HOT: Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of the Rainbow + Me, Myselfie and I, Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, South Brisbane

Yayoi Kusama goma

Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama is having a ‘moment’ in Australia, with an installation at the NGV ‘Flower Obsession‘ and a major exhibition Life is the Heart of the Rainbow at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.

We are regular visitors to Brisbane and we always make a point of visiting the excellent exhibitions at GOMA.

Yayoi Kusama goma

Yayoi Kusama goma

Until Sunday 11 February Life is the Heart of the Rainbow  is surveying Kusama’s vast body of work since the 1950s. The exhibition explores her key motifs (dots dots dots), her engagement with the body, and her conception of space such as in the infinity rooms.

Yayoi Kusama goma

Yayoi Kusama goma

As well as the main exhibition the Children’s Art Centre at GOMA is hosting the immersive interactive The obliteration room (2002 – ongoing). We have now been to three           \    and the collaboration has been experienced by more than five million people worldwide.

yayoi kusama goma

goma children's art centre

Yayoi Kusama goma

The Children’s Art Centre is also hosting Me, Myselfie and I until Sunday 22 April. It explores the representation of self and features video works, digital picture making, portrait drawing, magnetic dress-up dolls and expressions through music.

me myselfie and i goma

The kids visit Me, Myselfie and I twice in two days and stay close to two hours each time…

me myselfie and i goma

…starting with Wit Pimkanchanapong’s multimedia activity I, you, we that invites children to create a composite portrait of their face and that of a friend or family member….

me myselfie and i goma

….a hands-on activity where kids draw their portrait using a series of distorted mirrors…

me myselfie and i goma

….a fun dress-up activity with outfits referencing different cultures, uniforms and fashions.

me myselfie and i goma

me myselfie and i goma

The most popular activity is ‘My Pocket Orchestra’ where Lady AB and Baby 2.0 mix different sounds to create a soundtrack to express their mood ‘excited’ ‘sad’ ‘happy’ etc.

me myselfie and i goma

Both Life is the Heart of the Rainbow and Me, Myselfie and I are free to enter and make a great day out for creative kids, combined with lunch at the State Library of Queensland’s Library cafe and a trip on the Citycat ferry service.

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

Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of the Rainbow +Me, Myselfie and I, Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Pl, South Brisbane

Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of the Rainbow  until Sun 11 Feb

Me, Myselfie and I  until Sun 22 Apr

Daily 10am-5pm

Free entry


HOT: Heart of Hall, 17 Hall St, Newport

heart of hall newport

Heart of Hall in Newport has transformed a drab employment agency into a stylish cooking school, cafe and foodstore for westside locals.

heart of hall newport

I love the decor and colour scheme, with cobalt blue walls highlighting the white-and-wood Scandi chic aesthetic. The gold bar on the coffee bench is a glamorous finishing touch.

heart of hall newport

Heart of Hall services breakfast and lunch 7 days a week and the menu focuses on fresh simplicity and seasonal ingredients. Breakfast starts with bready things, an egg and bacon roll, granola toasted oats and chia pudding, while more substantial dishes involve smashed avo, bubble and squeak and zucchini fritters.

heart of hall newport

heart of hall newport

For lunch (though I couldn’t see anything restrictions on having it for breakfast) there’s a choice of Bocastle pies, salads, a Ploughman’s lunch and my option, a vegetarian platter with avocado and beetroot relish croute, vine tomatoes, herb coated goats cheese balls and zucchini fritters ($20). The platter is a substantial serving for one person so make sure you have a good appetite.

heart of hall newport

For families there is plenty of pram space, several high chairs and a disabled toilet. While there’s no actual ‘kids’ stuff to do the co-owner Nicole said that they were very welcoming of families…plus there’s lots to look at on the shelves, from ceramics to cookbooks to food making kits.

heart of hall newport

My most exciting discovery – they stock Meatsmith products! I love this Fitzroy butcher and regularly make a pilgrimage with a cooler bag to stock up. Hopefully with customer demand Heart of Hall will stock more of their products, such as their Bolognese sauce made with Heston Blumenthal’s recipe and addictive chicken liver pate. They also stock good quality everyday supplies such as La Madre bread, Schulz Organic Milk and Green Eggs.

heart of hall newport

Heart of Hall also hosts regular cooking classes with different themes. Upcoming classes include knife skills, pasta, raw food and French cuisine. Maybe they’ll have kids in the kitchen at some stage?

heart of hall newport

HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • several high chairs;
  • disabled toilet;
  • standard menu suitable for kids;
  • across from Newport train station;
  • under the station tunnel to Newport Community Hub and Library and playground;
  • free street parking.

