Summer school holiday activity guide in Melbourne and Victoria

Kids in the pool

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted December 07, 2023

A guide to the best and most budget-friendly activities to do over the summer school holidays in Melbourne and Victoria.

Summer school holidays means time for fun adventures, activities, road trips and entertainment. The Victorian school holidays run from Thursday, December 21 2023 to Monday, 29 January 2024. 

Here’s the best things to do, from the best free activities to ideas for a fun day at home. RACV Members save on attractions all over Melbourne and Victoria.  

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Summer school holidays guide: things to do in Melbourne and Victoria

Family-friendly summer holidays activities Melbourne 

Come face to face with marine life at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium 

Melbourne CBD

Looking to beat the summer heat during summer holidays in melbourne? 

Melbourne’s SEA LIFE Aquarium features over 10,000 animals to see and learn about, including sharks, penguins, crocodiles, and seahorses.

Kids can also head to the new Jelly Lab experience to learn more about these majestic marine creatures. 

RACV Members save on SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium tickets.

Strike a pose at ArtVo


Perhaps it’s raining, or you’ve had enough of the summer heat. Either way, great photo magic awaits at ArtVo, in Melbourne’s activity capital of the Docklands. 

In this immersive 3D gallery, trick imagery makes your photos appear as optical illusions and puts you at the centre of it all – whether you’re sitting in a fairy jar, in the clutches of King Kong, saving someone on a broken bridge or going to sleep in a mermaid’s clam. Have a fun day out with the family making photographic memories. 

RACV Members save on tickets here.

Try to avoid jail at Monopoly Dreams Melbourne

Melbourne CBD

Melbourne’s latest attraction has landed on GO.

Monopoly Dreams Melbourne is an immersive take on the popular board game, where visitors can take the Chance to win Monopoly money, battle through a laser maze, explore Mr Monopoly’s mansion and 4DX movie, and play games to get out of Jail. Bookings are recommended over the Melbourne summer holidays. 

RACV Members save on tickets to Monopoly Dreams Melbourne.

Take a ride on Puffing Billy


The Dandenong Ranges make for a day of beautiful exploration in nature – take a hike, walk through the botanical gardens, stay for lunch and have a ride on the historical steam train, Puffing Billy.

Heading through mountainous rainforest, kids will love dangling their feet off the carriage as the 100+ year old train takes passengers on a journey on this heritage attraction. 

RACV Members save on Puffing Billy Railway tickets



MONOPOLY DREAMS Melbourne is the latest large scale attraction to come to the city this holidays. Image: Supplied

Have fun with your FRIENDS


It’s official – The FRIENDS Experience is finally ready for its Australian episode, ‘The One in Melbourne.’

Bring your lobster and embed yourself in the beloved TV show, where you can sit in Monica and Chandler’s apartment, have a laugh at Central Perk, explore a range of props, costumes and merchandise, and even act out the famous ‘PIVOT!’ scene. Could it BE any more exciting? 

RACV Members save 20% on tickets to The Friends ™ Experience.

See a blockbuster movie

Around Melbourne and Victoria

The cinema can be a great place to have a cool down, or even enjoy outdoors during the summer season. 

The summer break is blockbuster season, with plenty of entertainment on at cinemas this school holidays for the family, including Pixar’s latest animation Wish; Trolls Band Together, the third in the series; Wonka, the prequel to the beloved Willy Wonka films; Migration, about a family of ducks making the big move; and the latest Aquaman adventure. 

RACV Members save up to 40 per cent* when pre-purchasing movie tickets for Hoyts, Village, Palace, IMAX, Moonlight and Event Cinemas.

Explore the parks of Gumbuya World

Tynong North

Can’t decide between going to a water park, theme park or wildlife sanctuary? You don’t have to choose at Gumbuya World, which encompasses all these and more just an hour from the CBD. 

Made up of four distinct ‘worlds,’ you can visit Oasis Springs for waterslide and lazy river fun, head to Oz Adventure for a mix of thrill rides and rollercoasters, take the little ones for a gentler ride at Outback Explorers, and interact with Australian animals on the Wildlife Trail. 

RACV Members save on Gumbuya World tickets.


Warterslides Gumbuya World

Gumbuya World is full of activities for all ages. Image: Supplied

Musicals and shows in Melbourne over the summer school holidays

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, with plenty of great shows and musicals that are great for the family showing over the summer. 

Musicals on during the school holidays

Some highlights for families include the musicals A Christmas Carol, featuring the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come; Grease the Musical, the arena spectacular returning to Melbourne on New Year’s Eve; Dog Man – The Musical, based on the hit kids book series of the same name, and Moulin Rouge – The Musical! which older kids and parents will be singing along to for days on end. 

Shows to see over summer

Outside of musicals, there’s plenty more to experience on Melbourne’s stage, from The Nutcracker ballet at the Arts Centre, to the China National Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall. 

The stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox will also debut at the Comedy Theatre, while the outdoor production of The Wind in the Willows will make its way to the Royal Botanic Gardens over the summer season. 

RACV Members save on a range of entertainment experiences with Ticketek.

Roarsome fun with the dinosaurs

Got a budding palaeontologist in the family? Take them to Dinosaur World Live, an interactive show featuring favourites from the Jurassic period like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus live on stage.

Head along before they go extinct! 

Get 4 x A-Reserve tickets for $179.90 as an RACV Member.


