HOT: Matcha Mylkbar, 72A Acland St (Corner Carlisle St), St Kilda

Matcha Mylkbar

If you’re struggling to get your kids to eat their greens, then make healthy food fun at Matcha Mylkbar!

Matcha Mylkbar is a popular vegetarian and vegan cafe in St Kilda by the folks behind tea label Matcha Maiden. Despite heavy competition from all the other Acland Street and Fitzroy Street eateries it is one of the most popular places for weekend brunch, with queues snaking out the door.

It’s easy to see why. The swanky space makes healthy eats that are tasty, nutritious and so pretty that they dominate Instagram #melbournebreakfast.

Matcha Mylkbar

Even Lady AB says of the Loma Linda ‘Longevity’ bowl ($19) ‘these lentils are surprisingly delicious’ not to mention the spiced pineapple salsa, smashed avocado, coconut rice.

Matcha Mylkbar

That’s along with our latte flight of beetroot, turmeric, cocoa and apple pie in miniature skull glasses ($12) and huge bowl of crunchy sweet potato fries with almond butter ($7).

Matcha Mylkbar

The crowd at Matcha Mylkbar is young, very fit and fake-tanned (I feel out of place being over 30 and not wearing activewear) but there are touches that make it welcoming for kids.

Matcha Mylkbar

Colouring sheets and pencils are provided as a matter of course and in the corner there’s a small stack of books and toys. However note the cafe is not really suitable for under 3s as there are no high chairs and not a lot of room for prams as the tables are packed quite close together.

Matcha Mylkbar is a fun and hip hangout for the health conscious, clean-eating brigade. And if you’re taking kids, they won’t even know the food is good for them!


HOT Tips:

  • Limited pram access;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Toys, colouring-in;
  • Paid parking;
  • no bookings; and
  • Short walk to St Kilda Beach.

Matcha Mylkbar, Matcha Mylkbar, 72A Acland St (Corner Carlisle St), St Kilda (03) 9534 1111

Daily 8 – 4PM (Kitchen closes at 3om)

HOT: Tuckerberry Hill, Berry Farm and Cafe, 35 Becks Road, Drysdale

Tuckerberry Hill

Tuckerberry Hill Berry Farm and Café is a small locally operated farm located in the picturesque Bellarine Peninsula town of Drysdale.

It is open during the warmer months only – basically when berries are in season. Usually that means strawberries October to May and blueberries from December to end of February.

Tuckerberry Hill

Here you will enjoy picking fresh chemical spray free blueberries for $18-$20 per kilo and you just pay for what you pick. The bonus is that there’s no entrance fee and you can sneak in some berries while you pick!

Tuckerberry Hill

Tuckerberry Hill was started by one of Australia’s pioneering blueberry farmers, Margaret Tucker (hence the name!), with her daughter Christine and husband David Lean continuing on the farm. Tuckerberry Hill is the only blueberry orchard on the Bellarine and all their fruit is spray-free and grown under natural conditions.

Tuckerberry Hill

We spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon where we pick as much as we please and enjoy some lovely homemade scones with homemade blueberry jam and blueberry milkshakes at the cafe. Our children love picking their own berries and playing in the grounds afterwards.

I highly recommend heading to Tuckerberry Hill for some family fun and it’s a great experience to let the kids explore around the orchards.

Tuckerberry Hill

Thanks to Tanya Husnu for her guest post! Tanya is a mother of five children and you can follow her adventures @melbaustralia


HOT Tips:

  • Free entry;
  • Local produce market open Saturdays;
  • Pram access;
  • Take a hat, sunscreen and water. Go early to avoid the heat;
  • cafe is open with a limited menu during weekdays and a full menu on weekends 9-5pm;
  • standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Outdoor courtyard;
  • Pets not allowed in orchards;
  • Toilet blocks on site; and
  • Free limited parking on site.

