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21 Awesome Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids

Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids Australia

Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, is also the Australian capital city of all things art and culture. We can never get enough of it’s alleys and street art, lush gardens, delicious cafes and animal encounters. There are so many things to do in Melbourne with kids!

Things to do in Melbourne with kids

 

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

Old Melbourne Gaol was built in the mid-1800s, as a place for Melbourne to put its dangerous criminals, petty offenders, homeless and mentally ill.

It’s a stark and confronting place, especially when faced with the gallows that are still hanging inside – between 1842 and 1929, 133 people were hung inside these walls, including Australia’s infamous bushranger, Ned Kelly.

The gaol itself is quite small and tours are self-guided. We did a family activity while we were there that took us all around the goal, in and out of cells, to solve clues and “escape” the goal. The activity was an excellent way to engage kids in history and teach them a bit about what happened here – without freaking them out too much. The Old Melbourne Gaol is popular on lists of Melbourne attractions for a good reason – it’s a great little spot that’s rich in history and experiences.

Get more info on visiting Old Melbourne Goal here.

Old Melbourne Gaol
377 Russell St, Melbourne
oldmelbournegaol.com.au

National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Australia’s oldest and largest art museum is a must-see in Melbourne. The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV,  was founded in 1861. As well as an incredible selection of European, Australian and Asian art, it also has dedicated kids’ space and garden with sculptures, plants, shade, tables and small climbing structure.

Get more info on visiting the NGV here.

National Gallery of Victoria
180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
ngv.vic.gov.au

Royal Botanic Botanic Gardens Melbourne and Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden

Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden, Melbourne, Australia

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria are split between two sites, Melbourne CBD and Cranbourne. Both are well worth a visit. The Melbourne garden features an Aboriginal Heritage Walk, Ornamental Lake, a wide variety of plants such as succulents, roses, herbs, camellias and perennials.

Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden, Melbourne, Australia

You will also find the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden here. This beautiful garden gives kids plenty of nooks and crannies to explore in a natural setting. Plant tunnels to crawl through, rocks to climb and a bamboo forest for hiding. The gardens are a must for any list of things to do in Melbourne with kids.

Get more info on visiting the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden here.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Birdwood Ave, South Yarra
rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-melbourne

Royal Botanic Botanic Gardens Victoria (Cranbourne)

Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, Australia

The Cranbourne gardens are a 45 minute drive from Melbourne’s DBD. The focus is on Australia’s landscape, featuring more than 170,000 native plants. The water display area is particularly popular with kids, and there is a small children’s garden. Keep your eyes open for wildlife – we saw a bandicoot!

Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne
Enter via cnr Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne
rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-cranbourne

Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens

Royal Exhibition Hall, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria

The Melbourne Museum is located in the heritage-listed Carlton Gardens, along with the majestic Royal Exhibition Building and IMAX Cinema. The gardens also contain a beautiful fountain, flowers, lakes and plenty of wildlife.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

As the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere, the Melbourne Museum is an absolute must for any itinerary of things to do in Melbourne with kids!

Inside the museum you’ll find plenty to keep everyone in the family entertained, from Australian history buffs to dinosaur fans, and even the junior set, who will be hard to drag out of the children’s’ gallery and garden. Melbourne Museum kids are especially spoiled with these brand new sections that are especially designed to engage kids aged 0-5.

The Melbourne Museum runs lots of activities year-round, so it’s a good idea to check them out when looking for ideas on what to in in Melbourne with kids.

Get more info on visiting the Melbourne Museum here.

Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson St, Carlton
museumsvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/

State Library Victoria

State Library Victoria Australia

Australia’s oldest public library, and one of the first free libraries in the world, the State Library of Victoria is a beautiful, quiet spot to visit in the hustle and bustle of the city. Check out the chess boards and soaring domed ceiling in the La Trobe Reading Room, Ned Kelly’s armour and the kids’ play area.

State Library Victoria
328 Swanston St, Melbourne
slv.vic.gov.au

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne

Take LEGO-lovers to Australia’s first LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Billed as the “ultimate indoor LEGO playground”, it’s a great day of fun with 2 rides, 5 LEGO build and play zones plus a 4D cinema. If your kids love LEGO then this is an absolute must for things to do in Melbourne with kids.

Get more info on visiting the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre here.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone
melbourne.legolanddiscoverycentre.com.au

Melbourne Zoo

Get up close to Australian wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, wombats and emus at the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, AKA Melbourne Zoo. The zoo is also home to tigers, monkeys, lemurs, Little Penguins and Australian Fur seals. The zoo often tops lists of kids attractions in Melbourne with its excellent facilities and well cared for animals.

Melbourne Zoo
Elliott Ave, Parkville
zoo.org.au/melbourne

Werribee Open Range Zoo

You’ll feel like you’re in Africa visiting Werribee Open Range Zoo, located in Werribee, about 32 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. This African-themed zoo houses gorillas, lions, monkeys, cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, zebra and antelope on 225 hectares of wide, open savannah.

Werribee Open Range Zoo
K Rd, Werribee South VIC
zoo.org.au/werribee

Collingwood Children’s Farm

Milk cows, bottle feed lambs, feed farm animals and cuddle a guinea pig at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, a not-for-profit, inner city farm on the Yarra River in the Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford.

