We made it! Christmas is coming so I’m signing off on the blog for 2016!
For the next two weeks I’ll be taking a break on the Gold Coast and Hong Kong (follow my adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) so I wanted to leave you with this – my summer holidays bucket list!
If you’re on social media I’d LOVE to see what you’re up to this summer. Please use #tothotornot #totsummer on your posts so we can all be inspired to enjoy a fun, restful and HOT summer holidays!
National Gallery of Victoria is one of the few public institutions open on New Year’s Day and in our experience it’s a great time to go, especially in the morning. The gallery is virtually empty which means you’ll be able to run riot at the NGV Car Wash and Atelier: Viktor & Rolf for Kids.
National Gallery of Victoria
Mon 2 Jan – Get splashy
Splashland is a new inflatable water slide park with 7,000m2 of slippery summertime fun for kids. See you at the bottom!
Splashland Mornington Racecourse: 27 Dec 2016 – 8 Jan 2017
Splashland Caulfield Racecourse: 11 Jan – 24 Jan 2017
Tickets from $9 for under 5s
Tue 3 Jan – Road trip to the Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Icecreamery is a delicious family-friendly destination on the Great Ocean Road in Bellbrae from the founders of the popular Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice creamery in Yarra Glen.
The shop, cafe and gardens are a perfect destination if you’re taking a trip to the Great Ocean Road. They also run junior chocolatier classes for kids!
Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Icecreamery
1200 Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae
Wed 4 Jan – Iggety, ziggety, zaggety, ZOOM!
Zooming onto the stage this summer, the magical, musical adaptation of the award-winning picture book Room on the Broom is coming to the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Room on the Broom, Arts Centre Melbourne
Wed 4 Jan – 15 January 2017
Tickets from $26
Thu 5 Jan – Have a playdate with Peppa Pig
Visit Peppa’s house, sail on the pond, jump in bouncy muddy puddles and have a special playdate with Peppa, sit on a picnic rug to watch a musical show starring Peppa Pig and George live on stage, visit Danny Dog in the music room to play musical instruments and ride on Grandpa’s train.
Peppa Pig Playdate, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Thursday 5 to Monday 9 January
Tickets from $45.90
Fri 6 Jan – Enjoy free water play
Enjoy free water play at Riverwalk, an amazing splashy playground in Werribee. Click here for more free water play areas.
Sat 7 Jan – Explore the zoo in the cool of the evening
Werribee Zoo is open late for ‘Rhythm of Africa’ every Saturday night in summer. There’s live music, African-inspired food, dancing, drumming, hair braiding, kids activities, safari tours and more!
Sun 8 Jan – Go Fruit picking
Go on a day trip to pick strawberries at the Mornington Peninsula’s Sunny Ridge or go cherry picking in the Yarra Valley at Cherryhill Orchards.
Mon 9 Jan – Learn about robots
Over the summer holidays, Scienceworks are rolling out the robots, rollbots and drones in workshops, activities and shows.
Book into a Lego or Sphero Robotics Workshops where you’ll learn how robots move, sense their environment, and ‘think.’
Tue 10 Jan – Enjoy scientific fun
SciencePlay Kids are holding special school holiday programs for 6-10 year olds in January for $20 per child and $5 siblings (who can be under 6).
Wed 11 Jan – Visit the music festival just for kids
Melbourne Recital Centre’s annual children’s music festival ‘Music Play’ is back this year with another fun program. We’ll be heading to Justine Clarke and The Race for the Chinese Zodiac.
Music Play, Melbourne Recital Centre
Thu 12 Jan – Learn about digital technology and films
With a huge suite of creative workshops as well as screenings of popular film classics, there’s something for kids of all ages during ACMI’s school holiday program. The free Screen Worlds exhibition is worth visiting too.
ACMI, Federation Square
Free, workshops paid
Fri 13 Jan – Visit Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Museum children’s gallery is ah-mazing. Check out the dinosaur digs, giant climbing frame, sensory play areas and train station.
Melbourne Museum Nicholson St Carlton
Adults $14, children free
Sat 14 Jan – Visit a beach playground
Carrum Beach is one of our favourite beaches in Melbourne with a gorgeous nautical-themed playground on the foreshore. Also check out the beach playgrounds we’ve reviewed at Williamstown, Altona, Albert Park and Frankston.
Head to the sophisticated French music festival where the kids get in free and there’s a whole section devoted to families.
So Frenchy So Chic, Werribee Park
Sun 15 Jan
$89 per adult, kids free
Mon 16 Jan – Enjoy the free art festival for kids
Enjoy eleven days of free artist-led workshops and spectacular performances for kids at NGV International and NGV Australia.
Mon 16 Jan – Thu 26 Jan, 10AM–3PM DAILY
NGV International and NGV Australia
Tue 17 Jan – Australian Open
The Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific takes over Melbourne 16-29 January. Even if you’re not a tennis fan you can enjoy the free family-friendly activities at the AO Festival at Birrarung Marr.
Australian Open Festival, Birrarung Marr
Wed 18 Jan – Sample the world’s cuisines
Head to Melbourne’s oldest night market every Wednesday at Queen Victoria Night Market. If you’re southside there’s also the South Melbourne Night Market every Thursday night in January and February too.
Queen Victoria Night Market
Every Wednesday 5-10pm
16 Nov 2016 to 8 Mar 2017
South Melbourne Night Market
Every Thursday 5:30-8:30pm
5 Jan – 23 Feb
Thu 19 Jan – Hang out at the pool
Head to your favourite public pool for some splashy fun. North Melbourne pool is only open during the summer months so make the most of the water play there.
Fri 20 Jan – Eat gelato
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Work your way through my list of Melbourne’s best ice cream and gelato.
Sat 21 Jan – Open air cinema
Watch a film at one of the several open air cinemas dotted around Melbourne – Moonlight Cinema, QV Cinema and at Barkly Square.
Many councils also hold free outdoor cinema screenings (and live music concerts) over summer – check out your local council’s website for more info.
Sun 22 Jan – Catch a crab
Explore marine life in the shallow rockpools of the marine sanctuary at Ricketts Point and Point Gellibrand.
Mon 23 Jan – Take your scooter out for a scoot
Altona Beach is a fantastic bay beach with long stretches of sand, a pier, cafes and a beach playground. It’s also one of the best places to scoot in Melbourne.
Tue 24 Jan – Catch a movie
Beat the heat and hide in your local cinema to catch the latest family-friendly flicks.
Vjunior is a special cinema designed for children aged 3 to 10 years. It features a dedicated play area in the foyer, and two cinemas that are specifically designed for kids. Vjunior is exclusive to Village Cinemas and is open at Westfield Southland at the moment.
Wed 25 Jan – Get ready for the Year of the Rooster
Chinese New Year falls on Saturday 28 January this year. Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with dumplings at family friendly Din Tai Fung.
Thu 26 Jan – Australia Day
Here’s what’s on in Melbourne for Australia Day celebrations. We highly recommend the Government House Open Day event where you can tour the main House and enjoy lots of free family friendly activities.