If you have kids, or indeed have ever seen or heard a kid, you will know that keeping them entertained while travelling is no mean feat. Some cities lend themselves to travelling with kids better than others. We found Melbourne is no exception. The city is brimming with fun (and some free) activities for families. A relatively flat city, Melbourne lends itself well to walking but when little feet get tired there is always a tram nearby, which for little kids can be an adventure all in itself (we experienced many oohs and ahhs and a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine references).
Take the Tram (86 or 96) to the Melbourne Museum (11 Nicholson St, Carlton), which has a dedicated Children's Gallery complete with both indoor and outdoor discovery areas suitable for all ages but geared towards little ones. There is also plenty for slightly older kids within the Museum itself, what child doesn't love a mechanical dinosaur! Adult admission to the museum is $10 per person, but kids are free. If they have any remaining energy to exert, pop next door to the Carlton Garden's playground and let them run it off before strolling down to Lygon Street for lunch at one of the many Italian restaurants.
We tried a number of restaurants on this strip, all were adequately equipped for family lunches with highchairs and kids' menus being the norm. Competition is a little fiercer in the evening so if you dine on Lygon Street scout around for the best deals. Our stroller came to a screeching halt when we were offered free kids' meals. If you're on a budget and the kids aren't fussy, sharing a pizza is a good alternative to three or four separate meals. But please, treat yourself, order that glass of shiraz - you deserve it after a long day out with the kids.