Heart of Hall, 17 Hall St, Newport (03) 9939 5819

Weekdays 6:30am-5pm

Weekends 6:30am-1pm

What’s On – Friday 2 February to Thursday 8 February

whats on melbourne this week

Welcome back to the weekly What’s On! It’s been great to have a break over January and to hear how much you *missed* knowing what’s on for families every week :)

CBD / Docklands

  • The District Food Truck Park (Fri 2 Feb) – pop up food truck park every Friday plus Blender Artist Market with art and craft stalls, live music and open studios.
  • Park Cinema Docklands (Fri 2 Feb) – Over six Fridays in 2018 Park Cinema will be screening classic family films under the stars, in front of Library at The Dock.
  • South Wharf Pop Up Cinema (Fri 2 Feb – Sun 4 Mar) – riverside cinematic experience on Common Man’s bright green Astroturf.
  • Boho Luxe Market (Fri 2 Feb – Sun 4 Feb) – shopping, exclusive brands, food trucks, live music, workshops and an epic Glamping Festival.
  • Drip Drop Artplay (Fri 2 Feb – Sun Feb) – Join our New Ideas Lab experiment and dive into an immersive, sensory experience filled with ice and water.
  • QV Outdoor Cinema (Fri 2 Feb – Thu 8 Feb) – live entertainment, free cocktails, special food, red carpets, instafamous dogs, charity screenings, a film festival and more.
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 2 Feb – Tue 28 Feb) – free play space inspired by‘Our last trip to the market‘  by Lorin Clarke and Mitch Vane with a food-shopping theme! Full review.
  • Sustainable Living Festival (Fri 2 Feb – Wed 28 Feb) – Earth-lovin’ activities including workshops, DIY-days, pop-ups and markets in both central and outer Melbourne.
  • Pirate Sunday Polly Woodside (Sun 4 Feb) – Dress as a pirate and come help us search for hidden treasure, play tug of war and have your face painted.
  • Sunset Series Treasury Gardens (Sun 4 Feb) – free twilight concerts in the Treasury Gardens.
  • Queen Victoria Night Market (Wed 7 Feb) – 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. Full review.
  • We Make Carpets NGV  (Fri 2 Feb – 15 Apr) – Dutch art collective We Make Carpets (who do not actually make carpets!) has transformed the children’s gallery into walls of large-scale artworks incorporating patterns made with everyday objects. Full review.



