4 Family Christmas Holiday Destinations Near Melbourne
By: Rosie Stevens, ellaslist
It’s summer, it’s the Christmas holidays, the kids are off school and you’re (hopefully) enjoying some much-needed respite from work—so what better time to pack up the car and take a drive out of Melbourne to one of the regional delights nearby?
These 4 family-friendly destinations will make the perfect summer holiday getaway and promise fun for the whole family (although you might want to book sooner rather than later—the Chrissy holidays get notoriously busy!).
1. Mornington Peninsula
Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is a hive of activity when it comes to kids’ entertainment; expanses of lush greenery and spectacular coastline make for some awesome adventuring, sightseeing and big time energy burning.
The beaches on Mornington are about as family-friendly as they come, with the bay side offering shallows that are perfect for playing on sand, paddling in the shallows and exploring rock pools. If this sounds like a recipe for the perfect summers day for your family, head towards Mills Beach, Rosebud or Main Beach. If, however, your family are more into wild, rugged surf, Point Leo or Mushroom Reef will have you catching breaks in no time. For little adventurers, the Enchanted Adventure Garden promises a fun-filled day out, while Point Nepean National Park provides hours of great walking, biking, and picnicking.
Check out Rye, Sorrento and Portsea for gorgeous townships that come with a dose of coastal charm you won’t find anywhere else.
2. Phillip Island
For a laid-back island vibe (which usually comes without the hordes of crowds of other Victorian coastal towns during the Christmas season), Phillip Island is a must-visit for families.
When it comes to beautiful beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice on Phillip Island. Silverleaves, Cowes Beach and Red Rocks are charming and picturesque, offering calmer conditions for family days spent ocean-side. You can also walk along the pier and look at the boats in the seaside hamlet of Rhyll, or dig out the boogie boards and enjoy an afternoon of fun on the sand dunes at Woolamai.
And of course, no trip to Phillip Island would be complete without catching sight of the penguins, so tickets for the Penguin Parade are a must.
3. Great Ocean Road
From the iconic sight of the twelve apostles at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road to the abundance of quaint coastal townships that pepper the drive, it truly is a family-friendly holiday like no other.
You can choose to head straight to a specific destination and set up there for a week or so, or plan more of a drive so you can experience other towns along the way. Hotspots to hit include Lorne, Torquay, Apollo Bay, Warrnambool, Anglesey and Port Fairy; all of which will offer a bounty of beautiful beaches and charming village culture.
The Australian National Surfing Museum tells the story of the country’s rich beach culture and has lots on offer to engage children, and the Split Point Lighthouse on Aireys Inlet, set against the backdrop of Victoria’s dramatic coastline, will wow kids and adults alike.
Gippsland's famous coastline is a beacon for visiting families, particularly in the post-Christmas period. Surf and boogie boards can be put to good use in the gentle surf of Inverloch and Lakes Entrance beach, and there are ample Watersport opportunities for kids to try in the Gippsland Lakes—from canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding to scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing.
The region’s stunning national parks and rainforests are ripe for discovery and prime for spotting some of the country’s native wildlife. The Buchanan Caves are also well worth a visit, and kids will be in awe of the honey-comb-like limestone underground structure.
Hero image: visitmelbourne.com
Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!