Collingwood Children’s Farm
18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
farm.org.au

Healseville Animal Sanctuary

See Australian wildlife in their natural habitat at the Healesville Sanctuary, located in the Yarra Valley. Set across 70 acres of bushland, the sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to get up close to  koalas, kangaroos, wombats, emus, dingoes, birds of prey and platypus. The interactive platypus show is not to be missed.

Healseville Animal Sanctuary
Badger Creek Rd, Healesville
zoo.org.au/healesville

Penguin Parade Phillip Island

A highlight of things to do in Melbourne with kids: taking the little ones to see the world’s smallest penguins as they return ashore at sunset after a day fishing. Each night the Little Penguins can be seen at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, a two-hour drive from Melbourne.

Phillip Island
1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands
penguins.org.au

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Explore 12 discovery zones at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, home to thousands of aquatic creatures such as elephant sharks, crocs, King and Gentoo Penguins and brightly coloured fish.

Get more info on visiting SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium here.

Pic courtesy of havewheelchairwilltravel.net

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
King St & Flinders St, Melbourne
melbourneaquarium.com.au

Federation Square

Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia

There’s always something happening at Federation Square, from art exhibitions to events and cultural attractions. Right in the centre of town, Federation Square is a great place to start when looking for kid-friendly Melbourne CBD attractions and activities. Check the website to see what’s on when you visit.

Federation Square
Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne
fedsquare.com

Australian Centre for Moving Image

ACMI Melbourne, Australia

Located in Federation Square, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is the place to go if you’re into movies, TV and digital culture. The ACMI has seasonal exhibitions, many of them extremely kid-friendly. When we visited last the exhibition was on the cartoon characters Wallace and Gromit.

Australian Centre for Moving Image
Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne
acmi.net.au

Eureka Skydeck 88

Peer down at the city from the 88th floor gold-plated observation deck of the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere.

Eureka Skydeck 88
7 Riverside Quay, Southbank
eurekaskydeck.com.au

Fitzroy Gardens

Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne, Australia

Stroll through one of Melbourne’s most historic gardens, conveniently located in the CBD. Features in the garden include Captain Cook’s cottage, a dragon slide and giraffe swings, a dolphin fountain, fairy tree and miniature Tudor village.

Fitzroy Gardens
230-298 Wellington Parade
East Melbourne
fitzroygardens.com

Enchanted Adventure Garden at Arthurs Seat

Take a day trip from Melbourne to enjoy the Enchanted Adventure Garden at Arthurs Seat. Kids will love running through mazes, discovering art and themed gardens and hurtling down slides. Stop by the Amazing Lolly Shop for a giant lolly pop if you dare.

Enchanted Adventure Garden at Arthurs Seat
55 Purves Rd, Arthurs Seat
enchantedmaze.com.au

Puffing Billy Railway

Puffing Billy Railway Victoria Australia

This is one for the train-lovers! Hop on board an 100-year-old stream train and wind your way through the Dandenong Ranges National Park. The Puffing Billy Railway is located an hour east of Melbourne so plan on making a day trip out of it.

Get more info on Puffing Billy Railway here. Pic courtesy of Explorewitherin.com.

Puffing Billy Railway
1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave
puffingbilly.com.au

Scienceworks

Scienceworks Melbourne Australia

If your kids are into science (like mine!) then a trip out to Scienceworks is for you. This world-renowned science museum is a bit of a drive out of the centre of Melbourne, so you’ll need to drive or get a taxi (which is pretty expensive).

Scienceworks Melbourne Australia

Scienceworks is designed to challenge young minds with hands-on exhibits and machines. There’s also the Melbourne Planetarium that can be visited there, and a great playground outside.

Get more info on visiting Scienceworks here.

St Kilda Beach & Luna Park

St Kilda Beach Melbourne AustraliaKill two birds with one stone on a trip to St Kilda. Easily accessible by tram, bus or train, St Kilda is home to a family-friendly beach and also the historic Luna Park.

Luna Park Melbourne Australia

Luna Park opened in 1912 and is still the place to go for a day of family fun. From jaw-dropping thrill rides to the carnival atmosphere of Coney island, a day at Luna Park is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. A day trip to St Kilda is a top choice when looking at things to do in Melbourne for kids.

Luna Park
8 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
lunapark.com.au

Scienceworks
2 Booker St, Spotswood
museumsvictoria.com.au/scienceworks

Getting around

Melbourne Tram

We usually stay in the CBD and use the tram to get around, or walk by foot. On the odd occasion the trams don’t go to where we’re going, you can catch a taxi or the river ferry.

Trams are free in the city loop – check here where the loop goes. If you travel outside it you will need a MYKI transport card.

Where to stay

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via Christineknight.me

We like to stay central in the CBD when we visit Melbourne as it means many things are then in walking distance. We have previously stayed at the Novotel Melbourne on Collins Street and found it to be an excellent location.

Read my review of the Novotel Melbourne on Collins here.

Get the best deals on Melbourne Hotels here.

More ideas for Melbourne and surrounds

Looking for sweet treats in Melbourne? Check out the best sweet spots right here.

Looking for more kids activities Melbourne? Find out what’s on in Melbourne for kids by clicking here.

