Magnificent Things To Do With Kids On A Melbourne Family Holiday

When it comes to creating memories that will last a lifetime, you can’t beat a Melbourne family holiday!

You probably already know that Melbourne is a vibrant city renowned for its world-class coffee, sporting, artistic and culinary experiences. But did you know it is also a fantastic destination for families looking to create lasting memories with their children?

Whether you want to experience the Royal Botanic Gardens, tour the iconic MCG or splash around on Brighton Beach, there are plenty of things for families to do in Melbourne to keep you entertained and engaged.

To help you plan out all your options, we’ve compiled a list of 15 fun, family-friendly sites and attractions to enjoy in Melbourne with kids. It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time visitor from overseas or regularly pop into The Settlement from country Victoria; these exciting options will make your family vacation in Melbourne one to remember.

Plan an Australian road trip graphic

You can find all of our Aussie Road Trip Guides here

Best Time to Visit Melbourne

Putting aside your children’s school commitments, the best time to visit Melbourne with kids largely depends on your family’s preferences and tolerance for weather conditions.

However, generally speaking, the most favourable time to take a family trip to Melbourne is during the spring and autumn months – which fall between September and November and March and May, respectively.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Best Time to Visit Melbourne

During these seasons, the weather in Melbourne is quite agreeable, generally staying within a couple of degrees on either side of 20°C. You may need a jumper at night but should be fine in a T-shirt during the day. 

These temperatures make sightseeing and outdoor leisurely pursuits much more comfortable for children. It is also a lovely time of year to see the colours of nature – whether that be blooming gardens or stunning autumn foliage.

In Australia, school holidays typically occur in late December to early February and late June to mid-July. These periods are ideal for families as there are numerous kids’ activities in Melbourne at this time. However, remember that these peak holiday seasons can be more crowded, and accommodations will be pricier, so booking in advance is essential.

Subsequently, if you’re looking for a quieter and budget-friendly experience, consider a Melbourne family holiday in the winter months of June to August. Although the weather will be cold, the city’s attractions and family-friendly offerings are available year-round, and the queues will also be much fewer.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Melbourne with kids is a personal choice. But whenever you decide to go, you will surely be in for a fantastic time.

Australian City Guides

Don’t miss our complete collection of Aussie city guides for families:

ADELAIDE | BRISBANE | CAIRNS | CANBERRA | DARWIN | GOLD COAST | MELBOURNE | PERTH | SYDNEY

Getting Around in Melbourne

If you are concerned about how you will navigate Melbourne with children, don’t be. The city has an extensive and efficient public transport network that makes visiting its various suburbs and attractions very straightforward. This public transport system includes trams, buses, and trains, all managed by Public Transport Victoria (PTV).

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Getting Around in Melbourne

The Myki card is your ticket to accessing these services, which are not only affordable but also family-friendly. When travelling with children, you can obtain a discounted child Myki card for kids aged 4 to 16. (Children under four years old travel for free.)

In terms of getting around Melbourne, while the trains and buses will take you to pretty much anywhere in the city and surrounding suburbs, trams are the most fun mode of transportation for kids as they offer a unique view of the city from their large windows.

Public transport is safe, clean and well-connected, making it easy to reach popular family attractions, museums, parks, and shopping districts. Furthermore, trams in the CBD are FREE, making it the easiest way to get around in the city centre.

The other great thing about Melbourne is that its central areas, especially the CBD, are pedestrian-friendly. Many of the city’s key attractions, such as Federation Square, the Melbourne Aquarium and the Royal Botanic Gardens, are within walking distance of each other. Walking can be a great way to explore at a leisurely pace with children in tow, allowing you to stumble upon charming laneways, street art and hidden gems.

Alternatively, if your family enjoys cycling, Melbourne offers an expanding network of bike lanes and bike-sharing services. You can rent bicycles through Melbourne Bike Share, and this can be a fun, eco-friendly way to explore the city, particularly for families with older children who can ride independently.

While public transport is efficient, some families prefer the flexibility and convenience of renting a car, especially if they plan to explore areas outside of the city limits. Most car rental companies are available at Melbourne Airport and throughout the city.

Just remember that Melbourne’s traffic can be busy, and parking in the city centre can be expensive and challenging. If you rent a car, consider whether you’ll need it for your entire stay or just for specific day trips. Check car hire options here (Southern Cross train station can make a good alternative city pick up point rather than the airport).

If you like the idea of driving around the city but prefer not to do so yourself, rideshare services like Uber and Ola are readily available in Melbourne. They can be a convenient option to reach a specific destination quickly.

Overall, your choice of transportation depends on your family’s preferences and the places you plan to visit. But rest assured that you can easily explore Melbourne while travelling with children.

