Capital of the southeastern coast, Melbourne is the second most populated city in Australia after Sydney. Also being one of the most diverse and visited cities, Melbourne pulses with vibrancy and energy with its infinite number of festivals, live music events, galleries, dining realm, green spaces and culture. Visiting Melbourne with kids is easily one of the most enjoyable and pleasurable holidays we’ve been to. Running out of things to do has never been an issue; we only wish we had more time to spend there!
Without further ado, we’re pleased to welcome you to the ultimate kid-friendly itinerary for Melbourne! We’ve taken the best places to visit, things to do, things to eat and more to help you see this wonderful city in the best way possible.
Best time to visit Melbourne
Spring (September, October, November)
During spring, the rising temperatures are attractive to tourists, but don’t go above the low 70s. It’s a good time to visit since there aren’t many crowds around main attractions, so going to festivals like The Block Arcade and the National Gallery of Victoria are a pleasure to attend. During this time, accommodation can be found quite easily and the prices are reasonable.
Summer (December, January, February)
Summer is the peak tourist season, and probably the best time to visit. The hot weather implies packing light which is very convenient if travelling with small children. On the other hand, the city tends to get rather full of national and international tourists, so make sure to book your accommodation in advance. Australians are lucky to spend Christmas in the hottest times of the year, so visiting The Christmas festival and the Midsumma Festival will definitely provide unique experiences for the entire family.
Fall (March, April, May)
Fall is also quite a good time to travel to Melbourne with kids. Although the weather is lowering its temperatures, it’s still warm enough to spend most of your time outside. The city’s green areas look beautiful as they slowly turn into gold and red-covered spaces. Melbourne takes advantage of the good weather to plan amazing family-friendly festivals such as the Moomba Festival, The Formula 1, and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Winter (June, July, August)
Winter in Melbourne doesn’t have the weather. It’s the city’s coldest season, which means you’ll probably spend most of your time indoors. Of course, this isn’t a problem if you’re interested in going to museums or participating in more cultural activities. Finding accomodation during this time isn’t very complicated due to the low amount of visiting tourists, so if you’re in for indoor fun, it might be a good option for your family!
Best Areas to Stay in Melbourne
The city center of Melbourne is definitely one of the best places to stay in with the kids. Besides being in the heart of the bustling city, it’s one of the best connected areas for public transport. Although you won’t find the most important attractions here, it’s a great place to get a sense of Melbourne’s local life through their markets, arcades, family friendly restaurants, and hidden gems of the city.
The Melbourne Docklands is a fabulous modern area in the marina. The harbor is the place where locals like to spend time walking, cycling, and admiring the views of the city skyline throughout the day to late at night. Here, you’ll find a world of activities for the family; from arcades, ice-cream parlors, and of course, the Melbourne Star. Families love staying in this area for how well it’s connected to the rest of the city and main attractions, yet is calm enough for children.
Located around 4 miles away from St Kilda is Melbourne’s most popular and loved beach area. St Kilda is taken over by a wave of bohemian energy, and is the go-to area to indulge in a wide range of adrenaline-filled water sports like kite-surfing, surfing, and paddle-boarding. The sunsets here are legendary – full of vibrant colors and music from all the different restaurants and live music venues. St Kilda is home to Luna Park; one of the best attractions for kids in Melbourne which is definitely a must. If you’re looking to go swimming in the ocean, make sure to go to Brighton Beach, it’s waters are much more suitable.
The South Yarra area is famous for its concentration of boutiques, hotels, restaurants and markets. This is quite a good place to stay in Melbourne with kids because there tends to be less tourists around the area, and most of the prices are set for the locals. Here is where you’ll find some of the best places to eat in – residents tend to eat here most of the time, so you can be sure that they have the best recommendations. For kids, it’s quite a nice area to stay in since the buzz and hustle is overcome by more green areas and a casual atmosphere.
How To Get Around Melbourne
To get around Melbourne with kids, the best way is definitely using their tram system. They have multiple routes that cross the city in every direction and to all of the most important areas. It’s also a great way to see the city!
For tourists, hopping on the Free Tram Zone is one of the best ways to get a feel for the city, and start to find yourself around it. To use this tram, you don’t need to use or purchase a myki card – simply hop on! This tram is easy to spot – they’re beautifully restored old trams painted maroon and gold.
Melbourne’s trains are very easy to use, and a great option for when you’re thinking of travelling to more suburban areas of the city. They can also take you around the central business district, but trams are probably better for that.
