There are many Melbourne stereotypes when it comes to tourism. The brunches, the street art, and the iconic trams. While we hope you’ll check all these out when you come to visit, Melbourne and its surrounds offer much more than that. Especially when you’re traveling with a family, you may want to plan ahead to mitigate whining and maximize fun. Read on for a selection of the best when you’re visiting Melbourne and its surrounds.
Into geocaching? If so, you definitely need to check out some of the caches around Melbourne. As a great way to explore the lesser-known areas of the city and surrounds, view the geocache map online, log your finds and leave treasure where you find some. Geocaches can be large or exceptionally small, and children of all ages enjoy this 21st-century treasure hunt. Some you can spot from your car, while others you will need to fossick and search for. Some caches require special tasks in order to be logged or simply finding a box of stuff stowed away.
If you’re staying in or around inner Melbourne, there are a number of attractions that you can access via public transport or foot. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has free entry and rotating spaces that offer arts experiences for children. It also has a fun, outdoor area for when the weather is nice. Across the road from the NGV is the famous flower clock and the Botanical Gardens. The gardens offer many trails, punting on the lake, picnic areas and even a rainforest area complete with flowing waterfall.
Further afield there are other opportunities for play and picnicking. Consider a day trip or stay in Kyneton, which is an hour’s drive or train from Melbourne. Check out the Kyneton Community Park, or what locals dub ‘the Tractor Park.’ Here you’ll find modern BBQ and restrooms, water play, giant swing, table tennis, wooden maze, cubbies, and two large, refurbished tractors.
Out the other side of Melbourne in the Dandenong Ranges. Here you will find a national park and you can attempt the famous 1000 Steps or the SkyHigh Hedge maze.
Victoria’s amusement parks also offer a variety of kid-friendly adventures, whether it’s the exquisitely revamped Gumbuya World or extensive indoor aquatic play and slides at Watermarc. Inner-city you can find pop-up experiences such as the ‘Slide the City’ giant water slide on Lansdowne St (summer) or the bookable igloos at the Docklands (winter). Book ahead during peak season as waiting in lines with kids can be tedious at the best of times!
Perhaps best of all, Melbourne takes its coffee pretty seriously. While you can deliberately seek out the very best artisan roasters and espresso merchants, most cafes will serve decent espresso. This includes coffee in a variety of ways – and yes, any place worth their salt will do soy, almond or oat milk as a non-dairy alternative. Babycinnos are always on the menu but will spot you a dollar or two these days.
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