How to keep the kids entertained over the Easter school holidays

Girl climping steps at a playground


Posted March 28, 2023

Get out and about these Easter school holidays with fun and family-friendly activities across Melbourne and regional Victoria and holiday hot spots in NSW and Queensland.

Blink and you might have missed the first school term for 2023. But if you forgot to book a holiday or short break for the Easter school holidays, despair not – even the most disorganised family can get the kids off the couch with these fresh-air-friendly, fun, and budget-friendly activities.

So, with the Easter school holidays (8 to 26 April) kicking off on Good Friday, here’s our guide to the best things to do. RACV Members save more on a host of fun family experiences including Puffing Billy, Sovereign Hill, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, Luna Park, Kryal Castle and more. 

Free things to do in Melbourne, Victoria over the Easter school holidays 2023

Find a new favourite playground

There are playgrounds… and then there are the bells-and-whistles wonder worlds that wow kids and delight parents.

Regional Victoria is dotted with them: Warrnambool’s Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground is a grassy eight hectares with flying foxes, giant slides, a maze and pedal boats on the lake, while Bollygum in Kinglake has a Bower Bird’s Nest, Platypus House, tunnels, musical instruments and a skate park on the side. Bendigo’s Eaglehawk Playspace is an all-ages zone of silliness referencing the Banjo Paterson poem Mulga Bill’s Bicycle.

Check our guide to the best playgrounds in Melbourne.

Hunt for gold

They say there’s more gold still in the ground in Victoria than was ever taken from it in our gold-rush days. Prospectors have never stopped fossicking, and have found plenty of success, particularly in the so-called ‘golden triangle’ cornered roughly by Ballarat, Bendigo and Wedderburn. A two-kilogram nugget was found near Ballarat in July 2019, and a half-kilo lump worth $35,000 outside Bendigo shortly before that. 

So pick up a 10-year Miner’s Right licence, hire a metal detector, download a goldfields map, then pack up the kids and head for central Victoria to try your luck. (If you want to learn the basics or some insider tips, several companies offer tours in the Goldfields region.) 

Even if you don’t find gold you’ll bring home treasure – little nuggets of history, a carful of country air … and plenty of gold-rush bakeries and toy and lolly shops to enjoy. 

Read more about gold prospecting in Victoria.

Get on your bike

Exploring your neighbourhood on two wheels is a fabulous way to warm up and get your kids’ recommended 60 minutes of physical exercise in, along with a lesson in self-sufficiency. Coax them out with a simple picnic or some snacks, and pack binoculars for a spot of bird or wildlife spotting.

Cycling is a great way to get around on holiday too, and makes a perfect excuse for a trip to the coast or country.

Check out our guide to family-friendly bike rides for a range of fun routes, including a cosmic trip through the solar system along Port Phillip Bay, a sculpture-studded freeway trail, and a riverside wander through a hidden valley so pretty it’s classified by the National Trust.  


Girl taking photo in rainforest

Get up close with nature on one of Victoria's myriad family-friendly hikes. Image: Getty.

Take a hike

Get the kids moving with a family-friendly walk. It’s a great way to keep connected and can serve as an environmental or history lesson as well. 

Take for example the 7.7-kilometre You Yangs loop walk, which has views over the western plains dotted with cone-shaped hills that are dormant volcanoes, plus a good chance of spotting lizards. Below the eastern path is a 100-metre-wide stone geoglyph of Bunjil, the eagle of Wathaurong mythology.

Forest bathing – the practice of communing with trees to make oneself feel better – is nothing new in the Dandenongs. There are magnificent mountain ash, beautiful ferns and enormous logs for littlies to climb on the hour-long Sherbrooke Falls loop walk, along with lyrebirds and kookaburras to be spotted. 

Read about these walks and more in our guide to the best family-friendly walks in Victoria.

Explore nature

The kids can play Wildlife Detective, Rockpool Ramber or Flora Explorer with Parks Victoria’s Junior Rangers holiday program, which runs hundreds of activities in dozens of locations throughout the state. Seek freshwater minibeasts in Great Otway National Park, sea critters at Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, discover a bug’s world at Jells Park or rainforest secrets at Dandenong Ranges National Park ... these are just a taste of what’s on offer in this comprehensive program.

