Tips & Tricks

Cost-effective ways to spend the Winter holidays.

Let’s face it…school holidays can be expensive! Between out-of-school care, holiday programs, excursions, entertainment, and enough snacks to feed a small army, it’s easy to spend beyond your family’s weekly budget. Here is a list of some free and cheap ideas to help get you through the Winter holidays without emptying your bank account!  

Check these out….

Zoos Victoria
Children under 16 receive free admission to Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Kyabrum Fauna Park during the school holidays. Food and drinks can be quite expensive there, so take your own to reduce costs even further! Check them all out here.

Cranbourne Gardens
If your children love nature, the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne is a must-do that offers a wonderful natural bushland experience. They can explore the scenery, plants and creatures of the gardens with their ‘Seek and Find’ nature cards. Children can also ride free on the Kids Explorer bus during the school holidays. Experience amazing sights, sounds and scents as you cruise through the Australian Garden on this tour designed especially for families. View further details here.

Local Councils
Your local Council provides school holiday programs which are free or heavily subsidised. There are activities such as go-karting, cooking, movies and nature activities – depending on each Council. Check out your local Council’s webpage for further information.

MoPA is a children’s museum in Sandringham, where kids can engage with fun, immersive exhibits created in line with childhood education guidelines. The exhibits at MoPA are best for kids aged 1 to 9. Children can use their fine motor skills in the soft play area, build and race in the Zoom Room, climb up to Sunset City for a sweet view of the museum and get creative at the MoPA Art Car. Costs for children aged 1 to 18 is $18, and adults are $14. View all the details here.

Edendale Farm
Meet animals, get up close with Australian wildlife, get creative with some art play at Edendale farm in Eltham. Bookings can be made on their website. If the events are booked out, you can still visit and meet the animals over the fences. There are also self-directed free activities with clipboard eye-spy fun and creative activities in the outdoor shelters.

Children’s Parks
What child doesn’t love playing at a park? We are blessed with many parks around Victoria that are sure to please even the fussiest park enthusiasts. From climbing parks, to rocket-ship parks and splash parks, this website has it all! Check it out here and plan your park day!

Bike Riding
Bike riding is a fun and free way to get active with children! There are many family-friendly bike paths to choose from in Victoria, such as Jells Park in Wheelers Hill or The Bay Trail from Brighton to Port Melbourne. All you need is your bike, a helmet, water, snacks and a sense of adventure!

Snow day-trip
If you fancy a day-trip, then Mount Donna Buang should be on the top of your list of Winter activities to do in the holidays. The mountain is the closest snow destination to Melbourne, and it is completely free to enter. In good conditions, you can hire a toboggan for $10 for 2 hours or buy something to eat from the food truck. Don’t forget to pack some warm, wet-weather and snow-appropriate gear!   

We hope you’ve been inspired by these ideas and can make the most of your holidays (within your budget!)