Tuckerberry Hill Berry Farm and Café35 Becks Road,  Drysdale (03) 5251 3468

Open 9-5pm during season, check Facebook for updates

What’s On – Friday 10 February to Thursday 16 February

The weather is HOT and so is this week’s calendar of events with festivals galore! The heatwave is set to continue so keep this list of hot weather activities handy

CBD / Docklands

play pod state library

NORTH / NORTH-EAST

Collingwood Children's Farm, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

SOUTH / SOUTH-EAST / BAYSIDE

  • Hank Marvin Market (Sat 11 Feb) – weekly Saturday market with awesome playground at Alma Park.
  • Caulfield Family Day (Sat 11 Feb) – carnival-inspired arena just for kids, located trackside, with rides, jumping castles, stilt-walkers, face painting and more.
  • Como House Tours (Sat 11 Feb – Sun 12 Feb) – A Como house tour offers a glimpse into the privileged lifestyle of former owners, the Armytage family, who lived there for nearly a century.
  • South Melbourne Night Market (Thu 16 Feb) – street food, copious stalls, eclectic entertainment and music every Thursday night until 23 Feb. Full review.
  • Melbourne Tennis Week (Fri 10 Feb – Sun 12 Feb) – free events and activities taking place in various Port Phillip and Stonnington tennis clubs.
  • Sandsculpting Frankston Waterfront (Fri 10 Feb – Tue 25 Apr) -Twenty sculptors carve out themed sculptures from the sand. 
  • Brickfactor Legoland Chadstone (Sat 11 Feb – Sun 12 Feb) – LEGO® builders compete for the title – and full time position – of Melbourne’s Master Model Builder.
  • Summer Sessions Rippon Lea (Sun 12 Feb) – Spend Sunday afternoons trying your hand at croquet, bocce or quoits, listening to live music or simply pulling up a rug on the shady lawn of Rippon Lea every Sunday until 12 March.
  • Summer Sundays by the Pool (Sun 12 Feb) – Join resident DJ Mike Gurrieri and special guests for a mixture of laidback soul, funk, jazz and world music grooves
  • St Kilda Festival (Sun 12 Feb) – Australia’s largest free music festival with dedicated Kidzone.
  • Clayton Street Festival (Sun 12 Feb) – food and market stalls, roving entertainment and displays by local traders and community groups.
  • St Kilda Twilight Market (Thu 16 Feb) – artworks, vintage wear, craft, hand designed fashion and jewellery, exotic clothes, produce, emerging designers and foods of the world.

EAST

Diamond Valley Railway

WEST

HOT: Invisible Light Garden, Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

Invisible Light Garden Artplay

Invisible Light Garden is the latest interactive art installation by Melbourne creative studio Mosster Studio and it’s opening today in Artplay’s exhibition space. I guarantee that you and the kids will be wowed by the interaction between digital imagery and physical action.

Invisible Light Garden Artplay

In previous workshops Lady and I worked with the artists to help ‘make’ a garden using cardboard boxes fixed with stickers that are ‘read’ by the camera to produce different images. As the kids and boxes move the garden changes using light projections and sounds. It’s a variation of the pARk experience which was recently installed at Eastland Shopping Centre. 

Invisible Light Garden Artplay

Children can explore the dark space using the cardboard boxes and to creative and interact with the garden. 

Invisible Light Garden Artplay

Something about being in the dark seems to light kids’ imaginations!

The exhibition describes it as being most suitable for 4-12 years but it’s ok for all ages as long as the the child is comfortable with the dark and instructed to be gentle with the boxes and with other people. 

Invisible Light Garden Artplay

Enjoy Invisible Light Garden on your next visit to an Artplay workshop.


HOT Tips:


 Invisible Light Garden, Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

Wed 8 Feb – Sun 26 March 10-2:30pm

Open Wednesday to Sundays, closed certain dates so check website

Free entry

Children must be accompanied by an adult

The HOT List: Top 15 Tips for visiting Hong Kong Disneyland

hong kong disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disneyland in the world and as such it is a great first introduction to the magic of Disneyland for young kids. It’s easily accessible via public transport, the crowds aren’t as big (compared to Tokyo Disneyland for instance) and you can knock it off in one day if you need to.

Any Disneyland visit can be an intense experience for little kids so here are my Top 15 tips for visiting Hong Kong Disneyland, especially if you have children under 5 years.

 

  1. Go off-peak

While Hong Kong Disneyland’s maximum capacity is only 42,000 compared to the gigantuan 100,000 at Tokyo Disneyland, if you can arrange it it’s still better to go on off-peak days. Hong Kong residents have annual passes which means on weekends, public holidays and school holidays it’s a popular destination for locals.

We visit on a Thursday in winter and are pleasantly surprised by the small crowds, especially in the morning.

 

  1. Get there no later than 9:45am

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong is a late-night city for everyone, even families, so everything opens a bit later. Hong Kong Disneyland generally opens at 10am but they start letting people into Main Street from 9:45am for an opening time of 10am (and if it’s opening at 9:30am then main gates open at 9:15am). At 10am there is a ‘rope drop’ in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle when you can officially enter the rest of the site.

