The school holidays can be a costly couple of weeks for us parents. Trips to the movies can cost an arm and a leg alone and only kill 2 hours of the day! Noooo! We live in such an awesome city, full of free activities, great galleries, wonderful winter fun and plenty of bargain foodie delights to keep tummies full! There is no need for you to feel financially frazzled this winter break!
Here are some ideas of things to do in Melbourne this holiday, to not only create fun but also sneak some education in there too! Not all of the activities below are suitable for every age, so make sure you check beforehand.
ArtPlay is a wonderful place where children (babies to 12 year olds) can explore their creativity and share unique artistic experiences with professional artists who have a wonderful connection with the little ones. My kids (6 &9) have both thoroughly enjoyed workshops here.
Art Play put on more than 300 workshops, events and performances every year, so they are definitely experts in their field. There are short workshops for young children and extended creative experiences for older children. The artists, workshop content and participants reflect Melbourne’s diversity.
Bookings are required for most workshops, however there are also free drop-in events available. You can check out the ‘What’s on’ page to see if there is something that takes your fancy, but please make sure you book before heading into Melbourne as these workshops are very popular!
Melbourne Sights Free Walking Tour – Be a tourist!
Join one of these FREE walking tours in the city of Melbourne and you’ll uncover the incredible history and explore a range of sites in Australia’s cultural capital. You get a guide dressed in bright green so you can’t miss them, and they will impart all their knowledge on this friendly Melbourne tour. Your guide will give you insights into the people, places and events of this city. If your kids are happy to walk and you’d like to get some culture into them this school holidays this is a great way to see our beautiful city and learn something new. I got my kids to take a pad and pen so they could write down interesting things they learnt and we researched later! Highlights include the lane ways, art, cafe culture and hidden bars so you can experience Melbourne like a true local.
Tours run EVERY DAY at 10:30am and 2:30pm and start at the statue of Sir Redmond Barry in front of the State Library of Victoria, and last 2.5 – 3hrs.
Disney On Ice
Make this a ‘Melbourne family tradition’ and go and see this incredible show. Disney on Ice is back this year at Hisense celebrating 100 Years of Disney Magic. Read all the info here!
Dialogue in the dark
Brought to you in partnership with Guide Dogs Australia, this exhibition will give you and your kids, the chance to step into the shoes of a person with low vision or blindness. You’ll experience Melbourne like never before, learn about yourselves, and have fun along the way.
Dialogue in the Dark™ is a sensory journey set in total darkness. It’s an incredible experience where you step out of your comfort zone and take on the challenges of a bustling, simulated Melbourne in the dark. How would you respond to sensing your everyday world, rather than seeing it?
Over the course of an hour, you’ll discover:
- How to find your bearings and move in complete darkness
- How to identify the world through a variety of senses
- How to communicate and collaborate with other people, without visual cues
- How you respond to the challenges of Melbourne in the dark
SENSE & SIGHT PACKAGE – See Melbourne in two unique ways for one great price.
Take a sensory tour through Melbourne in complete darkness, then catch a birds eye view of the city as you fly high on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. (Select the “Wheel Deal” option on your preferred date.) (Children under the age of 5 are not permitted)
Yes. Another free event! Free and educational is even better!! That’s what we like! Shrine Kids is an anytime activity for primary school students, that encourages kids and their families to learn about Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance together. To support this, they have introduced a number of ways for your family to engage. Shrine Kids being the most popular.
Activity cards (Four to choose from : Unlock the Secrets! Discover How Things Work! Use Your Imagination! Solve the Mysteries!) and explorer kits are a sure fire way to engage your child’s imagination and their desire to learn about this special place. The Explorer Kit satchels include a bundle of awesome goodies to aid successful and happy exploration. I know where we’re headed this holiday!
Enchanted Adventure Garden – Great for all ages!
Get outside!!! Located on the Mornington Peninsula, a short drive from Melbourne, this adventure garden is a hit with the whole family. Beautiful gardens, mazes to lose the kids in, and tree surfing for everyone. Not only that, they also have the tube slides (read my tale of the tube slide here) which are hysterical. There’s a hedge maze, spectacular gardens, a sculpture park, tube slides, canopy walk & a 3D indoor maze. We love the tree surfing (you can read how we got on here), but there is so much to see and do, don’t feel like you must send them up into the trees.. although they’ll love you forever! Check out the tickets here! If you love a bargain and will visit more than once, you should look at getting an annual membership which gives you great discounts as well as entry all year round! Hurrah, pay this holiday but not the next few!
Other great value for money/free activities that The Wilson’s love:
ACMI run Free Family Sundays, and entry to the main gallery is free for everyone. You only pay for the special exhibitions. Wonderland is currently on ($65 family ticket) and we would highly recommend! Open daily from 10am.
Cooks Cottage – The oldest building in Australia, built in 1755. This is a popular Melbourne tourist attraction, because of the surroundings and the incredible story! This building was originally located in Yorkshire, England, and built by the parents of Captain James Cook. The cottage was brought to Melbourne by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1934. Astonishingly, each brick was individually numbered, packed into barrels and then shipped to Australia where it was lovingly rebuilt. (Approx. $18 for a family ticket)
National Gallery of Victoria always free to the public. They have some great school holiday activities. Check them out here!
Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne & Cranbourne Entry to the gardens is free and they are well worth a visit. The gardens in both Melbourne and Cranbourne are open 7:30am (great for early risers) until sunset. Explore, walk or run off steam, take a picnic and make a day of it. Plenty to see with more than 8,500 plant species from around the world, sweeping lawns, tranquil lakes and majestic trees, all home to an amazing range of wildlife.