This list includes both activities and places to see or visit, with a few of them quite unique to the winter season. Others could also be done in summer, although the high temperature may be a problem. Some of these places and activities are indoor, making them perfect for the rainy days (more than a few in winter).
If you want to find fantastic Melbourne accommodation for your stay, I suggest starting with areas like Melbourne’s CBD and St Kilda.
Ice Skating In Melbourne At The Oakleigh Rink
Let me be honest, from the beginning, this is not the most modern rink in Melbourne. It’s more on the vintage side. It’s like stepping back in time, and that is what makes it so attractive.
Most of the seats, as well as the changing rooms, still have a wooden design. In saying that, the ice oval is perfect and, if you go with kids, you can hire a friendly penguin for $5 to help in the learning process.
There are a few indoor free climbing places in Melbourne, and Northside in Brunswick is one of my favourites. It has all difficulty levels, so you can start easy and move up on more challenging walls.
Another great place, especially for kids, is Clip ‘N Climb in Richmond. Besides the walls, this place has some interesting spots to climb and jump between to get that freefall feeling for the adrenaline seekers.
A great attraction for both kids and adults. I love Bounce in Glen Iris for its many different sections, with some dedicated to kids and others for the grownups. X-Park is an area with obstacles and challenges that are sure to give even the fittest adults a hard time.
Indoor Go Karting
Go-karting in summer can be a hot and sweaty experience, driving around the track for hours racing friends with your blood pumping. When you go during winter, you’ll enjoy the cooler temperatures but still get heated up, vying for first place. So go to Auscarts Racing in Port Melbourne for the indoor experience on those horrible rainy days.
Rally Car Drive
This is fun in all seasons, but it becomes fantastic and unique when you have mud and possibly rain, making for a slippery, slidey race track. Perfect for the average winter day.
Go to Werribee (Mount Cottrell) for a few laps at the organised rally circuit.
Racing And Flight Simulator
Simulator World is a unique attraction in Melbourne, and maybe the closest many visitors will ever come to racing a Formula 1 car.
This unique establishment offers you the experience of a lifetime where you can get behind the wheel of one of these fantastic machines in a state of the art motion simulator.
Driving a V8 race car is every little boy’s dream come true. Simulator Word in Docklands has one of the best simulation systems in Australia and has been a spot locals flock to during the colder days in winter.
Another absolutely unreal simulation activity is the ability to sit in a ‘real’ cockpit and fly one of the commercial aeroplanes that you see in the skies daily. You get to be the pilot for one day and practice your aviation skills. The simulator is in Essendon Fields, just next to the airport.
Starting to see a pattern that during winter, many of the activities we like to get up to are inside!
Well, now you will be stuck inside with friends trying to solve puzzles and escape your confinements using only the available items in that room. The unique thing is that the story evolves in different directions based on the decisions you make so that you can revisit the place multiple times.
There is one in Glen Waverley, taking inspiration from ancient Egyptian times when Pharaohs ruled. Another interesting set-up is the LOST Australia Station in Carlton, with some of Melbourne’s most challenging escape rooms.
St Kilda Sea Baths
In the 19th century, swimming from the open beach was prohibited during daylight hours, so bathers were compelled to keep within the baths. In 1857 a railway line was built from Melbourne to St. Kilda as well as a connection loop between St. Kilda and Windsor. These railway lines brought increased patronage to the privately run sea baths, the jetty promenade and the St. Kilda Cup. Cricket and bowling clubs were formed in 1855 and 1865. By the mid 1860s St. Kilda had about fifteen hotels including the George, formerly the Seaview (1857). St. Kilda by then was a borough (1863), having been proclaimed a municipality separate from Melbourne city on 24 April, 1855.
I go to St Kilda sea baths on a weekly basis in winter. Swimming is undoubtedly one of the reasons however it is not the main one. The Sea baths are suitable in front of the beach, and they have a hot pool for thalassotherapy and a steam bath too. The greatest shock you can give to your body is to spend some time in the steam bath and then dive into the freezing sea. Amazing, and yes, I do it regularly, and I am still alive.
The cold weather is always a great incentive to spend more time in the kitchen, especially on drizzly days. Here we suggest one class called Holaconlola. Lola runs this Spanish cooking class in South Melbourne.
Firstly, she will take you to the local market to source all the ingredients. Then it’s time to cook delicious paella. Once ready, sit and enjoy your food with your fellow chefs. A great social experience and something you can take home and adapt upon.
Explore The State Library Victoria
The State Library Victoria is such an underrated place to visit in Melbourne, especially in winter. Once in, go straight to the reading room, under the dome. You will be surprised by the beautiful Victorian architecture. You have free unlimited internet and access to most Australian and international magazines and newspapers here.
Visit The Winter Night Markets
There are a few winter night markets in Melbourne. The one I suggest and should not be missed is the Queen Victoria Night Market. Starting June 6th through to August 29th, you can embrace the cold with the lovely locals every Wednesday and experience the great atmosphere between 5-10 PM.
