The Best Family-Friendly Activities in Melbourne

Melbourne is great for arts and culture lovers but did you know it's also a great destination for families? We give you the best things to do in Melbourne with family. 

Mother and daughter on carousel ride

4min read

Published 12 June 2023


Melbourne is great for arts and culture lovers but did you know it's also a great destination for families? We give you the best things to do in Melbourne with family. 

Melbourne is the vibrant and celebrated heart of creative culture in Australia. It’s easy to see why it has been ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities, as it has a prominent arts and entertainment scene, and is renowned for its dynamic food culture. It’s a very family-friendly destination with something for kids of all ages. Whether you want to take the kids to see penguins on Phillip Island, go on thrill rides at Luna Park or visit one of several museums or art galleries, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities in Melbourne. Here’s a selection of some of our favourites for when you’re booking your next Melbourne family holiday. 

1. Philip Island Penguin Parade and Koala Highlights Tour

 Located on Victoria’s South Coast, Phillip Island is one of the popular and must-watch tourist attractions in Victoria, known for its natural beauty, sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and unique wildlife experiences.

There are several tours that transport you by coach to this natural wonder where you can begin your day at a Koala Reserve to meet some furry Australian favourites. Wander tree-top boardwalks to watch koalas up close in their natural habitat.  

Philip Island is also home to a colony of around 32,000 Little Penguins, the largest Little Penguin colony in the world.

The Penguin Parade is something to behold as you watch the colony of Little Penguins cross the shoreline from the ocean into their burrows any night of the year from viewing platforms and boardwalks.

It’s an experience that’s loved by children but there’s limited capacity, so bookings are encouraged especially during school holidays. 

2. Melbourne Highlights Cruise

For the best views of Melbourne City, you need to get in the river. River cruises have broad appeal that will entertain kids of all ages.

Melbourne River Cruises offers a two-hour highlights cruise where you meander past Melbourne CBD and discover one of the busiest trading ports in the Southern Hemisphere. Victoria Docks will give you a snapshot of Melbourne’s rich maritime heritage.  

You then depart the city’s cultural arts precinct and cruise through Melbourne’s picturesque gardens, parkland and some of Melbourne’s famous sporting arenas.

Passing various notable landmarks and attractions, it’s a good learning opportunity for kids with the captain providing informative and interesting commentary along the way, allowing children to learn fascinating facts about the city.

There are also sunset and dinner cruise options for something a little bit different. 

3. Melbourne Museum

Visiting Melbourne Museum gives families an insight into the life and history of the region.

Consisting of permanent collections as well as temporary exhibitions from near and far, this museum is a celebration of Melbourne’s vibrant arts and culture scene as well as its natural environment and history.  

Highlights include the Forest Gallery, the focal point of the museum that’s home to tall trees and wondrous wildlife.

For animal lovers they can see the Science and Life Gallery at the west end, where you'll find bugs, dinosaurs, fossils, animals, human biology and more.

To learn about the history of the city, you can visit the Melbourne Gallery, which tells the story of the origins of the city and is the stable of famous racehorse Phar Lap. 

The Children’s Gallery is a wondrous place for babies to 5-year-olds to explore, play and learn. There is even a 'camouflage disco' where children will turn into spotty and stripy disco dancing animals.

And there’s also an IMAX cinema in the museum to watch the latest blockbusters or documentaries! 

4. St Kilda and Luna Park

St Kilda is an inner seaside suburb in Melbourne, where the locals go to play. It’s the perfect place for parents to kick up their heels, while the kids can run around by the seashore. 

Along the pretty foreshore, join locals who walk, cycle and skate under the palms. Sail, windsurf, kitesurf or kiteboard out on the glittering bay. Also keep an eye out for Little Penguins at the St Kilda Breakwater. 

Luna Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Mr Moon

The famous Mr Mouse entrance at Luna Park. Image credit: Getty Images

Luna Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Mr Moon

The famous Mr Mouse entrance at Luna Park. Image credit: Getty Images

Luna Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Mr Moon

The famous Mr Mouse entrance at Luna Park. Image credit: Getty Images

The big attraction at St Kilda is Luna Park. This historic amusement park has been entertaining families since 1912 and continues to do so. Step through the famous Mr Moon mouth to soak up the carnival atmosphere and rides.

