• School Holiday Ideas

Awesome Places To Visit in the Yarra Valley With Kids

So it's that time of year again, yes folks, #schoolholidays ... gosh they seem to come around quick!! These school holidays bring with them (we are hoping) a bit of sunshine. We've thought of some fun things to do during the school holidays around the Yarra Valley and Dandenong region.  

Whether it brings joy with the thought of sleep ins, routine-less-ness and a 'no-packed-lunches-for-two-weeks' regime ... OR on the other end of the scale, perhaps the fear of how to keep your kids healthy, happy and entertained (on a budget) for what sometimes may seem an interminable fortnight.  Yes, the endless messy house, device overload (and then guilt), and ofcourse the constant empty fridge and cupboard scenario (those stomachs never seem to get full right?!). 

Here we bring you 9 awesome kids activities and things to do around our special region that you can diarise to do during the school holidays because really ... we all need things to do over these magical 2+ weeks right?! Whether you are coming from Melbourne for a day trip, or staying a few nights - or even a local, check out our school holiday guide.

Here at Yarra Valley Lodge, we understand. We've done a bit of research to find out the top 9 fun things to do with your kids these school holidays - from the budget conscious, to the more extravagant option.

HEALESVILLE SANCTUARY

Our numero 1. We LOVE this place.  This Zoo is one of the best places to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. An awesome way to get up close and personal with kangaroos, koalas and all your furry friends!  Kids are free on weekends and school holidays! 

McKENZIE RESERVE - ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND

This park is amazing, and likely you won't see you kids for a while as there is so much to do!  The park was built after the 2009 bushfires with the assistance of donations from various charities.   For the younger kids there are a multitude of areas for climbing, sliding and balancing.  Plus a whole bank of swings, a seated merry-go-round, a partially shaded sandpit with a small rock waterfall and water play and chime poles for making music. An ward winning, fully landscaped playground with a huge variety of activities suitable for all ages and abilities.  McKenzie Reserve also has a skate park and plenty of shade and lawn areas to play and have a picnic.

WATERFALLS AND WALKS

Although definitely brisk during Winter in Victoria ... the weather is calm, settled and usually blue skies.  Perfect hiking weather!  There are many different hikes to do, and if you have smaller children in tow,  there are still some beautiful options.  Try Steavenson Falls Trail - this is an easier 700m (return) to see one of Victoria's highest waterfalls (can be made day or night as the trails are floodlit) or the slightly longer Sherbrooke Falls Trail - meander through ferns, mountain ash and sassafras (this is in the Dandenong Ranges region but still close by to Yarra Valley). Pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery with the kids! 

PUFFING BILLY

OK, so this is an oldie, but a goodie!! Anyone whose been on Puffing Billy LOVES it. And we mean young to old. You jump on a steam train and meander through the Dandedong Ranges. The whole dangling your legs over the carriage is a truely memorable experience, and it's a great way to spend time with your family and re-live what the past used to be like. 

WARRANTINA LAVENDAR FARM

The Warratina boasts acres of lavender where visitors are invited to stroll along the different rows of species, breathe the fresh country air, and enjoy the display gardens and views of distant hills across the Yarra Ranges.  The farm is perfect for photos with the endless rows of lavendar fiel

Refreshments and a selection of products are available from the gift store in the Lavender Cottage Tea Rooms. Disabled facilities are provided with available coach parking near all facilities.

YARRA VALLEY CHOCOLATERIE

Ummm.. who doesn't like a good dose of sweet?! Especially kid-friendly, a visit to the Chocolaterie is a bit of an experience, offering tours, a cafe and all sorts of chocolatey goodness you would expect! A definite visit for the family. 

LILLYDALE LAKE

There is something for everyone at the unique playspace, including older children and even adults.  The new playspace is inspired by local creeks, wetlands, marshes, reed beds and animals in their natural habitat. In particular the design reflects how water can affect the landscape, life cycle of animals and their habitats. There are thoughtful references to the Gang-gang Cockatoo, the Helmeted Honeyeater and platypus.

Features include:

- Splash pad with water activities for all ages
- Sensory creek bed with mushrooms
- Platypus and wood duck climbing sculptures
- Giant basket swing
- Expression swing
- Double flying fox
- Spinning carousel.

MONT DE LANCEY (HISTORIC HOMESTEAD)

A wonderful way to introduce children to what it was like to live in the 1800's at Mont De Lancey's YesterYear Tours.  Their garden's are simply beautiful with stunning views across the Yarra Valley.  A guide will take you around the property including artefacts and buildings that children would find interesting.  

YARRA VALLEY RAILWAY

This is a fantastic school activity.  Head to the Yarra Valley Railway and jump aboard a historic trip on the Walker RM22 Railmotor from Healesville to Tunnel Hill, crossing the Watts River, under the Donovan's Road overbridge and through the historic tunnel at Tarrawarra Winery. Relax and take in the spectacular sights and sounds of the beautiful Yarra Valley.

The round trip departs Healesville station from 10am to 4pm on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the school holidays. 

OAKRIDGE WINERY

So it doesn't need to be all about the kids, and looking for kid friendly wineries around the Yarra Valley is no problem.  We love Oakridge Winery for its outdoor giant chess, jenga and bocce.  They also have a great kids menu and during school holidays the kids can sign up to budding MasterChef cooking classes!  

PICTURE THIS BALLOONING

This would have to be a highlight of a lifetime. We seriously recommend doing a hot air ballooning yarra valley experience at least once in your life!