School holidays have arrived, here are some outdoor activities to do around the region

School holidays have arrived, here are some outdoor activities to do around the region

Time to get the kids out of the house!

It certainly has been a difficult six months, and while we are finally on the cusp of a return to somewhat normality following the second wave which caused quite a stir, there’s still some restrictions in place that might affect what you’d usually do with your kids during school holidays.
Luckily, there’s still plenty of fun school holiday activities in our region and around if you think outside the box – and all keeping in line with current social distancing restrictions.

Whether you want to get out and about, see something new, or want to keep active, you have plenty of options. Here are our picks of the best activities around the region for kids during the spring school holidays which run from Saturday September 19 to Friday October 4.

Fairy Park, Anakie
This one’s for the young and the young at heart. Family attraction Fairy Park is located just 60 minutes from Melbourne and 30 minutes from Geelong and have just announced they’ll be reopening from Thursday September 24.

Dedicated to tales, myths and legends, the park features 32 scenes housed in awe-inspiring castles, cottages and caves set among beautifully manicured gardens which guests will be able to explore once again.

Stories include all the classics that we know and love, ranging from Red Riding Hood to Rumplestilskin. Visitors can witness Cinderella at the Grand Ball, see Jack in his beanstalk, join the Teddy Bears at their Picnic and hear the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, among many others. There’s even a medieval Camelot Playground that children can explore secret passages, climb daring towers and meet mystical creatures, and the park features one of Australia’s largest collections of rare Marklin (gauge1) model trains. Even if you’re not into the tales and myths, the breathtaking 360 degree panoramic views of Mt Anakie’s extinct volcano and the rich landscape that can be seen from the summit is reason enough to go check it out.

Tickets start at $12 with children under two free. They’ll be open everyday from September 24 but you will have to purchase your tickets online prior to arrival.

Admission is from 10am to 4pm. No admission after 4pm and gates close 5pm. Caps on numbers will apply. As the Park is spread out over a large area, there’s plenty of room. Masks and social distancing rules apply.

For more information, visit the website. It’s located at 2388 Ballan Road, Anakie.

Ballarat Wildlife Park
Good news if your kiddies are animal lovers! The Ballarat Wildlife Park reopened yesterday, just in time for the school holidays, and is celebrating its reopening with discounted tickets for locals and regional Victorians.

The family-owned and operated Ballarat Wildlife Park has long been a favourite for locals and tourists, with Ballarat’s friendliest Meerkats, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, giant Tortoises, Rattlesnakes, giant Anacondas, Pythons and even Tasmanian Devils and Victoria’s only Komodo Dragon.It’s a place of beauty for any wildlife and animal lover, and it’s one championed by a strong passion for the conservation of wildlife and the environment.

Standard entry tickets are reduced by 10 per cent, with visitors required to present photo ID with a current address at the ticket office.

In line with Victorian Government regulations, face coverings must be worn at the park, groups are limited to 10 people, and a number of COVIDSafe measures have been put in place, including increased sanitisation efforts, closure of some areas and takeaway café service.

Situated on the corner of York and Fussell streets, the Ballarat Wildlife Park is open daily between 9am and 5pm. Visit the website for more details.

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Alfie the Koala has been busy helping the keepers get ready for our guests today. We will be offering our guests a 10% discount on standard entry tickets at the door due to the changes in access throughout the park. All guests must present photo I.D with current address Visitors from lockdown areas will unfortunately not be permitted to enter Face masks are to be worn by guests at all times unless a valid exemption is provided Please practice social distancing at all times Visiting family or recreational groups can have no more than 10 people Our reptile house and indoor crocodile exhibits will be closed until further notice however our guests will still be able to view our Alligators, Komodo Dragon and other reptiles in their outdoor exhibits Hand sanitizing is recommended regularly throughout your visit Our cafe will be open and serving takeaway only Please check out our website for further details

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Hike Erskine Falls, Lorne
Visiting a waterfall is one of the most unique experiences ever, and it’s one that will have your kids on cloud nine for the rest of the day. If your kiddies are fans on the great outdoors, this could make for the perfect day trip down the coast.

In a region known for its magnificent waterfalls, Erskine Falls stands out as one of the best, plunging (or trickling, depending on recent rainfall levels) down a 30-metre drop into the Erskine River.
To indulge in the beauty that it is, there’s an easy walk to the first lookout (about 300m), or a more strenuous but rewarding climb down 230 steps through lush rainforest to the second lookout, where you will see the waterfall in all its glory. The Erskine River Walk to Lorne continues off downstream from here if you are prepared for the 7.5km walk.

