Easter holiday ideas: Exploring Melbourne and its surrounds
TIME’S too precious to waste by spending all your time at home this Easter holiday. There’s so much to see and do around Melbourne. Meld Magazine reporter Amanda Yap scouts out some of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations and offers you some holiday ideas.
Melbourne city and surrounds
Take a stroll around the gardens before catching an early show at IMAX. Eight-storeys high and revered for having the world’s third largest screen, it’s also one of only two theatres in Australia that uses large format film, giving audiences a much better 3D cinematic experience. Tickets can be purchased online or at the counter, and range from $14.50 to $19.50, depending on the film you want to see.
After the show, drop by the Melbourne Museum, which is home to permanent collections as well as special exhibitions.
If you’re new to Melbourne, check out the history of Melbourne exhibit, and if science is your thing, then you’ll love the towering dinosaur skeletons and bugs collection.
Don’t forget to catch the Tutankhamun Exhibition while it’s here in Melbourne, featuring an astounding collection of objects unearthed from the infamous boy king’s tomb. It’s a timed-ticket exhibition, so make sure you book your tickets in advance to avoid missing out.
The Melbourne Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, but will be closed on Good Friday (April 22). Student entry to the museum is free – just remember to bring your student IDs.
Further afield, Scienceworks, the Melbourne Planetarium and the Lightning Room on Booker St, Spotswood are also worth a visit. Entry to Scienceworks is free, but students will still have to pay $5 to enter the other two.
As its namesake suggests, this museum focuses on science, and offers a thoroughly enjoyable interactive experience. Stretch your mind and muscles at Sportsworks (one of our favourites) – whoever knew measuring fitness could be so much fun?
Squeal over baby penguins, clownfish and turtles, marvel at jellyfish and sharks, and examine beautiful corals at the Melbourne Aquarium. Tickets are $22 for students, but if you fork out a little more, you could go on the Access All-Areas Tour to get a ‘behind-the-aquariums’ look.
The Melbourne Zoo is less than 25 mins away from the city by tram – and it’s a good opportunity to acquaint yourself with Australia’s iconic wildlife including koalas, kangaroos and wombats, without having to venture too far to the outback.
Chill out at Melbourne’s beaches if a quiet afternoon is all you want, weather permitting. It’s also good place to go if shops and other attractions are closed for Easter.
The beach closest to the city is St Kilda Beach, which is dotted with numerous restaurants, bars and shops. You can get there by catching either trams 16, 79 or 96.
You’ve probably seen the row of brightly-painted bathing houses at Brighton Beach on a Melbourne postcard before – and it’s a must-go for photoholics. Just hop onto any Sandringham Line train from Flinders Railway Station, and alight at Brighton Beach Railway Station.
Travel tip: If you don’t drive, the Metlink Journey Planner is a really helpful tool for navigating around Melbourne by public transport.
Feeling a little more adventurous?
Then venture out of the comfort zone of the city to Mornington Peninsula, which is an hour away by car. The Peninsula combines the finest of Europe’s coastal living with traditional Aussie charm, with plenty of cafes, spas and galleries in breezy seaside villages.
We recommend you visit Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens, Australia’s most famous three-metre high hedge maze and lavender labyrinth.
A trip to Mornington is also incomplete without a trip to the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm. Have fun harvesting strawberries that are ripe for the picking. The desserts there are yum too.
And speaking of sweet cravings, sample finely-crafted quality chocolates in the Mornington hinterland at MP Chocolates.
Bear in mind that it’d be impossible to visit every attraction in Mornington Peninsula if you’re planning a day trip. If you’d like to explore the region more extensively, the best thing to do would be to plan a proper itinerary, including accommodation, so you would have ample time to do what you want without being fussed or rushed.
You may want to consider purchasing attraction passes or enquire about special group booking prices if you’re travelling with a big group of friends. Also, be sure to phone in to make sure that places are open on the days you plan to visit.
The Great Ocean Road is also a must-see.
Rent a car with a group of friends and take the scenic drive on one of the world’s most picturesque roads. Enjoy breathtaking views of cliff tops, headlands, beaches, rivers and rainforests before coming across the most famous section of the road, where you can view and take pictures against a backdrop of the 12 Apostles.
And finally, have you heard about Ballarat’s famous gold-digging open air museum, Sovereign Hill? Located about 90 minutes from Melbourne, Sovereign Hill tells the story of Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold there in 1851. It features historically recreated buildings, with regular street performances by costumed staff and volunteers, who willingly answer your questions and pose for photos.
In addition to that, you can pan for real gold at the Red Hill Gully Diggings, and take a 10-minute self-guided underground adventure tour of the Red Hill Mine.
Visit the Sovereign Hill website, for directions on how to get there and ticket prices.
Have you made plans for Easter? Tell us about your holiday destinations.