Get a list of current family activities Melbourne by clicking here.

Rainy day in Melbourne? Find plenty of indoor activities here.

Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids Australia

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Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive: Best Places To Stop

Where To Stop On The Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

The scenic Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive stretches around 1280 kilometres past stunning beaches, quaint seaside towns and through lush valleys. If you drove directly it would take you around 10 – 11 hours or so, but why would you want to do that when there are so many beautiful places to stop and enjoy along the way?

For us, the joy of a road trip is in discovering the small things between point A and point B, such as a gorgeous beach to splash at or a delicious brekkie at a country cafe. The best bit about driving vs flying is that the journey can be just as enjoyable as the end destination.

Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive: The Best Places To Stop

Kiama

Kiama, NSW, Australia

We’ve been visiting Kiama since we were kids to see the largest blowhole in the world. Sadly the hole wasn’t blowing on the day we visited, so the photos below are from a visit when I was about the same age that Cheese is now. Thankfully there are now fences installed for safety! Note: The hole might not be “blowing” when you visit as there’s been erosion inside the mouth of the blow hole in more recent years, meaning it now only “blows” in high tides, stormy weather type of days.

Kiama, NSW, Australia Kiama, NSW, Australia
The famous Kiama Blowhole has attracted visitors for over 100 years. The nearby lighthouse was built in 1887 and is worth a visit as well. If you have time walk down to Surf Beach, the main beach in town with calm water for a dip. Near the beach you’ll also find parkland with a playground and plenty of shops and cafes.

Kiama, NSW, Australia

Spend a few days in Kiama and explore a points of interest including the Little Blowhole, Cathedral Rocks, whale watching, Kiama Fish Market, the Kiama Coastal Walk and the Pilot’s Cottage Museum for some local maritime history.

Berry

Berry, NSW, Australia

The rural town of Berry is known for its beautiful gardens, boutique stores, arts and crafts. I highly recommend stopping by for a stroll up through this pretty town, and a piping hot donut from the Famous Berry Donut Van. Cinnamon donuts are made freshly to order and handed out so hot they burn the fingers.

Jervis Bay

Hyam's Beach, NSW, Australia

You could easily spend a week just in this beautiful spot on the NSW South Coast. There are plenty of picturesque seaside towns to explore, such as Calalla Bay, Huskisson, Vincentia and Hyams Beach. In the sparkling water of the Jervis Bay Marine Park live bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, sea dragons and migrating whales.

Hyam's Beach, NSW, Australia

We enjoyed Hyams Beach, a small beach in a residential suburb that has surged in popularity after being awarded the title of “whitest sand in the world” by the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s well worth a visit as the beach is just stunning, but be warned – parking is tricky.

Hyam's Beach, NSW, Australia

In our opinion, this part of the NSW coast is just breathtakingly beautiful, and a highlight of the Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive.

Bateman’s Bay

Bateman's Bay, NSW, Australia

We stopped overnight in Bateman’s Bay, a seaside town located at the entrance of the Clyde River. Captain Jams Cook gave the town its name in 1770 on his first voyage. The water at Bateman’s Bay is very clear, making it a great place for snorkelling. Visit Clyde River National Park for bushwalking, kayaking and fishing, or Birdland Animal Park and get hands on with native Australian animals. Bateman’s Bay is also an area for simple pleasures. Cheese really enjoyed climbing rocks under the bridge and playing in the riverside playground.

Bodalla

Bodalla, NSW, Australia

Of course we had to take our daughter Cheese to taste cheese! Stopping at the Bodalla Dairy Cheese Factory was a spur of the moment decision that we were very grateful that we did. Inside the factory you can try a range of delicious locally made cheese and milkshakes (they have other food too).

Bodalla, NSW, Australia

The farmyard out the back is a gorgeous spot where kids can pat the animals and bottle-feed calves daily at 10am and 4pm.

Bega

Bega, NSW, Australia

Driving through Bega was one of the prettiest spots on the road trip. The lush, undulating valley where Bega sits is so picturesque that you can imagine some very happy cows live here, munching on grass all day long, while their milk is being turned into sensational cheese. Visit the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre and sample some local cheese.

Bega, NSW, Australia

There are a few varieties that are only available here – we particularly loved the Heritage Reserve cheese. Honestly, you can’t take the Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive and NOT try some cheese at Bodalla or Bega.

Merimbula

Merimbula, NSW, Australia

This little seaside town on the Sapphire Coast is a popular holiday spot for families. Merimbula, derived from the Aboriginal word for “two lakes”, is a great place for water sports, whale watching, relaxing and eating! We had an amazing brunch at the Waterfront Cafe while stopping in Merimbula. Great food, and located next to a fenced playground.

Tura Beach, Merimbula, NSW, Australia

With its calm waters, sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding are fun sports to try when visiting the area. There are plenty of beaches in the area too, including the Merimbula Main Beach, Short Point, Bar Beach (where you’ll find good snorkelling) and Spencer Park Beach, which is a good spot for families as well a having a playground.

We also ventured to nearby Tura Beach and enjoyed it. Merimbula is a pretty little spot and it’s easy to see why many people break their journey on the Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive here for a few days.

