30+ of the Best School Holiday Activities in Melbourne
Updated 8 January 2023
Our 30+ Melbourne school activity activities cover indoors, outdoors, underwater and everything else, with free and value-focused fun things for kids aged 3 or 4 to 12 to 13.
- Take the stress out of the school holidays with our guide to over 40 activities that will keep you busy for the entire December and January break. We’ve ordered them by activity so you can shortlist what’s close to (and what the kids would like to do) quickly.
- Many of the ideas we suggest are either free or inexpensive, so you can have fun without breaking the bank. Family passes are offered widely, decreasing the cost. What’s on offer for kids is, arguably, fantastic, and a definite benefit of living in Melbourne.
- If you want to save even more, consider purchasing annual passes for certain attractions. These passes often pay for themselves after just a few visits, so your kids can enjoy themselves as often as you allow.
- This is the first edition of this guide, please contact us if you would like to have a suggestion included – our team would love to hear from you.
Bus Tour of Melbourne
Melbourne is a city that oozes history combined with modern influences, so a guided tour of this dynamic city would be a good way for school-aged children to learn about the world around them. The bus tours visit significant landmarks in the CBD and outskirts, enlightening students about Melbourne’s past, from its formation as a British colony until today. The tour culminates with a trip to the Eureka Skydeck, where students can get amazing city views.
During the tour, there are a few stops where students can get down and see things up close. This is an excellent opportunity for children to quiz the guide about what they have seen, which will add to their knowledge of the city’s history.
In addition, the bus tour offers a chance for students to see parts of the city that most people would not usually visit. For example, students can look for areas such as Chinatown and the Collingwood housing commission estate, which they don’t experience in their usual day-to-day activities.
Visit an Art Museum
Many fantastic art museums in Melbourne offer entry fees that are half the price or even lower during school holidays. Many of these art museums are known for their permanent collections, featuring prominent international and Victorian-based Australian artists. Of course, most kids enjoy looking at paintings and other works of art, but what is great about taking them to an art museum is that they learn more about how certain paintings were made and why they ‘work’ or not.
- National Gallery of Victoria – The National Gallery of Victoria has a renowned Indigenous, colonial, and contemporary Australian art collection. In addition, the gallery has been instrumental in promoting Australian artists to the rest of the world.
- The Ian Potter Centre – In addition to the permanent collection that features works from famous artists such as Paul Cézanne, Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, the Ian Potter Centre has a program of temporary exhibitions that changes every year.
- ArtVo – ArtVo is Australia’s first immersive, 3D ‘trick-art’ gallery. The interactive features in this gallery aim to engage children while allowing them a lot of fun. Apart from paintings and photographs, students can also jump inside a giant kaleidoscope or take a selfie inside a big board game.
Storytelling at a Local Library
This activity is perfect for kids who love stories and stimulating their imaginations. Most public libraries have story time sessions during school holidays, where children can listen to various stories depending on their ages. This is also an opportunity to encourage young readers to pick up books because they might discover that they enjoy reading while having fun.
The State Library of Victoria offers a range of programs for children, including story time sessions aimed at pre-schoolers and primary school students.
These sessions are an excellent way for students to expand their learning because the librarians often read books related to topics they studied during school. So, when the students return to school, they will already be up-to-date with what is happening in their classrooms.
Go To the Theatre or Cinema
During school holidays, a visit to the cinema is a real treat because some cinemas have reduced ticket prices while some offer admission free of charge. So, in addition to watching one of the latest releases, there are classic films that kids can enjoy.
- The Regent Theatre – Melbourne has seen many theatres opening recently, but one of the most prominent ones is the Regent Theatre. This historical theatre hosts musicals, operas and other stage productions for children and adults. In addition, there are performances during school holidays, which will keep students entertained while allowing them to pick up some arts and cultural knowledge simultaneously.
- The world’s largest screen – IMAX Melbourne is the world’s largest screen housed in a state-of-the-art theatre. They show many nature documentaries and movies on the Big Screen, making for a memorable day out for kids.
Look For Pokémon at The Local Park
This is one of the most popular activities kids can enjoy during school holidays. There are many places around Melbourne where students can capture Pokémon, including beaches and parks. Apart from Pokémon, a wide range of characters, including Puff-Puff and Magikarp, can be found. Parks include:
- Melbourne CBD – Berkley Park and Flagstaff Gardens are the most popular places to hunt for Pokémon in the CBD.
- Northside – Smiths Beach in Williamstown is known for having high-count Pokémon spawns. This beach has become so popular that it often sees traffic jams during school holidays.
- Southside – As a popular tourist location, St. Kilda Pier also offers Pokémon hunting opportunities to people looking to enjoy the outdoors.
