Though we are lucky enough to live in a holiday paradise, sometimes it’s nice for the family to experience something a little different – a cultural adventure to spark the kids’ curiosity.
Beyond Southeast Queensland yet only a skip-hop away, Melbourne isn’t the first place that springs to mind for Queensland families to visit. It’s a big city, and surely it’s waaaay too hard to tackle with kids? But quite the opposite, in fact, Melbourne is a fascinating city with a bundle of kid-friendly adventures in store… and it’s the perfect destination for your next family holiday! Here’s why…
We might want to go somewhere further afield than the local beaches, but anything over a few hours’ travel will set the littlies into a spin.
Just a two-hour flight, and with direct flights from all local airports – Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane – it’s the perfect distance to travel without having to leave the country. With no international worries such as passports, foreign currency, or a language difference, it’s just enough of a culture shift to spark the kids interest without the organisational challenges for Mum and Dad.
Once you land, they have a fabulous public transport system to get you around the city and super-fun trams that the kids will love. The food is just as straightforward as it needs to be (dependent on your fussy eaters!), you can easily settle on a loaded burger or explore the wide range of independent and boutique hole in the wall cafes parents will enjoy a bit more. Seriously, when it comes to food, Melbourne has it all.
There is a ton of great Melbourne hotels, perfect for different types of travellers ranging from budget friendly hotels to luxury apartments, keeping you within easy reach of all the big tourist attractions.
For the money-conscious family, try the Ibis Styles Kingsgate Hotel. Centrally located and within the free tram zone, the 3 star Kingsgate Hotel offers double rooms and family rooms, with 24-hour reception.
A mid-range option is the Novotel Melbourne Central, being good value accommodation for families that want to be in the heart of the city. Surrounded by Melbourne’s most popular theatres, galleries and shopping, you are also only a short tram ride from The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and the Yarra River.
For an upscale self-contained apartment, try The Sebel Melbourne Flinders Lane. Also centrally located in Melbourne's fashion and food district, The Sebel offers apartment-style suites, with well-appointed living and kitchen areas, as well as all the extras you expect from an exceptional upscale hotel.
Melbourne is all about culture, creativity, diversity and difference, and the city is bursting with unique, colourful, and exciting experiences for the whole family.
With a dedicated kids’ space and an incredible collection of international and Australian art, the National Gallery of Victoria (known as the NGV) is a must-do for any kids that love a little creativity. Or for those that prefer history, the Melbourne Museum is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere and has a huge collection of exhibitions and hands-on activities for kids.
For something quirky and completely unique, head to ArtVo Melbourne, where visitors step into a world of optical illusions where kids can experience art in a whole new and very interactive way. Surf the ultimate pipeline, come face to face with wild animals, and take all the selfies you like!
If the kids love imaginative play, hop on a tram to Interaxcity, a children’s museum where the kids are community heroes. Set amidst an indoor ‘mini city’, kids can choose to take any role in the town. They could be a doctor, a florist, a chef in the restaurant, or repair the cars at the garage. As they explore they can engage with you and their peers, so put the phone down and get involved… it’s really fun!
For a little piece of history, jump aboard the Polly Woodside. Discover what life was like on a tall ship sailing the seven seas in the 1800s. The Polly Woodside offers a range of activities for kids, including a museum, gallery with story and history of the ship, children’s Crew Calls, and more.
No trip to Melbourne is complete without stopping by Federation Square. Named the 6th Best Public Square in the World, the square hosts a bunch of activities each week that are great for families. From cultural festivals to wintery ice skating, there’s something for everyone.
Melbourne is a culinary paradise, and it’s the perfect city to introduce a dash of flavour and spark the inner-foodie in little ones.
Pilgrim Waterfront Bar offers share plates, toasties and pasta, as well as great views of the river. Or, if you need to please several different palates, try Emporium’s Food Court. With a huge range of choices, from a sushi train to fine dining restaurants, it is perfect for families.
For something a little special, Taxi Kitchen is uh-mazing, and offers spectacular views. Or for something relaxed, try Trunk Diner. This popular American diner has a fab kid’s menu, colouring in and high chairs, as well as a huge beer garden for kids to be kids without upsetting anyone.
Tip: Avoid the lunchtime and after work rush in the CBD by eating early.
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