Harmony Park, 187-195 Gaffney St, Coburg North


  • Silver Circus Dingley (Fri 2 Feb – 25 Feb) – Australia’s oldest circus comes to town. Win tickets. 
  • Sandsculpting Frankston Waterfront (Fri 2 Feb –  Apr) -Twenty sculptors carve out themed sculptures from the sand.
  • Barefoot Cinema at Rippon Lea (Fri 2 Feb – Fri 16 Feb) –  Enjoy food trucks, live music and a fully licensed bar before watching the sun go down and settling in for a feature film on the big screen
  • Hank Marvin Market (Sat 3 Feb) – weekly Saturday market with awesome playground at Alma Park.
  • Sausage Fest Prahran Market (Sat 3 Feb) – fun-filled event for the whole family and tasting and voting is free.
  • The Classics Stonnington (Sat 3 Feb) – three-part series of free Saturday evening concerts throughout February.
  • Elwood Community Market (Sat 3 Feb) – trash and treasure, plants, clothes, jewellery, pastries fruit & veg and other eclectic and unique surprises.  A jumping castle, animal farm, ice-cream van and an ever growing variety of fun and games to keep the children amused.
  • Yalukut Weelam Ngargee Arts and Cultural Festival (Sat 3 Feb) – emerging and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians, dancers and artists, plus plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Como House Tours (Sat 3 Feb – Sun 4 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.
  • Portable Iron Houses tour (Sun 4 Feb) – Get an insight into life during the Gold Rush era when you visit one of the few remaining pre-fabricated iron buildings in the world.
  • Moorabbin Miniature Railway (Sun 4 Feb) – miniature railway on the first Sunday of the month.
  • Hungarian Goulash Festival and Book Fair (Sun 4 Feb) – teams battle it out for the title of the best Gulys (Goulash soup).
  • Melbourne Tennis Week (Mon 5 Feb – Sun 11 Feb) – free events and activities taking place in various Port Phillip and Stonnington tennis clubs.
  • South Melbourne Night Market (Thu 8 Feb) – street food, copious stalls, eclectic entertainment and music every Thursday night until 22 Feb. Full review. 


  • Melbourne Storm Family Day (Sat 3 Feb) –  activities for the kids, Melbourne Storm cheerleaders, Storm Man, food trucks, giveaways, special guests and a chance to hear from the 2018 Melbourne Storm players and coaches.
  • Twilight Art in the Park (Sat 3 Feb) – Free art workshops for adults and kids | Live music | Outdoor family-friendly film screening at sundown ‘The Secret Life of Pets’.
  • Lego Batman Movie Night (Sat 3 Feb) – Meet your Arrabri Ward councillors and enjoy the activities including face painting, art activities, children’s games and live entertainment.
  • Eastern Pregnancy & Baby Expo (Sun 4 Feb) – showcase of local and Australian products and services that cater for pregnant women and families with babies up to 6 months of age.
  • Yarra Valley Railway (Sun 4 Feb) – take a trip on the historic Walker RM22 Railmotor from Healesville to Tunnel Hill.
  • Babes to Kids Market Caribbean Gardens (Fri 2 Nov) – new and preloved baby gear, free train rides and face painting.


HOT: Queen Victoria Market Night Market, Cnr Queen St and Therry St, Melbourne

queen victoria night market

The Queen Victoria Night Market is celebrating its 20th birthday this year with lively night markets every Wednesday until 11th April 2018.

queen victoria night market

Every year it gets more and more popular so if you’re going with kids my big tip is to get there early at 5pm to take advantage of easier parking, shorter lines and more seating. If you’re going with a large group consider booking a table online -it’s $10pp for your own private table.

The markets span over two sheds with over 50 street food vendors, art, craft and design stalls plus a weekly calendar of live entertainment.

queen victoria night market

queen victoria night market

I take Baby 2.0 for his first night market experience and we sample a three-course meal of soft-shelled crab burger, chicken and lamb skewers and rainbow ice cream while I opt for decadent stuffed Butterlake pancakes with ice cream. Grand total is just under $50 but you can certainly spend and eat less.

queen victoria night market

queen victoria night market

The Queen Victoria Night Market are a fun way to break up your weekday routine and it’s an easy place to take the family out as there’s something for everyone in terms of eats.

HOT Tips:

  • get there as close to 5pm as you can as it gets busier and the lines longer. Peak hour is 7pm;
  • if you go early it’s relatively easy to find street parking close to the market at that time if you’re coming by car;
  • $10 parking from 4:30pm-11pm in market car park;
  • take a tram up Elizabeth St for the easiest access via PT;
  • the main market is not open;
  • if you’re going with a large group consider booking a table online -$10pp for your own private table; and
  • bring cash as not all vendors accept cards. There are a few ATMs by Therry Street/toilet blocks but with long queues.

