Last min travel with the kids! Gah! Seeking best 5(+) Day tours | Melbourne - LikeALocal Guide

Last min travel with the kids! Gah! Seeking best 5(+) Day tours

By Traveller July 27, 2017
Melbourne

Last min travel with the kids! Gah! Seeking best 5(+) Day tours

(6 answers)
By Howard Traveller July 27, 2017

I'm traveling with the kids (they are seasoned travelers) and being there This coming Monday for about a week (last minute travel--ahhh...gain!). Due to having to work while we travel, we're looking at joining a tour (gasp! I know, but for times like these sometimes it's the best option) and want to know which one is great and will cover the following:

- Phillip Island Penguin parade
- Ocean Road + 12 Apostles
- Petting Koalas, and other furry fellas, and seeing Kangaroos
- Grampians
- Puffing Billy
- Anything we should add? Suggestions welcomed!
- Hotels with or without meals (Goes without saying right?)

We see that it's chilly/cold there, does it rain a lot during those dates? Thanks a whole bunch!

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6 answers

I love the Grampians. You can go to Zumsteins and see the kangaroos. You can go to Halls Gap and then the walks up the bluff behind - Silent Street, Nerve Test, the Lookout. There are beautiful falls around too. I would hire a car and give myself the flexibility of looking around and getting to the beauty spots. We used to hire a farm and stay a few days. It is 3-4 hours from Melbourne (but you could go via the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles).
Puffing Billy - probably interesting for half an hour, but what will you do when you get to the destination in this cold weather? I would save that for another visit, when the weather is great.
Scienceworks and the Melbourne Museum are great destinations for kids. Also check with the National Gallery as they often have very interesting programs for the kids https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/category/kids/?type=program
Lots of things on this non-commercial site: https://whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Placestogo/Attractions/FamilyFun/Pages/Familyfun.aspx
The person who suggested Sovereign Hill is right - it is a fun place for the whole family in my opinion.

P
Local July 27, 2017
Reply
Hi Howard,
Yes, its a bit chilly here at the moment - bring your coats; it has been beautiful up to the last week. As a local, I don't do the tours, so can't recommend which tours to do, but I can make a few comments about your plans.
Phillip Island is about a 2 hour trip to the south east of Melbourne. The penguin parade is great, but rug up in case it is late in the day. The island itself is attractive. I also love Wilsons Prom - wild beaches and wonderful walks. There is a camping ground with very comfortable "huts" that you can stay in.
The Ocean Road is a beautiful trip, but not sure that sight seeing glorious scenery is something that the kids would enjoy.
Petting Koalas and kangaroos - go to Healesville which is about an hour to the east of Melbourne. The Healesville Sanctuary is a great destination for tourists. They have a display of platypus, a show with eagles, koalas, kangaroos. Healesville itself is a nice town with some great food too - even the local hotel is great. Also, you can go beyond Healesville to the Maroondah dam which is a nice site with some good walks. Healesville is near the Yarra Valley where there are some awesome wineries, specialty food places etc. I am thinking you could do something nice for the kids with something nice for yourselves.
Alternatively you could go to the Werribee Zoo, which is about half an hour to the west of Melbourne. It is an open range zoo.
(see part 2 - I can't post more than 1500 characters)
P
Local July 27, 2017
Reply
Thanks Pam! This is very helpful! The info and links are great!

Packing coats and Polar fleece tops.
Hi Howard
I live in Brisbane, about 2K kms north of Melbourne but offer you some general advice.
Victorian Tourist centre, opposite Flinders Street, Railway Station – They are great help can provide free maps, brochures and advice as well as booking various trips and events.
1. Phillip Island – Good th seeing
2. Ocean Road + good, but be aware of the travel distances
3. Petting Koalas, + see tourist centre for best
4. Grampians – wonderful – you Kangaroos and others in wild – Free evening Ranger walks showing wildlife, must plan to stay overnight in the log cabins, otherwise too much travel.
5. Puffing Billy Good - nice small townships at each end – check to ensure Puffing billy is running – it should be OK as it is winter
6. Other suggestions 1 - Hire bikes, ride along the St Kilda foreshore – you can ride beyond Frankston, approx. 50 kilometres away – train runs alongside so if you get tired take the train back. Cycle track or use Beach Road – on Sunday join the many cyclists who take to Beach Road for a morning ride.
6. Other Suggestions 2 – Victoria or South Melbourne Market – free
6 Other suggestions 3 - See the Melbourne City Library on Flinders Street – The Dome is magnificent – if you like anything to do with books or architecture – this is a place to visit – Free
7. Hotels + Unable to comment but in recent stays we have used Airbnb for an entire apartment or services apartments – both offer good value
Have a good holiday, Mark
M
Local July 27, 2017
Reply
Thanks Mark! Great info and things we didn't think about that we love (bikes and books!).
Hi Howard,
Sovereign Hill in Ballarat is worth a look with children if you are in the area. The city itself is pretty well preserved with many old buildings form the late 1880's when it was a booming gold town.
Local July 27, 2017
Reply
Contact the Victorian Tourism Bureau. They will be able to advise you as the activites you are looking at some kms apart and need a couple of tours.
Local July 27, 2017
Reply
Hi Howard!
The Penguin parade is good, but there will be HEAPS of people , it will cost a bit of money, and it will be dark and cold. Plus it's a bit of travel away from anything else.
In fact, all of these are far from each other, so keep that in mind. You may find you spend your whole time in the car which wouldn't be that much fun.
To get the real Grampians experience you need to stay there overnight, preferably camp. Plus it's a 4 hour drive from Melbourne!
Puffing Billy is PERFECT for kids, and the surrounding environment will be gorgeous for you too. The towns in that region are also nice to stop into.For native animals, head to Healesville Sanctuary.If that's the kind of thing that you're into you could buy a pass that would also cover the Melbourne zoo & Werribee Open Range Zoo.
The Great Ocean Road is a really beautiful drive that you COULD do in one day but again, it's a LONG drive!If u decide to do it in one day make sure you don't have anything planned for the night that you have to hurry back for.
I recommend the National Gallery of Victoria-other than the major exhibitions it's free and it's really amazing. The Melbourne Museum is also heaps of fun for kids.
It is pretty cold down here at the moment!And the weather in Melbourne is UNPREDICTABLE-however it's actually been a reasonably dry winter. Make sure you have a rain coat just in case, and warm layers. Most of the things that you can do in Victoria will be just as beautiful and fun in the winter:)
Local July 27, 2017
Reply
Thanks Caitlyn,

Great advice and suggestions! Though I would normally drive, I will be there alone with my two monkeys (gals), thus looking at 5 day tours so it's less me looking for how to get to places and more me working on the way on a bus and then having fun with them when we get to the destination.
I totally understand, however I honestly don't think you could get through all of those things in 5 days by bus! Particularly if you include the Grampians. I'm sure those kinds of tours exists, but you'd spend the entire time in the bus without much time to actually do the fun stuff. so I'd keep the tours a little more local. A tour down the Great Ocean Road and Penguin Parade is probably quite doable, and Puffing Billy or Healesville sanctuary are nice day trips out of Melbourne, but much more than that and you'll need a holiday to recover ;)
1-2 day tours...might be a workaround for us. Is AirBnB popular/safe there?
It's safe, and reasonably popular. I've used it in Tasmania and I've rented my flat out in Melbourne with no hassles. Never tried to do it as a family, but sure it can't be too hard!
Great to know. It's crazy how it's totally fine in one place and in the next the scammers are so bad the government steps in to regulate it.