Milton

Milton, NSW, Australia

We were lured to Milton by excellent reviews I read for its vegetarian cafe, Pilgrims. The food was incredible, but the town is a really lovely historic spot, and worth a visit in its own right. Milton was founded in 1860, and is located near Mollymook and Ulladulla. I would highly recommend a stop in Milton for a look at its art galleries, antique stores, fashion boutiques and delicious cafes. If you have more time, take the detour to Mollymook for a walk on the beach.

Pebbly Beach

Pebbly Beach, NSW, Australia

A photograph of a kangaroo in the low surf at Pebbly Beach has given rise to stories of “surfing kangaroos”. Sadly there are no surfing kangaroos, but there are a lot of resident roos at the beach, many of whom are friendly and apparently like a pat. I wouldn’t risk this myself, as wild animals are just that, but we did get very close to them with no issues on our visit to Pebbly Beach.

Pebbly Beach, NSW, Australia

Located in the Murramarang National Park, Pebbly Beach is also a popular camping area. It rained when we visited so we didn’t see the beach in all its glory, but it was still gorgeous despite the weather.

Lake’s Entrance

Lake's Entrance, Victoria, Australia

Another popular spot for young families to vaycay, Lake’s Entrance boasts the largest inland network of waterways in Australia. Located on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach, where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean, Lake’s Entrance is a fab spot to stay the night, like we did, or even a day longer. Water sports are a popular past time here, with kayaks, boat cruises and paddleboats all easily accessible.

Lake's Entrance, Victoria, Australia

Where To Stop On The Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

If you’re headed to Sydney after your drive, here’s a list of things to do in Sydney with kids, things to do for free in Sydney, the best beaches in Sydney, and best ocean pools in Sydney.

 

 

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The best places to stop on a Hume Highway road trip

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The best places to stop on a Hume Highway road trip, Australia

The Sydney to Melbourne inland drive is a staple road trip that many Aussies have been making since childhood – myself included. We drove down as a family of three with Cheese for the first time this summer to experience the iconic drive for ourselves.

Driving between Sydney and Melbourne will take approximately eight to nine hours to cover the 877.6 km stretch via the Hume Highway. While it can be done in one day, I advise breaking the trip an evening stopover so there’s time to pull into these gems along the way.

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The Best Places To Stop On A Hume Highway Road Trip

Goulburn

Big Merino, Goulburn, Australia
Australia’s first inland city, as proclaimed by letters by Queen Victoria in 1863 is a must, even if it’s just to snap a pic with Rambo, the Big Merino. It’s just not an Aussie road trip without photographing one of the weird “big” icons that Australia loves to set up by the roadside.

The Big Merino stands 15.2m tall just off Goulburn’s southern exit. It was built in 1985 to celebrate the city and district’s fine wool industry. An exhibition on 200 years of wool history in Australia can be seen inside Rambo (open daily, 8.30am-5.30pm).

Belmore Park, Goulburn, Australia

In the actual town of Goulburn, we loved Belmore Park. It’s a gorgeous spot with a rotunda, flowering gardens, fountain, shady trees, glass house conservatory, war memorials and a playground. There are also public toilets (including a wheelchair accessible toilet). The park is a fantastic stop to let kids run around, cartwheel and stretch those legs.

The Rose Cafe, Goulburn, Australia

Across the road from Belmore park you’ll find The Roses Cafe, a delicious spot to stop for refuelling the humans. Their extensive menu features the most amazing homemade cakes, quiches, muffins, salads, frittatas, pies, cookies and more. Every single item is made from scratch onsite, each day.

Gundegai

Gundagai, NSW, Australia
This classic Australian country town is worth a detour to see. Walk up quaint main street, check out the Old Gungdegai Goal that was built in 1859, the Gundagai Historical Museum and Gundagai Railway station, built in 1885. A must is a stop at the famous Dog on the Tuckerbox, 8km north of Gundagai, just off the Hume Highway. We stopped at this exact spot so many times on our family Sydney to Melbourne inland drive road trips when I was a kid, and I had a ball recreating the photo from an image my parents had saved of me standing in the same spot when I was three.

Inspired by the 1850s poem “Bullocky Bill”, which celebrates the life of the loyal drover’s dog that guarded the man’s tuckerbox (where all his possessions were kept) until his death. The statue was immortalised in the song “Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (5 miles from Gundagai)”, as was the town in “The Road To Gundegai” both by Jack O’Hagan.

Holbrook

HolBrook Submarine Museum, NSW, Australia
In the middle of rural NSW, almost exactly halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, is a submarine. A real one. The HMAS Otway Submarine is insanely out of place in the country town of Holbrook, but that’s really part of its charm.

HolBrook Submarine Museum, NSW, Australia

Kids can climb up and run all over the submarine, while parents will enjoy visiting the Holbrook Submarine Museum and hearing the story of the daring Captain Holbrook, for whom the town was named. There is a cafe next to the submarine and a park adjacent with a playground and restrooms.

Albury

Botanic Gardens Albury, Australia
On the banks of the Murray River, at the border of New South Wales and Victoria, sits Albury. There is plenty to do in this town, making it an ideal place to spend the night. Noreuil Park is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and riding bikes, while more active families might enjoy the 6km Wagirra Trail along the Murray River that features the history of the local indigenous tribe, the Wiradjuri people, and sculptures.