Where to Stay in Melbourne with Kids

When choosing where to stay on your Melbourne family holiday, you’ll want to consider a balance between proximity to family-friendly attractions, ease of transportation, and accommodations that cater to the needs of families. Thankfully, Melbourne has many suitable options you can pick from.

One of the best is Southbank, an ideal suburb for families due to its proximity to many popular attractions, including the Melbourne Aquarium and Crown Entertainment Complex. 

You’ll be able to enjoy picturesque views of the Yarra River and easy access to public transport if you decide to stay here. Especially at the Crown Towers Melbourne – a luxurious, family-friendly hotel in Southbank, offering spacious rooms and suites, a heated indoor pool, a cinema complex and a kids’ playroom.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Where to Stay in Melbourne with Kids

Another good option is the Docklands. This suburb is located near the CBD and offers modern waterfront accommodations and access to attractions like the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and the Docklands Park. 

If you want to self-cater during your time in the city, the Docklands Private Collection offers family-friendly serviced apartments. They come with multiple bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and access to communal amenities such as a gym and swimming pool.

If you prefer to stay by the beach, St Kilda is a delightful coastal suburb, perfect for families looking for a relaxed atmosphere. St Kilda Beach and Luna Park are the primary draws here. At the same time, the Novotel Melbourne St Kilda is an excellent, family-friendly choice of accommodation. The hotel features comfortable rooms, a heated outdoor pool and easy access to the beach and nearby trams.

Fitzroy and Collingwood are also worth considering if you want to stay in a more eclectic and artsy neighbourhood. They offer a range of boutique hotels and Airbnb accommodations, a good selection of shops and family-friendly eateries. A very good place to stay here is at the Adelphi Hotel in the heart of Fitzroy. It is known for its funky, candy-coloured interiors and terrific outdoor rooftop pool.

Several caravan parks and camping options are available for those travelling with a caravan or campervan, starting from about a 20-minute drive out of the city. They include the following:

BIG4 Melbourne Holiday Park: Located in Coburg, this holiday park provides caravan sites, cabins and amenities like a heated pool, mini-golf and a jumping pillow.

Discovery Parks – Melbourne: Situated in Braybrook, this park offers a variety of accommodation options, including powered caravan sites and cabins. It features a pool, BBQ area and a games room.

Crystal Brook Tourist Park: Located in Doncaster, this venue provides a peaceful setting for caravanners with powered sites and excellent facilities, including a heated pool, spa and tennis courts.

As you can see, Melbourne offers a range of accommodation options and budgets. So, whether you prefer the convenience of the city or the charm of the suburbs, you are sure to find something suitable for your needs on your family trip to Melbourne.

15 Best Things to Do in Melbourne For Families

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to family things to do in Melbourne as the city offers a wide range of activities and attractions to keep everyone entertained. Here are 15 options you should add to your itinerary:

1. Visit Melbourne Zoo

If your family loves animals, the Melbourne Zoo is a captivating destination.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Melbourne Zoo

Situated in Parkville, it provides an engaging experience with animal encounters, educational exhibits, and daily shows. Overall, more than 300 animal species reside at the zoo. Children can get up close to kangaroos, koalas and lions, as well as many other species.

2. Polly Woodside Tall Ship & Museum

Located on the South Wharf, the Polly Woodside tall ship is one of the most underrated things for families to do in Melbourne. A beautifully restored 19th-century tall ship built in Belfast to transport coal and wheat between the UK and South America, you can explore the ship’s decks and cabins on a guided tour.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Polly Woodside Tall Ship & Museum

The museum also offers interactive exhibits and engaging displays about Australia’s maritime heritage. If you can, visit there on the first Sunday of each month – or Pirate Day. At this time, kids can enjoy many pirate-themed activities like hunting for treasure, swabbing the deck and various games.

3. Enjoy Scienceworks

This interactive science museum in Spotswood is perfect for inquisitive young minds.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Scienceworks

It features hands-on exhibits, planetarium shows and immersive experiences that make learning about science and technology fun.

Again, it’s another excellent option to keep up your sleeve for a rainy or very hot day.

4. Visit the National Sports Museum

If your kids love sports, a trip to the National Sports Museum is an absolute must!

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Melbourne Cricket Ground

Situated at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), this engaging museum celebrates Australia’s rich sporting history through a captivating collection of memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and immersive displays. From exploring the MCG itself to testing your skills in various sports, the museum will captivate any sports lover in your family.

Overall, it’s a fantastic place to immerse yourself in Australia’s sporting heritage and dream of becoming your country’s next superstar.

5. Play at St Kilda Adventure Playground

Should the kids need to run around and let off some steam, there is no better place to go in Melbourne than the St Kilda Adventure Playground.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - St Kilda Adventure Playground

A veritable paradise for kids,  this whimsical playground boasts towering slides, flying foxes and sprawling play structures that will entertain for hours. 

