrians weaved around us. That particular adventure is not for the faint-hearted!
2. Free art activities
Look out for Art Play. What an amazing concept for kids!
Just down from Federation Square along the Yarra River, you’ll find this building dedicated to kids exploring their creative talents. You do have to pay, but they often have free activities. We met up with a friend and our kids created their own universes made out of materials in the garden.
3. Interactive museums
We don’t usually visit museums much, but we enjoyed learning more about the history of moving arts and creating weird video clips at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square.
Melbourne has a thriving arts and science scene. There are plenty of interactive spaces for your kids to learn and be entertained if this is the sort of thing that gets them excited.
4. Great cafe culture
My girls are devoted to a good hot chocolate or babycino paired with a muffin or chocolate brownie!
There are plenty of family friendly cafes in Melbourne with inside and outside play areas. (Yeah, you know it Mums, I really put this one in here for you!)
And for a real indulgence and an experience you’ll all love, hit up the High Tea at the Langham Hotel on Southbank. The Langham serves a top-shelf high tea with different themes, when we were in town it was a child’s ‘Frozen’ high tea based on the movie.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” Kalyra grinned as best as she could as she bit into her marshmallow snowman. And possibly the worst day of yours when the sugar hits!
The girls were devastated when we left Melbourne the day the Barbie High Tea was on. (Don’t say anything, but Craig was even more devastated).
5. Eureka Skydeck
Judging by the number of kids running around the Eureka Skydeck squealing, I’d say the 360 degree views of Melbourne, from the highest viewing platform in the southern hemisphere, is a hit for kids in Melbourne.
I recommend going up just on sun down so you experience Melbourne by day and as it slips into night.
We didn’t go up on the best day, but if the weather is kind, the sunset views are stunning and you get a top view of the city.
And put your thrill pants on while you’re there and stand on the edge of the building. It’s slightly freaky, but well worth it.
6. Calm swimming beaches
I had no idea Melbourne had nice beaches – even beautiful beaches.
Move a little further away from St Kilda and the city and you’ll discover some amazing family friendly beaches. During the summer the water temperature is decent and calm making it the perfect beach for kids. Our favourite are Elwood and Parkdale beaches.
A treat your kids will love is a pizza and ice cream dinner while watching the sunset on St Kilda beach. While they play in the sand, you can relax with a glass of vino.
7. Fantastic gardens and picnic places
Melbourne’s gardens took me back to my years living in London where, due to the absence of the ocean, we’d head to the leafy parks and gardens on a hot summer’s day for a sunbake and a picnic.
Fitzroy Gardens, Carlton Gardens and the Botanical Gardens are my favourites in Melbourne. During the summer months, they often have free music and shows that the kids are sure to love.
And the community gardens at St Kilda next to Luna Park run by volunteers is a cool place to visit.
8. Awesome zoo
one of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids
I was not expecting much from Werribee Zoo. I love it when a place surprises you! While it certainly isn’t a patch on a real African safari, it’s probably as good as most kids are going to get without getting on a plane.
I loved how close you could get to the animals and the zoo’s strong focus on conservation of endangered animals.
9. Sporting events and festivals
Melbourne seems to have a new festival or event on every week. While in Melbourne, the girls enjoyed a day of tennis, games and concerts at the Australian Open kids’ day, the Saturday before the Aussie Open began.
We were also in the city when the Moomba festival was on by the Yarra River and there were plenty of things for the kids to do there.
Savannah still looks at the picture of the Fun House on my phone, and asks if she can sit on my lap again and go down the slide together.
We were also there during the Spring Horse Racing Carnival. The Saturday after the Melbourne Cup is family day (Steaks Day) and they have a great section set up to keep the kids entertained. Although next time mummy and daddy are bringing in the babysitters!
10. Federation Square
Federation Square occupies a whole urban block right on the banks of the Yarra River and sits directly opposite Flinders Street Train Station and St Paul’s Cathedral.
It’s a great family friendly environment at Fed Square with lots of cool stuff going on: you get free Wi-Fi, free daily health and wellness classes, museums and galleries, rooftop honey bees and gardens, restaurants and bars that have deals, and free sports on the BIG TV screen. .
But our fave was the Fed Square Live which celebrates Melbourne’s top acoustic acts in a series of free outdoor concerts on Thursdays through the summer. Oh, and it comes complete with free beach chairs spread out in front of the stage and room for the kids to jump around.
11. Queen Victoria Markets
Who doesn’t love a good open air market? Your kids will love shopping at the Queen Vic Markets which has something for everyone.
But the highlight for us was the Wednesday Night Market which serves up a global street food extravaganza with offerings from all over the world.
It was like any night food market you’d find in Asia, buzzing with atmosphere and cheap (for Melbourne) street food. The kids tucked into a crepe, Caz had a goat curry and I demolished a kangaroo burger.
The night market runs every Wednesday from November – March and is an awesome thing to do in Melbourne with kids.
Plan Your Trip to Melbourne
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Can you add to our list of things to do in Melbourne with kids? Please share any tips in the comments.