Taxis in Melbourne are quite easy to catch. Most of them are painted yellow, and they’re free as long as their rooftop lamp is on. However, we only recommend taking a taxi to and from the airport, because the city is a lot easier to navigate with their amazing tram line.
How long to stay in Melbourne
Melbourne has a great deal of things to offer. It really depends on you and your family what you want to see and how much time you want to spend away from home. Most people say that 3 to 7 days in the city are just enough to see the best attractions.
Things To Do With Kids in Melbourne
The Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria
The Royal Botanic Gardens are definitely one of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids. The Gardens are a central element in the conservation and protection of rare plants. Their vision is a healthy planet sustained by plants, a rich landscape for its inhabitants – humans and wildlife included.
Although the garden in itself is enough to keep your kids busy all day, the Ian Potter Children’s Garden takes fun to a whole new level. It’s an amazing interactive play area that educates about pants, water, and Melbourne’s weather. It’s been specially designed to cause intrigue, curiosity, and excitement for the environment and for taking care of it. Make sure to take the time to explore the Ruin Garden, the Plant Tunnel, the Kitchen Garden, and the Meeting Place – the perfect place to cool off in the summer. With over a million visitors a year, you can be sure you’ll have a wonderful time.
Website: Royal Botanic Gardens Address: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 Opening Hours: Daily 7:30 AM - Sunset Cost: Free
ArtCo Trick Art Museum
ArtVo is one of the most unique and peculiar things to do in Melbourne with kids. The name speaks for itself; It’s much more than an art gallery. The point is play tricks on the mind. The objective is to step into a world of fantasy optical illusions where you’re able to see yourself in front of wild animals, epic natural landscapes and scenarios. The scenarios displayed are meant for visitors to take pictures in them, and carry home memories that will last forever. With more than 1400 square meters, 15 artists and 80 artworks to discover, there’s no way you can miss out on the country’ first immersive art gallery. Make sure to check out their website for special family ticket deals for a good price!
Website: ArtCo Trick Art Museum Address: 26 Star Cres, Level 1, District Docklands, Docklands Vic 3008 Cost: Adult $28 Child (2-15 years old) $18 Child (0-4 years old) Free Students/Seniors $25
Enchanted Adventure Garden
If you’re looking for an out of the ordinary outdoor experience, look no further than the Enchanted Adventure Garden. The award-winning natural park is packed with fun, adrenaline-filled activities that will take you by surprise. From getting lost in a hedge maze, playing in giant tube slides, swinging off to ancient woodlands and following a magical tree course, there’s no doubt you’ll find anything more fun. There are courses designed for adults and kids, so the whole family can be sure to enjoy themselves. Enjoy the entire day at the park with a picnic or by getting lunch at the cage. Make sure to check out their tree surfing! Sold separately, but definitely one of the best things there are to do here.
Website: Enchanted Adventure Garden Address: 55 Purves Road, Arthurs Seat, Victoria, 3936 Opening hours: Mon- Fri 10:00 - 5:00 PM Sat - Sun 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
The Australian Center for Moving Images
The Australian Center for Moving Images is one of the most incredible museums in the whole of Melbourne. The museum explores and celebrates Australian history, culture hopes and fears through moving images; film, video games, and other types of digital art. You can expect to see stories about pretty much anything, prepare to be surprised!
The museum has a number of film programs and also has some dedicated to families. We strongly recommend looking into watching one of them during your stay in the city. It’s a wonderful way to discover different perspectives on Australian culture, which can help see the city, and country, in a different way.
Website: Australian Center for Moving Images Address: Fed Square, Melbourne, Australia
If there’s one thing we’re certain about, is that Luna Park will bring nothing but joy and happiness to your kids. Located in St Kilda, Luna Park is a legendary, historic amusement built around the idea of nostalgia. Still standing since 100 years ago, there are hundreds of rides and games to choose from – from carousels, to exhilarating roller coasters that flip you up-side-down. With rides dating back all the way from 1913, it’s a theme park you’ll never forget about. Don’t worry, the technology has been updated since then!
Fun fact! The original Luna Park was built in Coney Island in New York but replaced by a car park. Today, the one in Melbourne is the best-preserved and listed by the Victorian Heritage Register.
