FREE, FREE, FREE – captured your attention right?  Certainly made me excited just typing it!

The school holidays can be an expensive time.  All those extra activities to keep the kids amused during the two-week school holiday period can certainly add up.  If you are anything like me, I am constantly looking high and low to find an outing that doesn’t see me constantly pulling out my purse.

Well, stop the search.  We decided to make it easy for you.  All you have to do is pack your lunch, aboard the ferry (to either Docklands or Portarlington) and partake in these FREE family fun activities.



All aboard – City Circle Tram

Did you know that Port Phillip Ferries dock right across the road from the FREE CBD tram network?  This means that upon departure of the ferry you and your young ones can get onboard and tour the sights and sounds of the Big Smoke.

With map in hand (‘easy-to-understand’ maps available onboard each City Circle Tram), your kids will delight in exploring the city.  The tram travels past major city attractions including;  Old Treasury Building, Parliament House, Princess Theatre, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, St Paul’s Cathedral, State Library and many more.

And best of all the trams are hop-on-hop-off, so let those little ones pull the stop cord and jump off at your chosen destination.  With the earlier suggestion of a packed picnic lunch, you can take your pick of three city gardens en route; Carlton Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Flagstaff Gardens to sit down and feast upon your picnic lunch.  They are all picturesque and all have beautiful wide open spaces for your children to run, jump and cartwheel around.

Photo via Instagram – @kristirgarcia


Rugby Rules – Little Rebels Clinic

Attention sports-loving children (and parents)!  You are going to love this FREE school holiday opportunity.  And an opportunity is exactly what it is, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; training with the Melbourne Rebels (Super Rugby) at the 2018 Little Rebels Clinic.

The Melbourne Rebels will be on hand to play some ball with you at Gosch’s Paddock (Olympic Boulevard) on Monday 9th July (12noon to 2pm).  The event is FREE and open to children aged 5 to 15 years old.  But be sure you register, we would hate for you to turn up and not have secured your child’s spot (the places are definitely in-demand and sought after).

Motivate and inspire your little athlete at this fun, FREE and hands-on clinic.


Do you want to build a snowman? – The District Docklands

Yes please!  And you can at The District Docklands these July school holidays.

District Docklands is transforming into a winter utopia;  build your own snowman, throw a virtual snowball and create an angelic snow angel, all in the heart of the Melbourne CBD.

The “Snow Play” area will see an 8m x 8m area filled with real and frosty snow.  And then there is “The Ice Slide”; a 15m long icy construction that allows you all the thrills of the slopes by sliding down in total tubular style (aboard a tube that is).

Although not entirely free, entry is a mere gold coin donation with all proceeds going to Kids Under Cover.  So put on your winter woollies and get ready to have some icy fun.



Take a hike – Hiking trails of Portarlington

Why not go a-wandering these school holidays.  It’s good for exploration, it great for burning off that excess school holiday energy and it is brilliant for getting your children to unplug from their devices.  Portarlington and its surrounds have some fantastic walking/hiking trails.  A couple of standouts in the way of walks include the “Ramblers Walk” and “Portarlington History Walk”.

Ramblers Walk – Wow the kids with absolutely spectacular panoramic views on the Ramblers Walk.  This walk heads along the foreshore, taking sights of the You Yangs and Melbourne city skyline.  The walk starts just east of where the ferry docks and takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes, longer if you want to stop along the way and enjoy the winter beach.  Shhhhh though, it is a little local secret that winter is the best time to enjoy our beaches.

Portarlington History Walk – This all-abilities walk takes you on a journey past 22 points of historical significance.  Grab yourself a copy of the Portarlington History Walk from the Visitor centre across the road from the Grand Hotel and begin your education (and exercise).  The entire walk takes approximately one to one and a half hours and passes spectacular heritage homes, one of the oldest surviving mills in Victoria and Portarlington’s infamous Grand Hotel.

Photo via Instagram – @michalechambersphotography


Cast out – Fishing

Childhood memories of fishing, aren’t they the greatest!  I know mine are.  Dad yelling at me to stop casting in and out, dad yelling at me to stop being so loud.  I really do promise they are the greatest.  Create some of these lasting memories with your kids and bring your rods on board the ferry so you can have a fish off in Portarlington.

Portarlington is an area known for snapper, mullet, garfish and whiting.  Our suggestion would be to try your hand off the pier or you may also want to have a crack at dropping your line in off Steele’s Rocks (just slightly right of the pier).  The locals have been known to catch a Luderick or two from the rocks.  Not far from these fishing hot spots are the shops (just across the road).  So if you don’t end up catching anything, you can console yourself with some fish n chips.

And the all-important…..  KIDS FISH FREE.  Children aged under 18 do not require a fishing license, however, adults do.  So make sure you grab yours online.  The low cost of a license is much better than the cost of a fine!


Room on the ferry for you and your bike – Bike paths

Bicycles travel FREE on the ferry, so why not bring your two wheels on board and explore the coastline on your bike.  Please be sure to let us know if you are bringing your metal stead on board as we do have a maximum capacity for bicycles.

The track along the foreshore from Portarlington to St Leonards is ideal for the cycling family.  It is fairly flat, off-road and has the most fabulous midway stop; Indented Heads.  Here you can view the wreck of the Ozone (a paddle steamer built in 1886 that has sunk off the coastline and can be seen from shore).  Continue on your cycling way after your pit stop to the final destination of St Leonards (a delightful coastal town whose hotel was made famous in the TV series “Seachange”).

In total the return bike trip is approximately 24 kms.  A mere ride in the park for kids!  You will all appreciate the comfort of the ferry ride home as you rest your weary bike legs.

The Ozone Wreck, photo via Instagram – @gday2u


Some of the best things in life are FREE.  Melbourne and Portarlington certainly prove that point; tram rides, rugby coaching, snow fun, fishing, hiking expeditions and cycling.  Such a diverse range of winter school holiday activities to be had and they are all FREE, gloriously FREE!!!

Blog written by Nat (Mumma to four youngsters who is ALWAYS on the lookout for school holiday adventures).