Botanic Gardens Albury, Australia

We particularly enjoyed the 130-year-old Botanic Gardens with its winding paths, towering trees and fantastic Children’s Garden. A recent addition to the park, the Children’s Garden is the perfect place for little ones to explore and let their imaginations run wild. We found a dinosaur with speaking tubes in its head and tail, a fairy house, troll cave and story circle, plus lots of other amazing little details carved and sculpted into the garden.

Mr Benedict, Albury, Australia

For a great cafe stop, try Mr Benedict at 664 Dean St, where we had a delicious all-day breakfast.

As previously mentioned, Albury is a great spot to spend the night on the Sydney to Melbourne inland drive. If decide to break your journey here, try the newly renovated Atura hotel – the “hippest” accomodation on the Hume Highway.

Glenrowan

Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia
A must stop on the Sydney to Melbourne inland drive for history buffs! Glenrowan is best known for its link to the bushranger Ned Kelly and the infamous Kelly gang. It was in Glenrowan where Kelly dressed in a helmet and homemade armour laid siege against the Melbourne troopers in 1880. Pick up a town map from the Glenrowan Bakehouse and follow the self-guided walk around the Glenrowan Heritage Precinct, which includes the siege and capture sites.

Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia

It’s a fascinating walk back in time to stand in the exact spot where one of Australia’s most notorious events took place. There’s also no better way to interest kids in history than for them to experience it for themselves.

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The best places to stop on a Hume Highway road trip, Australia

Another place to stop – although it’s a rather significant detour – is Canberra. Read our tips on Canberra here.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Places to visit in Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria International

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

The National Gallery of Victoria, known as the NGV, is Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum. It’s divided into two buildings, the NGV International and Ian Potter Centre.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

The International building houses blockbuster exhibitions and international art, while the Ian Potter is home to the Australian collection, which includes Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from the colonial period to the present day. The galleries are a short walk from each other, and both are free to enter the permanent exhibitions.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

We always visit the NGV International when we visit Melbourne. The temporary exhibitions are always extraordinary, even without mentioning the permanent collection of works. The NGV International houses over 70,000 art works from Europe, Asia, Oceana and the USA.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

While we visit the NGV for the incredible art, we stay longer and enjoy it even more because of how welcoming the gallery is for families.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

There is a permanent NGV Kids space that changes inline with the temporary exhibitions and is always free to enter. The NGV works with contemporary artists and designers to engage kids in the arts and culture from around the world.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

The NGV also has a place on their website to check out what are the most family-friendly exhibitions currently on display, as well as tips for experiencing the gallery with young children (here).

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Free NGV Kids activity sheets are available to collect from the Information desk on Ground level at NGV International and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

The NGV International features a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden that is also free to enter. It features a “mist” installation, flower gardens, sculptures, shade clothes, tables and chairs and a climbing structure for kids to play on. It’s a gorgeous place to enjoy a picnic lunch.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

While the NGV has several eateries on site, we found the food to be overpriced and not very nice (ie cold hard sandwiches). I would suggest bringing your own food.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

National Gallery of Victoria International
180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
ngv.vic.gov.au

Looking for more things to do in Melbourne? Check out this free walking tour.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Places To Visit In Melbourne: Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

When visiting Melbourne, one simply must see the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere, the Melbourne Museum.

Located in Carlton Gardens, the Melbourne Museum needs to be seen over a full day to do it justice.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

Over two floors, it tells the story of nature and culture in an array of interactive and interesting exhibition spaces.

Some highlights for us included:

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

Bugs Alive – the amazing world of insects and spiders.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

First Peoples – this exhibition tells the story of Victoria’s Aboriginal People.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

Wild – over 600 taxidermied birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals from around the world.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

Dinosaur Walk – plenty of dinosaurs here, plus a huge skeleton of a blue whale in the hallway.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

Marine Life – up close with creatures under the ocean.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

Dynamic Earth – immersive exhibition about our ever-changing Earth.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

Phar Lap  – Australia’s greatest race horse has been taxidermied here.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

The newly renovated Children’s Gallery is a hit with littles, although it’s only meant to be for kids up to the age of five. The gallery features an indoor play space and outdoor garden with features like water play, rocks, fossil dig zone and chill out spaces.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

I would say it’s suitable for kids aged up to about eight, with the older kids needing to be very aware of the younger ones, particularly in the indoor play space.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

A cafe near the Children’s Gallery sells basic food (kids’ lunch box pictured), but you can bring your own and eat it either in the garden or outside the museum as a picnic in the park.

Melbourne Museum, Victoria, Australia

The museum features a wide variety of activities for families, particularly during school holidays. Check the website for details in advance of your visit.

Melbourne Museum puts on incredible exhibitions throughout the year – ones in the past have included Titanic and Jurassic Park – so it’s worth seeing what’s coming and planning a visit accordingly.

Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC
museumsvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Places To Visit In Melbourne: Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

Old Melbourne Gaol was built in the mid-1800s, as a place for Melbourne to put its dangerous criminals, petty offenders, homeless and mentally ill.

