Family fun shouldn’t cost a thing, so we bring you our pick of the free things to do in Victoria and a few ideas that don’t cost the earth.
Free Things to do in Victoria
Victoria is blessed with free galleries from Melbourne to Mildura, all of which are family-friendly and fun. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne has workshops, interactive exhibitions and dedicated children’s spaces. The Heide Museum in Bulleen has free entry for children and also has an art detective treasure hunt around the gallery and sculpture park.
Squeaky Beach is located at Wilsons Promontory just before Tidal River. The surf is great and there are plenty of spots to set up camp for the day. The rounded grains of sand really do squeak as you stroll along and there are plenty of great walks that end at Squeaky Beach.
The Art of Play
Hiding in plain sight at Birrarung Marr, on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD is Artplay. Artplay is designed to involve children in all types of art. From performances and interactive workshops to the Artclub for children aged 7-12. Almost all of the Artplay activities are free and there is plenty to suit all ages.
Tower Hill near Warrnambool is a massive volcanic feature with an ancient crater. Explore this volcanic feature by taking one of the five self-guided walks. Each has a different theme. Enjoy a picnic, spot some local wildlife and learn about the Aboriginal heritage of the area at the Worn Gundidj Visitor Centre.
The National Rhododendron Gardens in the Dandenongs is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Spring is a special time when the 280,000 trees and shrubs are in full bloom and in autumn when the shrubs seem to magically turn red all at once. Bring a picnic to eat at the lake lookout.
Out of the Ashes
Marysville is rebuilding itself after the 2009 bushfires. Walk to the towering Steavenson Falls or take a hike in the Cathedral Ranges State Park before heading back to town for a meal at one of the cute bakeries or restaurants.
The Children’s garden in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Garden is a place the whole family can spend a few hours. Learn about growing veggies in the Kitchen Garden, do arts and crafts with items from around the garden, play in the Wetland Area and visit the famous Magic Pudding sculpture.
Affordable Things to do in Victoria
When you’ve done all the free Victoria things to do, there are still some great things to do in Victoria on a budget. These activities might not be free, but they break the bank.
Accessible only by boat, Herring Island in the Yarra River is just 3km from the city. The park is a haven for nature and art lovers alike. Environmental sculptures made from natural materials reflect the island’s tranquil setting. Enjoy a barbeque, walk the Sculpture Trail, visit the gallery or see a huge array of Australian flora and fauna. The punt to the Island runs on weekends and certain public holiday. The cost is $2 per person, $5 per family, pensioners and children under 12 years old are free.
Phillip Island gets all the tourist credit, but just before the bridge, there is San Remo which is a winner as well.
See Pelicans being fed at noon, watch fishing boats return at sunset or do the George Bass Coastal Walk and then spend the evening with the catch of the day at the Fisherman’s Cooperative.
Higher and Higher
Sky High is located right at the top of the Dandenongs and is more than a great view. It’s $6 for all-day parking while you stare out over Melbourne, navigate the maze, take a bushwalk, and then refuel at the cafe right at the top.
Collingwood Children’s Farm is exciting – try milking the cows, cuddling baby guinea pigs or walk around the farm. It’s $20 for a family and it also boasts a great cafe.
For a daily membership fee of $43.00 you can receive unlimited rides for under 30 minutes for 24 hours with Melbourne Bike Share. So grab a helmet and switch your bike every half hour at Bike Share Stations around Melbourne.