24 Nov A weekend in Melbourne with kids
We had such a fantastic weekend away in Melbourne with the kids, I decided to write about it. Melbourne is a 3-4 hour drive for us so a visit to the city usually requires an overnight stay. We were all getting restless and needed a getaway. Melbourne had several events suitable for kids so, a city break it was.
Staying in Melbourne’s Docklands
We stayed at The Sebel Melbourne Docklands as we got a 2-bedroom apartment for $250. Apart from a couple of annoyances, we really liked it. It was modern and spacious enough for the kids to play.
Most people would think this area is too far out of the CBD. However there are tram stops nearby and we were able to stay within Melbourne’s free tram zone. On our way back we got off a stop early to look around the area. The ‘Cow Up a Tree’ sculpture, boats on the water, Etihad Stadium and hotels and apartment buildings gave us plenty to look at. Our four year old loved this spot. Our one year old wanted out of the stroller to explore but we would have been constantly trying to stop him from running straight into the water so opted not to.
Normally to ride Melbourne’s trams you would need a Myki card. The tram stops in the Docklands area are within the city’s free tram zone. We were able to get a tram from near the hotel to the outside of Myer and then from Federation square back to Docklands. We don’t have Myki cards as we always have our car. As great as it was to not have to worry about getting cards, Melbourne’s trams are not very easy when travelling with young children. The steps up to the tram are really steep, there’s not much standing space so it’s difficult with a stroller.
I came across people who were really friendly and offered to help which was nice. A man asked if I wanted him to lift the stroller off, another grabbed it from me at the bottom of the steps and took Fletcher’s hand to help him down. When we were getting off at Docklands, Tim took the stroller, I was holding Declan and Fletcher was just behind me. As I stepped down the doors started closing. I stopped them with my free hand and a lady lifted Fletcher down.
Tip: if you have a little one consider using a carrier for tram rides
Myer Christmas windows
As a gift to their customers and the city of Melbourne, Myer has been doing special window displays for the Christmas season. This is their 61st year! Each year the windows focus on a theme, often from children’s books or fairy tales. This year the book ‘One Christmas Eve’ was bought to life with the 3D animated displays.
The scenes show a typical Aussie backyard with a child swinging on the clothesline and kids in a pool. There are also iconic Melbourne sites with the girl visiting Luna Park. A lot of work goes into creating the window displays which is visible in the excellent details.
We were there late Friday afternoon and didn’t have to queue, although it may be busier closer to Christmas.
The Myer Christmas window is open daily from 7:30am to 1:00am (sound til 10pm) until January 5.
Night Noodle Markets
As part of Good Food Month, this Asian hawker style market has been running in Melbourne since 2013. There are more than 30 food stalls selling various items with inspiration from all around Asia. As well as food the event also has a number of bars.
We walked from the CBD and arrived a little after half past five. There were quite a few people already there. The markets are held at Birrarung Marr Park, a place we have never been. It’s a really nice spot that sits by the river and has views of the city and Federation Square. Upon entering we saw a few stalls and an area ran by Menulog that had inflatable bag seating. You were able to take a seat and order through the staff who would bring it to you.
Once we walked over the bridge we realised it was a massive event. There were food stalls, bars and seating to each side. As we had a little one sleeping in the stroller we opted to head right, avoiding the steps.
Our first choice was Sake Restaurant where we got Japanese inspired crispy gobo fries and steamed prawn dumplings. We all loved the prawn dumplings, Fletcher wasn’t keen to try the crispy clumps of fries. I wanted to get something I knew he would enjoy so went to a Thai food stall for prawn spring rolls. On getting back to the table I found Tim had just ordered a beer. The lady was holding a tablet and asked if I’d like a drink, I ordered a pimms. Smart idea having people come to the tables! We wouldn’t have even got drinks but with table service, sure why not!
Tim and I had steamed pork buns and Fletcher insisted on getting a spiral potato after seeing others with one. It was called ‘Original Korean Twist Potato’. I had no idea the twist potato was from Korea. I googled and found out it is one of the most common street foods in South Korea.
Fletcher was getting over it, Declan was still sleeping in the stroller so we didn’t explore the market any further. I have been drooling over insta shots of bao and wish we had of got some. There were a lot more people filling the area now. We walked back over the bridge and passed Mr. Miyagi which had a huge line up. We should have got one of their Japanese style Taco’s when we first got there.
Before we left I had to get Gelato Messina’s ‘Matcha do about nothing’. Milk chocolate and matcha gelato in a matcha cone and coated in matcha white choc with pistachio crunch! I must admit I wasn’t impressed after handing over $10 and being handed back a plastic ziplock bag. But bag gone, ice-cream out and all was forgiven. It had the right amount of matcha flavour and was delicious.
We all had a wonderful evening, enjoying great food and a good atmosphere. This is such a fantastic, fun way to try different styles of Asian street food and some of Melbourne’s most popular restaurants.
The last day to head along for this years Night Noodle Markets in Melbourne is Sunday 27th November.
Note the event is card only.
Location: Birrarung Marr Park.
Times: Wed-Thurs 5-10pm, Fri 5-11pm, Sat 4-10pm, Sun 4-9pm.
Cost: Free entry. Food prices we saw were $6-$12.
Harbour Town Melbourne
Harbour Town is an open-air shopping centre in the Docklands area. As soon we entered both boys were happy to find a small play area. It was really cute and nature themed and perfect for both our kids to play on together.
The main reason we visited was to see Smurfs. Harbour Town is putting on a free exhibition called ‘We’re all Smurfs’. The first Smurf we spotted was a giant one suspended from the ceiling. There were some scattered around the centre but the main attraction is the Smurf village. In the village are 35 smurfs standing at 1-metres tall. There are signs telling you not touch the smurfs so we didn’t let our little monkey out of the stroller as he would have definitely tried climbing on them. Fletcher absolutely loved it and had me walk through it with him several times. He also made sure I had taken a photo of each Smurf. There are some that you can sit beside and take photos.
As part of the Smurf exhibition there are also free kids crafts each weekend. Fletcher got a smurf bag to colour in.
We’re all Smurfs exhibition: Sat 8 Oct – Sat 24th Dec 10am – 6pm daily
Kids craft activities: Every Sat & Sun 11am – 3pm
Cost: both FREE
This Saturday 26th November Harbour Town have a Christmas parade with Santa. There is also a meet and greet with Trolls from Dreamworks new movie! More info here.
We really enjoyed our family weekend in Melbourne. The kids had fun and we kept costs down as all these events were free to enter. Do you know of other free events for kids in Melbourne? Leave a comment!