The HOT List: Hazeldene’s Bendigo Easter Festival – Top 10 Things to Do with Kids

bendigo easter festival

The Bendigo Easter Festival is Australia’s longest running community festival and it has been a drawcard for locals and visitors since 1871.

The festival runs for four days from Good Friday to Easter Monday (though most activities finish Easter Sunday) and features a packed program with something for everyone. It’s one of the busiest and most vibrant times to visit Bendigo.

Here are my tips for the best family-friendly attractions and how to tackle the Bendigo Easter Festival with kids.

Bendigo Easter Festival

  1. Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt – Friday

More than 85,000 Cadbury eggs are hidden away in straw for over 3000 egg hunters at Rosalind Park on Good Friday.  

Tickets are required ($11 each) and all proceeds go towards charity Vision Australia Bendigo to support people who are blind or have low vision in the community. 

The first hunt of the day commences at 9.00 a.m. and the final hunt is at 3.20 p.m.  All age groups are catered for, and parents can support their children 3 years and under in the actual hunt.  All older children enter their hunts without their parents and under the supervision and support of a team of SES volunteers.

Make sure you buy tickets in advance because they do sell out, though you can take your chances with buying tickets on the day at 8am from Rosalind Park. If you miss your allotted time you can’t switch to another time.

Line up around 10 minutes before your allotted time at the marker flags and then everyone is let into the fenced hunting area. 

Buy tickets at www.bendigotourism.com or by calling 1800 813 153 from Monday 6 March 2017.

 

  1. Camp Hill Playground, Rosalind Park

Bendigo Easter Festival Rosalind Park

Most of the action centres around Rosalind Park 10am-5pm and there are lots of things to do. I am surprised that we areable to amuse the kids for three half-days.

I recommend arriving at Rosalind Park a bit earlier than 10am and hanging out at the awesome, fenced, Camp Hill Playground. Some activities eg the CFA Fire Truck Rides start earlier than 10am so we areable to avoid the queues.

 

  1. Darryl’s Animal Farm – Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

An animal farm where you can pat animals, brush their fur or feed them straw. A pleasant experience due to the number of animals and the spacious area for them to roam. $5 per child, adults free.

 

  1. The Paint Pot People – Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

Lady AB loves painting the Easter themed posters and she has two goes before the queues get too long. Smocks, paints and posters are provided and the activity is free. You can pick up your artwork after it’s dried.

 

  1. CFA Fire Truck Rides – Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

We have several goes at the CFA Fire Truck Rides, which circles around the park twice for $2.50 per child (one accompanying adult free). The trucks seem to start taking passengers from 9:30am if you want to avoid queueing.

 

  1. Fusion Family Activities – Saturday and Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

An area with lots of free fun interactive games. Crawling through the blow up tunnel is a highlight, as well as watching Baby 2.0 in the sack race!

Bendigo Easter Festival

  1. Goldfields Library Storytelling Tree – Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Bendigo Easter Festival

Suzanne Sandow (as The Moth Fairy) tells traditional tales under the tree and other Goldfields Library activities includes badge making, decorating a dragon scale to attach to a large scale mural, making a library bag and designing your own book.

 

  1. Extended Awakening of the Dragon – Saturday

The Bendigo Chinese Association presents the extended Awakening of the Dragon program with lots of Chinese performances and finishing with 100,000 firecrackers to wake up Sun Loong inside the Golden Dragon Museum.

Awakening of the Dragon Bendigo

Best place to watch the celebrations is to the sides of the stage. Seats are set out in front and house left but they are all one level. At house right you’re not blocked by mobile fencing. A big screen is hoisted high for those at the back.

 

  1. Torchlight Lantern Procession and Fireworks – Saturday

From 8pm the main streets of Bendigo CBD shut down for the Torchlight Lantern Procession. The parade starts with fire brigade and emergency service tributes then shows off illuminated floats from various community organisations. It concludes with a display of spectacular fireworks over Rosalind Park.

Torchlight Procession Bendigo Easter Festival

I notice people start camping out at Pall Mall from 5pm for a spot in the front but in fact there’s not too much of a rush to get a good spot.

Torchlight Procession Bendigo Easter Festival

My tip is to be at the top of View Street, where the parade starts. All the people marshall at Queen Elizabeth Oval/Carpark and then exit down View Street, so you’ll get to admire the floats as they wait their turn. I am in position at 7:45pm right on the curbside without any problems.

 

  1. Sunday Gala Parade – Sunday

The highlight of the Bendigo Easter Festival is the big Gala Parade which runs through View Street in Bendigo CBD from 1-3pm. It features the world’s longest imperial Chinese dragon – the 100-metre Sun Loong – which only comes out of the Golden Dragon Museum once a year.  

