Taneesha Davis is a writer and editor living on the Mornington Peninsula. Visit girlbossmag.com.au for more.
Published May 3rd 2019
Embrace the cold with these winter weekend getaways
Looking to escape this winter with your family but not wanting to go too far away from home? Be a tourist in your own state and visit some of the best places Victoria has to offer for families. Winter doesn't mean you have to stay inside all the time, with these top 5 places sure to make you itching to getaway.
Budget-friendly certainly doesn't have to mean less than, as proven at this popular family weekend getaway spot. Warburton is an all-year-round great family escape, but it truly comes alive in winter. With Mt Donna Buang sitting above the town, snow reaches the mountain in the winter and can make for a great spot for snow play. There is also 'La-La Falls', a wonderful little round trip hike to the top of a waterfall. You can have a stroll down the Yarra River and the centre of town, or go get lost in the eerily silent Redwood Forest. There is plenty to do for the family that wants to get back to nature this winter.
Where To Stay: Warburton Holiday Park is a very easily accessible location for the family. Book a cabin or take a trailer, this lake side accommodation is central to all of what Warburton has to offer while also staying within the scenic and relaxing realm this town has to offer.
When To Stay: If you would like to catch some snow from Mt Donna Buang, July or August is a good time to head over. If snow isn't an issue (the mountain is still breathtaking to visit and walk amongst without it!) September is the perfect time of year to enjoy all outdoor activities.
If you think this beachside holiday favourite is just for Summer – guess again! This area is fantastic because it can really tailor to any budget or type of family. If getting into nature is your thing, or relaxing or an action-packed time, the Peninsula has it all. Family favourites definitely include the Cape Schanck Lighthouse (and the hike too if you're brave with older kids!), having lunch at Green Olive at Red Hill or Barmah Park Restaurant (both very family friendly wineries), a play at the Sorrento Park on Pt Nepean Road, a ferry trip on the Sorrento-Queenscliff Ferry (weather permitting), and an adventure packed time at the Enchanted Adventure Garden. There is plenty more that this area has to offer too!
Where To Stay: Frankston is the gateway to the Peninsula, so if you're looking to find something a little bit more budget-friendly while also close to everything, staying at a place such as Quest On The Bay is a great idea. If you want to be in the action more, choose a place in Mornington or further down the bay like in Safety Beach or Dromana. '
When To Stay: School holidays sees this place get really busy. Avoiding the school holiday times will ensure that it won't be too overcrowded and you get to see more of the wonderful things the Peninsula has to offer!
Despite the push from the tourism industry surrounding Daylesford, this beautiful spa region is not just for couples and child-free weekends away. There are plenty of opportunities for families of all sizes and ages to enjoy a fun-filled and relaxing weekend away together. This is also a family trip that is centred around nature, meaning you need to get your walking boots on again, as children will love running around and exploring all the gardens, lakes and picnic areas. There are some paid activities, such as a hedge maze, mini golf, country railway train, and The Chocolate Mill.
Where To Stay: There are plenty of hotel style accommodation options around Daylesford and even a few holiday parks if that is what entails in your budget. However, I recommend hopping on Airbnb for some really fantastic family-friendly options. You can rent out a whole house in the area that can accommodate you and your child's needs that keeps in line with beautiful serenity this area offers while staying family friendly.
When To Stay: School holidays turn this town into a bustling area of fun things to do for kids, with many activities popping up around. Book in during the winter school holidays as you will find much more things to fill the kids day with and keep everyone entertained.
You won't be getting any warmer in this winter getaway, but you and your family will be kept busy with all the exciting things to offer in Ballarat! The most famed is it's gold mining region, Sovereign Hill, which during winter hosts a spectacular event called the Winter Wonderlights, which gives you a taste of 'Christmas In July'. There is even snow (sort of!) Other highlights offered is Kryal Castle, where you can go back to medieval times, watch knight jousting, give a try at archery, and plenty more in this refurbished amusement park. There is also the Ballarat Wildlife Park that, even though outdoors, can be enjoyed in all weather as long as you rug up. For a blast to the past, there is one of the only remaining 'all-you-can-eat' Pizza Hut's in Ballarat to reminisce on, too.
Where To Stay: The Big 4 Ballarat Goldfields park is a family-friendly central location to all the highlights of Ballarat. There is plenty of indoor fun, such as an indoor playground, indoor heated spa, games room and kids club. There are the usual outdoor fun, such as a bouncing pillow, an adventure playground, and a solar-heated pool. This will depend on weather to whether you choose to enjoy these activities.
When To Stay: If you're wanting to enjoy the Sovereign Hill special Winter Wonderlights, you will have to come between the 30th of June and the 22nd of July. Outside of these times, Ballarat is still a magical place for families to enjoy the cold weather and the rich history the mining area has to offer. During school holidays the Big 4 holds a kids club and kids activities too.
Despite this being the least budget-friendly option on this list, it still gets a very honourable mention because it is sure to be one of the best family winter weekend getaways you can find in Victoria. Immerse yourself in the snow and head roughly 5 hours away from Melbourne into this winter wonderland. Falls Creek has lessons for children as young as 3 (with a cute Paw Patrol themed lesson!), and lessons for parents too who haven't hit the slopes before or need a refresher. There is also plenty of opportunity to hire your snow gear and equipment, which is particularly helpful with kids as they grow so quickly you may not want to buy something they will only use once. There are plenty of other snow activities on the mountain too, so the options for your weekend away or limitless.
Where To Stay: There are a host of accommodation sites for families on the mountain, and you will want something close to the shops (like Foodworks) when travelling with children just in case. Most accommodation is ski in ski out, which helps with children as you don't want to be lugging around snow equipment longer than you have to. Choose somewhere that has an apartment style setup, which can help settling children as it mimics a home away from home.
When To Stay: Snow season doesn't generally start until July – but if you're really wanting to get into the full snow spirit, late July or early August will be your safest bet if you want a few good millimetres of snowfall. If you want to enjoy the other great things Falls has to offer however, June is a great winter time to go!
You don't have to travel far to enjoy a change of scenery and pace this winter. For all family sizes, styles and budgets, there is a Victorian winter destination for you!