You can easily spend the full night here with an incredible selection of international food stalls, live music throughout the night and occasional art performances. In addition, of course, hot chocolate and mulled wine are available, essential for those extra cold nights. You almost feel like you’re in a European market during Christmas time.
AFL Game, An Absolute Must
The Australian Football League (Aussie Rules) is the primary winter sport in Victoria and possibly Australia (or is it rugby league? We’ll, it probably depends on which city you ask LOL)
Melbourne certainly lives for AFL in winter. Many games played across the weekend with a unique atmosphere that can only be experienced at the stadium. Try to book a ticket at the MCG, the biggest stadium in the southern hemisphere.
There is a weekly event happening in Federation Square, just check the website for more information about what’s on and coming up. The one that would be the best is the solstice celebration with the Aboriginal campfires and art installations, I highly suggest taking the time to make it to one event.
Open House Melbourne Weekend
This event is usually scheduled for the end of July. The Open House Melbourne Weekend allows you to visit places otherwise traditionally closed to the public, like the Parliament house, the synagogue, the town hall, the underground Russell Place substation, and so many more.
Unmissable in any season, but during winter, it’s just perfect for avoiding those stormy days.
The kids can enjoy themselves in the kid section right after you’ve seen all the art pieces you wanted to see first.
Enjoy The Pub By The Fire
There are so many pubs in Melbourne. However, only a few have a great selection of craft beers, a beautiful interior and a lovely warm, real wood fireplace surrounded by old leather armchairs. Go to The Local Taphouse and enjoy this vintage atmosphere.
It gets harder and harder the colder the weather turns to remain active and fit with a nice jog outside or gym session. Well, with hot yoga, there are no more excuses!
There are a lot of great indoor playgrounds around Melbourne. We suggest, however, another one in Docklands called Chipmunks. It has a fantastic cafe for the parents to relax, while the kids go crazy on the playing equipment. Moreover, they offer 2 hours of parking on the ticket, giving you enough time to do some quick shopping.
Indoor Skate Park
If you are after a place to get your kids physically exhausted, then Rampfest in Braybrook is the perfect destination. It’s a huge indoor park with ramps and half-pipes, which is ideal for skateboarding, scooters or BMX. Scooters and helmets can be rented on site. The 5 x 7 foam pit section is every kid’s favourite, being able to test new tricks and dive into the deep cushion pool.
NRG Force in Thomastown is another indoor adventure great at keeping the kids busy. A large group of kids can spend all day here and still come back for round two the next day. Two teams are organised on-site, and every member has a laser gun. The objective to run around the level and tag the opposing team.
Fireworks At The Docklands
Every Friday in winter, you can view some beautiful fireworks in the Docklands area. They usually start at 7:30 pm however food trucks and the music kicks off at 6:30 pm and finishes at 8:30 pm. All free and a big favourite with kids of all ages.
Mt. Donna Buang
Mt Donna Buang summit (1,245m) is located in the Yarra Valley, overlooking Warburton in Victoria, only 88km away from Melbourne, making it the closest snow destination for a quick day trip.
It is a very popular destination for Melbourne families to do some snow play and enjoy toboggan runs. There are three different toboggan runs, a designated snow play area, barbeques, car parking, toilets and a scenic drive up to the summit. Families are welcome to bring their own equipment. Toboggans are available locally as well.
Mount Donna Buang is a spectacular place to be at any time, and a 21-metre high lookout tower on the summit provides panoramic views of the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne, and the Alps.
What You Need To Know
- The Don Valley Road is usually closed in winter – so drive through Warburton and turn left at the Warburton Motel sign up Donna Buang
- There is no cost to access Mt Donna Buang. FREE Snow Play.
- Visitors are welcome to bring their own sleds and snow toys, although there are hiring facilities on the mountain.
Falls Creek is Victoria’s most significant area of skiable terrain, and the fact that it’s home to the National Cross Country Skiing Team is proof that it’s a great location to get your family out and about in the snow.
If your kids also love downhill skiing, there are a total of 90 runs to choose from, with a good few catering for beginners. Victoria’s longest green (easy) run is also here, while most of the others are for more advanced skiers. For older kids who enjoy the adventure of staying up late, night skiing is also available a couple of times a week.
To help your little ones get the skills they need to keep them safe on the slopes, this resort has various age-grouped classes on offer – Snow Club for 3-6-year-olds, Junior Workshop to 6-14-year-olds, and Ride Tribe for 13-17-year-olds. In the Village Bowl, there is also a Snow Tube Park, kids activities on Twilight Tuesdays and a stunning night show extravaganza every Thursday night in July and August.