Once again I position myself at the top of View Street at 12:45pm and get a curbside seat without problems. Being at the start of the parade also means that you get to see the main attraction (Sun Loong) at 2:30pm instead of waiting for it to snake its way to the end of the parade route at 3pm.

Other attractions

There are other family-friendly attractions which we didn’t get time to visit.

Bendigo Easter Festival

  • Rotary Art and Craft Market – Craft stalls selling anything from homemade soaps to jewellery along Bridge Street and Park Road.
  • Fun Zone – amusement rides area though most of the amusements are more suitable for older kids with rides like Bucking Broncos and Laser Tag.
  • Golden Dragon Museum Workshops – workshops for children 7-12 years to create a Chinese dragon puppet.
  • Bendigo Rock & Red Festival Free massive music festival on Bull Street with some of the best regional and national talent performing.
  • Carnival Central – On Mundy Street is all the excitement of the carnival rides.
  • Bendigo Easter Book Fair books, CDs, DVDs & magazines at very low prices fundraising for Y Service Club of Bendigo.

Click here for more places to go with kids in Bendigo.


HOT Tips:

  • Book your accommodation as early as possible. Bendigo Easter Festival is one of the busiest times of the year for visitors. We booked our accommodation on 2 January ie almost 3 months in advance and it was the only place we could find within our budget and in the right location by that time.
  • If possible book accommodation within walking distance to Rosalind Park. Parking can be hard to find close to the area.
  • The festival can be very stimulating for little kids so prepare to only spend half a day there.
  • Go early ie before 10am while it’s calm and queues are short then leave by lunch time ie peak hour. If you’re at a loose end hang out at the Camp Hill playground before activities start.
  • Book tickets to Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt as early as possible. We booked tickets 2 weeks in advance.
  • Check the program for other events that require booking. Most events are drop-in and free/low-cost.
  • All locations are pram accessible. Portaloos are dotted around Rosalind Park and there’s a small parent’s room/area.
  • Bring a water bottle, water taps are provided.
  • Food is available in a designated area, mostly standard pie/chips/baked potato sort of fare. I recommend taking snacks for the morning and then leaving the park for lunch.
  • With kids the best place to view the Extended Awakening of the Dragon celebrations is to the sides of the stage area. Banks of seats are set up at the front and house left but they are all one level so unless you’re in the very front row you won’t see much. At house right you’re not blocked by mobile fencing. A big screen is hoisted up high for those at the back.
  • With kids the best place to view the parades is the beginning of the route eg at the top of View Street. Get there 15 minutes before and you should still be able to get a good spot. Bring a hat and sunscreen for the Gala Parade!

Hazeldene’s Bendigo Easter Festival

Friday 14 April – Mon 17 April 2017

Free entry. Tickets to the Easter Egg hunt $11.

HOT: Two Brothers, 558 Mitcham Road, Mitcham

Two brothers mitcham

Two Brothers brings a bit of inner city cool to a local strip of shops in Mitcham with a surprisingly sophisticated menu and Veneziano Forza coffee.

The cafe is quite hard to find as the signage is subtle and the entrance is dominated by a massive Charcoal Chicken mural. Welcome to suburbia!

Two brothers mitcham

If it’s a sunny day head to the back courtyard that’s perfect for kids. There is chalk for scribbling and miniature furniture for little legs.

Two brothers mitcham

If you’re mad about mushrooms then try the Mushrooms 7.0. It’s four different types of mushrooms surrounding a truffled porcini and parsnip puree on top of a fried egg and a shiitake and dashi tea ($17). It is a sophisticated rendition of a simple, earthy ingredient and really has ‘wow’ factor in both the presentation and melding of flavours and textures.

Two brothers mitcham

We try the tower of pancakes ($17) served with chocolate crumble, berries and chantilly cream. The pancakes are light little discs with a caramelised banana centre. The only bum note is the teeth-breaking sticky toffee claiming to be candied pistachios.

Two brothers mitcham

There’s a kids menu with options up to $10 though the thick slab of Bakery Lievito multigrain toast with vegemite keeps Baby 2.0 very happy.

Everything’s made on site and the ingredients are local, free range and organic where possible.

Two Brothers is a cosy little hangout that puts Mitcham on the foodie map. It’s close to Halliday Park Mitcham for some climbing and water play too. 


HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • High chairs;
  • kids menu;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Chalk and children’s furniture;
  • Free parking; and
  • Short drive to Halliday Park playground.

Two Brothers, 558 Mitcham Road, Mitcham 03 8838 8145

Mon – Sat 6:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Closed Sunday

Two Brothers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: CycleStyle x Habitots Pop Up Shop, 146 Bridport St, Albert Park

habitots pop up shop

Habitots is a gorgeous store in Albert Park full of retail inspiration for children and families as well as a party space and creative art studio.

