It's amazing the people that you met through blogging and meeting Bec and Mark Wyld of Wyld Family Travel was a highlight of 2016. Although we are yet to meet in person we have chatted virtually since "meeting" over on Instagram and it gives me great pleasure to welcome Bec over here today to share her Tops Tips for Visiting Melbourne With Kids I've added it to the top of our bucket list for places to visit in Australia as everything she shares and shows are fantastic.
I have left tiny pieces of my heart all over the world but one city that gets a huge chunk of it is Melbourne! Although we now live in country Victoria in a region called East Gippsland I spent the first 7 years of my life living in the outskirts of this gorgeous city. While the trip is around 3 hours into the heart of Melbourne from where we currently live I love taking the girls back to the city and showing them all it has to offer! Our trips are filled to the brim of activities that are fun filled for us all...for families Melbourne really has it all!
I hope that if you are visiting or even thinking of visiting these ideas will help you and your family get the most out of our wonderful city! Here are some of our ideas for families and even solo travellers on what to see and do in Melbourne, Enjoy your stay!
Facts about Melbourne:
- Melbourne’s famous tramway system is the largest outside Europe and the fourth largest in the world. It stretches along 244 kilometres of track and has 450 trams.
- The world’s first feature film, the Story of the Ned Kelly Gang was filmed and made in Melbourne in 1906
- Melbourne had the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world.
- Melbourne was originally going to be named ‘Batmania’ after one of its founding fathers, John Batman. Imagine that!
- The National Gallery of Victoria has the world’s largest stained glass ceiling – 51 metres (167.3 feet) long by 15 metres (49.2 feet) wide.
- Melbourne was the capital city of Australia for 26 years between 1901 and 1927.
- In 1855 Melbourne stonemasons won the right to the world’s first Eight Hour Day, which became a symbol of the rights of workers to improve their working conditions
- The Black Box flight recorder was invented in 1958 by Dr David Warren at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne.
Top Spots To See with Kids in Melbourne!
1. The Eureka Tower
The Eureka Tower is home to the Eureka Skydeck and it is the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere standing 285 meters above the streets of Melbourne. The entire 88th floor is floor to ceiling windows and offers you the most stunning views over the whole of Melbourne. Both our girls loved being able to see for miles while we were up there and the viewfinders also helped them locate some of Melbourne's most iconic buildings. All of the viewfinders are set at two levels so the kids are able to get to them themselves. A big winner for our girls! The Skydeck is also home to an experience called 'The Edge' If you chose to do this you are put into the cube and then it moves nearly 3 meters out from the side of the building. Once you are all the way out the glass becomes clear and you really feel like you are hanging in the air.
OPENING HOURS Open 10am - 10pm Daily Last Entry 9:30pm
VisitorsTip: There is a cafe upstairs, so grab a coffee or cold drink and enjoy the views! There are also plenty of bathroom facilities that are easily accessible and very clean both on the ground floor and up at the Skydeck!
2. The Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary
The Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary focuses on the unique Australian wildlife that we are well and truly famous for and it is set in the beautiful Aussie bush. While it would be a day trip from Melbourne it is definitely worth the time if you have it. All the Australian animals are there and you are able to get up close and personal with them. On our visit Willow as able to pat a dingo and she did not stop talking about it for weeks. You can wander around and pace yourselves. It would be a great experience for the kids and adults alike!
Visitors Tip: While there is a cafe on site, you can take a picnic lunch and sit and enjoy your surroundings as well. The paths are pram friendly and little ones are safe to walk around. If you get the chance a close encounter would be a fantastic memory for you!
Open 9am - 5pm every day of the year. Animal areas close from 4:30pm.
3. The Old Melbourne Gaol, Magistrate Court and the Watchhouse Experience
I know this may seem slightly macabre but we all loved our visit there. All of the cells are used to tell a story about early Melbourne or some of the inmates that were housed there. It is also the last place Australia's most known bushranger Ned Kelly was housed before he was hung at the jail. We all loved roaming the cells and discovering what life was like in the early days of Melbourne. It was a bit of an eye opener for the girls when they found out children were put in there too! You can have a look in the Magistrates Court which we found really interesting but the winner was the Watchhouse Experience! You are taken as though you are being arrested 'back in the day' and taken into Melbourne's old watchhouse and cells. The girls just thought this was so much fun but I won't give away too much!
