11 fun filled day trips from Melbourne for families

Melbourne is a great place to visit with the whole family. It has a lot of cool activities for all ages and is a home city to the sporting teams for most major sports in Australia. With pristine beaches, a rich history and culture, and a vibrant food scene, this city has something for everyone, but day trips from Melbourne for families are also a great idea. Within a few hours of driving, there are many short trips from Melbourne where you can get out of the city and do some pretty exciting things with your family.

While we recommend these day trips from Melbourne for families anyone can go on a road trip to the amazing Victorian destinations and have a wonderful time. So how many of these awesome day trips from Melbourne can you add to your must-do Melbourne itinerary list?

The best day trips from Melbourne for families

Getting out and about as a family is so important in these times and many of us parents are looking for the perfect activities in Victoria for families. Finding something that everyone will like and for every budget is the hardest part so luckily we have this awesome guide for you to help you plan some of your most memorable day trips from Melbourne for families.

colourful water slides and lazy river at Gumbuya world. Gumbya world is one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families
The Gumbuya World water park

Day trips in Victoria – Gumbuya World

Gumbuya World or as many people could remember it as Gumbuya Park is a brilliant day trip from Melbourne for families. It’s the perfect place to spend a hot summer’s day. With water slides, wave pools and cabanas to shade you from the heat, you can easily spend an entire day at Gumbuya World. On-site you will also find a small amusement park and a wildlife sanctuary.

Gumbuya World opening times

Opening times do differ during the seasons and for the separate sections of the park. The timetable is at times difficult to read on the website but you should allow time from 10 am is to 4 pm for all the sections.

Gumbuya World entry prices

Below are the Gumbuya World Entry prices as of November 2021

TicketsGeneral (GA)Junior (JA)Tots (TA)Senior (SA)
All sections$57$51FREE$48
Wildlife only$25$19FREE$19
Groups 10-24 people$55$51N/A$46
Groups 25-49 people$53$49N/A$44

GA = 120cm+ JA = 90cm – 120cm TA = below 90cm SA = 60+ years

Distance from Melbourne to Gumbuya World

Gumbuya World is located at 2705 Princes Highway Tynong, Victoria 3813.

You can easily drive to Gumbuya World via the M1 and allow approximately 1 hour to get there.

Tips for visiting Gumbuya World with kids

  • Gumbuya World is NOT a BYO venue
  • You can purchase snacks, food and drinks at the shops on site
  • Lockers are available for hire to store your valuables
  • Get there early to secure a lounge by the water. First in best dressed.

How much time do I need at Gumbuya World?

With the price of the tickets, I would plan to spend all day at Gumbuya World. If it is a hot day I would also consider spending the extra money on a cabana for the day which will make it an easy day trip from Melbourne for families and especially parents!

Echuca

This border town packs a punch and there are so many things to do in Echuca for families. You can easily spend the day here or if you have more time a perfect getaway from Melbourne. Echuca is the perfect place for day trips from Melbourne for families.

2 old time paddle steamers on the bank of the river at Echuca
Paddle steamers at Echuca on the Murray River

Things to do in Echuca for families

There are so many things to do we have put together a list of the most popular activities in Echuca on your day trips from Melbourne for families list.

Echuca ActivityOpening timesEntry price
Echuca Paddlesteamers*10 am to 2 pm 7 daysFamily 2A + 4kids $70
Port Of Echuca walking streetAlways openFree
Port of Echuca Discovery Center9 am to 5 pm 7 days
Twisted Science*Session timesFamily 2A + 3 kids $58
Cactus Country10 am – 5 pm Wed-SunFamily 2A + 2kids $50
Kyabram Fauna Park10 am – 5 pm dailyFamily 2A + 2 kids $65
  • Echuca Paddlesteamers run cruises on the river at 10.15 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm and 2.45 pm 7 days a week
  • Twisted Science runs 3 sessions 10 -11:30am, 12:30 – 2pm and 2:30 – 4pm. Open days are school term opening hours – Wednesday to Sunday.  School holidays opening hours – Monday to Sunday.

Places to eat in Echuca for families

There are some brilliant places to eat in Echuca for families as they wrap up their day trips from Melbourne.