During March I’m  excited to have a Pop Up Shop inside Habitots with some of CycleStyle‘s best-selling bike (and scooter) accessories for kids.

habitots pop up shop

You’ll find cute hand-painted Beep Bicycle Bells, Baby Nutty and Little Nutty Nutcase Helmets, practical Notabags for Kids, durable Italian-made handlebar windmills and hard-to-find kids wicker baskets.

habitots

While you’re at Habitots visit one of their classes, hang out in their playroom or enjoy the garden with sand pit and cubby house. And now for a limited time you can find the best kids cycling gear too!

Habitots Albert Park


CycleStyle x Habitots Pop Up Shop, 146 Bridport St, Albert Park 03 9686 1312

1 March – 31 March 2017

Mon, Tues, Fri: 9am – 3pm

Wed, Thur: 9am – 4pm

Saturday 10am – 4pm

What’s On – Friday 3 March to Thursday 9 March

melbourne blog

It’s the first week of Autumn officially but the weather’s still HOT HOT HOT! Check out Melbourne’s newest water play playground plus other free places to enjoy water play.

CBD / Docklands

  • Fun Run Flash Mob Workshop (Fri 3 Mar, Sun 5 Mar) – New mass participatory art event. Learn the moves at one of our free public workshops and become the Athenian Dancing Army!
  • Moomba Parade Design Exhibition and Workshop (Fri 3 Mar – Mon 13 Mar) – see this years designs, check out mini models of past Moomba parade floats and take a selfie on the Moomba royal throne!design your own Moomba float and enter your ideas for consideration in the 2018 parade!
  • Invisible Light Garden Artplay (Fri 3 Mar – Sun 26 Mar) – Discover the interaction between digital imagery and physical action in this interactive art installation. Full review. 
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 3 Mar – 31 May) – free play space inspired by Where is the Green Sheep. Full review.
  • NGV Car Wash (Fri 3 Mar – April 2017) – enjoy a neon pink installation in the sculpture garden inspired by a car wash. FULL REVIEW.
  • Family Footy Fun Zone Queen Victoria Market (Sat 4 Mar – Sun 5 Mar) – Every Saturday and Sunday until Easter the Vic Market’s A Shed near Victoria Street will be transformed into a footy extravaganza with inflatable kicking goals, a specky-marking zone, handball challenges, footy arts and crafts and more.
  • Pirate Sunday Polly Woodside (Sun 5 Mar) – Dress as a pirate and come help us search for hidden treasure, play tug of war and have your face painted.
  • Queen Victoria Night Market (Wed 8 Mar) – Eat and drink your way around the world one dish at a time with more than 50 street food traders cooking up a global feast plus specialty shopping and entertainment.

NGV car wash

NORTH / NORTH-EAST

SOUTH / SOUTH-EAST / BAYSIDE

  • Feast at Frankston Waterside (Fri 3 Mar – Sun 5 Mar) – Hawker style market with Asian inspired street food, kids activities and rides.
  • Burrinja Kids Stay and Play (Fri 3 Mar – 31 Mar) – free family activity by local studio artist Andrea Innocent
  • Hank Marvin Market (Sat 4 Mar) – weekly Saturday market with awesome playground at Alma Park.
  • Knox Festival (Sat 4 Mar – Sun 5 Mar) – Circus to flip your tummy, a re-enactment village to send you back in time, interactive digital hubs, indigenous reptiles and live stages thriving with home grown talent.
  • Mordialloc Food Wine and Music Festival (Sat 4 Mar – Sun 5 Mar) – local festival offers a wide range gourmet food vendors, wine, microbrewed beer, blues and jazz music across two stages. Lots of children’s activities, market stalls.
  • Sandsculpting Frankston Waterfront (Fri 3 Mar – Tue 25 Apr) -Twenty sculptors carve out themed sculptures from the sand. 

EAST

Diamond Valley Railway

WEST

HOT: Seville Playground, 20-28 Monbulk-Seville Rd, Seville

Seville playground

Seville Water Park is a favourite stop for us when visiting the Yarra Valley and it’s recently been expanded to become an even better destination thanks to the Seville Regional Play Space.

The Seville playground adjoins the Seville Water Park and is a ‘dry’ play space with lots of fun equipment if it’s too cold for the water play.

Seville playground

The most popular feature is the spinning pyramid climbing frame which keep the kids amused for ages as they climb, run and leap from the ropes.

Seville playground

Other equipment they love include the ring of swings, a nest swing, a small flying fox and the inground trampolines.

Seville playground

Seville playground

Seville playground

Younger kids will enjoy the small climbing fort with short slides and rope bridges, sandpit plus the other elements of the farmyard theme – the ‘sheep run’ mini maze and tractor.

