10 Awesome Places to Visit in the Yarra Valley with Kids

Summer school holidays are almost here and as school doesn’t go back until after Australia Day next year, there is even more time to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine that this festive time of year brings. It also means coming up with a range of interesting activities to keep the kids active (and from whining…) and not turning to their electronic toys to keep them busy. Thankfully there are plenty of kid friendly activities in the Yarra Valley.

Whether the summer school holidays 2018 brings joy with the thought of sleep ins, routine-less-ness and a 'no-packed-lunches' regime OR concerns of how to keep your kids healthy, happy and entertained (on a budget) our team at the Yarra Valley Lodge have put together some 10 awesome places to visit in the Yarra Valley with kids, keeping the entire family entertained during the 2018/2019 summer school holidays.

HEALESVILLE SANCTUARY

This Zoo is one of the best places to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat and acts as a bushland haven for Australian Wildlife. Here the kids can listen to expert keepers talk about the animals they care for, educate them (in a fun way) about conservation work being done and where they get up close and personal with kangaroos, platypus wombats, wedge-tailed eagles and all your furry friends! Kids are also free on weekends and during school holidays! 

YARRA GLEN - ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND

This park is amazing and will keep the kids busy for a while as there is so much to do! The park is an award winning, fully landscaped playground built after the 2009 bushfires with the assistance of donations from various charities. The kids will enjoy the multitude of areas on offer for climbing, sliding and balancing and there is also a whole bank of swings, a seated merry-go-round and a partially shaded sandpit plus chime poles for making music. The small rock waterfall and water play area will keep the kids cool and the Reserve also has a skate park and plenty of shade and lawn areas to play and have a picnic. There are also top-notch facilities like BBQ areas, picnic tables and toilets so you can spend most of the day here enjoying the great outdoors.

WATERFALLS, WALKS AND WATERHOLES

Get the kids up earlier and head out on a hiking adventure. While the weather is a lot warmer hiking in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is a great active option as the paths are shaded and the majestic waterfall views will be something the kids will look forward to.
Steavenson Falls Trail (700m return) is one of the shortest and easier trails where you can view the spectacular sights of Victoria's tallest waterfalls. Better yet the trails are floodlit so it can be travelled day or night. night as the trails are floodlit). The slightly longer Sherbrooke Falls Trail (1.2km return) in the Dandenong Ranges region (close by to the Yarra Valley) will see you meandering through ferns, mountain ash and sassafras and a beautiful scenic location to enjoy a picnic lunch with the kids!
If the kids are keen to cool down, a short 30-minute drive from the Yarra Valley will bring you to Laughing Waters Swimming Hole in Eltham. Here you will find a cosy net of pools separated by miniature rapids in one of the Yarra’s rare non-toxic stretches of water. Keep up to date with the EPA forecasts of whether the water is suitable for swimming before you go, a good rule is to not visit within 48-hours of rain.

PUFFING BILLY

An oldie, but a goodie, they entire family will enjoy the steam train journey through the Dandenong Ranges aboard Puffing Billy. Operating every day except Christmas day the century-old steam train continues to run its original course along the mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook. Step back in time as you enjoy the whole dangling your legs over the carriage experience making your way past lush fern gullies with Mountain Ash trees towering overhead. A day out on Puffing Billy is a day out that the entire family – young or old - will enjoy.

TREES ADVENTURE - GLEN HARROW PARK

The kids will have the time of their lives soaring through the trees of the Dandenongs on flying foxes, tight ropes and tunnels. The adventure courses are well priced from $25 for kids and are suitable from age 4 and above so even the big kids (aka Mum and Dad) can give it a go. A 2-hour session climbing through the incredible aerial challenges will see the kids sleeping in the car on the way back to the hotel and some quiet time for the driver.

WARRANTINA LAVENDAR FARM

The Warrantina Lavender farm is a short 25-minute drive from your Yarra Valley accommodation and is a great family activity in Yarra Valley. The farm is home to acres of beautifully scented lavender where visitors are invited to stroll along the different rows of species, breathe in the fragrance and the fresh country air, and enjoy the display gardens and views of distant hills across the Yarra Ranges. Open Wednesday to Monday from 9am to 5pm in Spring and Summer in the Yarra Valley, the farm is perfect for taking memorable photos with the endless rows of lavender fields on display.
Refreshments, meals and a good selection of lavender products including lavender teas, soaps, moisturisers and even condiments are available from the gift store in the Lavender Cottage Tea Rooms. Disabled facilities are provided along with coach parking near all facilities.

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. 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.
The kids will enjoy the splash pad with water activities, sensory creek bed with mushrooms, the Platypus and wood duck climbing sculptures, giant basket swing, double flying fox, spinning carousel and so much more!

YARRA VALLEY RAILWAY

Head to the Yarra Valley Railway and jump aboard a historic trip on the Walker RM22 Rail motor from Healesville to Tunnel Hill, crossing the Watts River, under the Donovan's Road over bridge 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.

KINGLAKE FOREST ADVENTURES

Offering one of the ultimate Yarra Valley school holiday activities, the entire family will enjoy an action-packed day exploring the adventure and nature oasis of Kinglake Forest Adventures. Here your tribe can reconnect in nature without the distraction of social media as you explore the rainforest, visit waterfalls and stroll the walking tracks.
The treetop experience will see you all flying through the trees high above the forest floor on ziplines and experiencing life as a bird! Scale the 6 different tree climbs, walk along swing bridges, and if you dare you can attempt the world’s first competitive “Centre Fall”. If heights aren’t your thing, mountain bike packages are on offer where the kids can hurtle over rugged tracks, race down valleys or simply cruise along level forest tracks.
There is also a cool recreation arena where you can fine tune your frisbee shots and test your balance on slackline ropes, BBQ and Picnic area and an onsite café where you can all refuel and catch your breath.

MONT DE LANCY (HISTORIC HOMESTEAD)

A visit to Mont De Lancy is a wonderful way to introduce your children to what it was like to live in the 1800's. The tour highlights the comparisons between a modern home and the pioneer Homestead. Here the entire family will enjoy a fun day on a tour exploring working displays including draught horses ploughing the fields, vintage machinery, blacksmiths firing up the forges to make horse shoes and woodturners making a range of timber products and working dogs rounding up sheep.
The gardens themselves are simply beautiful with stunning views across the Yarra Valley and after your guided tour you can all explore the extensive Museum, the gardens and enjoy a delicious bite to eat at Monty’s Tea Room.