Queen Victoria Night Market, Elizabeth St & Victoria St, Melbourne

Every Wednesday 5-10pm  until Wed 11 April 2018

HOT: Leap Frog Park, Cnr of Saltwater Promenade and Point Cook Road, Point Cook

frog park point cook

Leap Frog Park is a community playground within the housing development of Life, Point Cook. It celebrates the surrounding aquatic environment with a giant frog as its centrepiece.

frog park point cook

The fibreglass frog is by BigFish workshop in Footscray (who also built Mimi the Muttaburrasaurus at McNish Reserve) and it forms shaded bench seating.

frog park point cook

Leap Frog Park is more suitable for little kids as the equipment is not challenging. The slides are short, the mounds are low, the trampolines are little and the ground is soft fall.

frog park point cook

frog park point cook

You can learn all about frogs on panels located throughout the park.

frog park point cook

It’s not a large park and there’s no shade cover other than at the barbecue shelter and inside the logs.

frog park point cook

You may want to cool off at the nearby Crocodile Park which has extensive water play. Crocodile Park also has toilets and a cafe if you need the break!

HOT Tips:

  • Suitable for toddlers;
  • covered bbq shelter, some seating
  • No fencing;
  • no toilets;
  • no water fountains; and
  • no shade other than within frog sculpture;
  • Close to Crocodile Park which has water play, toilets, cafe.

Leap Frog Park Cnr of Saltwater Promenade and Point Cook Road

Point Cook (Atlantis Drive)

The HOT List: Top 10 Beach Playgrounds in Melbourne

best beach playgrounds melbourneMake the most of summer with my favourite beach playgrounds in Melbourne. It doesn’t get better than sunshine, play equipment and then the beach – really just one giant sandpit!

 Click here to check the daily water quality of Melbourne’s beaches.

  1. Logan Reserve + Altona Beach

Altona Beach, Logan Reserve and Norfolk cafe, 139 The Esplanade, AltonaStunning, serene and expansive, Altona Beach is my favourite beach in Melbourne and there’s a medium size playground at Logan Reserve.

2. Carrum Beach foreshore playground

Carrum Beach Playground, 15 Old Post Office Lane, Carrum Beach Foreshore, CarrumLove the stylish decor of this the nautical themed playground at Carrum Beach foreshore.

3. Peter Scullin Reserve + Mordialloc Beach

Peter Scullin Reserve has a pirate ship theme, is almost fully shaded and with the added bonus of being within walking distance of some of the best fish and chips in Melbourne at Tommy Ruff

4. Frankston Beach foreshore playground

Frankston Regional Foreshore Playground, Frankston Waterfront Reserve, Pier Promenade, FrankstonFrankston’s foreshore playground has a unique magical castle theme and is well shaded by trees, turrets and shade sails. 

5. Price Reserve + Werribee South Beach

Price Reserve WerribeeThe playground at Price Reserve has been upgraded with new equipment, BBQ shelter and skate park. Across the road is the virtually empty Werribee South beach. Bring your wheels and some footwear – the beach is full of shells so great for fossicking but not great for sandcastles.

6. Maritime Cove playground + Sandridge beach

Maritime Cove Port MelbourneMaritime Cove is an amazing sprawling adventure playground with water play and all the sand you could ever want. It’s adjacent to Sandridge Beach if you want more water and sand fun.

7. Plum Garland Memorial Playground + Albert Park Beach / South Melbourne Beach

plum garland playground albert parkPlum Garland Memorial Playground is an amazing fenced playground with water play and shade sails with the sheltered waters of Port Phillip Bay just outside the gates. 

8. Regatta Beach playground

regatta parkRegatta Beach is the location on a quiet, toddler friendly, playground tucked around suburbia. Note that there’s no swimming at Regatta Beach but you can dip your feet in.

9. Chelsea Beach playground

victory park chelseaChelsea Beach has a cute playground with a castle theme, a small scooter trail and quiet beach with a long strip of shops makes Chelsea Beach a great destination for families

10. Eastern Beach playground

Eastern Beach Reserve, 95 Eastern Beach Rd, GeelongA bit further afield but so good it’s worth a day trip! Eastern Beach in Geelong offers a free swimming pool, sea baths, large playground, picnic areas and rides in summer.

Click here for more places to go with kids with free water play. 

Where is your favourite beach playground in Melbourne?

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