Visit the library 

Libraries are no longer the silent, dusty spaces you might remember from years past. Today, libraries in Victoria are architectural wonders filled with cutting-edge technology and massive book collections – both traditional and digital. Whether you're looking for an easy rainy day activity or just need some quiet time with the kids, check out our guide to the best libraries in Victoria that combine history, community and literature. 

Kids playing with LEGO at Legoland

Build it and they will come to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Image: Getty.

School holiday activities in Melbourne

Catch the historic Puffing Billy steam train 

Puffing Billy has brought back its tradition of sitting on the train’s windowsills. Passengers aged four and up can sit on the sills and dangle their feet out as the train makes one of its historic journeys through the leafy Dandenong Ranges to Lakeside or Gembrook. 

From April 2 to June 24, the Lakeside Visitor’s Centre is also hosting its first photography exhibition. Animal Tales is a free exhibition from Karen Aslop that places native Australian wildlife in quirky, human situations (for example, riding Puffing Billy or working in a shop). 

Build things at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne

Nearly 100 years after it was invented, LEGO continues to be a hit with both children and adults. Here in Melbourne, we’re lucky to have our own LEGOLAND Discovery Centre with incredible professional LEGO builds, rides, a 4D cinema and of course lots of Lego to play with. 

For the school holidays the discovery centre is hosting a Ninjago Training Camp where kids can battle against their friends, try out stop motion animation and learn some ninja-themed builds. It’s on from April 7 to May 2. 

Go for a ride at Luna Park

Nothing beats a day out at St Kilda’s Luna Park, which in 2022 celebrates its 110th birthday. Rides like the Great Scenic Railway, Dodgems and Carousel are always a hit, and the park is open every day from 11am during the autumn school holidays.

If you head to the park on Easter Saturday or Sunday, you’ll also be able to take part in the annual Great Luna Park Easter Egg Hunt where there are more than 30,000 chocolate eggs for kids to find.  Plus, little ones can meet the Easter Bunny too.

Visit SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium 

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is a must-visit destination for those who love sea creatures. Located in the heart of Melbourne, the aquarium boasts an impressive collection of marine life from around the world. Visitors can get up close and personal with a variety of species, including majestic sharks, playful penguins, vibrant tropical fish, and mesmerising jellyfish.

One of the highlights of the aquarium is the Oceanarium, which features a giant viewing tunnel that allows visitors to walk through and experience the underwater world. The aquarium also offers educational programs and behind-the-scenes tours for those who want to learn more about marine conservation and the creatures that call the ocean their home.

See the latest blockbuster movie

Grab a choc top and some popcorn and kick back for a couple of hours of entertainment at the movies.

This school holidays, comes a new animated film based on the world of Super Mario Bros, The Super Mario Bros Movie, which stars Chris Pratt as Mario, Anna Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi and Jack Black as Bowser. 

Chris Pratt will also be hitting screens in the latest instalment of Marvel's wildly popular Guardians of the Galaxy series. Volume 3 brings all your favourite space misfits back together to, once again, save the universe. 

Antonio Banderas is reprising his role as Puss for DreamWorks Animation's new Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Picking up where the Shrek franchise left off, Puss and his feline love interest, Kitty Soft Paws (voiced by Selma Hayek), will adventure into the Black Forest in the hopes of restoring eight of Puss's nine lives.

Whether you're in the mood for an action-packed family blockbuster or a heart-melting rom-com, RACV Members save up to 60 per cent on movie tickets and value bundles at Village, HOYTS, Palace, Event, Moonlight and IMAX. All you need to do is pre-purchase your ticket online or at select RACV Retail Stores, and redeem at a participating cinema location.

Otway fly steel bridge through towering rainforest

Experience the wonder and whimsy of an ancient rainforest at The Otway Fly. Image: Getty.

School holiday activities across regional Victoria

The Otway Fly, Weeaproinah

Victoria’s Otway Fly allows you to either walk or soar through the ancient Otway Rainforest.

The Otway Fly treetop walk is 1.9 km long and features a 600-metre-long elevated walkway that stands at 25 to 30 metres tall, as well as a 47-metre-high spiral observation tower which lets you peer out over the entire rainforest like a bird. The walk is pram-friendly too. 