What You Need To Know
- Phone: 1800 2 FALLS Visitor Information Centre or 03 5758 1200
- Falls Creek is 4.5 hours from Melbourne and less than 2 hours’ drive from Albury-Wodonga
- During the snow season, all vehicles entering the resort must carry snow chains, which can be hired from outlets in Myrtleford and Mt Beauty on the way to Falls Creek
Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
This snow-covered slope has a lot going for it – and the main thing is probably its proximity to Melbourne. Imagine seeing snow just two hours from the CBD! Of course, it’s not the place to go to when you’re looking for downhill skiing action, but when it comes to other snow activities, Lake Mountain has the whole family covered.
Let’s start with snowmen. Once the kids are done adding the carrot to his nose and you’ve taken your obligatory social media snaps, there are four slopes for tobogganing thrills and a 100m Tube Run. If your kids are little, be prepared for an extensive workout – they’ll probably only last a few trips back up the hill before their legs give way from tiredness, so to keep the fun happening, you might be the one they call on to pull them back up for another turn.
If all that strenuous exercise gets too much, you can move at a calmer pace by hiring some snowshoes and heading out on one of the five snowshoe trails or getting the kids involved in the Parks Victoria Junior Park Rangers program.
What You Need To Know
- 2WD can access the area, but when snowfalls are heavy, snow chains are recommended and can be hired in Narbethong and Marysville
- Phone: 5957 7222
- Address: 1071 Lake Mountain Rd, Marysville
Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort
It hasn’t got the reputation of some of the other more popular resorts – and it is definitely smaller – but, for travel ease, Mt Baw Baw is the closest downhill ski resort to Melbourne. On a good traffic day, it’s about 2.5 hours from the CBD.
The names for the toboggan slopes – including Frosty Frog Hollow and Frantic Frog Park – say a lot about Mt Baw Baw’s kid-friendly focus, and the 30 kilometres of cross country ski trails are suitable for family adventures. There is also a School Holiday Kids Club and other fun events!
As well as skiing and snowboarding lessons, your kids might also love the Howling Husky Sled Dog Tours. Although you could cram an action-packed day in and still make it home to fall into your own bed, the accommodation options are good, with everything from apartments, lodges and cabins available.
What You Need To Know
- Mt Baw Baw offers a snow guarantee in its beginner and lesson areas thanks to their TechnoAlpin Snow Factory
- Phone: (03) 5165 1136
- Address: 32 Currawong Rd, Mount Baw Baw
Mt Buller will officially open on June 22 for skiing and snowboarding. The downhill runs here are loved by skiing fans, and because it’s only about a 3-hour drive from Melbourne, it’s one of Australia’s most accessible snowfields. As a result, mt Buller gets very busy – the accommodation at the resort has space for 7000 people.
Kids of all ages are well catered. Snowplay is fun and FREE in the dedicated Snow Play parks, and tobogganing is a great way to experience the snow for the first time. If your children plan to add snow skills to their trip, they can join in with Bunyips (3 to 6-year-olds), Buller Kids (7 to 14-year-olds), and Students (15 to 18-year-olds).
And for the seriously adventurous kids in your tribe? Team Buller Riders coach kids aged 10 to 18 years old to help them excel at mogul skiing, slopestyle and aerials.
What You Need To Know
- The Snow Play in a Day tour is a fun, easy way to enjoy the mountain
- Mt Buller is 248kms north-east of Melbourne, via Mansfield
- Phone: (03) 5777 6077
This is an underdeveloped reserve aimed at more experienced snow-lovers, but as a place to drive to see the white stuff, it’s as good as any.
Cross-country and snowboarding trails are free to access, but there are no lifts or other luxuries. Ski patrols and mountain huts still help keep you safe. If getting your kids back to nature is your thing, strap on some snowshoes and get moving. Two walks here do have signs to guide you through the beautiful mountain ash and snowgum forests for that winter wonderland experience. You can try snow camping for something a little different, with spots located throughout the resort for a truly immersive alpine experience.
What You Need To Know
- Expect a three-hour drive from Melbourne, via Mansfield
- Phone: (03) 5777 6077
- Address: Alpine Central, Summit Road, Mt Buller
Set amongst the Victorian Alps of the Great Dividing Range, Hotham is not an ideal day trip as travel time is over 4 hours, but it is a spectacular drive with wonderful scenery along the picturesque Great Alpine Road. Hotham is also the only ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere where the village is located on top of the mountain so that you can drive right to the front door.
Whether your kids are beginners or more experienced – their needs are catered for here. The resort has 13 lifts that service three terrain parks and 35kilometres of cross-country skiing. Snow play? Dog sled tours? Ski school? Snowboarding lessons? Gear hire? Accommodation? Glamping? It’s all on offer here, at a price. Throwing a snowball at each other? That’s free.
What You Need To Know
- You can get up to 30% off when you book your child into Mighty Mites or Kids Club online and in advance.
- During However, when snow season, all visitors must pay a resort entry fee, which covers essential winter services.
- Mt Hotham is 372 kilometres from Melbourne, via the National Highway.