  • The Moama Bakery for a great pie or pasty
  • The Curry Club
  • Moama Bowling Club

Distance from Melbourne to Echuca

The drive from Melbourne to Echuca is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes along the Calder Freeway (M79).

Parking around the Port of Echuca is free but has a 2-hour limit

How much time do I need at Echuca?

Being only 2 hours 45 minutes from Melbourne you can easily plan a wonderful day in Echuca with plenty of the activities mentioned. I would plan to start your day with the 11.30 am river cruise and then pop in the activities you would like to do from there. Finish with an early dinner at one of the restaurants in town and head home down the highway on your day trips from Melbourne for families.

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Places to visit near Melbourne by car – Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill is one place kids and adults alike fall in love with and is one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families all year round. A completely immersive experience where you can pan for gold, see old gold mines and wander streets from a forgotten era.

Sovereign hill mining settlement in Victoria australia
Places to see near Melbourne – Sovereign Hill mining settlement

Located in Ballarat, Sovereign Hill is an epic day trip from Melbourne for families but if you have more time a stay in Ballarat and even Sovereign Hill is recommended.

Sovereign Hill opening times

Sovereign Hill is open on Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

Sovereign Hill entry prices

Here are the entry prices to Sovereign Hill valid as of November 2021

TicketSingle EntryAnnual Pass
Adult$39$124
Child (5 – 15)$20$32.50
Concession*$32N/A
Family of 4 2A -2C$99$262
Family of 5 2A – 3C$99$262
Family of 6 2A – 4C$99$262
Single Parent Family 1A- 2C$71$170
Single Parent Family 1A – 3C$71$170
Prices as of December 2021
  • For concession to be given a valid concession card must be used
  • Prices are for entry, it does not include extra activities like mine tours or carriage rides
  • For a brilliant addition, there is also Aura at Sovereign Hill which is a nighttime activity.

Distance from Melbourne to Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill is located approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Melbourne along the Western Freeway.

Parking at Sovereign Hill is free and there is a short walk to the entry if it is busy.

How much time do I need at Sovereign Hill?

For anyone that wants a great day out, I would plan on arriving at around 11 am from Melbourne. This will give you time to do mine tours, have some old-time photos taken together, pan for your wealth in gold, have some lunch, rider the carriage, have some lunch and wander the grounds easily. If you leave at around 5 you can pick up some dinner in Ballarat and be home for bed before 9 with memories of the best day trips from Melbourne for families.

Places to visit around Melbourne – Kryal Castle

Step back into the medieval past at Kryal Castle. This one is definitely one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families of younger kids. For some Aussie kids, they have not seen a castle so this is a great opportunity for them to experience one. many people think that Kryal castle is a real castle but unfortunately this is a theme park and there are no medieval castles in Australia.

Kryal Castle opening times

The Kryal Castle park is open 10 am-4 pm (last entry at 3 pm) every weekend and daily during the school holidays.

Kryal Castle entry prices

Entry prices to Kyral Castle are correct as of November 2021

TicketsGeneral AdmissionAnnual Membership
Adult 16+$35$69
Child 3-15$22$40
Concession$28$55
Family 2A – 2C$99$179
Single parent family 1A – 2C$79$139
Royal Family Ticket (2A – 4C)$295N/A

Tips for visiting Kryal Castle with kids

  • There are activities like jousting, potion making and axe throwing throughout the day. Get a timetable and plan to see them when they are on
  • Kids’ birthday parties can be organised in advance
  • There are Murder Mystery Nights held throughout the year. While aimed at adults, older kids may find these brilliant to experience

Distance from Melbourne

Kryal Castle is an easy day trip from Melbourne and takes approximately 1 hour to arrive along the Western Freeway towards Ballarat.

How much time do I need at Kryal Castle?

I would aim to arrive around 10 am at the opening. This will give you time to plan out your ay and organise what themed shows you would like to see while you are at Kryal Castle. I would expect to be there for around 4 hours with a lunch break in there too. You can also easily visit Ballarat while at Kyral Castle.