Older children (ages five and up) and adults can also try the zipline tour where you can fly between the trees using a zipline cable.  

Sovereign Hill, Ballarat 

You're never too young (or old) for a visit to Ballarat's famed Sovereign Hill. The award-winning living museum set on a former gold mining site recreates the hustle and bustle of the 1850s Gold Rush in Australia. There’s no shortage of things to do and see, from panning for gold to watching $150,000 of molten gold being poured into a bullion bar, to taking a ride on horse-drawn carriages.

Don't miss getting a family photo taken in Victorian-era costumes and be sure to get your fill of raspberry drops from Brown's Confectionery.

Check out our Guide to Sovereign Hill to help you plan a perfect day out.

Kryal Castle, Ballarat

Experience magic at Kryal Castle from 7-22 April as the Unicorn Festival brings the mythical creature to Australia's only Medieval-themed adventure park. Dress up and enjoy various interactive activities for kids of all ages, including unicorn petting, unicorn-themed arts and crafts, live performances, face painting and even food.  The Unicorn Festival at Kryal Castle is a unique and memorable experience that will delight families looking for a fun day out.

Ballarat Wildlife Park, Ballarat East

Meet some of Victoria’s cutest residents this Easter at Ballarat Wildlife Park. The family-run business lets you get up close to the park’s animals, which include kangaroos, koalas, wombats, birds, meerkats, snakes, crocodiles and even a giant tortoise (he’s called Hugo).

Admission lets you see all the animals as well as enjoy the keeper talks. If you want a one-on-one animal experience, book in for an animal encounter (most are suitable for children as well). 

Cactus Country, Strathmerton 

Victoria’s north is home to Australia’s largest cactus garden. Cactus Country describes itself as “a little piece of Mexico on the Murray” and contains more than 1,000 varieties of cacti and succulents.

The family-friendly arid garden also has eight desert walking trails plus a scavenger hunt for children. Dogs are welcome too, plus there’s a café where kids can try homemade cactus cake or ice cream.


Family entering Tiger Island enclosure at Dreamworld in Queensland

Have a ferociously good time exploring Tiger Island at Dreamworld. Image: Supplied.

School holiday activities in NSW and Queensland

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour 

The world’s most famous cartoon pig is coming to SEA LIFE Sydney aquarium these school holidays.

Peppa Pig is taking over the aquarium from 1-23 April, with character meet and greets, photo opportunities and a free activity book and trail for kids. 

Madame Tussauds, Darling Harbour

Everyone can take a selfie with their favourite superhero or celebrity at Madame Tussauds

For families, the museum makes for a great all-weather activity where you can take a photo with the likes of Taylor Swift, Spiderman, Captain Marvel and Iron Man. The museum even has a new sculpture of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. 

Explore the Theme Parks, Gold Coast

Flying north for the holidays? Have all the fun and excitement you could ever need on your next Gold Coast escape with unlimited entry to three incredible theme parks.

Get three days' unlimited entry to the Village Roadshow Theme Parks - Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild - where you'll get to enjoy the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest collection of thrill rides, slides, shows and attractions. Grab your Super Pass today and make your next holiday one to remember.

Visit Dreamworld, Gold coast

Get set for a thrilling day out at Dreamworld and WhiteWater World.

Experience the captivating excitement of Dreamworld aboard the family-favourite Sky Voyager ride, a simulated flight experience with the coolest special effects. Or make your way to Tiger Island, where you can watch tigers flex their muscles as they jump, climb and swim in a daily presentation.

When you’re ready to cool down, dive into a watery oasis at WhiteWater World, where you can make a splash in the wave pool or rocket down serpentine tunnels and slides.

Better yet, opt for the three-day combo ticket and take your adventure to a whole new level with entry to the SkyPoint Observation Deck.  

Currumbin Wildlife Park, Gold Coast

If your family is headed to the Gold Coast for Easter, the animals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary are always a hit with kids. 

The sanctuary is home to a huge number of native Australian animals, plus tamarins, capybara and even a red panda. 

For the school holidays Currumbin even has a dedicated program, with different activities every day from April 11 to 14. These include a ‘Vet for a Day’ and ‘Animal trainer for a Day’ programs for kids aged six to 12.


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