Website: Luna Park Address: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182
Visit St. Kilda
St Kilda is a vibrant suburban neighbourhood in Melbourne, 4 miles away from the city center. As you may well expect, St Kilda is best known for Port Phillip; its beautiful beachy shores, palm-lined boardwalk and perfect setting to do some extreme water sports. A range of gorgeous, colorful buildings, restaurants and bars give it its charm. Take your time to discover the area as you like – there’s plenty to do!
Keep in mind that St Kilda Beach is a popular location for many festivals. Make sure to take a look at the city’s schedule for any upcoming events!
Walk Around the Dandenong Ranges
There’s nothing more wonderful than getting lost in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges. Less than an hour away, you’ll find some of the most breathtaking scenery of the forest to indulge in adventure. Walking and hiking through their many trails is a great way to enjoy the wilderness, and see a different side of Melbourne. From its lookouts, you may be able to see the You Yangs and Port Phillip Bay at the same time – we can confirm it’s beyond impressive. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, we recommend going to the Great Dividing Range to see the sunrise – the ultimate natural spectacle!
We recommend staying a couple of nights in one of their accommodations to discover as many gardens, walks, and parks as possible. For example, the Waster Sherbrooke Forest Walk and Gumbuya World are great places to encounter Australia’s most precious wildlife; from koalas to hairy spiders.
Website: Dadengon Ranges
Discover Melbourne’s Street Art
One of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids on a casual afternoon is discovering the street art that livens up the city. Melbourne’s street is scattered all around the city, ready to take you by surprise. Discovering street art is something that children always seem to enjoy. Hunting for the best murals is surprisingly something they find very exciting, and can keep them busy for hours. The streets to spot the best artworks are Croft Alley, AC DC Lane, and Centre Place.
Werribee Open Range Museum
Found just half an hour away from the city is Werribee Open Range Museum. This is one of the most beautiful ways to see the greatest animals in the savannah up close, running freely. From the safari car, you’ll be able to see the biggest gorilla reserve, monkeys, hippos, and even feed giraffes! If you’re looking to take your adventure to the next level, you might want to book an overnight camping experience; the Slumber Safari.
Website: Werribee Open Range Museum Address: K Rd, Werribee South VIC 3030, Australia
Visit the Immigration Museum
If you want to look into some history, visiting the Immigration Museum is one of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids. Through its rich collections and displays, the museum tells stories about identity, citizenship, and community through all kinds of art. The objective of their exhibitions is to promote a sense of interaction, and spark debate on topics that we take for granted today – which we shouldn’t. In our opinion, it’s a beautiful museum with enough activities to keep kids curious and entertained.
Website: The Immigration Museum Address: 400 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Things to Eat in Melbourne
One of the best things to eat in Melbourne with kids is lamb roast. Having been declared Australia’s national dish, there’s no way you can miss out on it! There are many places to eat great lamb roast in the city, but here our favorites are Friends of Mine, Tonka and Cumulus Inc.
Meat Pie is another of Australia’s most popular snacks or easy lunch options. When visiting Melbourne with kids, it’s the perfect kid-friendly meal to go for for a completely fuss free dinner. For us, the best places to eat meat pies in Melbourne are Fatto a Mano, Tony’s Pies, and the Green Refectory. A good idea is to keep these guys as snacks for the kids in case they get hungry – we just hand them out whenever!
Hot Jam Doughnut
Iconic to Melbourne are Hot Jam Doughnuts. They are deep fried in oil, filled with delicious jam and topped with powdered sugar. There’s nothing more authentically Melbourne! Get the best hot jam doughnuts at the legendary American Doughnut Kitchen at the Victoria Market…it’s going to be difficult to find competition up to their standard.
Melbournians love their breakfast avocado toast. Scratch that…everybody loves an avocado toast! The art of avocado toast has been perfected in the many years of being enchanted…you can find amazing ones pretty much anywhere you go. Make sure to get ones with a poached though – they’re always the best.
When visiting Melbourne with kids, you simply cannot miss out on Capricciosa pizza. Although it’s an Italian delicacy, Australians have done a pretty good job at replicating the recipe and making it their own. The toppings include mozzarella cheese, tomato, artichoke, mushrooms, and Italian baked ham. What kid doesn’t love pizza? There’s no doubt they’ll finish it whole.
There you have it! Our complete kid-friendly travel guide for Melbourne. It’s an incredible city with infinite amounts of cultural activities and events to offer. We hope you’re able to get a sense of the energy of the city in the same way we did! Let us know about your time in Melbourne with your family, if there’s anything we’ve missed or any other comments. We always look forward to them!