12 Easy Day Trips from Melbourne for Families with Kids
Live in Melbourne or travelling with your family? Once you have seen the big city sights and main attractions, you may want to head out on a day trip out from Melbourne to see some of Victoria’s finest. There are so many day trips within Victoria, and with so many options, we have come up with the best day trips from Melbourne for families.
Family Day Trips from Melbourne
There are so many things to do in Melbourne with kids and even more places where you can spend the day out of the city if you are happy to travel.
Whether you are wanting to get up close to wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas, relax on one of Melbourne’s beautiful beaches, see some beautiful waterfalls, or just want to explore a nearby city, you are really spoiled for options.
Check out our top 12 easy family day trips from Melbourne. Some within an hour or so, and a couple of long day trips from Melbourne if you are up for it
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1. Puffing Billy
Victoria’s iconic steam train and a family favourite is Puffing Billy. Climb aboard and travel through the breathtaking Dandenong Ranges, about an hour East of Melbourne.
Starting at Belgrave, travellers can stop for a picnic and water activities at Emerald Lake. Enjoy the fresh air and the views before continuing onto Gembrook.
The train ride on Puffing Billy itself is a highlight, but spending the day out in the fresh air with family and friends is the perfect way to spend the day. Make sure to check out their special events such as A Day out with Thomas, and the Santa Special.
2. Sovereign Hill
Learn about Victoria’s history when the gold rush hit Ballarat back in the 1850’s. Step back in time visiting Melbourne’s most amazing outdoor museum just a couple of hours from the city.
Sovereign Hill provides a full day of family entertainment and a very unique experience. Staff in “olden day” costumes will meet, greet and post for photos and then you can head of to dig for some real gold.
Take a stroll through the historical streets exploring what homes looked like, view a show at the Victorian Theatre and have lunch at the famous New York Bakery. A day trip from Melbourne to Sovereign Hill will be a hit with the whole family. If you are interested, read more about Sovereign Hill and the famous Winter Wonderlights every July.
There are also plenty of other things to do in Ballarat too while you are there. You can also check out Kryal Castle, and the Ballarat Wildlife Park too!
If you are looking for the best beaches near Melbourne, Torquay is a great option for a family day trip in regional Victoria. About an hour and a half from Melbourne, and your gateway to the Great Ocean Road and if you have a night or two, I highly suggest you take a weekend getaway to see the rest.
If you only have the day then visiting Torquay is perfect. Walk along the esplanade and enjoy a picnic on the grass, take a dip in the water or even have some surf lessons. After all Torquay is one of the best surf beaches near Melbourne.
You can even pass by Geelong on the way, or way home as it is quite close, and there are plenty of things to do in Geelong with kids too.
If you have longer, take the weekend and drive the rest of the Great Ocean Road itinerary.
4. Erskine Falls
A little further down the coast you can find the stunning Erskine Falls. About a 15 minute drive from the centre of Lorne into the Otway Ranges, these water falls which fall from 30 metres, are among the best waterfalls near Melbourne.
There are walks you can do to suit everyone no matter if your kids are younger or older.
Erskine Falls can attract a large crowd especially in peek periods so best to get there early. These waterfalls make a fun day out from Melbourne especially for those who love to get close to nature.
You can spend the morning there and then there are plenty of things to do in Lorne and around to spend the rest of your day.
5. Healesville Sanctuary
Home to a range of native Australian animals, Healesville Sanctuary is set in the stunning Yarra Valley, and makes an easy day trip for Melbourne for families with kids of all ages. Walking around you will see keepers with birds, snakes, and other animals that you can get up close to.
There are close up encounters where you can go behind the scenes with the iconic koalas and kangaroos. Check out the bird shows, and enjoy a picnic immersed in nature.
On the way home, make sure to stop in at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Gelateria for some sweet delights!
If you can stay the night, we highly recommend you go Glamping at Healesville Holiday Park!
6. Fairy Park
Fairy Park is one of Victoria’s oldest themed parks, filled with traditional tales, myths, and legends and makes a fantastic day trip from Melbourne for families with young kids. Located only about an hour West of Melbourne on your way to Geelong, Fairy Park hasn’t changed much since opening years and years ago.