Getting there at 9:15am/9:45am means minimal queueing for at least your first two or three rides. From around 11am the park gets busier, with 2-3pm being around peak time.

 

  1. Book your discount tickets ahead of time

To save queueing up at the ticket office book your tickets online. We buy discount tickets from Klook, another discount site is Viatour. We receive our e-ticket in minutes and we don’t need to print out the tickets, just scan them from your mobile.

Note that pre-purchasing a ticket still means you have to line up to enter but we barely have to wait, mostly it is for the bag security check.

 

  1. One day or two days?

Hong Kong Disneyland

You can buy 1 day or 2 passes. As our kids are too little (and too scared) for at least half of the rides we anticipate spending 4-5 hours there and thus only need a one day ticket. If you go-go-go you will be able to see most things in one day.

A two-day pass allows you to go at a more relaxed pace, maybe split out to 2 x 4-5 hour sessions and to revisit your favourite rides. You may need to do this if you’re visiting in summer as the heat and humidity can be brutal.

We are so tired by the end of the day that we don’t make it to any of the night time events eg the apparently spectacular evening light show. We also didn’t bother with any of the big parades and shows as the kids were too freaked out by the noise – so when the parades are on it’s the prime time to line up for popular rides.

 

  1. You don’t have to stay at a Disney hotel

When we visited Tokyo Disneyland I highly recommended staying at a Disney hotel or one of the six Tokyo Disney Resort Official Hotels to minimise travel time between the park and your accommodation.

As Hong Kong Disneyland is a smaller theme park and can be done in a day, there’s no need to stay at a Disney hotel. We leave Wan Chai, take several connecting MTR lines to reach Hong Kong Disneyland and the trip takes about 45-60 minutes one way. The MTR is quick, clean and comparatively cheap.

 

  1. Download the app

Hong Kong Disneyland

Before you go download the Hong Kong Disneyland mobile app. The best feature is that you can check wait times for attractions – for instance, once queue times start getting to 30 minutes for everything we know it’s time to leave. You can also browse maps, see schedules and check out where there are character meet and greets.

Hong Kong Disneyland offers free wifi in certain locations. I find it more convenient to carry a pocket wifi instead.

 

  1. Grab a FastPASS

A FastPASS is a ticket with a time window for entry later. It may still mean queuing at your allotted time, but a significantly shorter wait.

There are only two FastPASS rides – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Hyperspace Mountain. As The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is the only one suitable for us our strategy is for the fastest person (T) to have ALL our entry tickets and to run to the FastPASS booth to get tickets for the earliest time possible.

 

  1. Bring a hat, sunscreen, snacks and a water bottle

My tactic for dealing with queues is to use the time to go to the toilet, apply sunscreen and eat snacks. There’s also a bit of street entertainment that happens once queues get long. 

There’s not a lot of shelter while you’re lining up so bring a hat for hot days.

We decide that our Disney souvenir will be water bottles so don’t bring any with us. Note you are technically not allowed to bring outside food or drinks into the park but they seem ok with a few small snacks and a bread roll.

 

  1. Souvenir shop before 1pm

I’m not sure whether it was a temporary offer but on entry we were provided with a voucher for 10% off all merchandise (with some exceptions) if the transaction was completed before 1pm.

If you decide to make use of the offer have your purchases decided by 12:30pm as everyone else is using the voucher too and there’s a queue to checkout in time for 1pm.

The largest and most complete collection of souvenirs is at Emporium on Main Street.

 

  1. It’s ok to bring a pram

Hong Kong Disneyland is very pram-friendly, with wide paths and accessibile ramps/lifts where necessary. Most rides and shows require you to park your pram in a designated area before you line up. No one seems to worry about leaving prams or valuables in prams.

You can also hire a pram if you don’t want to bring your own.

 

  1. Head first to Fantasyland and Toy Story

 

Hong Kong Disneyland

For young children Fantasyland and Toy Story are the most suitable areas.

In Fantasyland our kids love the Cinderella Carousel, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, Dumbo the flying elephant and It’s a Small World. Of those rides I suggest going on Dumbo the flying elephant first as it’s one of the most popular rides and there are not as many available seats as some of the other attractions.

Fantasyland also has a Fairy Tale Forest where you can meet Tinkerbell!

Toy Story Land brings the iconic movie to life with huge sets and figures. The rides are a bit more intense than Fantasyland so suitable for slightly older kids.

