The Boathouse

I used to think that Melbourne only had one river running through it – the Yarra – but since heading westward I’ve realised that the Maribyrnong River can be just as scenic and well-served with bike paths, parks and eateries.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse is a fantastic sprawling restaurant, bar and cafe owned by Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan situated on the banks of the Maribyrnong River at Maribyrnong Park. The restaurant spans an indoor area with lots of pram access and a large wooden deck overlooking the river and parklands.

On weekends it pays to book a table but the outdoor area is strictly for walk-ins so you can take your chances. Just note that in winter there are gas heaters which light up the outdoor area but it can still be pretty chilly.

The Boathouse

The menu runs a fairly straight and narrow pub-food path, with pizzas, burgers, fish and chips and steaks all featuring. The kids menu contains more standard items all priced at $9.50.

I highly recommend trying one of their pizzas. They were wood-fired with a rustic, bubbly crust and fresh and simple toppings. Their napoli sauce was truly aromatic, not just a backdrop for the rest of the ingredients.

The Boathouse

We ordered a margherita pizza to share for the kids ($9.50), beer-battered fish and chips for me ($23) and a 250g Wagyu burger for T ($25). To keep the little ones happy we also ordered a large vanilla milkshake (made with ice cream as they couldn’t substitute it for yoghurt at the bar where the drinks are made) which came out in a hipster jar ($5).

The Boathouse

Given how busy the place was our meals came out relatively quickly. The servings were huge, particularly the burger, and the adult meals came padded out with loads of chips (which may or may not be a good thing).

The Boathouse

The Boathouse

I think our meals were slightly more expensive than I’d expect – $25 for a burger, even if it’s made from wagyu, is pretty steep. However, I think you’re paying for the setting and no doubt they can charge these prices because they know that people will still come.

There’s a reason that The Boathouse is a favourite with local families. There is lots of room for prams, the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming for kids, the food is kid-friendly and there’s an awesome council playground right next door. It’s a very pleasant bike ride along the Maribyrnong River too and we’ll be back.

The Boathouse, 7 The Boulevard, Maribyrnong Park, Moonee Ponds (03) 9375 2456

Monday – Sunday 9:00am-10:00pm

The Boathouse on Urbanspoon


Heide Art Bubs

Get into more winter fun in the last weekend of July.  (Photo from our previous visit to Heide Art Bubs).


  •  MSO Jam for Juniors at Deakin Edge (Sat 26 Jul) – free 30 minute musical adventure for children aged 0-5 years and their parents. Bookings required but you may be lucky with entry at the door if there are any no-shows. READ THE REVIEW.
  • Open House Melbourne (Sat 26 Jul – Sun 27 Jul) – program of events all around Melbourne, with small program for kids. READ OUR PICKS FOR UNDER 5S.
  • Docklands Winter Fireworks (Fri 4 Jul – Fri 29 Aug) – Happening every Friday night at 7pm during Jul and August (with other FREE entertainment happening along the promenade from 6-8pm). There’s music and fun to keep everyone entertained before and after the fireworks, along the NewQuay Promenade and Piazza.
  • Baby-friendly introduction to NGV’s Italian Masterpieces (Wed 30 Jul) – Discover more about the Italian Masterpieces with an illustrated introductory talk on the latest NGV’s Winter Masterpieces exhibition organised by Culture Mamas.





  •  Reuse It Baby! Market at Newport Substation (Sun 27 July) – Bubs, kids & mums second hand, recycled & new gear. Sausage sizzle, community fundraising cake stall plus Jeremy’s spiffy coffee cart.
  • Boat Tours of Port Melbourne (Sun 27 Jul) – Port Open Day boat tours are fun, free family events and the best way to see the Australia’s busiest port, right on the city’s doorstep.
  • Angliss Children’s Centre Bunnings Sausage Sizzle (Sun 27 Jul) – a little plug for my kids’ daycare centre fundraiser at Bunnings Sunshine 408 Ballarat Rd Sunshine. Buy a sausage from 9am-4pm!
  • Thomas and Friends: Tale of the Brave at Hoyts Jnr Highpoint and Watergardens (Sat 26 Jul – Tue 29 Jul) – Thomas is working at the Clay Pits when a storm closes in and the rain makes the clay cliffs unstable.


gruffalo melbourne

“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

A fox saw the mouse, and the mouse looked good.”

The Gruffalo by Julie Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is an award-winning modern classic of children’s literature (15 year anniversary edition this year!). A live musical version of The Gruffalo has just arrived in Melbourne, playing at the National Theatre in St Kilda from Tuesday 22 July to Sunday 27 July and I took along Lady AB.

gruffalo melbourne

The grand National Theatre is a great venue for children’s shows. The decorative building has lots of interesting features to point out while you’re waiting for the show to start – the gilt, the chandeliers, the etchings and cornices. The spacious seats are set uphill from the stage, stadium style, so everyone gets a good view and they don’t flip up (which can freak out Lady AB sometimes!).

During the hour long show three actors played the mouse, the Scottish wheeler-dealer Fox, an eccentric old Flight Commander Owl and the best fun of all, a camp, maraca-shaking glittery Snake!