Visitors Tip: The gaol is three storey's high so if you have a baby carrier this will probably come in handy to get around. The staff there are really friendly so if you do have a pram I am sure they will have somewhere to keep it while you wander. We took the girls into the watchhouse and participated in the whole activity. Both the girls were fine and there were smaller children in our group. You can let your 'arresting officer' know if you are uncomfortable with any part of your 'arrest'!
Open 9:30am to 5:00pm every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday
4. The Docklands Area
Now this can be a spot for everyone. Firstly there is the Melbourne Star. This is an observation wheel and has more stunning views over Melbourne and is quite a ride in itself. The pods are very comfortable and there is a place to sit in the center if you have little ones. The whole rotation takes around 30 and is so much fun! There are no toilets in the pod but there are plenty of facilities before you get on the ride! After you get off you can have a bite to eat at any of the restaurants or cafes and then a spot of shopping! Harbour Town is a factory outlet area and there are so many different types of shops I am sure there is something for everyone! Then you can head over to The O'Brien Arena and watch the ice hockey before having a go at ice skating yourself!
Visitors Tip: At the Melbourne Star the ride keeps moving as you hop on. If you need any assistance with getting on please let one of the friendly staff know and they will help you. Prams are restricted on the ride but if you are unsure just ask! Harbour Town is very easy to navigate around and facilities are everywhere! With the O'Brien Arena, we found that it was very busy when we were there but we had a great time. If you are unsure about your skating abilities, you can hire frames and seals that will help you skate! It is a great activity for the whole family!
Melbourne Star: Daily 11AM - 10PM (Last Flight 9:30pm) Last ticket sales close 45 minutes SHARP prior to advertised closing time. Last flight departs 30 minutes SHARP prior to advertised closing time
5: The Melbourne Museum
The Melbourne Museum is the largest museum in the largest in the southern hemisphere. Over the time we have been to the Tutenkarmon Exhibition, The Titanic Exhibition and the Jurassic Exhibition. These are all world-class exhibitions that include plenty of real artefacts. They are great to see for yourself and is a great way to spend the day. These exhibitions are in addition to the permanent displays that are housed at the museum.
Visitors Tip: This is a great kid friendly place and would be a great way to spend the day if it is too hot or miserable weather.
Open 10am to 5pm every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day!
Thinking of an overnight adventure in Melbourne?
While plenty of people will straight away head for The Great Ocean Road (And we can completely understand why) Phillip Island is another fantastic family friendly spot! On the Island, you can wander the beaches, go to the Fairy Penguin Parade, get lost in the A'maze n things maze or go to the Koala Sanctuary. I don't think there is a person on this planet who doesn't think watching the little penguins get the courage to waddle onto the shore and up to their burrows is not totally adorable!
A couple of extra ideas!
- Melbourne is well known for its sports! If it is something you enjoy see if you can get tickets to the cricket, an AFL match, soccer, tennis and later in the year the Spring Racing Carnival or the moto GP. There is also a sports museum at the MGC...a football stadium that can fit 100,000 people in it!
- The Shrine of Remembrance. The Shrine is our state memorial to remember our veterans that have fought in conflict and was designed and built by World War 1 veterans. It has a gallery that houses many pieces that tell the story of Australians in wartime.
- A wander around South Bank. There are plenty of places to eat and street performers to watch! At night it is a lovely walk with all of the fairy lights in the trees!
- You can go out to st Kilda beach and enjoy a walk or a dip on a hot day! You can also get some great fish and chips and enjoy dinner on the beach on a nice warm night. Luna Park is out there as well!
Just some extra tips about our beautiful state!
- You will need a Myki card to go on our public transport. International and interstate visitors coming to Victoria can buy a full fare, concession, senior or child myki Visitor Value Pack from the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, SkyBus terminals at Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross Station and from the PTV Hubs.
- There is no public transport out to our Internation Airport. There is a Skybus that will take you out there and return tickets can be purchased but you do need to keep them safe.
- There are volunteers in the Bourke Street Mall that will help you if you run out of ideas for places to see. They will also be able to help you find some real little gems that may not be so popular as yet!
- If you want to hire a bike you must hire a bike helmet to go with it. It is illegal in Victoria (and most of Australia) to not wear a helmet as you ride.
- It is illegal to talk on your mobile phone while driving and huge fines apply if you are caught.
I hope you have found some of these ideas helpful towards your stay in our beautiful city! If you would like to know about the lovely place we live in, East Gippsland click on this link and check it out!
I really hope you enjoy your stay in Melbourne and that it is a trip you will never forget!