The Yarra Valley is well known for its wine tasting tours, but the region also has plenty to offer for families. Whether you’re looking for a day out from Melbourne or a weekend away, you’ll find no shortage of attractions to keep the kids occupied. Stop at scenic lookouts, go berry picking, take a wander along the pleasant walking trails of the Dandenong Mountain Range, or go sledding at Lake Mountain before enjoying a picnic utilising fresh produce from the area’s farms. It’s also ideally situated a short drive away from Melbourne, minimising time in the car. If you’re bringing the family along to the Yarra Valley, you won’t want to miss the following fun filled activities.

puffing billy train

Healesville Sanctuary

Do your kids love animals? Take them for a day out at the Healesville Sanctuary in the Yarra Valley. It’s one of the world’s best places to spot Australian wildlife in its natural habitat, set on 70 acres of untouched bush land. The sanctuary is home to kangaroos, wombats, dingoes, platypus, and koalas, among others. There’s also a café and working animal hospital offering tours. Best of all for your budget, children under the age of 15 can visit for free on holidays and weekends.

Puffing Billy

The Puffing Billy Steam Railway is an excursion that both young and old can enjoy. It’s the oldest steam railway in Australia, travelling 24 kilometres through the Dandenong Ranges. You’ll pass ancient fern gullies and old growth forest along the way, potentially spotting native wildlife from these open sided carriages. There are often special events held on the Puffing Billy, including pantomime performances and dance evenings. There’s a café on the car if the family starts to get peckish, and tours are run throughout the year.

Gulf Station

The Yarra Valley is home to many working farms, and one of the greatest pleasures of a visit to this area is visiting them to go berry picking, pet the tame animals, or learn more about the agricultural way of life. One of the original working farms is Gulf Station, which has been in operation for 160 years. Let your children learn more about the area’s original pioneer lifestyle, by visiting the original outbuildings that make up this working station. The farm is still home to chickens, geese, horses, and pigs, and offers a number of trails to wander along and enjoy a picnic in the countryside.

Trees Adventure

If your children have energy to burn, take them away to the Trees Adventure in the Dandenong Ranges. Your kids will get the same type of thrill through looking at these giant flying foxes and ziplines as you do when looking at bmw motorcycles on Bikesales. The zipline courses are ranked by difficulty, ensuring that there are courses for both young and old. Participants are all attached to safety lines, for added comfort. The Trees Adventure Park is located in a rain forest, with a number of interesting old growth trees to spot. You may also spot native wildlife such as owls, possums, or kookaburras.

Whether you want to learn more about the Yarra Valley’s farmstead heritage or take a wild ride through the trees, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained on a day out from Melbourne.