Family Vacations to Melbourne, Australia

By Jenny Mckelvie
Picture of Melbourne Australia
Rowers scull beneath the Melbourne skyline (Tourism Victoria)

Melbourne, Australia, Travel Tips

  • Melbourne has a busy festival and events calendar, and there is likely to be something happening whenever you visit. Check out the Melbourne tourism association's website for an up-to-date list.
  • Melbourne's weather is more variable than you might think. Summer highs can reach the mid 80s, while winters get down into the 40s.

Melbourne is not at all content with being Australia's second-largest city and tries a bit harder to impress than its big brother to the northeast, Sydney. The most European of Australia's cities, Melbourne has a scale and compact center make it easy to navigate, as do the trams trundling to its great city beaches, high-quality family restaurants, and Victorian architecture.

Unlike some parts of Australia, Melbourne wears its European heritage on its sleeve. The sidewalk cafés and the abundance of European-style parks—the highlight of which are the Royal Botanic Gardens—might have you thinking you're in Austria rather than Australia. Sports are taken very seriously here, and older children will enjoy watching cricket, tennis, or football (of the Australian Rules variety) in some of the most impressive stadiums in the world.

The Melbourne Zoo houses overseas animals such as elephants and giraffes, but it also offers visiting children the chance to meet homegrown creatures like kangaroos, wombats, and koalas. Scienceworks is a great option when wet weather strikes, with a planetarium opening up the heavens and the Lightning Room sure to change the way young ones think about electricity.

And be sure to get out of Melbourne as well, as there are loads of good day trips nearby. Just a short tram ride from the center of the city lies the seaside suburb of St. Kilda, where in-line skaters ease along the beachfront and seafood restaurants vie for customers. Luna Park in St. Kilda has a variety of theme-park rides for kids, parents, and unaffiliated roller-coaster addicts.

Ninety minutes south of the city, Phillip Island hosts the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, where hundreds of little penguins emerge from the sea to rest on Summerland Beach. It would seem in Australia, even the wildlife takes the occasional family beach vacation.

Published: 29 Apr 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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