With reasonable airfares, lots of great options for accommodation and plenty of public holidays, we wanted to finish off the year with a bang. So we headed off to Melbourne after Christmas, for the last week of the year and had a great time.
Here are some of the most FUN things to do in Melbourne for the whole family.
Great value entry prices, free kids entry during school holidays and plenty of animals to make the kids happy are certainly only some of the reasons to visit. Bonus for those who are members of Taronga Zoo in Sydney is that entry into Melbourne Zoo is also included in the membership.
The zoo is the only place we visited that is outside of the free tram zone but still very easily accessible by tram. We caught Tram # 55 from William Street (Stop 3) in the city and with the daily cap rates it is great value to get there by public transport.
The size of the zoo seems smaller than Taronga, so it’s perfect for smaller kids that may get too tired walking through the zoo all day. There are still plenty for school-age children to see and we spent a good part of the afternoon there.
The best part was seeing the Elephants and lazing around with the Orang-utans. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the tiger despite patiently waiting for him to appear.
The facilities were clean and conveniently located, there were baby change rooms available and plenty of food options and shady picnic spots to enjoy.
Izzy wrote in her travel journal that ArtVo was “the most fun I’ve had taking pictures” and we couldn’t agree more.
ArtVo is an interactive gallery designed to interact and blend with the viewer. There are over 100 images divided over 6-7 zones and will be sure to excite and entice any family member.
The images have been hand painted by artists with over 40 years experience and between them, an average age of 60 years old. Sadly galleries like these will not be around for much longer.
For each image, there are simple instructions for where the photographer should stand, how to position the camera (landscape or portrait) and whether they should be standing or kneeling. Once inside, you are free to move at any pace you like but I would recommend allowing 1-1.5 hours to move through the gallery.
For best results, be prepared to be a bit silly and have some fun! And do not hesitate to ask assistance from staff. Some of our best and funniest pictures have been those where we asked for suggestions on how to pose with all of us whilst they took the picture.
ArtVo is located in the Docklands area and part of the Old Harbour Town (outdoor) shopping centre. It is the last stop in the Free tram zone on that line so very easy to get to.
Melbourne’s laneways is well renowned and, in my opinion, the main reason it has been referred to as having a ‘European feel’. They are very much like the narrow streets we saw in Rome, Barcelona & Paris. Some are even cobblestoned streets, so it’s easy to imagine the early Australians wondering through them.
There are plenty to see but you can not miss…
One of many approved outdoor location for street art, Hosier Lane is a gritty, urban street that showcases some of the most unique expressions of art in the city.
The ever changing walls means that you can walk down the street every few days and you’re unlikely to see the same thing again. In fact during our stay, we walked passed it several times and we saw new pieces going over old ones.
One thing on this lane that will not change (we hope) is the good food that can be found at Movida on the Flinders Street end of the Lane.
Previously called Coronation Lane, it was re-named after the popular rock band as it was here where they filmed part of their music video for ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top (if you want to rock n roll)’.
The music related street art can also be found here along with a few bars & cafes that are only open in the evening, when all rock and rollers come out to play. This street is also the home to well known Indian restaurant, Tonka and Peruvian restaurant Pastuso.
This crowded lane has that European feel and is filled to the brim with quirky cafes and hidden bars. Here you will surely find a place that will suit whatever you feel like that day. Everything from crepes, juice bars, dumplings, soup kitchens to Tapas bar. It is all there. But not in the evenings, so take note to visit for brunch and lunch only.
At one end of Centre Place is Flinders Lane and with a slight dog-leg left turn you’ll find Degraves Street where there are more eateries. The variety continues here and the dedicated seating areas in the middle of the street is sheltered to allow dining here in any sort of Melbourne weather. These cafes & restaurants are open for dinner and is a great place to enjoy a meal and a glass (or two) before heading back to your hotel.
I’m terrified of heights. And given that the word “sky” appears here it makes me even more nervous.
Nevertheless the views are worth it. (As long as I look out and not down!)
The sky deck is an observation level on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower building. It’s located in the Southbank area, within the free tram zone and will only take a few minutes to get there from any city location. On the other hand, getting 297 metres above the city, onto the observation floor, will only take 38 seconds!
The tower is open until 10pm in the evening – which would be a very different experience in comparison to when we went in the morning. It’s probably also where Melbourne’s unpredictable weather is an advantage and makes it possible to see sunny skies and storm clouds in the same visit.
Unfortunately there was no time for Eddie and Izzy to experience The Edge – a glass cube that hangs over the city! We did however watch the experience of others unfold before us.
Ticket holders stepped into a room with the same view of the observation floor then, to my horror, we watched as the room (i.e. the glass cube) gradually slide out of the building.
Slowly revealing the city beneath them and the sky above and other city buildings beside them.
My knees buckled as Izzy said “Coooool!!!”
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For more information:-
Open daily from 9am to 5pm (animal areas close at 4:30pm)
Cost $32.50 per adult, $16.30 per child
26 Start Cres, Level 1, Harbour Town, Docklands VIC
Single & Family tickets available (Family B – 2 adults 1 child $55)
Open 7 days 10am to 6pm
Cost $46 online for family – additional costs apply to particular experiences
Riverside Quay, Southbank Melbourne
Open 10am to 10pm daily – different on Christmas day & NYE