As you follow the path around, you are greeted with traditional scenes from the most well known fairy tales and stories. There are no screens, no modern technology. Kids simply push the button to listen, and use their imagination to create the story from the display setting.
7. Arthurs Seat
Around 90 minutes South East of Melbourne along the coast you will find Arthur’s Seat on the breathtaking Mornington Peninsula which makes a fantastic day trip from Melbourne for any traveller.
Head up on a gondola through the treetops to the summit of Arthur’s Seat, and take in some of the most stunning views of Port Phillip Bay. On a clear day, you can even see the outline of the city skyline.
Check out the Eagle Café where you can have a coffee and snack, then take a walk around up the top. If you want to make a full day out of it head to the Enchanted Adventure Garden and Maze for some adventure.
Keen to stay over? Make sure to check out the Iluka Retreat if you are up for some Glamping.
8. Lake Mountain
Just under 2 hours from Melbourne near Marysville in the Yarra Valley, you can find Lake Mountain Resort which has plenty of family-friendly activities available all year round.
Lake Mountain is the easiest day trip from Melbourne to see snow, not to mention the perfect mountain for beginners and families to experience snow.
There’s plenty of things to do on the mountain during winter including tobogganing, tube run, snowshoeing and winter walks, children’s snowboarding lessons and cross-country skiing lessons. There are even snow play areas for children and families to build snowmen and have snowball fights.
During summertime, there’s plenty of activities for you to enjoy including mountain bike riding, bushwalking, orienteering, laser skirmish or even going for a ride on the flying fox.
Queenscliff is about a 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne and makes a fun day out with the kids with lots to see and do. Take a ride on the Bellarine Railway and visit the marine and freshwater discovery centre. Or just head to one of the parks for some fish and chips or a picnic, or go for a swim in the beach.
As Queenscliff is directly across from Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, you actually have 2 options depending on which way you travel from.
You can either head down the West coast passed Geelong, or down the East coast around to Sorrento and catch the ferry over. The ferry will add to the cost of your trip however the kids will love the trip over.
10. Penguin Parade at Phillip Island
Tucked over in the South East around 2.5 hours from Melbourne is Phillip Island where you can experience the famous penguin parade on the coast after sunset. One of the most popular day trips from Melbourne with families, Phillip Island won’t disappoint.
If you can stay over and make a weekend out of it, it is worth it, otherwise you want to start early to make the most of your day at Phillip Island. For nature lovers take one of the hikes or coastal walks on the island, visit the Koala Conservation Centre, or head over to Churchill Island. Otherwise you can head to Amaze’n Things, or even Go Karting.
The penguin parade is in the evening, so prepared to arrive back late. For more ideas check out our post on what to do in Phillip Island.
Another day trip from Melbourne for nature lovers. Daylesford, which is famed for its naturally occurring mineral springs is great for a day trip or even a weekend getaway.
Visit one of the waterfalls, have a picnic by the lake, go on a forest walk, or visit the Wombat Hill botanical gardens. There is also a chocolate hill close by too which the kids will love.
Daylesford is a place where you can plan a day packed full of adventure, or just relax and enjoy your surroundings breathing in that gorgeous fresh air.
12. Halls Gap
If you are a nature loving family and love to walk or trek, Halls Gap is your best based to explore the Grampians National Park. A slightly longer day trip from Melbourne, about 2.5 hours, so you want to make sure you start early as there is a lot to do.
You can find some of the best waterfalls in Victoria in the Grampians. For family friendly walks and hikes check out the Venus Baths, and Mackenzie falls, which are perfect for families with young kids.
For those with older children, you can do the full loop and visit the famous Pinnacle. See our full post on what to see in Halls Gap.
Day trips from Melbourne for families
We are always keen to try out new family day trips in Victoria. These are our top 12 family day trips from Melbourne. Can you recommend any other day trips from Melbourne for families? Let us know!
Looking for other things to do with kids in and around Melbourne? Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, or see our Melbourne for Kids page.