Time to get the kids out of the house!
One more week of school holidays!
Luckily, there are still plenty of fun school holiday activities in our region and around if you think outside the box.
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:
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.
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 where 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.
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.
Go Strawberry Picking
Nothing says family fun on the coast quite like juicy strawberries warm from the sun, and fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to pick-your-own right on our doorstep.
Located between Geelong and Torquay, Surf Coast Strawberry Fields is a ‘pick your own’ strawberry farm with approximately nine acres of delicious strawberries, making it a great place to unwind, and enjoy the experience of fresh fruit picking, paddock to punnet. You can usually find a coffee and ice cream cart is on site, and their strawberry preserves available for purchase.
Ballarat Wildlife Park
Good news if your kiddies are animal lovers!
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 www.wildlifepark.com.au
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.
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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.
Visitors can 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.
To book tickets and for more information, visit the website.
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Dress up and join us! There’s nothing we love more than to see the kids (and adults) dress up as there favourite Kryal Castle character! We will be running a best dressed competition daily. Winner announced at our Royal Joust each day! Book online www.kryalcastle.com.au #kryalcastle #ballarat #castle #visitballarat #visitvictoria
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.
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With whales sighted all along the coast, now’s the time to plan your ‘Whale Trail’ holiday 🐳😃 The Whale Trail through Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland, also known as a ‘whale corridor’. Checkout Logans Beach Whale Nursery in Warrnambool, one of the only places in the world where you can watch Southern Right mothers and calves frolic just 200m from the shore. #iamwarrnambool #greatoceanroadwhales
Take them to Live Wire Park
Known as one of Australia’s most electrifying adventure parks, it’s all about unplugging, recharging and setting your senses alight with the beauty of the Great Ocean Road whilst zip lining, roller coasting, climbing, exploring and wandering through this world class adventure experience. At Live Wire Park, you’ll find the ‘Shockwave Zip Coaster’ (Australia’s most extreme zip line), epic ropes courses and the treetop canopy circuit. All the ingredients for experiencing nature supercharged.
It’s located in Lorne, so just over an hour from Geelong but you will have to book ahead. There are a few different experiences on offer too, so it caters to any type of adventurer – whether you prefer a nice, cruisy treetop walk, or you’re wanting to challenge the kids physical and mental abilities.
If high intensity is what you’re after, we recommend checking out the ‘Super Circuit’, which features 53 mid-air trails, suspended bridges, tree-scaling activities, an electrifying tarzan swing and a supercharged 10m QuickJump bungee. Definitely not for the faint hearted.
Prices start at $12 and you can book here.
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.
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The Great Ocean Road is not only about rock formations and cliffs. Heading into the Otways is a treat in itself. The Californian Redwood Forest does not disappoint. The enormous Sequoia trees hardly allow any sunlight to filter through and there’s such a calmness, peacefulness to stand within these towering trees.
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!
Keen passengers can head to the Searoad Ferries website for timetables and other information.
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Hike You-Yangs Regional Park
Situated only 22km North of Geelong the 340-metre high granite peaks of the You Yangs prove themselves to be one of the hottest day trips just outside of Geelong.
With magnificent views and birdlife, you’ll find a diverse range of landscape and scenery. Towering with sparse native trees and eucalypts, you may even spot a koala and other wildlife along your voyage. As part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape, ensure to respect the deep connection of the Wadawurrung People and feel the culture of the traditional owners of the land.
Have a knack for bike-riding? No problem, take your mountain bike along and explore more than fifty kilometres of trails, perfect for beginners and experts. You can even reach the highest point and prepared to be amazed by the views of Melbourne and Geelong.
Hot tip: the hike is incredible at dawn or dusk so you can see the stunning golden sky over the entire bay.
Hit up the driving range
Whether you’re with one kid or a group, the Curlewis Driving Range is perfect for anyone looking to get out of the house! Take it as seriously or as casually as you like – I’m terrible at it but on the rare occasion my golf ball does score some air time, I feel blissfully accomplished so it’s guaranteed the kids will love it.
The driving range is located at 1201 Portarlington Rd, Curlewis.
And if it’s a terrible day weather-wise, opt for a movie day in Geelong
It’s April, which means the school holidays are here. And school holidays mean the biggest range of big-name movies we’ve seen in a long while are coming to the big screen. There’s a fresh batch of fresh hits now showing including Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Ambulance, Morbius, The Lost City, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and The Bad Guys.
You can read up on our reviews of these flicks here.
Or head to Sea Life, Melbourne
This one will require a trip to Melbourne but it’s definitely a trip that will bring joy to any bright-eyed child.
Families can descend into the beauty of the ocean, and meet SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s Fluffy Friends these school holidays. Learn all about Lorraine, Whopper, Sparkie and Quentin who are four fluffy King penguin chicks that hatched earlier this year. Kids can enjoy daily penguin talks from the talented keepers and learn all about the adorable king penguin chicks, guaranteed to bring a smile to any face.
General Admission price includes a Digi Photo Pass giving you unlimited digital photos including a Fluffy Friends photo! To get even closer to these adorable sub-Antarctic birds, you can book a Penguin Passport experience where you can venture inside the icy -2° exhibit and learn more about the King and Gentoo penguins from the dedicated Penguin Keepers.
Visit the website.