Monday, 15 June 2015

Melbourne: Big City Adventures with Kids! {part one}

Exploring a big city with little kids can be a whole lotta fun! The bustling city is so exciting in their eyes :) It can be a little overwhelming though, knowing just what to do and where to go - and whether it's really kid friendly. If you are considering an urban adventure, you might just get some ideas and inspiration here... 

My husband recently had a few days of training for work down in Melbourne, Victoria. Rather than chug along at home without him, we decided at the last minute to go along too. It's not easy to leave town for us at the moment, but my Mum insisted we take a few days away and it felt like a good opportunity to spend some quality time with the kiddos, as things have been so hectic lately. It turned out to be a really sweet time for our little family, exploring downtown Melbourne together, as well as catching up with a few old friends.

We drove down early Tuesday morning, as is our road trip MO. The kids are road trip warriors (we road trip quite a bit!) and we just prefer to go hard and get there. We left Canberra at 5am and arrived in Melbourne around 1pm, with just one quick stop for a leg stretch and to pick up breakfast on the way. Yep, those kids are champions! :) I think I will keep 'em, haha.

We stayed at Mantra on the Park in Carlton. I love this hotel (I think it's more like serviced apartments?). We have actually stayed there before and I was keen to go straight back - it's just perfect for a city stay with kids, plus a 'known quantity' is always helpful when planning a family trip away, huh?! We had a super spacious two bedroom/two bathroom apartment (which did a lot to save our sanity for four days, haha! Very nice to have a bit of room with a longer stay). A full size kitchen meant we could prepare our own meals sometimes, which we did for breakfast and lunch, therefore saving a few dollars! (Not dinner though because... well, we were on holidays!!). The hotel also has an indoor pool, perfect for burning energy on those cold and rainy Melbourne days! It ALSO is right across the road from the Carlton Gardens, so plenty of grass for kids to run and play on - and just a few minutes walk from the Museum and an awesome playground too. Can you tell I love this place for a family stay?! ;) Perfect location for kids - still right in the CBD (close enough to walk or tram to everything) but not surrounded by concrete and nowhere for kids to play (which has happened on work trips with Mark before and makes the whole thing a lot harder to manage when the kids can't roam!). The hotel has a restaurant downstairs too which is great for easy meals when needed.

Life on the twelfth floor was pretty exciting for the kids, they loved watching the traffic go by, all the sirens going and best of all, a huge crane was working on construction on the building next door - instant entertainment!! :) They turned from suburban to urban kiddos in the blink of an eye it seemed!

Eli checks out the view and watches the people bustling by.

We went straight to the pool on our first afternoon, enjoying a big swim after our big road trip! We had the whole pool to ourselves and had a really delightful time together. Gave myself a little high five for managing all three in the pool myself too, woohoo ;) It was a really sweet time, just splashing and laughing together, and Eli did awesome, managing to flail himself from one side of the pool to the other several times. So cute, he can swim but it's just very.... enthusiastic. Thrashing water all over the place, it just cracks me up to watch him.

I'll just stay here on this step, thank you....
Lily makes a splash....

All bundled up, cold but happy after their swim. Just love this photo of my three little cherubs :)
We brought our lego mat and a little bag of Lego...always good to have a quiet activity while on holidays for a bit of down time! These two are just loving doing Lego together lately. Cant beleive Miles is only just two and already able to get into Lego. He is just always desperate to keep up with the big kids!
Apparently this is relaxing!? Ha!
A special treat for the kids on our first night - room service!!! We didn't feel like going out and the room service was actually really reasonably priced! We had the cheeky idea to order the kids fish and chips at 6pm for an early dinner, shuffled them off to bed then ordered our own room service at 7pm and had a delicious dinner all to ourselves - date night in! Goodness, I could get used to this lifestyle, haha ;)

We strolled over to the Melbourne Museum one morning to meet up with dear friends and explore. We have visited the Museum before and had a blast so I couldn't wait to take the kids back now they were a little older. It's such a great interactive space, and very accessible as the adult tickets are only  $12 and kids under 16 are FREE - how good is that!! We had a delightful morning roaming around, enjoying best of all the dinosaur bones and the children's section.

Miles exploring the amazing spaces at the museum.
Meandering along the path in the Rainforest Walk!
Absorbing the vast size of the dinosaurs from the second floor
Miles was obsessed with this huge shark suspended in the foyer. I'm just obsessed with him!! He rocks a cardie like a boss, yes??
Enchanted by the fountain at Carlton Gardens.
Love Melbourne's street art and murals! Adds so much personality to the city :)
We had a wonderful walk through Fitzroy one early evening on the way to meet friends
for dinner. Love the fascinating little shops and laneways of the big city :)

A dear old friend of mine, Scarlett, recently opened up her very own tea parlour,
called Porcelain. It is charming beyond words! We popped in late one evening and
enjoyed the most delicious and lovingly prepared chai - with macarons! If you are in
the Carlton area (right near CBD) then definitely stop by! It is open late too so perfect
place to visit after dinner or movie... or in the afternoon for a delightful cuppa.
So wonderful to see friends live out their dreams!! :)
Sipping chai like a lady - note the pinkie, heehee!
Mark took this photo. So arty, honey! ;) But seriously, it is, right!? He was proud. That is a teeny morsel of delicious macaron... it did not last long!
How to keep kids busy when it's wayyyyyy past bedtime and they are in a little tea parlour surrounded by delicate crockery. Yes, a literal 'five bulls in a china shop' situation, ha! Mark decided to take funny photos with the kids while I had a quick catch up with my lovely friend Scarlett. Fast thinking, hubby! xx

Three adorable little bulls in the china shop. Our friend's cute son Joseph, with Lily and Eli
Who needs TV? Early morning entertainment from the crane next door...

Well, that's quite enough photos for one post, I am sure?! In 'Part Two', we explore the Melbourne Sealife Aquarium (the kid's absolute favourite thing we did!!), the Docklands (super cool!) and then head out to the Mornington Peninsula for some beach fun (beautiful!).

PS Just wanted to note that nothing in this post was sponsored or complimentary! Just places we stayed, saw and loved :)


  1. Looks like such an amazing adventure!

  2. I love visiting Melbourne but I've never taken Charlie along for more than a day trip. This is really helpful advice in planning an actual overnight stay. Thanks!

    1. oh, i really hope it helps! so much to see and do :)

  3. Your photos are just incredible, Kate. Loved being along for the ride, thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Kate! I just found your gorgeous blog via Meet Me at Mikes.
    Your photos of Melbourne are just a Melbourne girl currently living in China, they really transported me there. I used to work at the Melbourne Museum, so particularly loved seeing the shark, the dinosaur bones, and the forest gallery. It IS a great place isn't it. Is it $12 for adults now...when I worked there it was only $8, and people still complained! Personally I think it should be free for everyone :) Thanks for sharing your Melbourne trip! x

    1. Welcome and thanks so much for your lovely comment, Isabel :) That is so cool you used to work at the Museum... such a wonderful place! Yup, $12 now... now that I think of it, the National Musuem in canberra is free which I think is wonderful. I guess Im used to high costs in melbourne so $12 seemed cheap at the time for a fun day out :) Free would be better though, lol! Wow, china is a big adventure, hope you're having fun there x


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