It’s a stark and confronting place, especially when faced with the gallows that are still hanging inside – between 1842 and 1929, 133 people were hung inside these walls, including Australia’s infamous bushranger, Ned Kelly.

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

A walk through the goal is a step back in time, where a visitor can meet the goal’s inmates and read about life was like for the poor souls who ended up incarcerated in what would have been an absolute hellhole.

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

The gaol itself is quite small and tours are self-guided. We did a family activity while we were there that took us all around the goal, in and out of cells, to solve clues and “escape” the goal. The activity was an excellent way to engage kids in history and teach them a bit about what happened here – without freaking them out too much.

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

A warning for families with sensitive children – there are strong themes of death throughout the goal, with models of people hanging and wax death masks.

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

I found the stories of the inmates most fascinating, if not gruesome, particularly Ned Kelly’s. There is a lot of information on him to be found at the gaol, making it a site that brings in a lot people on the Kelly and bushranger pilgrimage.

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

Examining the various artefacts on display, such as old locks and restraints, led to a lot of questions from my daughter on what happened here, why people were here and what they had done to deserve it. It’s definitely a good conversation starter!

Entry to the Old Melbourne Gaol also includes admittance to the Old Magistrates’ Court down the road, where you can stand in the dock, sit in the judge’s chair, or dress up in costumes. Between 1911 and 1994, the Old Magistrate’s Court is the place where criminals stood for committal and bail hearings – including Squizzy Taylor, Julian Knight and Chopper Read.

Interestingly, the Old Magistrate’s Court sits on the site of the original Supreme Court of Victoria, where Ned Kelly was sentanced to death in 1880.

Also part of the gaol experience is the City Watch House. Built in 1909 and used until 1994, the City Watch House is where felons were brought to await trial for their crimes. Nowadays the City Watch House is home to a 40-minute experience where visitors are “arrested” and locked up in dark cells. The experience has timed entry, so take careful note of the times on the map you’re given at the entry to the gaol and walk down the block to the City Watch House about 10 minutes before the experience begins.

Note to parents: children might find this terrifying, so judge for yourself if it’s right for your kids or not.

Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria, Australia

Old Melbourne Gaol
377 Russell St, Melbourne
oldmelbournegaol.com.au

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne

LEGO-lovers rejoice, there is finally a LEGOLAND in Australia! The LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre in Melbourne is billed as the “ultimate LEGO indoor playground”, which is a great description for the centre and how it differentiates from the other LEGOLANDs around the world.

The LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre can be found in the amazing Chadstone shopping centre, which is a bit of a drive from the Melbourne CBD.

Like the other LEGOLANDs, it’s aimed at younger kids, I would say under 12. It features 2 rides, 10 LEGO build and play zones, a 4D cinema and cafe. For my 6-year-old, it was enough to occupy her for an entire day and have her asking to go back to do it all over again the next day.

LEGOLAND begins with the LEGO Factory Tour, the first room of the centre that visitors are guided into when they enter. The “tour” is virtual and so fun for kids as they watch LEGO secrets on the screen and use their joysticks to navigate their own LEGO choices.

After the LEGO Factory Tour we come to the first ride, Kingdom Quest, which sits at the entrance to Miniland and the rest of the centre. We do the ride because it’s right there in front of us, but you can also walk through Miniland and come back to it later.

The Kingdom Quest ride is a super cute ride where kids have to zap trolls and skeletons with lasers to save the princess. It’s a very tame ride and nothing that my very sensitive 6-year-old found frightening. The kids (and adults!) get very competitive with the scores and like to do it over and over to see if they can beat each other.

Miniland is a large room that also serves as a thoroughfare between the entrance/exit and bulk of the activities. The LEGO masters have created Melbourne’s landmarks in miniature using over 1.5 million LEGO bricks. Some parts of MINILAND are interactive and encourage play, but the majority is for looking at the incredible details in the scenes and spotting the mischievous Minifigures.

Miniland changes from day to night, when the “city” is lit up with sparkly lights. When we visit there is a Star Wars “takeover” of LEOGLAND, so Miniland features a few surprise vehicles from the movies that the Star Wars fans were delighted to spot.

Miniland opens into a large room broken up into the rest of the activities in the centre. There is the second ride, Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, where kids can pedal an enchanted cart faster and faster as it flies up in the air and soars through the sky. It’s a cute ride and again nothing scary here for little ones.

The centre has two soft play areas for kids. The DUPLO Farm is for kids aged 2-5 and is designed especially for littlies with a barn, slide and big soft bricks.

The LEGO City Fire Academy is a gated play area for kids aged 4+. It’s themed like a training area to becoming a firefighter, but it’s really like an indoor play centre with a jungle gym and slides.

Important note: socks must be worn at all times in the soft play area.

There is so much else to do that Cheese didn’t stay long in the soft play area, preferring instead to build LEGO in the other areas.

The LEGO Friends in Heartlake City was a particular favourite, with a central table featuring builds of key LEGO Friends kits, including a few familiar ones that we have at home, plus plenty of tables and brick pits for kids to build their own contribution to the city.

Nearby, the LEGO Racers: Build & Test area is a great spot for kids at the older end of the age range, where they can design their own LEGO racing cars and test them against each other. We found the cars quite tricky to build, so it was a great challenge for us and also really enjoyable for the many older kids who camped in this area for a long period of time perfecting their cars.

