Melbourne for Kids – A Guide to Family Travel

Melbourne is a great place to visit; no matter what age you are, making it the ideal place for a family getaway. Along with the world-famous cafe and nightlife scene – there are plenty of kid-friendly activities to make it a family holiday to remember.

Here are some of the best Melbourne activities that the whole family can enjoy.

phillip island penguins

Phillip Island Penguin Parade

One of Melbourne’s leading attractions, Phillip Island’s penguin parade, is a scenic two hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD. Many people think that Australia is the last place to find penguins in the wild – but are surprised to find dozens of them living on the beautiful Phillip Island.

The world famous penguin parade, which occurs every day at sunset, attracts thousands of tourists every year. Watch the tiny penguins emerge from their burrows on the beach from a scenic vantage point. It’s a surefire winner with the kids.

There are several tour companies offering day trips down to Phillip Island, or hire a car and head down there yourself. There’s plenty more to see on Phillip Island – so why not spend a few nights there?

shark dive

Melbourne Zoo and Aquarium

Zoos and aquariums are always a hit with kids, and Melbourne’s offerings do not disappoint. Melbourne Zoo is just a short tram ride from the city centre and is home to more than 300 animal species. Modeled on the famous London Zoo and dating back to 1862, the zoo is the oldest in Australia.

If you want to see animals of the underwater kind head to Melbourne Aquarium situated on the beautiful Yarra River in the city centre. A must-see attraction when you’re in Melbourne, the aquarium is the perfect day out for all ages. There are special events throughout the year, and if your kids are old (and brave!) enough, why not take part in a shark dive? Younger kids will enjoy the fish feeding sessions.

Scienceworks

Kids are always fascinated by science and they’ll be blown away by the world-renowned Scienceworks museum in Melbourne. There are a wide variety of hands-on experiences, tours, demonstrations and more that are ideal for children of all ages.

The planetarium is a definite highlight and there are various space-related events held there throughout the year. Check the Scienceworks calendar to see what activities are on when you’re in town.

Puffing Billy

Puffing Billy steam train

Australia’s most famous steam train – Puffing Billy – is the perfect day out for the kids. Take a scenic ride through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges on the century-old train.

For older children there are dining packages where you can enjoy a delicious meal while riding through the ranges on a three-hour adventure.

The historic rail experience is run by dedicated volunteers who help keep Billy puffing along. Trains run regularly, but always check ahead to ensure it is running before you head out there.

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill is easily one of the most unique and memorable attractions in Melbourne. Picture an authentic-looking gold mining town from back in the 1800’s, complete with actors, period costumes and gold mining pans.

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the gold rush days when you enter the open-air museum built on a real gold mining town. Go on an underground guided tour or explore the town on a horse-drawn carriage.

The costumed staff are happy to pose for photos and there’s even an opportunity for you and the kids to dress up in old-fashioned clothes as well. It makes for a great photo to take home to the relatives!

Sovereign Hill is located in Ballarat, about a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne. Tours are available or you can hire a car to get there.