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Winter school holiday activities in Melbourne

Wondering what to do with your crew when school’s out? We’ve got you covered

When you're done, check out our round up of the best kid-friendly cafés to make sure everyone's adequately fed. Then, perhaps for the sake of your own sanity, round it out with a quick bevvie at one of Melbourne's family-friendly pubs.

A Maze'N Things

Phillip Island is home to a lot of amazing things, including the adventure park that is aptly named A Maze’N Things. Full of family fun, there is maxi-golf, mazes and playgrounds. Puzzle Island is where you want to head if you’re up for getting lost in the mirror maze or taking a spin in the rotating room. The Illusion Rooms are designed to confuse you, where you can be shrunk, lose gravity and even disappear.

What's in it for you?
Phillip Island has a great locavore scene, which gives you the perfect excuse to check out one of the beachside restaurants.

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Cowes

Adventure Park

Adventure Park is the place to go when you want some waterside fun. There are plenty of waterslides, kids rides or family activities such as go-karting or mini-golf. Up for a scare? Try the Wild West Canyon, where the water slide takes you through a dark tunnel and you perform two, 360 degrees spins. Feel like chilling out? Get onto the Lazy River where you simply sit back in an inflatable ring and idly float down the tropical themed river.

What's in it for you?
There are quite a few day spas dotted around old Geelong town, so give yourself time to indulge in a well earned massage or treatment.

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Enchanted Adventure Garden

Like a fairy-tale book come to life, the Enchanted Maze Garden is a magical bush land with surprises lurking past every corner. Your tackers will want to leg it straight to the mazes, of which there are plenty along with every other unimaginable, garden-y delight. Also check out the tube slides and indoor maze. When you're done oohing and ahhing, trail trance-like after the miniature toy train (each carriage stuffed with lollies) and then wind up at the Amazing Lolly Shop. Willy Wonka eat your heart out!

What's in it for you?
Arthur’s Seat is home to some great wineries, so treat yo'self to a few cellar door takeaways. You've earned it.

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Arthurs Seat

KidsTown

KidsTown is an adventure beckoning from the bush. Packed full of different playgrounds, a maze and an amphitheatre, this is a place to have some serious fun. The tree houses are perfect to play some good old-fashioned hide and seek and the flying fox is set to get hearts racing. Be sure to get your kids to ride the miniature train that travels around the entire park. Our favourite, though, is the giant slide because even us big kids can have a go of that.

What's in it for you?
After the kids have tired themselves out head to the Shepparton Art Museum, which is renowned for exhibiting contemporary Australian art.

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Tiger Moth World

Tiger Moth World is an adventure park built to entertain the whole family. Get your legs pumping by getting on a paddleboat and gliding across the river, or stick to land and get lost in one of the mazes. Climb aboard the pirate ship, ride one of the bikes around the big grounds or take flight on the flying fox. There is a museum dedicated to the Tiger Moth plane, and if you are feeling particularly brave.

What's in it for you?
Your ulterior motive for coming here, of course, is to book yourself in for one of the biplane flights. But with loops, barrell rolls and plummets on the menu, they're not for the fainthearted.

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Torquay

Go West Eatery and Tuckshop

Jason M Jones’s Rockbank café Go West is L-shaped and spacious – handy for steering prams. The kid-friendly menu (ranging from $5 for simple pastries to $22 for the parma) features the ‘cheesy toast’ with béchamel sauce and substantial lunches (macaroni cheese, lamb gnocchi) – this is comfort food poshed up and done well. There's an awesome adventure playground nearby as part of the Woodlea housing estate, but don't dash off before you pick up a housemade musk stick for the drive home. 

Kid’s comment: “Mum, can I eat those pink sticks for breakfast tomorrow?”

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Melbourne

Birdie Num Nums

An old favourite in the North. The shady courtyard is fabulous for eating in on those bright Melbourne mornings. There’s plenty of room for the kids to roam and on weekdays the courtyard is almost a mum-bub exclusive zone. The sand pit is perfect for playing in and is replete with lots of plastic toys for the kids to manhandle. The kids’ menu is reasonable and the ham and cheese toasty fingers are perfect for little hands. For the grown-ups, the food is tasty café fare.

Kid’s comment: “A café with an outdoor space means I get to move around. Yay!”

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Carlton North

Smith & Deli

Smith & Deli brings a less than authentic yet no less delicious vegan Jewish deli to a Fitzroy side street. The sister venue to Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse's Latin-inspired restaurant Smith & Daughters, there are plenty of kid-friendly sandwiches and toasties on offer to takeaway for lunches at the park. Smith & Deli’s take on the classic ham, cheese and tomato toastie that’s so buttery and cheesy, you’ll forget it’s vegan. Bagels, which can come with a schmear of flavoured cream cheese, are made fresh in house. 

Kid’s comment: “How do soy beans make milk?”

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Fitzroy

The Farm Café

The name may conjure up visions of babies sprouting from giant pea pods, or of some unsavoury sweatshop affair, but we checked, and found that the Children’s Farm is 100 per cent science fiction and cruelty free. It never ceases to amaze us that a mere hopscotch throw away from Abbotsford Convent, you can be suddenly in the countryside facing off with a pig called Typhoon. The café doesn’t boast a huge menu, but what they do have gets a million brownie points for using produce they can reach from the kitchen door, and for actually being seasonal, rather than just hijacking this catch phrase du jour.

Kid’s comment: “That chicken tried to eat my sausage roll!”

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Abbotsford

Cowderoys Dairy

OK, so the inside can be packed out but there’s a good reason for this. If you can get a seat the food is delicious: dippy eggs in individual serving trays are a winner for adults and kids alike. If you’re struggling to sit down or you’re only here for coffee and cake, then this venue is next door to a council play area. You can let the kids have some play without you standing next over them, while keeping an eye on them from the outdoor balcony. Or the hoop-swing fits an adult bottom. Just saying…

Kid’s comment: “Tons of things to play on keeps me interested, and there’s soft stuff to fall on to stop Mum panicking.”

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St Kilda West

Happy River Café

Perfect for a big family get together. The wide-open grass at the front, complete with blankets and rugs makes for a lovely, lazy feel. It provides the best bit of picnics (lying down, getting crumbs everywhere) with café service, meaning you don’t need to worry about washing up. Plus the yummy food and fresh cakes served by watchful staff mean you don’t need to leave the blanket!

Kid’s comment: “The best bit? The tree on the grass out front is climbable!”

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Footscray

Motorinos

This is a very family-friendly restaurant and it means there’s somewhere to eat good Italian, with the kids, in the evening. Open from 5pm onwards you can get your brood into restaurant dining practice knowing that the other patrons won’t want to kill you, or your kids. The menu caters for all tastes and sizes of appetites. But the star turn is that the staff bring dough to the table so the kids can make their own pudding pizza. It miraculously returns to the table cooked and covered in chocolate for dessert.

Kid’s comment: “Where else do I get to play with my food and everyone’s happy about it?”

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South Kingsville

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