Kryal Castle dragon experience

Go back to medieval times at Kryal Castle in the Goldfields. Image: Supplied

Summer holiday and day trip ideas for families around Victoria

Go back in time to Ballarat

A great holiday hotspot full of activities for the kids, step back in time with a trip to Ballarat in Victoria’s Goldfields region. 

Pan for gold and visit a pantomime at Sovereign Hill, go axe throwing and to a jousting demonstration at Kryal Castle, visit native animals at Ballarat Wildlife Park or simply explore the great things to do with kids in the region. 

Book a stay RACV Goldfields Resort so you're nice and close to the action.

Take a walk on the wild side in Phillip Island

Full of nature parks, animals, beaches and activities, there’s a reason Phillip Island and nearby Inverloch have been Victorian holiday destinations for decades on end.

Take the family around the Phillip Island Adventure Parks, where you can see marsupials up close at the Koala Conservation Reserve, head on a virtual trip to Antarctica at the Nobbies Centre, interact with farm animals on Churchill Island, and make a stop at the iconic penguin parade, where you’ll see the largest fairy penguin colony on Earth waddling up to say hello. 

Make a stay of it at the nearby RACV Inverloch Resort.

Relax by the river in Cobram

Whether you’re looking to bring the tents and caravan, or prefer an onsite cabin with all the amenities, a family road trip to the Murray River is the perfect way to while away those long summer days. 

Have a swim or a fish, go on a family bike ride or hike, have a play in the RACV Cobram Resort rec room, playground and sports facilities, and enjoy exploring  the laid back sun country over the holiday break. 

RACV Members save on attractions in Cobram and surrounds.

Get adventurous on the Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while not having to travel too far to feel like you’re truly on holiday. 

With glittering beaches from Canadian Bay to Cape Schanck, spend those dreamy summer days enjoying the great outdoors. 

From a waterbike tour in Sorrento to the Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens in Mornington, there’s plenty for families to do just an hour out of Melbourne. 

Book a stay at the RACV Cape Schanck Resort.

Go on a day trip

If you’d prefer to just head on a one-off road trip, there’s plenty of places around Victoria that make for a great day trip on a summer’s day.

You can cruise down the Great Ocean Road to the iconic Bells Beach in Torquay, or if you prefer to enjoy water by staying dry, head on a nearby tour to see the dolphins and seals as they swim and dance across the sea. 

Or perhaps you’d prefer a day feeding kangaroos, getting dessert samples and visiting the flower gardens around the Yarra Valley; having a peaceful picnic in Daylesford or exploring some great Farmers’ Markets in the High Country

Wherever you go, keep well-informed of any safety precautions this bushfire season from the CFA, SES and local councils, have an emergency kit in the car, and make sure your emergency roadside assistance policy is up-to-date. 


RACV Cobram resort

Make a splash at the RACV Cobram Resort. Image: Supplied

Free summer school holidays activities in Melbourne and Victoria

Hit the beach or a swimming hole

While summer (hopefully) brings on swimming weather, it’s the season for exploring the magnificent swimming spots and beaches of the state. 

Take the family to an adventure to a natural swimming hole, hit up one of the best beaches in Melbourne, run around with your dog at an off-leash beach, or go on a fun coastal walk.

Remember to always stay safe around water, including sunscreen, parental supervision for children, and swimming between the flags. 

Explore a new playground

We’ve rounded up the best playgrounds in regional Victoria and around Melbourne so you don’t have to! 

Whether your kids love playgrounds shaped like a pirate ship, exploring musical play equipment, challenging obstacles or just a fun play on the good old swing and slide, a playground is the perfect place for some free outdoor fun in the sun. 

Have a family bake day

Got a budding sous chef in your mist? Get the kids together for a play in the kitchen and let budding hands make some of their very own marvellous creations. 

Give them a go at some child friendly recipes from the RACV Club Kitchen, like this salted caramel choc-chip cookie recipe, the popular mini pancake cereal, or this easy chocolate mousse cake recipe.

Go on a scenic hike

Make the most of the better weather by exploring the best of the scenic walks and hikes around Melbourne and Victoria. 

Whether you want to go chasing waterfalls, you’re looking for family friendly walks, fun dog trails or nature hikes around the state, there’s always somewhere new to explore on foot. And best of all – these experiences are free to do. 

Get on your bikes and ride

Dust off the bikes and head on a family ride around your suburb. It’s free, fun, and a healthy way to explore the great outdoors. 

If you’re looking to explore a new region, you can head on one of these family-friendly bike routes, from a trip taking in the solar system along Port Phillip Bay, to a trip past the zoo and parklands on the Capital City Trail. 

Don’t forget to brush up on the latest cycling road rules here.

Visit the libraries, galleries and museum

Did you know that there are many libraries, galleries and museums with free entry and activities over the school holidays?

The NGV, ACMI, the Australian Music Vault, The Immigration Museum and The Australian Sports Museum all have free entry, while kids under 12 are also free to visit The Heide Museum of Modern Art, Scienceworks, and The Melbourne Museum.

We've done a round-up of some of our favourite libraries and their facilities here, while here is our list of the best modern art galleries in Melbourne, as well as regional Victoria.

Many of these attractions are accessible by public transport. You can plan your route with the journey planning app arevo.

Free day trip guides 

Did you know there are ways to explore greater Victoria without breaking the budget? There are plenty of things to do in the Melbourne summer holidays without spending much at all. 

Check out our guides for how to have a fun, free day out in the Yarra Valley, Ballarat, Mornington Peninsula and even right here in Melbourne.


RACV Members save more on amazing attractions and experiences. 
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