Oh, Melbourne. When we began planning our family trip to Australia the husband made one condition- if we were spending the big bucks to take a family of five Down Under, we’d 1.) Go in summer and 2.) Go to the Australian Open. Knowing those two stipulations, we knew we’d go in January and we’d have to make a stop in Melbourne. Here’s our guide to a walking tour of Melbourne with kids. Taking a walking tour through the city is one of our favorite free things to do.
Here’s the walking tour we created that will give you a small taste of what Melbourne has to offer. NOTE: I’ve based this trek on staying at the Quest on William hotel on William St. However, you can use my map and depart from wherever you’d like. That said, I loved the hotel. It was by no means “fancy,” but having a 2-bedroom apartment with all the amenities of home (Heellooo washer and dryer) was exceptional.
William Street is mostly offices and bank buildings but head south towards the South Bank. The kids (and Daddy) were excited about going up in a “big, big tower” to view the city from a different perspective.
The Eureka Skydeck is on the 88th floor of the highest residential tower in the Southern Hemisphere. On top of that, the elevator takes you from the main floor to the Skydeck in just 38 seconds- holy ear popping! Once you’re 300 meters (984 ft) above the city you have a superb view of not only the city but the mountains to the northeast and the ocean to the south! If you want to add on to your walking tour, this is a great way to get an extra perspective of the things your family will want to see. Obviously, there is a cost associated with the Eureka Skydeck, but the view is fantastic!
We exited the Eureka Tower just in time for the clouds to cover over and a brief rainstorm. We sought cover from Flinders Street station, but I don’t recommend crossing over the Yarra River there, because the walkway has lots of stairs and it’s definitely NOT stroller-friendly.
Instead, cross at the St Kilda Road bridge, or, if you’re getting tired, you can take the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle Bus Route from the Arts Centre of Melbourne and get off at Federation Square. Either way, you must get a good look at Flinders Street Station, as it’s one of the most iconic buildings in Melbourne.
Once you’re in Federation Square, feel free to pop a squat and enjoy some serious people-watching. Our kids were famished (and I was a little hangry myself), so we hit up Mr Burger’s food truck for some delicious burgers and fries. FYI- the burgers are huge- our kids (all three) split one kids meal. Federation Square is home to a giant telly (as the Aussies say) and we were eager to catch up on what was happening at the Australian Open.
After crossing off Federation Square and Flinders Street Station, you can easily cross Flinders Street and enjoy the history and architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It may not be the best place for kids (they ask for quiet- oye!) but they do have a little table with a few coloring books if you have children that will sit still for a few minutes. We just made a quick look around the parameter of the sanctuary. I know everyone says, “you’ve seen one cathedral, you’ve seen them all,” but I don’t easily tire of the amazing structures men built before modern construction
From the Cathedral, you’ll head up Swanston Street through City Square. This is a well-trafficked area and another great place to people-watch. If you’re desperate for a taste of home, there is also a Starbucks and McDonald’s (aka Maccas)- and what says “family travel” more than a Happy Meal. Lol.
By this time our kiddos were starting to lose their minds a little- another reality of traveling with small children- excursions must be short OR include a time to nap. We headed back to our place but first wanted to take in a little window shopping on Collins Street. Now, Collins is not the type of place you take 3 raggedy children after a long day, but if you just want to JUST window shop, it works. If you’d like to do some more family-friendly shopping, ignore my map and travel one more square to the Bourke Street Mall. This is not an enclosed “mall” like we think of in America, but an area where the road is closed off to traffic where big-name Aussie stores like David Jones or Myer reside.
So that’s our walking tour of Melbourne! Have you been to Melbourne before? What would you recommend?
If you’re looking for a beautiful park to add a picnic lunch to your day, I highly recommend Fitzroy Gardens. We just ran out of time on this trip and didn’t make it there.