Best Places to Bike With Your Kids During School Holidays

School holidays have rolled around again in Melbourne.

If you’re like us and school holidays are cause for a small amount of panic, don’t stress: we’ve got some ideas for you.

And what makes these ideas special is that they upgrade the garden variety school holiday outing, by swapping grim car trips and parking fees for the fresh air, peace, and quiet of a bike ride. With this in mind, here are our top five picks for places to ride with your kids during the upcoming school holidays.

With all of our picks, make sure you’ve checked out any COVID-related rules ahead of time, and note that some have limited occupancy, so book tickets ahead!

A giraffe at Melbourne Zoo
Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, via Wikimedia Commons

The Melbourne Zoo

The Melbourne Zoo is a great spot for the kids, combining a bit of nature to go along with all the gorillas, pandas, and sloths. Check out the Zoo’s recommended itineraries – there are different ones based on how many creatures and bugs your kids (or mum and dad) want to jam into a day. 

They are open 9 am to 5 pm every day, and during school holidays kids under 16 get free admission!  It is important to keep in mind one of the zoo’s rules that everyone must book a ticket prior to arrival, even if you are a zoo member. Head to the zoo website for more details.

How to get there:

The Zoo is well serviced by bike paths. The Capital City Trail runs right to the doorstep. Other options are the Moonee Creek Trail, which connects into the Capital City Trail from the northwest, and the Upfield Bike Path which connects from the north.

Photo by Geraldine Lewa on Unsplash

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Think forests, lakes, blooming camellias – over 950 different varieties – going to the Royal Botanic Gardens is like taking a day trip to the country. Wander through the fern gully, get lost in a bamboo forest or float some boats down the river in the Children’s Garden – there are lots of options and lots of fresh air.

Kids can grab one of their free Seek and Find Nature Cards from the Visitor Centre on your way in, to put them on the hunt.

The gardens are open from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm every day. Head to their website to find a map or to plan your visit.

How to get there:

There are a number of bike paths that will get you to the Botanic Gardens. Running from the south, there is the decent path along St Kilda Road. From the north, try the protected path running through the CBD along Swanston Street. The top choice, however, is to bike along the Yarra on the Main Yarra Trail.

The front of Scienceworks Melbourne
Photo By Cameron Burke, via Wikimedia Commons


Scienceworks is reopening on Friday 25th June, just in time for the school holidays, and there are a number of robot-themed special events planned to go along with their usual, fun exhibitions. 

Scienceworks is open 10 am to 4.30 pm daily, and they’ve gone cashless, so leave those lonely notes at home.

How to get there:

Scienceworks is located close to bicycle routes along the Maribyrnong River, Hyde Street, the Yarra River and Hudsons Road.

Photo by John Gollings, 2010

The Heide Museum of Modern Art

If you’re willing to venture a bit further out, The Heide is well worth a go. A 15km bike ride from the city along the lovely Main Yarra Trail, one of the nicest trails in Melbourne, will get you to a place that has something for everyone – a great local gallery with a solid cafe that’s surrounded by 15 acres of parkland for the kids to wear themselves out. A kitted out eBike would make the perfect complement to this outing, as you can carry enough snacks and such for the trip, and it’ll also make that 15km a breeze.

How to get there:

Head north on the Main Yarra Trail out of the city. It is a mainly flat, off street path that goes through parklands, forest, and along the river for 15km. It is one of our favourite trails, head to our blog to find out more.

Looking down on Brighton Beach and colourful bathing boxes from above

The Beach

With the weather right, and the sun shining, why not have a play at the beach? We’re fans of the odd trip to the beach in the winter, missing the crowds and not having to worry about keeping SunSmart every five minutes. Two of our favourite bayside picks close to the city are Brighton Beach and Elwood Beach. There are the colourful bathing boxes, nice sand, and clear water… clear water if you’re brave. And if the beach is a fail? There are a number of good cafes close by where you can grab a warm drink and some takeaway.

How to get there:

Both Brighton and Elwood Beaches can be reached by the excellent Bay Trail bike path, which is a good outing in its own right.

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