Our weekend in Melbourne with the children
We have just returned from a weekend in Melbourne with our daughters (aged 7 and 4) so I thought I’d share some of our experiences/recommendations.
Our journey was the inland route via Horsham and Ballarat, and the journey time (each way) was approx 9 hours.
We left on Friday morning and made good time across the border. For reference, the max speed limit in Victoria is 100 and almost as soon as we crossed the border, we felt the presence of the traffic police - mostly in unmarked cars, parked at the roadside.
We stopped at Horsham for lunch - this was of particular interest to us, as we come from Horsham in the UK! There is a nice playground with picnic tables – and it gave the girls a chance to stretch their legs before getting back in the car.
Unfortunately we hit Melbourne at rush hour on Friday evening – but even then we were not stationary for long. We followed directions taken from Google maps round Lakeside Drive and down to St. Kilda – which was our eventual destination. St. Kilda is a great place to stay – not only can you get a tram into the city (journey time of approx 15 minutes) but you also have lots of bars and restaurants, Luna Park – and the beach – on your doorstop.
We stayed at the inexpensive Bayside Motel (http://www.easystay.com.au/), which is located above a parade of shops/restaurants on Fitzroy Street. The motel has a secure car park round the back and the rooms are basic – but clean. I would highly recommend requesting a room at the back of the motel. The front rooms face onto Fitzroy Street – which is incredibly busy and very noisy at night. When we visit again, we will spend a little more money to stay somewhere a little quieter – still in St. Kilda though – it’s a great location.
On the Friday evening, we had dinner at Amigos, a Mexican restaurant on Acland Street - about 15 mins walk from the motel. Unfortunately there is no children’s menu – but the girls had a huge plate of nachos with chicken – so they were happy.
On Saturday morning, we bought day passes for the tram ($21 for a family of 4) and went exploring Melbourne. The city is much larger than Adelaide and is very cosmopolitan. We started at Federation Square – home to some very new looking buildings with funky architecture, and located near to the river Yarra. We walked along the river a short way and found a playground to keep the girls occupied. We then walked up Swanston Street and took a ride around Melbourne in a horse and carriage. It was costly ($60 for 20 mins) – but the girls loved it – especially my elder daughter, who got to ride up front. There are various different areas for shopping – we walked along Bourke Street Mall – home to Myer and David Jones department stores - to name but a few.
We had originally planned a visit to the Aquarium – but the entrance fee of $85.00 (for a family of 4) was a little too expensive for us, so we gave it a miss. Instead we walked along the Southbank Promenade – which is home to cafes, bars and restaurants and placated the girls with ice cream from Trampoline (similar to Wendys).
We got the tram back to St. Kilda and had dinner at Greasy Joes bar and grill (I think it was on the Esplanade – in any case it was only 10 mins walk from the motel) – which did have a good children’s menu. I would definitely recommend it for families. After dinner, we went to Luna Park – which has rides and attractions to suit all ages.
On Sunday we drove to Melbourne Zoo. You don’t actually need to drive in Melbourne at all - public transport is plentiful and covers the majority of the city. However if you do intend to drive – you need to be aware of the ‘hook turn’- info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook_turn
We’re both used to driving in London – but we found Melbourne’s inner city road system really confusing – we’ll stick to public transport in future.
The entrance fee for the zoo is $54 for a family of 4 – which we felt provided excellent value for money for the wide range of animals available to visit – giraffes, elephants, gorillas, apes, orang-u-tans – to name but a few. It’s definitely worth a visit.
We left Melbourne on Monday morning – again in the rush hour! Having taken a wrong turn - we found ourselves driving around Lakeside Drive - the road used for the Formula 1 race track! – we eventually emerged out of Melbourne, glad to be leaving the traffic behind. We returned to Adelaide via the same inland route – stopping briefly at Dadswell to visit the Giant Koala (bronze statue) and having lunch at Nhill (again at a playground with picnic tables).
We really enjoyed our visit to Melbourne – and will definitely be returning for a future visit.
Just a quick note to say i really enjoyed your post it had lots of good tips and thanks for taking the time to post it xx Fiona
Sounds like you really enjoyed it!
We go once a year for business and love visiting the "big city"
We stay just on the other side of Southbank and the river.
Know what you mean about hitting the traffic on Friday teatime - same happened to us!
St Kilda is a great trip out on the tram - similar in a way to Glenelg if you know what I mean.
Last time we flew over on a cheapie and came back on the Overlander train.10 hours but worth doing it a different way - we managed to land a special - $29 each!!!
Normally $89 which I still think is really reasonable - mind you we spent the saving in the drinks carriage (hic).
Good to come back "home " to Adelaide though!:D:D