The musical holds very close to the storyline in the book, which means there was lots of opportunity for audience participation as the kids were able to anticipate words and lines. There were also a few classic panto ‘look behind you’ moments which had the kids giggling.

The Gruffalo is great introduction to theatre for pre and primary school children and on our visit there were several highly excitable school groups in the audience (Lady AB kept asking why the other kids were screaming).  While the songs were not particularly memorable the delivery was humourous and fun. I liked the simple sets and imaginative use of costumes – no need to dress head to toe like an animal for the kids to ‘get it’.

The show is recommended for ages 3+ and I think that’s accurate. I could hear some younger kids wailing in the audience, frightened by the animals and the audience roaring, and towards the end Lady AB was getting fidgety. If you’re able to I’d leave the babies at home.

Tips for a great outing:

  • Tram 96 stop #139 is the closest public transport to the theatre. There is parking at Acland Court nearby.
  • If you can leave the pram at home do so – the doors to the theatre are up a long flight of stairs.
  • Take a small amount of drinks and snacks with you to stave off whinging. They’re quite relaxed about younger kids eating in the theatre and there’s no interval.
  • Across the road from  the National Theatre is the Beaver’s Tail Social Club, a small kid-welcoming cafe with simple cafe fare. We got a takeaway croissant and smoked chicken sandwich and ate it in the foyer of the theatre, people-watching.
  • After the show we bought a copy of The Gruffalo from Readings St Kilda Acland St, who have a spacious and well-stocked children’s book section. We’ve been reading it endlessly since!
  • Enjoy cakes at iconic Monarch Cakes on Acland St – don’t miss their famous kugelhopf! Babycinos are $2 and come with a marshmallow. There’s not a lot of room for prams unless you sit outside.

gruffalo melbourne

The Gruffalo is touring nationally in 2014, check out the dates in your region here.

The Gruffalo, National Theatre, 20 Carlisle St, St Kilda

July 22 – 27 or Phone: 136 100

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Bounce glen iris

My most recent playdate was at Bounce Inc, an indoor trampoline park at Glen Iris (other locations around Australia too).

Unfortunately I hadn’t done my research so didn’t realise that only kids 3+ years were allowed on the trampolines (unlike Altona’s FlipOut trampoline arena). So my friend and I were stuck with two 18 month old who had nowhere to go while their older 3 year old siblings got to bounce. I spent a lot of my energy running after Baby 2.0, scooping him away from trampolines and stairs and other people’s drink bottles. There was an open area that was astro-turfed with some padded structures, a tunnel and some hoops which kept Baby 2.0 amused for a bit while he was sidelined.

bounce glen iris

Fortunately the jump sessions were all supervised so my friend and I didn’t have to chase toddlers as well as watch our 3 years olds. The two girls loved their time on the trampolines but I also hadn’t realised that the jump sessions were scheduled to start on the hour, which meant that we only got about 30 minutes of jumping in before we were all ushered off the trampoline areas.

bounce glen iris

So my conclusion is that Bounce Inc itself is HOT because our 3 years old loved it but it’s a NOT for those with younger kids. There is no real toddler play area, the reception area is upstairs with no lift so you can’t get prams up easily and the toilets are down another flight of stairs.

Also note that the parking is also very limited around Bounce Inc at Glen Iris.

Bounce Inc, 2 Weir St, Glen Iris 1300 000 540

$12 per child for 1 hours of jump

Mon – Thurs: 10am – 9pm

Fri: 10am – 11pm

Sat: 9am – 11pm

Sun: 10am – 6pm

General Access (GA) (includes grip socks) 1 Session $18.00 Add. Session $12.00
General Access (GA) (already own socks) 1 Session $16.00 Add. Session $12.00
Junior Jumper (JJ)  (includes grip socks) 1 Session $12.50 Add. Session $8.50
Junior Jumper (JJ) (already own socks) 1 Session $10.50 Add. Session $8.50
Student Session (SS) (already own socks) Mon-Fri: 10am-4pm (school term) 1 Session $11.00
Mini-Bounce (MB)  (3-5 Y.O.): Mon-Fri: 10am-12pm (school term) 1 Session $17.50


HOT: Piccadilly Market, Williamstown Town Hall, 104 Ferguson Street, Williamstown + Giveaway!

July 18, 2014

Piccadilly Market is an artisan market which originated in Geelong 4 years ago and debuted in Melbourne last month. I was invited by Nuffnang and Piccadilly Marketto explore the market (with some other bloggers)  before it opened to the public. We took the opportunity to take photos of the goods on offer in grand old […]

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What’s on in Melbourne for families and under 5s – Friday 18 July to Thursday 24 July

July 17, 2014

Get into winter with these family-friendly events this week. (Photo from The Little Bookroom, Carlton). CBD/Docklands Mr. Men Little Miss Children’s High Tea at The Langham Melbourne (Mon 30 Jun – Fri 18 Jul) – Bring to life your favourite Mr. Men Little Miss characters over high tea over the school holidays. READ THE REVIEW. Docklands Winter […]

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