They include the Great Scenic Railway that has spectacular views of the city and stunning Port Phillip Bay.

Try out your skill at the dodgems, enter the Ghost Train if you dare, or simply get spinning, zooming, twirling and shrieking on the many rides and attractions with an Unlimited Ride Ticket. 

5. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

A site that would rival New York’s Central Park is Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Extending over 38 hectares, these gardens host a collection of more than 8,500 species of plants from around the world. It is a picturesque haven for recreation and an important resource for education, conservation, science and horticulture.

Set your young ones on an adventure exploring the wondrous scenery, plants and creatures with free Seek and Find Nature Cards that you can pick up at the Visitor Centre, as they search for all things big and small. 

Also, just under an hour from Melbourne is Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, which offers a natural bushland experience alongside the Australian Garden, an award-winning, contemporary botanic garden celebrating the beauty and diversity of Australian landscapes and flora and featuring over 100,000 plants from 1,900 plant varieties.  

There is a range of visitor programs, as well as self-guided walks available throughout the year.

6. Melbourne Skydeck

Experience Melbourne on a whole other level at Melbourne’s Skydeck. Featuring the Southern Hemisphere’s highest observation deck, Melbourne Skydeck captures everything that is special about Melbourne and beyond.  

Push the boundaries of thrill-seeking when you step into the Edge. A world-first, the Edge suspends daring guests in a transparent glass cube that projects out from Melbourne Skydeck, leaving them suspended nearly 300 metres above the streets of Melbourne.

The virtual reality (VR) Plank Experience is so compelling it convinces even the bravest contenders they’re balancing on a narrow plank at dizzying heights above Melbourne.

Or visit The Melbourne Skydeck Voyager™ Theatre, which features 24 award-winning 6-D pod chairs that take guests on an immersive journey of discovery through 16 iconic Melbourne experiences. 

For the parents that can treat themselves to some alone time, one level up on the very top floor is Eureka 89. Here, diners can choose from curated chef tasting menus, while taking in the spectacular views of Melbourne and beyond. 

7. Adventure Park Geelong

Leave the city and drive 90 minutes south to Victoria’s biggest water theme park, Adventure Park Geelong. This is the place to go to for family fun with plenty of waterslides, kids rides and family activities.

Open seasonally for summer and winter school holidays, the winter season in June-July will be a Winter Wonderland. 

Build a snowman in the Snow Play Zone with realistic snow. Roast marshmallows over the roaring open fire and warm up with hot chocolates. See live ice-sculpting and fire-twirling displays plus millions of dazzling lights and hundreds of glittering installations all over the park. 

If you’re visiting in the summer, make a gigantic splash on Victoria's coolest waterslides and rides, such as the Tsunami and Tornado waterslides.

The Air Balloons ride, which will take riders high up over the park or take a spin on the Crazy Coaster and Red Baron rides. 

For the littler kids, there’s the Tiny Tots Splashzone, a coral reef themed waterplay oasis that will keep them entertained for ages. 

8. Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market is an authentic, bustling, inner-city market that has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for 140 years. Home to over 600 small businesses, it is a great place to discover fresh and specialty produce, hand-made and unique products, great coffee and food, souvenirs and clothing. 

It’s a great outing for the family as not only is there fresh food for even the pickiest eaters, but also friendly chats with the traders and a vibrant and multicultural atmosphere. 
Queen Victoria Market is also home to the Night Market on Wednesday nights, showcasing global street food, live music and entertainment, festival bars, specialty shopping and a great Melbourne night out.

These are all just some of the many activities, attractions and features to this exciting city. Creativity, fun and adventure run rampant in Melbourne, with many more to see and do that will cater to families of all ages.

Talk to your Flight Centre Travel Expert to help tailor a Melbourne itinerary that will suit your family’s wants and needs, as you experience the world-class city of Melbourne or check out our Melbourne holidays here.

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