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10 great family outings

albert park - dog friendly

Whether it’s an hour playing at an inner-city park, or two weeks camping along the river, getting the family out into the fresh air is good for body and soul.

Victoria is full of beautiful parks that offer a wide range of recreation. Research shows that the health effects of visiting the outdoors include fitness and strength developed from varied physical activities. Mental health benefits arise from being able to take time out from everyday life, and there are social gains flowing from bonding with family and friends.

The focus is on family time at these 10 great locations.

Albert Park

3km south of Melbourne CBDGet active. Walk, cycle, or jog around the 4.7km lake track and share family time over a picnic or barbecue. There are playgrounds and a skate ramp. Albert park is dog friendly.

Barmah National Park

40km north-east of Echuca, 225km north of MelbourneTake time out. Home to 500-year-old red gums and seasonal wetlands, Barmah offers a quiet spot for camping, walking, fishing and canoeing.

Point Nepean National Park

90km south of MelbourneGo exploring. Kids will love exploring the old military tunnels and forts. Visit the historic Quarantine station, find great tracks to cycle or walk, and more.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

200km south-east of MelbournePure nature. The southernmost point of the Australian mainland, the Prom is framed by granite headlands, mountains, forests and fern gullies. Nature can easily be explored by foot, from short strolls to overnight hikes.

Jells Park 

20km east of Melbourne CBDBushland in suburbia. Young children will delight in Yabbie Hill playscape. You can walk, cycle, or rollerblade around the sealed trails of Jells park. Go fishing or spot swamp hens, darters, cormorants and pelicans from the bird hide.

wilsons promjells park
Family fun at the Prom (left); Birdwatching at Jells Park

Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park

120km north-west of MelbourneDig for gold. Fancy yourself handy with a metal detector or a gold panning pan? Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park could be for you. Go back to Victoria’s gold rush roots where mining relics are scattered throughout the park.

Mornington Peninsula National Park

90km south of MelbourneWater fun. Great for swimming, surfing, sea kayaking or snorkelling. Fingal Picnic Area has a games paddock perfect for children.

Great Otway National Park and Forest Park

120km south-west of MelbourneHorse around. The formed roads and tracks provide ideal trails for horse riding and mountain biking. Licensed tour operators offer guided horse rides and other escapes.

Barwon River Parklands

90km from MelbourneMake the most of the great outdoors. This park along the Barwon River connects Geelong to Barwon Heads. The river is popular for rowing, kayaking water skiing, boating and fishing. Its banks and surrounds are great for walking, running, cycling and picnics.

Yarra Bend Park

4km north of MelbourneOrientate yourself. Yarra Bend ranges from steep, wild river escarpments to formal parkland. Activities include orienteering, boating, canoeing, cycling, golf, fishing and birdwatching. For a fresh look at Melbourne's iconic Yarra River, hire row boats, canoes and kayaks from historic Studley Park Boathouse, the oldest operating boathouse in Australia.

barwon riveryarra bend
Canoeing on the Barwon River (left); Fun and games at Yarra Bend

Are you ready?

Pack sunscreen, hats, plenty of water, food and snacks. Remember your camera too. Weather conditions can change quickly so if you’re going for a day outing or longer, check the forecast before you head out. Dress in layers and take a waterproof jacket if rain is predicted.