You can find the exact location here.

Here’s a list of waterfalls close to Lorne if your kids just can’t get enough.

Great Ocean Road Ice Creamery and Chocolaterie, Bellbrae
There’s no denying this venue’s pull. Chocolate and ice cream, is there anything else your child could need in life?

With a showroom filled with thousands of chocolates, chocolate tastings (with social distancing measures in place) and an international team of six chocolatiers located just 30 minutes from Geelong, it’s the perfect excuse for an afternoon of browsing handcrafted chocolates, enjoying ice cream, and sussing out the sweet and savoury delights to take-away.

They sometimes have events running over school holidays, although none have been announced yet. Keep an eye on their socials as we’re sure they’ll have something exciting up their sleeves!

The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery is located at 1200, Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae. Open every day from 9am-5pm. For more information visit the website.

Kryal Castle, Ballarat
A legendary land of adventure, with knights, dragons, wizards, kings, queens, princesses, fairies and so much more, Australia’s only medieval adventure park will lower its drawbridge once again, providing family fun for the school holidays.

Opening from tomorrow, September 19, visitors can once again set out on their journey through the chambers of the Dragons Labyrinth and discover the legend of Kryal; experience the drama of a medieval joust as knights and their warhorses battle it out on the main arena; get lost in a maze; be enchanted by pantomimes; or learn the ancient art of archery. Due to COVID restrictions, the castle’s indoor attractions will remain closed.

Currently the castle is set to open from tomorrow until Monday, from Friday September 25 to Monday September 28, and from Friday October 2 to Sunday October 4. Following this, Kryal Castle will be open every weekend from October 10.

Tickets will need to be pre-purchased online to ensure visitor numbers are not exceeded and to avoid disappointment at the gate. All visitors will be required to present photo ID.

To book tickets and for more information, visit the website.

Whale Watching, The Great Ocean Road
Each year from May until early October, our region’s spectacular coastline is renowned as being prime spotting territory for humpback whales, southern right whales, blue whales and orcas as they make their annual pilgrimage from the feeding grounds of Antarctica to give birth and raise their calves in Australia’s warmer waters. There’s no greater joy than seeing a child’s face light up when they catch a stunning glimpse of the giants of the ocean – and we’ve almost wasted the entire whale watching season indoors thanks to lockdown, so now is the perfect time to get out.

If you’re looking for a sighting close to home, the 243km drive along the Great Ocean Road provides many prime whale spotting vantage points with designated parking spaces off the road. The beaches in Torquay and Lorne are known for occasional visits, however taking to the high-up lookouts will give you a better chance of viewing from afar. There’s a lookout at Anglesea just above the main beach, and another one on the cliff at Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet that provides prime viewing. Apollo Bay is also well-known in the region for its abundance of whale sightings in the winter season. A two-hour drive from G-town, it’s possible to see whales, especially Southern Rights, from the Apollo harbour and Apollo Bay beach where they come as close as 100 metres to the shore during the day and evening. The pods tend to stick around for a week at a time before heading to their next destination.

Visit The Redwoods, The Otways
Located an hour and a half from Geelong and tucked within the heart of the Otways, on the banks of the Aire River south of Beech Forest surrounded by the native eucalypts, stands a spectacular forest of Californian Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) worthy of a day trip with the kiddies. This 85 year old plantation of Californian Redwoods has become a favourite local picnic area, and walking between the massive trunks flanking the river for the first time creates a special feeling of awe and reverence – one that’s really not to be missed in your lifetime. As you’ve already jumped in the car, Hopetoun Falls and Beauchamp Falls are within close driving proximity to The Redwods and are highly recommended to visit while in the region.

After a trip here, they’ll be talking about the HUGE trees for the rest of the week.

Take them on the ferry
If you’re not one for long drives you could consider jumping on Searoad Ferries, which operates two all-weather car and passenger ferries between Sorrento and Queenscliff. Not only is it the most scenic way to get from Mornington Peninsula to the Bellarine, but because of the large stretch of coastline around Queenscliff, where the kids might catch a glimpse of dolphins, whales and seals along the way!

This one has only just returned this weekend, and will be running two-hourly services.
Keen passengers can head to the Searoad Ferries website for timetables and other information.