Drives from Melbourne – Puffing Billy

A Victorian institution that not many older kids missed out on as they were growing up. It was the place to go at least once in your life and now it is time to pass it on to the next generation on your day trips from Melbourne for families. So much fun is to be had on Puffing Billy this old steam train can bring new life to old, memories and make new family ones.

Old style steam train coming around a bend in a forest near Melbourne Australia
Puffing Billy in the Dandenong Ranges

Puffing Billy opening times

While there are technically no opening times of Puffing Billy we have included the running times.

Puffing Billy departs Belgrave Station at 10 am. Your ticket will tell you what time you will depart and arrive at your chosen destination. Allow 4 hours for the full Belgrave to Gembrook journey with a short stopover.

Puffing Billy entry prices

Below are the Puffing Billy prices as of November 2021

TicketsAdultConcessionChild 4+Family (2A-2C)
Belgrave to Lakeside return$61$48$31.50$153.50
Belgrave to Menzies Creek return$36$29$19.50$91.50
Lakeside to Gembrook return$61$48$31.50$153.50
Belgrave to Gembrook return$78.50$62$39.50$196.50

Tips for Puffing Billy for families:

  • Tickets must be pre-booked
  • Children under 4 ride free
  • A valid concession card must be held to receive the discount price
  • Tickets are set for return journeys. You must ride on the time your ticket is booked to leave each station

Distance from Melbourne to Puffing Billy

Puffing Billy is one of the best short trips from Melbourne, located in the Dandenong Ranges approximately 1 hour from Melbourne via the M1 freeway.

How much time do I need at Puffing Billy?

You should allow at least 5 hours for the full experience of Puffing Billy. If you are short of time you are able to book shorter rides on Puffing Billy.

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Day trips in Victoria – Healesville Sanctuary

One of the best day trips from Melbourne for families who love animals, The Healesville Sanctuary is a wonderful place to visit with kids. You can find so many animals to see here and you may even be able to have an animal experience if your budget allows.

An Echidna having a drink of water
An Echidna having a drink

Healesville Sanctuary opening times

Healesville Sanctuary is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm

Healesville Sanctuary entry prices

Healesville Sanctuary prices as of November 2021

TicketsAdultChild (4-15)ConcessionFamily 2A-2CFamily 2A-3C
General Admission$40$20$30$100$110
Yearly Membership$120Free for under 16 with adult$90N/AN/A

Tips for visiting Healesville Sanctuary

  • Tickets can be booked 30 days in advance
  • ALL VISITORS MUST HAVE A PRE BOOKED TICKET TO ENTER, even infants
  • Children under 16 receive FREE entry on weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian Government school holidays
  • Discounts are available to child disability concession card holders, an Australian pensioner concession card, full-time student card, healthcare card, disability concession card, a DVA Gold Card, to a carer accompanying a person with a disability who is a holder of a child disability allowance health care card, or a disability pension card. 
  • Valid concession cards must be presented on entry

Distance from Melbourne to Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary is located approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Melbourne vis the M3 freeway and the Maroondah Highway.

How much time do I need at Healesville Sanctuary?

The Healesville Sanctuary day trips from Melbourne for families can take you all day. If you decide to do an animal experience or see the Ranger talks you need to make sure you have enough time to experience the whole park.

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Short drives from Melbourne – Werribee Open Range Zoo

Why head to the Savannah when you can visit the Werribee Open Range Zoo. With all the top African animals on display, you can visit the Werribee open range Zoo to get your safari fix! This is one of the best day trips from Melbourne ideas for families.

A Giraffe near a truck carrying visitors
Viewing Giraffes at Werribee Zoo

Werribee Open Range Zoo opening times

The Werribee Zoo opening times are 9 am – 5 pm daily with the last entry at 3.30 pm

Werribee Open Range entry prices

Werribee Zoo entry prices are correct as of November 2021

TicketsAdultChild (4-15)ConcessionFamily 2A-2CFamily 2A-3C
General Admission$40$20$30$100$110
Yearly Membership$120 Free for under 16 with adult$90N/AN/A

Tips for visiting Werribee Zoo for families:

  • ALL VISITORS MUST HAVE A PRE BOOKED TICKET TO ENTER, even infants
  • Children aged 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult at the zoo
  • Children under 16 receive FREE entry on weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian Government school holidays
  • Discounts are available to child disability concession card holders, an Australian pensioner concession card, full-time student card, healthcare card, disability concession card, a DVA Gold Card, to a carer accompanying a person with a disability who is a holder of a child disability allowance health care card, or a disability pension card. 
  • Valid concession cards must be presented on entry

Distance from Melbourne to the Werribee Open Range Zoo

The Werribee Open Range Zoo is a short road trip from Melbourne, located approximately 45 minutes from Melbourne via the M1

How much time do I need at the Werribee Zoo?

To have one of the best day trips from Melbourne for families at the Werribee Zoo you should set aside 5 hours.

Great Ocean Road

One of the most iconic places in Victoria that everyone should witness at least once in their life. People travel for hours from near and far to witness this natural breathtaking masterpiece and it’s on our back doorstep! This has to be one of the most scenic day trips from Melbourne for families.

The 12 Apostles from the viewing platform on the great ocean road
The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

Places to visit along the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road has many stops along the way so we will only focus on the larger ones being the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibsons Steps for our day trips from Melbourne for families post.

Opening times

These areas are all managed by Parks Victoria, and with being part of the natural environment there are no such opening and closing times. In saying that there would be no use going after dark as you would not see any of these amazing natural attractions on your day trips from Melbourne for families.

Entry prices

There are no entry fees into the Great Ocean Road attraction near Melbourne.

Distance from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road

The 12 Apostles visitors centre is 226 kilometres from Melbourne.

How much time do I need at each of these Great Ocean Road attractions?

Depending on how much time you want to stare in awe, the 12 Apostles can be done in 30 minutes while Gibsons Steps and Loch Ard Gorge will take longer if you want to walk down the cliffs (paths provided by Parks Victoria) to the actual beach area of these sites. At Loch Ard Gorge you also have the bonus of being able to see the famous blowhole as well. You could see all 3 and drive the short distance between them in around 3 hours.

This is an epic day trip from Melbourne for families so take the whole day stopping at gorgeous towns along the way!

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Places to see around Melbourne – Phillip Island

This little island is famous for its Little Penguins that call Phillip Island home but there is so much more to do there. For Koalas to Chocolate factories, you can find so much to do on Phillip Island that you actually may find this a day trips from Melbourne for families destination that needs so much more time. There are no more popular attractions near Melbourne.

A boardwalk that leads to the Penguin parade on Phillip Island
Boardwalk leading to the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island

Things to do on Phillip Island for families

There are so many things to do on Phillip Island for families that your whole day can easily be spent having a wonderful time.

Phillip Island activityOpening timesEntry Price
Penguin Paradewill depend on the season$27.25 for adults
Koala Conservation Reserve10 am – 4.30 pm (last entry 3.30 pm)$13.50 for adults
Amaze ‘n’ things10 am last entry at 2.30 pm$39.00 for adults
Phillip Island Chocolate Factory10 am to$18 for adults
Churchill Island10 am last entry at 3.30 pm$13.50 for adults
The Nobbies10 am to 6 pm (last entry at 5.30 pm)$13.50 for adults
Wildlife Coast Cruises11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm daily$88 for adults

Tips for visiting Phillip Island with family:

  • There are different viewing sections at the penguin parade. Rug up as it can get cold
  • Purchasing a 4 park pass when you visit Phillip Island will save you on entries to Phillip Island attractions
  • The 4 Park Pass includes Arctic Journey, Penguin Parade, Churchill Island and the Koala Conservation reserve
  • Entry to the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory Cafe and Shop is free but you must pay for a tour of the Chocolate factory

Free things to do on Phillip Island with kids

There are so many wonderful free things to do on Phillip Island that can be incorporated into your day there. A mix of these free Phillip Island activities and the paid ones will give you a great budget-friendly trip to Phillip Island.

