Melbourne with kids

Family vacation ideas review for Melbourne, with kids.

After spending the good part of a week exploring Melbourne we have come to the conclusion that it is a challenge for families to easily enjoy. Sure there is enough to have a good vacation, but you are up against it if you want to take a family vacation in  a city which is against kids in some ways but entirely for kids in others. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Melbourne with Kids Video

Find out the 10 most fascinating things to do in Melbourne from a kids perspective:

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

Although we didn't quite summon up the courage to visit Sydney yet because of it's size, the reputation Melbourne has as the worlds most livable city inspired us to give it a try instead as we did want to visit at least one big city. Melbourne also has good quality tourist parks close enough to allow you catch trams into the city and we thought these reasons enough to merit a visit. Melbourne is livable, if you are an adult and a business executive, but not if you are a child. As it turns out the formula they use in the magazines that rate the livable cities are highly geared towards business professionals and less towards families.

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While the tourist park was fine, there were many aspects of our Melbourne trip which simply did not add up to a quality family friendly destination choice. The most evident place Melbourne is lacking in it's  family friendly approach is in it's attitude. At first this is not all that evident, but as you spend more time getting around you don't find much kid friendly infrastructure. There were a few exceptions like the botanical gardens which has some good interactive and imaginative features, and the Melbourne Museum is apparently very good, but on the whole you see very little evidence of caring for kids. 

VIDEO: Melbourne Museum $5.8 million play space dedicated to kids

Melbourne Accommodation

Melbourne TripAdvisor reviews including accommodation and things to do is the best place to find accommodation. Click the family friendly tab to find the best options as reviewed by families.

Melbourne Overview

Melbourne Travel GUIDE

Queen Victoria Markets

Queen Victoria Markets with kids.

Some of our activities were: 

  • Visiting the aquarium to see the penguins. The aquarium despite having better reviews than the Sydney one looked a little tired apart from the main attractions.
  • Having a family coffee in the famous alley scene was worthwhile.
  • Roaming the botanical gardens was pleasant.
  • Simply taking a tram into the city each day was enjoyable apart from the already mentioned attitude.
  • Getting lunch and listening to music at Queen Victoria Markets.
  • Checking out the Moomba parade with tens of thousands of others.
  • Visiting scores of parks.
Moomba ParadeMoomba Parade

The Moomba festival at the end of summer is another event which attempts to make the city more family friendly and has a great parade. Thankfully we missed the Moomba fireworks display which was marred by gang violence. Unfortunately we did however catch the main family day out which was impossibly, disturbingly awful because of the noise pollution, and competing food stalls each sell a different variety of $20 hot dogs.

Sea Life Melbourne AquariumSea Life Melbourne Aquarium

In some places like the trams the attitude seem to border on hostility. This hostility may have been because we had elected to bring a stroller into the city with us. Evidently a lot of people found it offensive that we should bring both a stroller and a child together on the tram – even if I piled both of these on my lap without getting in anyone’s way.  One woman stepped our three year-old's foot on the way into the tram without apologising and then immediately preceded to complain about us having a stroller on a tram. As it turns out the stroller was totally necessary for covering the big distances between child friendly attractions. For a quick comparison how about South Bank Brisbane with Ferris wheels, free swimming pools, scores of rides and playgrounds to Melbourne's South Bank complete with concrete and Casino.

I'm not going to say don't visit Melbourne because of our experiences. The beauty of visiting big cities is that you can visit a dozen times and have a completely  different experience on each occasion. On our camping trip to Melbourne there was a large storm on the last day that tore the roof of houses. This was also quite an ordeal for our tent, but somehow it managed to come out of the ordeal fine except for one incident. If only the cat hadn't seen the tent chords in the breeze than perhaps it may not have jumped onto our tent, extended its claws and slid town the side stripping it to pieces. Thank goodness for even more cloth tape.

St Kilda Adventure Park

VIDEO: Melbourne's best kids playground! St Kilda Adventure Park

Melbourne Coffee shopsMelbourne Coffee shops
Queen Victoria MarketsQueen Victoria Markets
Moomba Festival ParadeMoomba Festival Parade