Science-loving kids like mine will enjoy the Earthquake Tables that encourage kids to build towers from LEGO bricks and then test their strength to see if they will survive an earthquake. It’s a fun challenge to build a structurally sound creation that will withstand the shaking.

The only activity that requires signing up for is the LEGO Creative Workshop. Sheets are regularly placed outside the workshop and fill up fast in school holidays, so keep an eye out for the sheets being released and put your kids’ names down fast.

Inside the workshop, kids are given a box with bricks to build a particular piece, with staff on hand to help if they get stuck. Parental supervision is required. At the end of the workshop the model stays behind for the next kids to have a go, but the workshop room next door has small builds that kids can also complete and then take home as a cute souvenir.

The last activity to try is the LEGO 4D Cinema, where short 3D LEGO films are shown multiple times a day in a cinema with special effects emulating rain, wind and even snow.

There is no outside food allowed at LEGOLAND, encouraging people to dine in the LEGO Cafe. I found the prices and food both reasonable so was happy to try it. The kids boxes were really cute and good value – for $18 you get a LEGO lunch box to take home, and various food choices – a sandwich, drink, fruit crush or cookie, piece of fruit and a LEGO keyring (which retails in the store for $8.95). Cupcake cost extra.

At the exit it’s impossible to avoid the amazing LEGO shop. They have several exclusive and limited edition goodies, so it’s a good place to shop for gifts and put them away for birthdays / Christmas.

The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is a bit pricey, with admission from $32.50 per person (online price). For best value, I suggest the following:

Advanced online purchase
If you’re only planning to go to this once and no other attractions, then buying the tickets online will save money and also gives you timed tickets so you are guaranteed entry in peak times.

Combo ticket
Buy a combination ticket for LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and SEA LIFE Melbourne for $45 per person and save up to $29 off individual admission. The aquarium starts from $33.60 per person so this is a good deal. You have 90 a days to visit both attractions.

Annual pass
The annual pass for LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is $75 per person, allowing for unlimited visits over a 12 month period.

Merlin Annual Pass
This is the best deal of all and the one I highly recommend. for $79 per person per year, you get unlimited entry into not just LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne but also 10 other attractions around Australia:

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne
SEA LIFE Melbourne
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures
SEA LIFE Sydney
WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo
Madame Tussauds Sydney
Sydney Tower Eye
Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast
WILD LIFE Hamilton Island
Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE

Get more info and book your tickets here.

Please note: Adults must be accompanied by a child to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and children must be accompanied by an adult.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne
Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone VIC
melbourne.legolanddiscoverycentre.com.au

Thank you to Merlin Entertainment for our entry tickets. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids: Scienceworks

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

On our recent trip to Melbourne we were so happy to find several museums and galleries that catered particularly well to children. Scienceworks, in the suburb of Spotswood, was one of them. This museum is basically a kid-focussed science space, filled with interactive exhibits designed to get kids thinking about their bodies, the cities they live in, and how they can effect the future.

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

Scienceworks is a bit of a trek from the CBD. While it’s possible to catch a train or ferry there, it was quickest to catch a taxi. Melbourne has introduced “Miki” cards for public transport that require an initial fee to buy, plus placing more money for fares onto the card. There are no “day ticket” equivalents for visitors, meaning if you want to get public transport it’s going to cost you! Ferries are also pricey, so we decided to take the 15-minute taxi ride.

The museum is broken up over two floors, with elevators and stairs joining them. The whole museum is completely accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. There were so many empty strollers parked around both floors that it was hard to move without tripping over one, that I actually wish they had a stroller parking bay to leave a bit more space for people to walk!

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

The lower level has more traditional exhibits: Sportsworks, where you can test your body against famous Australian athletes (can you run as fast as Cathy Freeman?) and try your flexibility, strength and reflexes, Think Ahead, where kids can design a world of tomorrow, including what our future cars will look like, and a temporary exhibit. When we visited, the temporary exhibit was Alice’s Wonderland, a fun, completely hands-on play space filled with illusions, puzzles and imaginative play.

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

Upstairs is the Nitty Gritty Super City, where kids can be the architect, captain and builder of their own cities. It’s a space popular with toddlers and preschoolers as it’s full of imaginative play elements that small kids can easily manipulate.

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

Scienceworks is home to the Melbourne Planetarium, which sadly was broken on the day we visited. It’s a shame as it looks amazing! The Planetarium has a 16-metre high domed ceiling and a 7.1 surround sound system. Visitors can choose between seeing more educational content about stars and constellations, or something a little more tiny-kid-friendly, such as their current cartoon about a dog who wants to go into space.

If you have a child aged 6 or over, you’ll be able to visit the Lightening Room and watch a live light show that simulates the awesome power of mother nature, including lightening.

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

Outside the museum is a little cafe that serves basic lunch foods, including a kids’ lunch box: $8.80 for a sandwich, juice and corn chips. Kids will spot the two large playgrounds out of the window. Between these two playgrounds and the amazing exhibits inside, your kids won’t ever want to leave!