  • Watch the feeding of the Pelicans at the San Remo jetty at noon daily
  • Spend some time watching the huge stingrays glide through the water at the San Remo jetty
  • Find the shipwreck S.S Speke at Kitty Millers Bay
  • If the day is warm take a swim at Kitty Millers Bay too
  • Walkthrough amazing Aussie bush and look for wallabies at the Oswin Roberts Reserve
  • Wander the local markets and maybe even take some local produce home

Places to eat on Phillip Island

There are some great places to eat with kids on Phillip Island and just off the Island too. Here are some of the ones we have checked out over our time there.

  • Fresh fish and chips at the San Remo co-op
  • The Haven Wave Cafe
  • The Spicy Duck

Distance from Melbourne to Phillip Island

Phillip Island is approximately 90 minutes from Melbourne via the M1

How much time do I need on Phillip Island?

Depending on what you choose to do while you are visiting Phillip Island with family your should really try to spend the whole day there. Phillip Island is absolutely perfect for day trips from Melbourne for families.

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Explore Victoria: The detailed guide on things to do on Phillip Island

Adventure Park Geelong (Geelong Water Park)

Adventure Park is the biggest water park in Victoria and is top of the day trips from Melbourne for families list in the summer! Featuring water slides and water playgrounds this is a brilliant family day trip in Victoria.

Geelong Water Park opening times

At this time the park is not due to open for 3 weeks and the times have not been released.

Geelong Water Park entry prices

Entry prices to Adventure Park are correct as of November 2021.

TicketsAdult 120cm +Child 90 cm – 120 cmSenior 60 years +Disability Admission
Day Admission$52.50$42.50$35.00$35.00
Season Pass$109$109$109$109

Top tips for visiting Adventure Park with family:

  • Children under 90 cm tall are free
  • ID and valid concession cards must be presented on entry
  • All rides are included in the entry price
  • You are able to bring your own food to Adventure Park Geelong

Distance from Melbourne to the Geelong Water Park

Adventure Park Geelong is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Melbourne via the M1.

How much time do I need at the Geelong Water Park?

Day trips from Melbourne for families to Geelong Water Park should be a full day experience.

The Grampians

If you love nature then a trip to the Grampian has to be one the top of your day trips from Melbourne for families list! To get the best out of your day I would base myself in the amazing town of Halls Gap and plan your activities from there. There is also a great number of activities for families in Halls Gap so if you tire out of the hiking and pure scenic beauty you can do some of the top-rated activities in the Halls Gap.

a young girl standing at a lookout in the Grampians National Park
One of the amazing Grampians National Parks lookouts

Things to do in Halls Gap

There are so many wonderful things to do in Halls Gap for families. Day trips from Melbourne for families to Halls Gap will become a regular occurrence.

Halls Gap activitiesOpening timesEntry prices
Grampians Adventure Golf10 am to 5 pm (8 pm Friday and Saturday)$15 for adults
Halls Gap E-bikes9 am to 4 pmprices start at $30 for 30 minutes hire
Halls Gap Zoo10 am to 5 pm$38 for adults

Free things to do in Halls Gap

Being one of the biggest nature hubs in Victoria there are so many free things to do in Halls Gap with kids. Some are nature-based and some are visiting places where you chose if you spend money or not.

  • Visit the Pinnacles
  • McKenzie Falls
  • Watch the kangaroos on the footy oval
  • Visit a winery with epic views
  • Silverband Falls
  • The Balconies
  • Visit 5 Ducks farm for homemade jams
  • Hike some of the trails

Distance from Melbourne to Halls Gap

Melbourne to Halls Gap is approximately 3 hours via the National Highway M8

How much time do I need at Halls Gap?

For all of the amazing activities in Halls Gap, you should expect to spend around 5 hours in total on your day trips from Melbourne for families to the Grampians.

Planning to explore Victoria more? Here are the best things to do in Halls Gap, the gateway to the Grampians!

Day trips from Melbourne for families are a great way to get out and visit Victoria. There are so many wonderful day trips from Melbourne for families in both the summer and winter months and they all will make lasting memories of your time together.

If you are looking for more amazing and best places to visit in Victoria or more travel in Victoria destinations Explore Victoria has some more articles below for you to check out. If you have an idea, attraction or top spot feel free to leave us a comment or email us at contact@explorevictoriaaustralia.com


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