Every year on Australia Day, the official residence of Victoria’s Governor-General, Government House, opens its doors and the gardens to the public.
It’s one of the best things to do with kids on Australia Day and all the activities are free!
This is the one opportunity for the community to visit the historic house and its extensive gardens and so the lineup can be long ahead of the gates opening at 9:30am. My tips is get there around 9am with snacks and sunscreen – there’s normally someone handing out balloons along the queue and street entertainment.
Kids can have the opportunity to visit the inside of a RFD plane and to ride a CFA fire engine.
Last year Collingwood Children’s Farm had a penned area to pet some of the animals.
Inside the building Inside the Brick set up an amazing Lego display of Government House as well as free Lego play. That was the only part of Government House we saw as the kids were not so interested in touring the building. You can access it from the side entrance without having to go through all of the house.
Various sporting clubs also have try-out activities, include croquet and tennis and AFL plus free face painting.
For refreshments there are various food trucks and cheap and delicious scones from the Country Women’s Association. Otherwise BYO picnic and enjoy the live music throughout the day on the West Lawn.
Just outside Government House other Australia Day festivities include the multicultural Australia Day Parade down Swanston St/St Kilda Road and the RACV Australia Day Festival Kings Domain.
- Government House is 1.5 kilometres and a 20-minute walk from Flinders Street Station. There is no vehicle access to Government House;
- Parking is limited and parts of St Kilda Road are closed off for the Australia Day parade. If you arrive early you may find a paid parking spot further down St Kilda Road or surrounding streets;
- Bring hat, sunscreen, water as there’s not a lot of shade;
- Arrive at 9am to beat the queues;
- Free entry
- Access is pram friendly.