Seville playground

Seville playground

Seville playground

The playground moves seamlessly into the water park area through a large rock quarry that’s great for clambering over and three big pipes set into the rock wall that inspire games of hide and seek.

Seville playground

Seville playground

Seville playground

Seville Water Park and playground has numerous picnic tables, BBQs and public toilets so it’s the perfect destination for a day out. The new addition of the playground doubles the size of the previous play space and I guarantee the kids will have hours of fun moving from wet to dry areas.

Seville playground

Click here for more places to take kids in the Yarra Valley and click here for more free water play areas in Melbourne and surrounds.


HOT Tips:

  • Water play – so bring bathers;
  • Not much shelter so bring hat and sunscreen;
  • Suitable for toddlers;
  • Suitable for older kids;
  • Water taps;
  • Picnic tables and BBQs;
  • Public toilets;
  • Free street parking;
  • Behind Seville shops.

Seville Playground, 20-28 Monbulk-Seville Rd, Seville

Water play open from 24 September 2016 until April 2017

HOT: Greenfields, Cnr Lakeside Drive and Queens Rd, Albert Park

greenfields albert park

Greenfields is a gorgeous cafe inside Albert Park with prime position on Lakeside Drive and luscious green (naturally) views of the golf course and lake.

greenfields albert park

The cafe is spread out over three expansive dining areas.

greenfields albert park

My favourite spot is a table by the wall-to-ceiling glass windows where you can bask in the sunshine and be sheltered from the wind. The decor palette is a soothing mix of earthy tones and greenery.

greenfields albert park

When the weather cools down a cosy corner is set up with a fireplace and squishy couches.

 

greenfields albert park

At the main entrance is the bar, which still retains a clubby feel with a low ceiling and wood and brick.

greenfields albert park

The outside deck is an amazing space with the Lakeside Bar, a bar and grill kitchen…

greenfields albert park

….wicker lounge seating on the ‘sunset deck’ and an ‘Instagram corner’ – a swing chair that seems to attract every camera in the near vicinity (including mine).

The deck segues seamlessly into a large lawn, perfect for a game of croquet or boules or simply rolling down the hill!

greenfields albert park

The menu is available all day even though it’s split into ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’. ‘Eat colourfully’ is the inspiration and our meals reflect that philosophy.

greenfields albert park

I start with a Maya Choc shake with almond milk, avocado, cocoa, banana, honey and cinnamon ($9.50). It is thick and creamy though not as chocolate-y as I am expecting.

greenfields albert park

Full marks for the steamed fish of the day (rockling) with ginger, chilli, shiitake, greens, soba noodle and miso salad. It’s a light and refreshing way to start the day and the balance of flavours is just right – not too tart, not too salty ($24).

greenfields albert park

For dessert Lady AB and I share the photogenic summer melon granola ($17) with watermelon, fresh berries, puddles of soaked chia seeds and a crunchy sunflower seed granola.

If you’re walking your pooch around Albert Park there’s even doggy treats and a ‘puppucino’ on the menu.

greenfields albert park

For families there’s plenty of pram space, high chairs, a small kids menu of toast ($5), herbed butter soldiers ($4.50) and ham and cheese jaffle ($9) and some colouring-in to keep kiddies amused if they’re not running amok outside. There is a disabled toilet where you fit a pram to change a baby.

There’s plenty of parking on site as the carpark is shared with the golf club (weekends $2.60 all day). Note that with the Grand Prix many of the roads inside Albert Park are closed so you’ll need to access from Queens Road, heading south to north.

If you’re visiting Albert Park make Greenfields your breakfast, brunch or lunch spot, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a restful spot away from the hum of the city (just not during Grand Prix!) with a delicious ‘clean eating’ menu and bucolic views. Yoga and meditation classes are coming soon. 

Also on Sundays from February to April, the Lakeside Bar opens for ‘Sunday Safari’ from 12pm onwards with live music, outdoor lawn games, BBQ and picnic baskets. Veuve anyone?

greenfields albert park

If you fancy a play then head to Albert Park Community playground inside the park.


HOT Tips:

  • Pram access from street level;
  • High chairs;
  • Disabled toilet;
  • Textas and paper on request;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Children’s menu; and
  • Street parking.
  • On Sundays, the Lakeside bar will be open for ‘Sunday Safari’ from 12pm onwards with live music, family orientated games, BBQ and picnic baskets. Acoustic music will kick off from 2pm and DJs from 4pm.
  • Yoga and meditation coming soon.

Greenfields, Cnr Lakeside Drive and Queens Rd (access via Queens Rd), Albert Park

Wednesday to Sunday from 7am

Note closed from 13 March to 3 April, 2017 for F1 Grand Prix.

Greenfields Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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