 

  1. See the Festival of the Lion King and the Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Hong Kong Disneyland

While the rides are a main attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland going to see a show is a good opportunity to sit down and chill out.

The most popular show is the Festival of the Lion King, with spectacular costumes, dancing and singing in a condensed 30 min version of the Lion King movie. Highly recommended.

We also visited the Mickey’s PhilharMagic because showings are frequent and the lines are short. It’s a 4D short movie involving Disney characters and extra sensory additions such as spraying water and the smell of pie!

 

  1. Forget the character meet and greets

My approach to the character meet and greets is that they provide a low return on investment. The queues to take a photo with a Disney character are often very long and when your time is limited it’s best to focus on the attractions and shows. Definitely do NOT get distracted by characters when you first enter in the morning and the ride queues are still short!

 

  1. Don’t expect your kids to love every ride

Hong Kong Disneyland

The Hong Kong Disneyland website allows you to sort rides in each park for those that are suitable for babies and kids under 3 years.

However, some of those rides deemed suitable for young kids can still be still terrifying.

Lady AB hates The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as quite of bit of it is in the dark, the noises are quite loud and at one stage of Winnie’s dream there are lurching and leering puppets. She cries and hides under the seat then refuses to go into ‘It’s a Small World’ because it’s indoors!

 

  1. Eating tips

There are both Asian and Western restaurants in Hong Kong Disneyland but we find the queues too long everywhere so opt for snacky food. Try the delicious Mickey Mouse waffles and ice creams!

Hong Kong Disneyland

With Klook you can buy a meal voucher to go with your entry ticket. While you do save money the reviews indicate that you will waste time lining up at the entrance to redeem your voucher as you can’t do it at the restaurant. So we decide against purchasing a meal voucher.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. If you purchase via affiliate links there is no extra cost to you and we receive a small commission. 


What are your tips for making the most of Hong Kong Disneyland?

 

HOT: ACMI Cafe and Bar, Level 1, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne

ACMI Cafe Bar

Finding great places to take kids to eat in the Melbourne CBD can be a hard ask. One of our favourites when visiting Federation Square is the ACMI Cafe and Bar, adjoining ACMI, Australia’s national museum of film, TV, video games, digital culture and art.

ACMI Cafe and Bar is open to public 7 days a week and is handy even if you’re not visiting ACMI.

The space is bright and airy, with plenty of room for prams, several high chairs and comfortable booths that fit 6-8 people. Disabled toilets are just outside the door within ACMI.

ACMI cafe

The menu is extensive, with breakfast stretching to dinner, and there’s a kids menu of $12 dishes. We try the margherita pizza from the kids menu, the standard-sized fish and chips ($25) and slow cooked lamb with caramelized eggplant, chickpea puree, labneh, faro & hazelnut salad ($23).

ACMI cafe

They are all delivered very quickly. The pizza is overly cheesy for me but the kids love it while I think the snapper is particularly impressive, juicy and clean-tasting without a hint of rubberiness.

The servings are all generous so in fact two or three kids could easily share a main meal or two kids share a single kids menu item.

Just note that there is not table service so you’ll need to order at the counter, so it may be easier to order before settling down at a table if you’ve got little ones who like to run once your back is turned!

If you visit during a weekday or before the lunchtime rush then service is very quick. During busy periods eg before/after film screenings or during Federation Square events then the wait can be long so have some entertainment up your sleeve or if you have another adult tag-team and browse the ACMI shop on the same level or check out what’s happening on the big screen at Fed Square.

ACMI Cafe and Bar is the perfect family-friendly hangout if you’re in the CBD with its relaxed atmosphere and a great selection of food morning to night.

Click here for more places to eat out with kids in Melbourne’s CBD.


HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • High chairs
  • Kids menu;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Fully licensed;
  • Disabled toilets and change facilities within ACMI;
  • No reservations so try to visit during non-peak hours, especially if you want to sit in a booth;
  • Visit the free exhibition Screen Worlds at ACMI, NGV Australia or the Artplay playground nearby;
  • if you’re a frequent visitor to ACMI check out ACMI’s household membership which provides discounts at the ACMI shop and cafe and other benefits;
  • Access via public transport (Flinders St station) or on weekdays park for up to 3 hours and only pay for 1 hour by using Book A Bay at Wilson Parking at Federation Square.

ACMI Cafe and Bar, Level 1, ACMI, FEderation Square, Melbourne 03 8663 2277

Mon to Fri 8.30am til late

Sat & Sun 9am til late

 

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