When the playgrounds are frosty, the sports fields are muddy, and trips to the beach have been rained out – winter’s here. With the arrival of the chilly season, keeping the children entertained may seem hard, but the family fun doesn’t have to stop just because the sun isn’t shining. We’ve put together a list of ace activities that’ll keep your children in warm spirits this winter, and they’re all within an easy drive of Melbourne.
Bring on Brambuk
Experience Australia’s native flora and fauna as well as Aboriginal culture at Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre. Located in Halls Gap within the gorgeous Grampians, this is the perfect starting point to begin exploring the wildflowers, wildlife and Aboriginal rock art sites of the area. Take in the spectacular views as well as a good cup of coffee from the café while the children wrap their taste buds around some traditional bush tucker. The Brambuk Cultural Centre offers plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture through traditional dance, didgeridoo music, boomerang throwing and painting and basket weaving.
For the ultimate sweet sensation, you can’t go past a visit to Beechworth Honey. Learn the stories behind the company’s 100% Australian honey with a free, self-guided tour. After some sticky stories, take a look at the historical beekeeping artefacts that have been passed down through the generations. An absolute must is sampling the different varieties of delicious honey while watching the bees live in action from a viewing window. If they’re lucky, you might even be able to spot The Queen.
From here, it’s only a short walk to the Bee School, where you can watch a daily cooking demonstration or a bee talk. Sample foods and beverages that are all about bees and honey as well as discovering why bees and pollination are so integral to the future of food.
Just an hour’s drive west of Melbourne is Ballarat where you can discover what life was like in 1850s rural Victoria during the gold rush. Sovereign Hill is a living museum on the site of an old mine where you can step back in time, with in-costume characters that really set the scene. The children can experience Colonial life with activities like gold panning, mine tours, coach rides, and a visit to the delectable old lolly shop. Get a taste of life in a goldfields town, complete with a reimagined main street and horse-pulled coaches.
Closer to Home
Melbourne has plenty to offer for the days when you want an adventure, minus the road trip. The massive Legoland Discovery Centre at Chadstone Shopping Centre is packed with more than 2 million Lego pieces. This place definitely has the ‘wow’ factor with play zones, Lego-themed rides and creative workshops as well as a Miniland Melbourne featuring the city’s landmarks all built with Lego.
Give your children the opportunity to stretch their imaginations at ArtPlay by taking part in unique experiences facilitated by professional artists. With over 300 workshops, events and performances at ArtPlay every year, your child is sure to find inspiration.
Top Travel Tip
On longer drives, listening to podcasts is a great way to keep everyone entertained. Podcasts to put on your playlist include ‘Story Pirates’ where actors, comedians and improvisers act out stories created by children. Another favourite is ‘Short & Curly’ which is designed to get older children thinking about ethical issues, such as ‘Is it okay to fight a bully?’