Children can let their imaginations run wild while exploring its creative and adventurous spaces. With ample picnic areas and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s an ideal spot for families to spend a day.

6. Discover the Melbourne Museum

The Melbourne Museum – not far from Carlton Gardens – is another good place to visit with kids. It offers diverse exhibits, ranging from cultural history and ancient artefacts to natural sciences and immersive displays.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Melbourne Museum

This museum provides an attractive option for families because it features a dedicated children’s gallery, interactive installations and a massive IMAX theatre. So there is plenty for your little ones to see and do here.

7. Experience the Royal Botanic Gardens

If you fancy taking a break from the frenzy of sightseeing, the Royal Botanic Gardens is a good place to visit.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Royal Botanic Gardens

Families can explore lush greenery, serene lakes and a diverse collection of plants. They can also discover native wildlife, enjoy picnics, or simply take in the scenic beauty of this iconic garden – making it a perfect family outing.

8. Take a Ride on Puffing Billy

One of the best things to do with kids during your Melbourne family holiday is to take a ride on the Puffing Billy. This historic steam train, located just outside Melbourne in the Dandenong Ranges, winds its way through lush forests and over bridges.

Kids will love the open-air carriages where they can dangle their legs and enjoy the scenic ride. The train runs daily during school holidays, other times of the year Friday to Sunday.

9. Explore SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

One of the most popular family things to do in Melbourne is to visit the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. It offers an immersive experience for families with various marine life, including sharks, rays and brilliantly coloured fish.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Whilst there, you can walk through underwater tunnels surrounded by marine creatures and learn about ocean conservation efforts. With interactive exhibits, daily presentations, and a touch pool for hands-on encounters, it’s both an educational and entertaining attraction for all ages.

10. Explore the Melbourne Museum of Art and Science

Centrally situated in Federation Square, this museum offers a fascinating range of art and science exhibits. It features a regular programme of kid-friendly exhibitions and interactive displays the whole family should enjoy.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Federation Square

11. Go to Luna Park

St Kilda’s Luna Park is a historic amusement park that has been thrilling families for generations.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Luna Park

Offering classic rides, carnival games, delicious treats and a sense of nostalgia, it’s a must-visit destination in Melbourne for good old family fun.

12. Stroll Along Brighton Beach

If you fancy some time down on the sand, Brighton Beach is one of the best places to go. 

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Brighton Beach

It will take about half an hour to get there from the Melbourne CBD, but once you are there, you can sunbathe on golden sand, build sandcastles or collect seashells. You’ll also be able to check out and photograph the iconic and colourful beach boxes, which create a picturesque backdrop for a walk or swim in the refreshing waters of Port Phillip Bay.

13. Visit the Collingwood Children’s Farm

Located in Abbotsford, this working farm offers an opportunity for kids to get up close and personal with farm animals like cows, goats and chickens. They can also enjoy pony rides and other farm-related activities.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Collingwood Children's Farm

14. Take a Trip to Healesville Sanctuary

Although it is located about an hour’s drive from Melbourne, it is worth visiting this excellent wildlife sanctuary if you have never seen native Australian animals – including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and platypuses – in their natural habitat before.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - Healesville Sanctuary

15. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Want to score some major brownie points with your children? Then, take them to Legoland. Undoubtedly one of the best kids activities in Melbourne, the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is an indoor playground of LEGO-themed attractions in the Chadstone Shopping Centre.

AU Melbourne Family Holiday - LEGOLAND

Your kids will love the interactive rides, LEGO building zones and 4D cinema. There is even a MINILAND featuring iconic Melbourne landmarks made entirely from LEGO bricks.

Overall, it’s a must-visit destination for LEGO lovers and a terrific place to go on a rainy day or when the sun is scorching.

More Tips For Visiting Melbourne

  • Melbourne is known as the city of four seasons in one day! On any day trip around town, we’d pack sunscreen to raincoats, no matter the time of year.
  • Parking in the CBD is very expensive and may not be included in your accommodation cost; we’d recommend only hiring a car for day trips or when you’re ready to head out of town.
  • Drivers should familiarise themselves with hook turns! The only city in Australia where you’ll find the need for this unique traffic maneuver due to the tram lines that dominate the city.
Australian City Guides

Don’t miss our complete collection of Aussie city guides for families:

ADELAIDE | BRISBANE | CAIRNS | CANBERRA | DARWIN | GOLD COAST | MELBOURNE | PERTH | SYDNEY

Continuing Your Aussie Road Trip From Melbourne

Given Melbourne’s location in the south eastern corner of Australia, it makes an exception launch pad to a driving holiday elsewhere in the country. Why not look up next:

  • For a truly epic drive through 3 states and a stop in Canberra too, try this extensive itinerary from Melbourne to the Gold Coast
download your free road trip checklist click here button

© Family Road Trip

You might also like