Sometimes you need to plan for the next school holidays and make sure you don’t spend a lot of money. And that makes sense because free holiday ideas can be as good as things you need to pay for. There are a huge selection of Melbourne school holiday activities and we have done our best to find them all!
We are so mucky in Melbourne that free kids school holiday activities are plentiful! And who doesn’t love a free day out! A cultural museum visit, a family walk and days at the park, these are some of the best things to do in Melbourne without spending a dime. Check out our list of free school holiday ideas that are great family activities in Melbourne.
If you don’t mind spending a little bit of money, check out our comprehensive guide of EVERYTHING happening in Melbourne these school holidays here!
If you are looking for Melbourne school holiday programs and/or vacation care, where you can lave your child for a 1/2 or full day of fun while being cared for, read our Melbourne guide and book your child in now!
1. Discover sailing
Discover Sailing Days are offered at over 30 yacht clubs around Victoria. Check your local one to see when they are offering free Discover Sailing Days. There is no need to bring anything (except perhaps a hat!) as they provide everything you need.
2. Storytime at your local library
From sessions for babies and toddlers, to story times for preschoolers, school holiday programs, homework and after school clubs, there’s plenty for children of all ages at Melbourne Library Service.
3. Fitzroy Gardens
Fitzroy Gardens is one of Melbourne’s most historic and beautiful gardens. The magnificent tree-lined avenues and extensive lawns provide ample opportunity for running. The English-style garden contains a few attractions which are good for kids – a small playground, a model Tudor village, the Fairies tree, Cook’s Cottage and conservatory.
4. Become a Junior Ranger
The Junior Ranger program encourages kids to explore Victoria’s amazing parks with a real park ranger. Junior Rangers can take part in cool activities like rock pool rambles, historic tours and spotlight night walks. They also have the ability to get out and about anytime they like with a range of cool Junior Ranger activities that they can download from the website and complete with their family and friends anytime they like.
5. NGV Ian Potter Centre
The National Gallery of Victoria is a place for everyone and warmly welcomes children, teenagers and families. NGV Kids exhibitions and programs reflect the Gallery’s commitment to providing creative experiences for young people and their families.
6. Serendip Sanctuary
Serendip Sanctuary has been described as a wildlife oasis in the Western Volcanic Plain, with a wide variety of native birds and mammals. The sanctuary is a great venue for families with hands-on activities on offer for kids along with excellent facilities such as smooth tracks for prams, open space for play, free barbecues, picnic tables under shelter and baby changing facilities.
7. McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park
The gallery and grounds at McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery are a wonderful environment for families to explore at all times of the year. Look for birds and insects and if you are really lucky you might spot turtles and echidnas! Make a day of it and enjoy a picnic in the grounds.
8. Edendale Farm in Eltham
Edendale demonstrates farm production to the community with animals such as sheep, dairy goats and chickens, as well as vegetable gardens and orchards of heritage fruit trees. You can participate in self-guided walks around the farm, children’s clipboard activities, explore the native plant nursery, plus you can bring a picnic.
9. Donna Buang Rainforest Gallery and Skywalk
This beautiful site features a 40 metre long observation platform which takes you into the rainforest canopy 15 metres above the ground. A 350 metre long elevated walkway takes you through the Rainforest Gallery where you will see magnificent 65 metre tall old growth Mountain Ash trees, ancient Myrtle Beech trees ferns, mosses and other plants that make up this damp and diverse rainforest environment.
10. Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is a fantastic school holiday activity. We went recently and we got to explore the free museum and memorial, which showcases Australia’s rich military history. We were fascinated by the exhibits and displays that illustrated the stories of those who served and sacrificed for their country. These included the Gallipoli campaign, the First and Second World Wars, and subsequent conflicts. There are also various artworks and sculptures that pay tribute to the sacrifice and bravery of those who served their country.
The highlight of our visit was the observation deck at the top of the Shrine, where we could take in breathtaking 360 views of the city and the Royal Botanic Gardens. That is a photo of my son above. We were thrilled to see Melbourne from such a unique vantage point, and we both learned a lot about the city’s history and geography.
11. Old Treasury Building
Step back in time by visiting the exhibition ‘Growing Up in Old Treasury’, where the Maynard family lived as caretaker of the building during the 1920’s. The Fun Trail is offered as part of the Old Treasury Building experience. Children are encouraged to interact with the history of Melbourne by answering a questionnaire and earning a Gold License!
12. Melbourne Town Hall
Free tours of Melbourne’s historic Town Hall give visitors the chance to learn about the architectural, social and political significance of this impressive 19th century building. Experience the grandeur of the wood-panelled Council Chamber, stand on the portico where the Beatles waved, sit in the Lord Mayor’s chair and view the richly carved Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ, the largest grand romantic organ in the southern hemisphere.
13. St Kilda Penguins
How incredibly lucky that as Melbourne locals we have penguins in our own city! Witness the wonder of a penguin colony at the beautiful St Kilda Breakwater these school holidays. This self-guided experience allows you to watch these incredible creatures as they go about daily penguin life.
