The vibrant city of Melbourne is one of the most popular cities in Australia for tourists, backpackers and even locals alike. As one of the “Most Livable Cities in the World”, it is not hard to see why so many are drawn to its bustling, bewitching streets. And the best part? There are plenty of things to do with kids in Melbourne.
Despite its towering buildings and busy sidewalks, Melbourne is actually famous for how comfortable and welcoming it is as a city. It is the perfect place for a family holiday, safe and secure, with plenty of activities for both kids and adults.
To help you plan your family holiday to Melbourne, this is a list of the best activities in Melbourne for kids, most of which as absolutely FREE.
Things to Do with Kids in Melbourne
Have a Beach Day at the Brighton Beach Huts
South of the city center lies the beautiful suburbian region of Brighton. It is in this beachside town that you will find the famous Brighton Beach Boxes, one of Melbourne’s most Instagrammable locations.
The long, sandy beach of Brighton hosts a huge collection of over 80 colorful beach boxes. These boxes are all privately owned, with some costing in excess of $300k AUD. It is, however, completely free to come and enjoy the rainbow of colors and patterns that they bring to the beachside escape.
Pack up for the day and head south from the city to this beachside suburb for a day out on the beach that the kids will love. Swimming in the sea, as well as other water activities such as windsurfing and paddleboarding, are all hugely popular here in Brighton.
Once you have finished at the beach, the town center is only a short walk away and is packed full of quirky cafes and delicious restaurants and bars to finish off the day.
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Discover the St Kilda Pier Penguin Parade
Every night, as the sun sets over the buzzing district of St Kilda, the colony of penguins that call Melbourne home make their way back to shore. It is here that you can watch in amazement at the daily procession of fairy penguins as they make their way back onto the shore.
This spectacular show of nature tends to begin roughly 30-minutes after the sun has dipped below the horizon. The best place to view the penguins can be found at the very end of the pier, behind the small restaurant that overlooks the harbor.
In order to get the best view of the penguin parade, however, it is advised that you arrive in time for sunset, as the crowds quickly gather.
The best time of year to visit the penguins is either Spring or Autumn when the weather is better and the sunset is earlier. Spend the afternoon in the suburb of St Kilda, with a visit to the small theme park Luna Park, followed by dinner at one of the many delicious restaurants on offer.
From here, the pier is just a short walk away and the penguin parade is guaranteed to be a highlight of your trip to Melbourne.
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Marvel at the Street Art Tour of Melbourne
The central area of Melbourne is home to one of the most famous collections of street art in the world. The city was actually named the “Stencil Capital of the World” in the early 2000’s due to the huge number of stencil artworks the alleyways of the Central Business District had to show.
Since then, the canvas of the city has proved ever-changing and ever-growing, with new murals and stencils cropping up all across the CBD.
There are mixed views on street art across the world, with some saying it is simply “mindless vandalism” and others viewing it as a necessity of urban life. One thing that can’t be argued, however, is how many colors the murals of Melbourne bring to the city, brightening up the darkest alleys and forming the beautiful Melbourne Mural Trail.
In order to view the many murals spread throughout the city, you can either take a paid tour of Melbourne’s street art or simply walk the route yourself for free. If you do plan on walking the route of Melbourne’s CBD, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes and taking your time.
The route will take you about 1-hour to complete, plus any time you wish to spend admiring the artwork.
Enjoy a Picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens
One of the many reasons why Melbourne has consistently been voted one of the most livable cities in the world is the huge number of green spaces throughout the city. One of the largest of these is the Royal Botanical Gardens of Victoria, a lush, vibrant green space with flora from all across the globe.
On a sunny, Melbourne day, these gardens are the perfect place to wander through the trees, play in the huge gardens and relax in the summer sun. Pack up a picnic and bring it to the park to enjoy in the open space of the botanical gardens. It is one of the best things to do with kids in Melbourne. With penty of space to run around and enjoy nature the kids will have a blast.
Dine Out at the Victoria Markets
In the northern area of the city center lies the buzzing Victoria Markets. These are Melbourne’s largest collection of street markets and are the best place to go for the delicious street food that Melbourne has to offer.
The markets are very easy to reach from the city center as they are within the Melbourne Free Tram network. Simply jump on a tram at Flinders station and ride it north along Elizabeth Street to the Victoria Markets.
From sweet to savory these markets have all kinds of food that is guaranteed to leave your mouth watering. Taste the highly popular potato spirals and wash it down with the popcorn or candy floss on sale. When it comes to food the Victoria Markets are one of the best things to do with kids in Melbourne.
Once your belly is full of goodness, take a wander through the market stalls and browse the tourist trinkets and quirky clothing on offer. If you are looking for a place to buy yourself a souvenir from Melbourne then this is the place for you.
Relax with the Free Music at the Sidney Myers Bowl
Throughout the late-summer month of February, the Melbourne night comes to life with music, laughter and good times around the Sidney Myers Music Bowl. For over 50-years, this music bowl has been the venue of free weekly orchestral music shows that draws residents from all over Melbourne.
Pack a picnic, a bottle of wine, and a blanket for this theatrical show of musical excellence, entry to which is completely FREE. We recommend you arrive early for the best seats and relax beneath the warm evening sky as the sky turns pink and the atmosphere buzzes with conversation and laughter.
Watch the Australian Open Qualifiers
Every year, Melbourne hosts one of the largest tennis tournaments in the world, the Australian Open. This worldwide sporting event hosts the world’s top tennis players, extraordinary athletes who have spent decades honing and practicing their skills.
Throughout the first weeks of the Open, it is possible to watch world-class tennis matches completely free of charge. The qualifying rounds for the final matches are held throughout the day and entry to watch is free.
From the new, up-and-coming tennis players to the historic champions, all of these world-class athletes compete in front of the Melbourne crowds for a chance to play in the finals. If you are into your sports then this is a free Melbourne activity you do not want to miss.
Go to an AFL Aussie-rules Football Game
No trip to “the Sports Capital of Australia” is complete without a night in one of the many Football Ovals in the city, watching a game of Australian Football. Known nationally as AFL, this traditionally Australian game is the ultimate combination of fitness, coordination and brute force.
Aussie-rules football combines sports such as rugby, football, and netball to produce an adrenaline-packed 80-minutes. Although the rules may seem quite perplexing to begin with, it does not take long for new spectators to choose their team and get involved in the buzzing atmosphere that accompanies the game.
During the start of AFL season, there are a number of discounted and even FREE games on offer as the teams begin to warm up for the season. This tends to be during the Autumn and Winter months, once the cricket season is finished.
Melbourne is a city like no other, a backpacker honey-trap that pulls you in and refuses to let you go. The city is a colorful collage of cultures, showcasing foods, sports and artwork from all over the world. This melting pot of culture ensures that no matter where you are from, you will feel at home especially since there are plenty of things to do with kids in Melbourne.
With so many free and cheap activities to do around the city, it is the perfect place to spend time with kids, as you will never find yourself short of things to do. If you are heading to Australia with children and are looking for the best place to visit, Melbourne might just be the place for you!
Gemma and Campbell are two Scots on the run from a 9-5 lifestyle.
After years of planning, they finally quit their jobs and set out to find their place in this beautiful world.
Currently in Australia, they are living in a camper van and touring the epic Australian coastlines, which shows just how much they love adventure travel. They love promoting this kind of travel to their fellow wanderlusters on their blog highlands2hammocks.co.uk.