Free, complimentary, without charge, inexpensive – what parent doesn’t love hearing these words especially when they are placed before ‘school holiday activities’?!?!

There is an abundance of FREE undertakings to be had on both sides of the bay and you don’t even need to seek them out, we have done that for you!  Read on, discover and relish in the freedom of FREE activities these winter school holidays.

 

FREE-DOM AT DOCKLANDS

Park It

Image – Ron Barassi Senior Park, photo credit via Instagram @kateflatman

You probably don’t associate park play with Docklands but you absolutely should!  There are two distinctly cool and compelling parks located in the Docklands region, waiting for you and your kids to ‘park it’.  And of course, they are FREE.

Docklands Park Playground on Harbour Esplanade perfectly combines art and play.  A gigantic circular ring fashions not only the centrepiece of the park but also houses five fantastical swings.  There are also tunnels, sandpit, spinners, viewing platform, art installations, BBQs and toilets.

Ron Barassi Senior Park on Docklands Drive not only has a playground complete with a climbing fort, two massive slides, sandpit, water channels & pumps, digger, tyre swing but also a sports field, pavilion and walking circuit.

 

Learn about it

Image – The Reading Room at The State Library, photo credit via Instagram @jenhoogs

The great city of Melbourne is rich in history and this no more clearly evident than when you take in and learn about its historic and architecturally-designed constructions.  All of these are FREE to be admired from the outside and the majority are FREE to be explored on the inside.  Some of our favourites include the State Library and its breathtaking reading room, the affluent arcades of Melbourne (Royal, Block and Cathedral), the heritage-listed Melbourne Town Hall and The Shrine of Remembrance that was designed and built by veterans of the First World War.

These structures are artfully strewn across the city landscape and made easily accessible with the services of the FREE City Circle Tram, which just so happens to stop right out the front of Port Phillip Ferries Dockland terminal.

 

Admire it

Image – Hosier Lane street art, photo credit via Instagram @rayofmelbourne

Pop some brightness and vibrancy into a grey winter day by visiting and admiring the street art of Melbourne’s laneways.  Melbourne is renowned for its high-calibre, lively street art.  It is ever-developing and ever-changing, with new pieces popping up on a daily basis.  So, put on your walking shoes, hit the pavement and take in the depth and breadth of Hosier Lane, Centre Place, AC/DC Lane, Croft Alley, Duckboard Place and Rankins Lane (just to name a few)!  All these are located within the heart of the CBD and all can be seen with the aid of the FREE City Circle Tram.

 

FREE-DOM AT PORTARLINGTON

Walk it

Image – Portarlington, photo credit via Instagram @dcivinelli

Walks… they are not only great for exploration, perfect for mindfulness, brilliant for burning off excess school holiday energy and ideal for ‘unplugging’ from life/devices but they are also FREE.  ‘Walk it’ these school holidays on two of our favourite Portarlington tracks, the ‘Ramblers Walk’ and the ‘Northern Bellarine Coastal Trail’.

The Ramblers Walk offers spectacular panoramic views as it heads along the foreshore.  The You Yangs and Melbourne city skyline can be sighted as you traipse along the comfortably level gravel path.  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.

The Northern Bellarine Coastal Trail including the Point Richards Flora and Fauna Reserve, has significant ecological, recreational and tourist value. There are many important heritage features dotted along the coastline, and places that tell the Aboriginal history and continuing connection to country. An extensive network of walking trails, including the very popular northern Bellarine Coastal Trail, provides access to a variety of coastal landscapes and 17km of temperate coastal waters. Meander along the trail and marvel in the expansive coastal vistas or watch groups of tiny Red‐capped Ploves feeding in protected area of the coastal saltmarsh. Get educational on your holidays 😉

 

Fish it

Image – Portarlington Pier, photo credit via Instagram @fishcaregeelong

Come on board the ferry with a fishing rod in hand.  We promise to look after you and your trusty fishing pole while being transported across the bay to where you can disembark and try your hand (or she we say rod) at fishing in Portarlington.  Portarlington is an area known for snapper, mullet, garfish and whiting.  Throwing a line off the pier has been recognised to render good results, as has fishing off Steele’s Rocks (just slightly right of the pier).  And although it is a requirement for adults to have their fishing licence, your kids can fish FREE (children aged under 18 do not require a fishing license).

 

Bike it

Bicycles travel FREE on the ferry, so pack your two wheels and come and explore Portarlington’s coastline, bike style.  Having your bike handy on the other side of the bay means exploration can be expanded.  The foreshore track lends itself to a 24 km return trip.  A lot to ask of feet, but definitely not of wheels!  The track has the most fabulous stopover point; Indented Heads, home to the wreck of the Ozone (a paddle steamer built in 1886 that has sunk off the coastline and can be seen from the shore).  As you continue your ride, you will reach the divine destination of St Leonards (a coastal town whose hotel was made famous in the TV series ‘Seachange’).  Then turn back around to head to the comfort of your ferry ride home where you can rest your weary bike legs.

 

Why not, these winter school holidays, park it, learn it, admire it, walk it, fish it and bike it, especially when they are all FREE!  All you need to do is grab your Port Phillip Ferries family pass and set about embracing FREE-DOM.