Scienceworks Melbourne via christineknight.me

Scienceworks
2 Booker St, Spotswood
Daily, 10am-4:30pm
Online

Looking for more things to do in Melbourne with kids? Find some ideas here.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Jurassic World The Exhibition Melbourne

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me

This is one for the haters. The haters of boring museums, of dusty galleries, of stuffed animal corpses (how creepy is taxidermy?!). Jurassic World The Exhibition opened in Melbourne recently with its world premiere.

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me

For the first time ever, you can get up close to dinosaurs that look so real that you might be tempted to make a run for it when they start roaring.

I don’t want to give too much away, so all I will say is this. The exhibition blends science and entertainment seamlessly together to make you feel like you have literally walked into Jurassic World, the movie. The set up, the technology and the realism is astonishing.

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me

While the prime purpose of this exhibition is entertainment, you will also learn about the dinosaurs featured with clever little screens at each station, including Pachyrhinosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Tyrannosaurus.

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me“How life-like can these dinosaurs be?” I hear you ask. Imagine you are actually in Jurassic World and a T-Rex is chasing you and roaring it’s head off. That’s how real it feels.

The exhibition is a bit scary for littlies, but Cheese, who is 4.5 and extremely sensitive did not find it scary. She thought it was a bit loud, but wasn’t scared at all.

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me

As well as the life-sized dinosaurs, I really enjoyed the elements of the exhibition that brought the movie to life, such as Hammond’s lab, where we saw eggs incubating, baby dinosaurs and a great interactive area for kids to design their own dinosaur, and the entry with its simulation of a boat taking visitors to Isla Nublar, home of Jurassic World.

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me

The only constructive feedback I have is that the exhibition felt a bit short. Or, it could have been that the whole experience was so good that time just rushed by and it was over before we knew it, leaving us wishing it was starting again.

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me

The exhibition is open until 9th October, 2016
. It is not coming to Sydney, so I highly recommend visiting if you have dinosaur fans in the family.

Jurassic World The Exhibition via christineknight.me

Jurassic World The Exhibition (until Oct 2).
Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson St,
Carlton VIC
Online

Pricing: Adults Peak $34, off-peak $30
, Child (3-16) Peak $22, off-peak $18


*Peak Pricing applies: Fridays, weekends & public holidays, Victorian Public School Holidays, and the first week of the Exhibition
**Off-Peak Pricing applies: Monday to Thursday outside Peak Periods

Tickets include entry to Melbourne Museum on the day of your visit.

Thank you to the Melbourne Museum for media passes to see the exhibition. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Five of the Best Desserts in Melbourne

5 Sweet Spots in Melbourne via christineknight.me

Melbourne is home to excellent food, particularly of the sweet kind. I didn’t have to look far to find these five delicious sweet desserts and sweet treats in Melbourne. While there are countless other amazing places to find handmade chocolates of exquisite desserts, these five are all in Melbourne’s CBD, making them easy to stop by if you’re only in town for a short visit.

Haighs Melbourne via christineknight.me

Haighs
Established in 1915, Haighs is Australia’s oldest chocolate retailer. The fourth generation, family owned company has locations around the country, with its flagship store located Melbourne’s historic Victorian building, The Block Arcade. Haighs are renowned for their high quality chocolate and related products. I can’t go past their Aprichocs (apricot covered by delicious chocolate) and their trademark chocolate frogs. Yum.
Haighs, Shop 7-8 The Block Arcade, 282 Collins Street, Melbourne

Chocamama Melbourne via chtistineknight.me

Chocoamama
This new store specialises in locally-made Australian confectionary and premium chocolate. Their specialities include chocolate shards with salted caramel, chocolate-covered raspberry lollies (so good!), and hand-made Turkish delight. Kids will love their “pick and mix” section, where you can choose your own lolly and chocolate mix.
Chocamama, 6 Degraves St, Melbourne

Doughtnut Time via christineknight.meDoughnut Time
I’ve been a convert of Doughnut Time for a while now. They are best know for their crazy doughnut flavours like maple bacon and nerds, as well as their funny names: the “Veruca Salt”, for example, is their salted caramel doughnut. Doughnut Time hand-dip their doughnuts in small batches so they are always super fresh. At $6 a pop they’re not cheap, but they sure are good!
Doughnut Time, 5 Degraves St, Melbourne

Hopetoun Tea Room via christineknight.me

Hopetoun Tea Rooms
Lovers of tea and cake have been lining up for a seat in this tiny tea salon since it opened in The Block Arcade in 1891, when it was set up for the Victorian Ladies Work Association. The tea room is a throw back to world of elegance and grace, with white China, delicate teas and exquisite cakes. We had a slice of pavlova and vanilla slice and they were perfection.
Hopetoun Tea Rooms, The Block Arcade, 1-2/282 Collins St, Melbourne

Koko Black Melbourne via Christineknight.meKoko Black CBD
A Melbourne-based family-owned business, Koko Black are chocolatiers who produce premium handmade, chocolate and gourmet desserts. As well as being a chocolate store, Koko Black is also a chocolate-focused cafe, serving up baked treats, a sweet degustation and high teas. While you can choose from their 7 locations across Melbourne, the CBD store on Collins st is very convenient.
Koko Black, 52 Collins Street, Melbourne

What’s your favourite sweet spot in Melbourne?

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!