You can enjoy many sports during the school holidays, including swimming, cricket, tennis, and surfing. The advantage of engaging in sports is that it helps children stay fit while learning more about teamwork.
- Cycling – Favourite places for cyclists include the Yarra Trail, which runs along the Yarra River. Other popular cycling routes include Merri Creek Trail and Moonee Ponds Creek Trail.
- Swimming – Victoria has some of the best beaches in Australia, including St Kilda Beach, Brighton Beach and Port Melbourne Beach. Public pools are also available throughout Melbourne.
- Cricket – This is a famous team sport that is played outdoors. Kids can join local teams or play with friends at school to enjoy the sport and have fun together. There are also training classes held by cricket clubs during school holidays, so parents don’t need to worry about kids staying home bored.
- Mini Golf – This game is perfect for people who want to enjoy the outdoors while having fun with friends and family. Melbourne has several great mini-golf courses, including The GlowGolf Mini-Golf Course, with a unique UV lighting feature.
- Skating – There are ice skating centres around Melbourne that offer lessons for students, which means they can learn about skating by themselves. Meanwhile, there is also the option of joining local clubs to enjoy this sport with others.
Visit An Amusement Park
Many theme parks close to Melbourne will keep kids entertained and happy during school holidays.
- Luna Park – Luna Park is one of the most popular theme parks for tourists and locals. It has remained a prominent attraction over the past 100 years, including classic rides such as The Big Dipper, Ferris wheel and Ghost Train.
- Gumbuya World – This theme park is located on the outskirts of Melbourne and is often overlooked. However, it has many attractions for children, including the Kid’s Animal World, where visitors can hand-feed kangaroos, wallabies, and emus.
- Funfields Themepark – If you want to enjoy a theme park with many water attractions, Funfields Themepark is your best bet.
- Melbourne Cable Park – If you want to try something different, why not try cable wakeboarding at Cable Park in Melbourne.
Heritage and Wildlife Tour
Many tours will help students learn about Victoria’s culture and heritage while they enjoy their school holidays. The advantage of taking these types of tours is that they will also introduce tourists to the local wildlife in the area.
- Phillip Island Penguin and wildlife Tour – The tour departs from Cowes. It includes visiting the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, where little penguins come out of the sea at dusk.
- Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium – Enjoy the interactive exhibits and see incredible marine life in the Oceanarium, including sharks.
- Laneways of Melbourne – If you want to go on a smaller tour, you can learn about the history of Melbourne by visiting the city’s laneways. Many laneways around the CBD used to be home to brothels and pubs during the Gold Rush period in Melbourne.
- Melbourne Historical Crime Tours – There are many historical crimes that students can learn about in Australia, including the Melbourne gangland war in the early 2000s when numerous criminals were gunned down. These tours provide an in-depth look at the history of crime and criminals in Melbourne.
Gardening & Farmers Markets
Garden and plant lovers will enjoy spending their school holidays learning about gardening and plants. Many parks in Melbourne hold farmers’ markets where students can learn about various plants and then purchase them to take home.
- Queen Victoria Market – This is one of Australia’s oldest farmers’ markets, attracting locals and international visitors looking for a wide range of products, from fresh produce to handmade items.
- Bourke Street Market – If you’re feeling too overwhelmed in the main Queen Victoria Market, head over to Bourke Street’s markets instead. It is known for being more accessible and less crowded than the other markets.
- Fruit and vegetable market – Visit this market near Victoria and pick up some fresh fruit to take home.
- Fruit Picking – There are several places around Melbourne where you can pick some fresh fruit to try and enjoy. This is also a great opportunity for students wanting to know about the different fruit types local to Australia.
General Fun Activities
- Play board games with siblings & friends – The holidays are a great time to catch up with friends and family, so why not make it a friendly board game night? There are many games that you can play, including Monopoly and Cranium.
- Fly kites – Kites are a fantastic way to have fun during the school holiday. It takes students back to their early childhood years and can help them bond with good friends. Best of all, it’s free! So you can make your kite and fly it in the park or at the beach.
- Go on a picnic – Enjoying different types of food with family and friends is a great way to spend your school holiday. In addition, many parks around Melbourne allow you to have picnics, so head out there with some family members or close friends during one of the break days.
- Watch cricket – Summer is the time for cricket in Australia, so why not spend your school holiday catching up on what’s happening in the world of cricket? It can be a great way to get out with friends or family.
- Bake a Delicious Dessert – Everyone knows that it’s a great time to try something new and different when you’re on holiday. So why not spend your school holidays baking up some delicious treats? You can make chocolate cakes or brownies and share them with your family and friends.