14. St Kilda Adventure Playground
Fantastic space for the entire family with lots of stuff for the little ones with the rope slide, swings mini flying fox and sand pit and plenty of lawn. Bigger kids will also have a ball with huge slides, flying fox and the ability to run from one place to another. There is a big ship and plenty more to do. Pack a picnic and spend the day! Click here
15. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Southbank)
The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) is an Australian flagship contemporary art space, and a leading centre for the artistic and wider communities to participate in a critically engaged contemporary art culture that encourages curiosity and transformation. Click here
16. Cranbourne Gardens
Cranbourne Gardens contains one of Victoria’s most precious areas of native bushland. At its heart is the stunning Australian Garden, which showcases the diversity of Australian flora. Rockpool Waterway provides free water play (when there’s enough water) with a rushing stream set against a dramatic steel Escarpment Wall Sculpture. Click here
17. Royal Botanical Gardens
Conveniently located just outside Melbourne City Centre (and easily accessible by public transport) are the stunning Royal Botanical Gardens. Over 175 years old, these gardens offer tours, talks and workshops throughout the year. We loved the Children;s Garden – it is a playground built from nature with a small climbing net and a tree tower. We loved it and think your kids well too!
18. Royal Park Nature Play
Based on natural elements, this park is a wonderful outdoor space for children. With equipment to excite the kids – ropes course, climbing structures and more – as well as a water play area, there is something for kids of all ages.
19. State Library of Victoria
If you want to get the kids excited about visiting a library, remind them that the State Library of Victoria houses Ned Kelly’s armour! The library also has a range of talks, workshops and children’s story time on offer all year round. The Children’s Quarter is our favourite place in the Melbourne CBD.
20. The Queen Victoria Market
This open air market is a wonderland for the senses. Yummy food and smells greet you as you enter this expansive outdoor market. This iconic market has been running for 140 years and is a must see these school holidays. Buy some fresh food and take it home to cook up a storm with your kids. They will be learning about measuring, weighing and timing.. but dont tell them they are learning… ssshhh!
21. RAAF Museum
A visit to the RAAF Museum will ignite the passion for flying in your kids. See aircraft up close and learn about the history of the air force. Open days and flying displays are held throughout the year so make sure you add them to the list!
22. National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria has two locations and lots to offer kids these school holidays. The Gallery is committed to expanding the creativity of children with a range of programs, exhibits and activities all year round.
23. Melbourne Museum
Walk among skeletons, through a living rainforest and marvel at dinosaurs up close all at the Melbourne Museum. For the really little ones (up to 5 years) there is an interactive children’s gallery where you can let them explore and have fun.
ArtPlay is a venue that encourages creativity and self-expression. Workshops and programs are on offer for a range of age groups and it is centrally located in Melbourne City. Insider tip: Allow sometime to play at the playground located beside ArtPlay and the hills to roll down too.
25. City Circle Tram
Did you know?
The trams that run in the inner CBD are 100% free? We rode them around the city centre last time we were in the city and had an absolute blast getting to the places we wanted to se. You can find the map of where the free trams travel to here.
As well the normal free trams, we also loved experiencing the old world charm on this historic Melbourne Tram. It was a fun and easy way to explore Melbourne’s inner city, and it offered us a commentary along the way about Melbourne’s landmarks and history. Free and fun!
If you are looking for a detailed guide including CHEAP things to do in Melbourne for the school holidays then this article about all the best school holiday activities in Melbourne is for you!
5 things to do at home these school holidays
When you just can’t leave the house, these stay at home activities will be crowd pleasers with the kids. Sometimes the best memories are made in your own home.
26. Go on a treasure hunt
Make a list of things you can easily find in your backyard and send the kids out to find them. Make it even more interesting by getting them to draw some things as well.
27. Build a cubby house with sheets
Building a cubby never gets old. Grab some sheets, towels and their favourite toys and make a cubby under the kitchen table.
28. Put on a show
Give the kids a theme and ask them to put on a show. Let them raid your wardrobe for costumes. You might be amazed with what they perform.
29. Do chalk drawing
Take out the coloured chalk and get drawing on the driveway. This is also a great way to meet your neighbours and for the kids to make new friends.
30. Make your own jigsaw puzzle
Ask you kids to do a drawing and then cut it into shapes. Watch them enjoy trying to put it all back together again. Tip: Glue the picture onto cardboard first to give it a solid backing before cutting it out.
Victoria kids holiday ideas
If you’re looking for more things to do in Victoria with kids, click here.
Soooo…. what do you think? Plenty of Melbourne days out ideas here to keep you and the kids entertained for the whole school holidays? These Melbourne holiday ideas are updated every term, so remember to bookmark this page. If you have a teenager, then check out our article about things to do in Melbourne for teenagers that aren’t lame! And we even have ideas for things to do in Melbourne at night with kids, if you need after hours fun!
Let us know if we missed your favourite or if you would like us to add your venue or event!
Even more VIC school holiday ideas:
If you are heading off on a Victorian road trip these school holidays check out our other articles: