Category Archives: Melbourne Things To Do

Melbourne Things To Do

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol – Crime & Justice Experience

The Old Melbourne Gaol is situated on Russell Street, in Melbourne’s CBD and is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Here you can learn a bit of history about some of Australia’s most infamous criminals who were held within these walls, many executed by hanging. The most famous of all these criminals was Ned Kelly and the gaol focuses a lot about the life and times of Australia’s legendary bushranger.

We took our boys (aged 8 & 10) during the school holidays and were expecting to just walk around the Gaol for about an hour but we were pleasantly surprised by just how much there is to see. We did in fact spend quite a few hours taking in all that the Gaol has to offer.

The main cellblock was built in the 1800’s and inside the actual cells are different prisoner stories told by storyboards, death masks, written letters and other various memorabilia. The hanging gallows still remain as well as a whipping triangle used to lash prisoners. The kids can also try on replica Ned Kelly armour here. Since 1972 the cell block has been run as a museum by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). For an additional $5 per person on top of your general entry ticket, you can take an escorted tour by one of the guides to help understand a bit more about the Old Melbourne Gaol’s grim past.

Your general entry ticket for the Old Melbourne Gaol also includes the Watch House Experience which is run regularly during school holidays. The tours are held every half hour or so and groups are limited to 60 people. Here the group all get a taste of being arrested and locked up in the neighbouring police station that was still in operation up until 1994. It can be quite confronting, especially for younger kids. Our 8-year-old did get a little intimidated, so probably wouldn’t recommend it for kids under that age. The Watch House Experience takes about 30 minutes and don’t forget to get your mugshots taken at the end!

You also have the opportunity to participate in the Ned Kelly Courtroom Drama which is a scripted re-enactment of the Ned Kelly Trial set in 1880. This is actually quite fun as well as informative. It runs for about 45 minutes and is limited to groups of 75 people. Here they require 10 volunteers from the group to play the scripted roles, 5 main roles and 5 smaller ones. Our 10-year-old was very excited to play one of the smaller witness roles and I must say he did very well! The rest of the group becomes the public gallery for the trial and are separated into two groups – the Kelly supporters and the Kelly haters. At the end of the trial you can form your own opinion on whether you think Ned Kelly was guilty or innocent.

The Old Melbourne Gaol is the site of 133 hanging executions and is listed as one of the most haunted spots in Australia. For any paranormal enthusiasts out there, be sure to try the night tours that are available – you might be lucky enough to see a ghost or two. We will definitely be waiting for the kids to get a bit older before trying that one with them!

For more information go to www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au

National Sports Museum at the MCG

National Sports Museum

National Sports Museum located at the MCG, Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia so there is no better place to find the National Sports Museum than the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Just a short walk from the city centre, the entrance to the national Sports Museum is located at Gate 3 of the MCG. If you love your sports or are like us and have kids that are sports nuts, then this is a great way to spend a day out in Melbourne.

We took our two boys (aged 8 & 10) here over the school holidays so they could learn a bit more about Australia’s rich sporting history. The National Sports Museum showcases more than 2500 objects relating to Australia’s greatest sporting moments. The sporting memorabilia here is extensive and some of the sports on display include Cricket, AFL, Rugby, Thoroughbred Racing, Basketball, Boxing, Netball, Soccer, Cycling, Athletics, Tennis and Golf. There is also a good section which explains the history and the redevelopment of the MCG. 

One of the biggest and most interesting displays is of the Olympics Games and its history. It was pretty amazing to see the different types of memorabilia including medals, relay torches and uniforms from Olympics past to present.

The Cricket and AFL displays were favourites for our boys, both included 3D Holograms – Shane Warne for cricket and James Hird for AFL who give a little insight to what it’s like to play their sports. The boys were definitely fascinated by these!

Downstairs is an interactive game zone called Game On which our kids absolutely loved. Here they can test their skills and ability at different sports including AFL (kicking and hand-ball), cycling, soccer, cricket, archery and netball.

The National Sports Museum is also home to the MCC (Melbourne Cricket Club) Museum, Sporting Australia Hall of Fame, Australian Cricket Hall of Fame and Australian Football Hall of Fame.

When purchasing tickets there is the option to take an MCG Tour (at extra cost). Tours run for about 75 minutes and will take you inside the inner sanctum of the MCG and onto its hallowed turf. These tours run frequently between 10.00am until 3.00pm on non-event days.

The National Sports Museum is open daily from 10.00am until 5.00pm (last admission is 4.00pm) with varied access on event days for the MCG.

We really enjoyed our day here at the National Sports Museum and you can find out more information or pre-book tickets from their website at www.nsm.org.au.

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia

One of our favourite things to do in Melbourne (without the kids) is to take a trip aboard the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. For both locals and tourists, it is a great way to travel around Melbourne and see some sights of the city while enjoying some beautiful local food and beverages at the same time.

There are three different departure times every day;

  • Luncheon service (4 courses)  which is from 1.00pm to 3.00pm cost is $85 per person
  • Early Dinner service (3 courses) which is from 5.45pm – 7.15pm cost is $80 per person
  • Late Dinner service (5 courses) which is from 8.35pm – 11.30pm cost is $121.00  Sun-Thur or $137.50 per person Fri & Sat

Pricing includes all food & beverages from a fully stocked open bar including beer, wine and spirits (note: glasses are never empty – they are filled up straight away by staff so it really is great value).

On this occasion we did the late dinner service, arriving 15 minutes before departure time as advised. While waiting we get our names checked off by staff who let us know which tram number we are on (there are usually 3 trams operating in convoy). Although it was raining on the night we did it, there is undercover shelter so you do not get wet waiting around to board.

Once on board we are seated and there is an appetiser ready and waiting. Appetiser consists of a Hummus dip and Roasted Red Capsicum dip served with water  crackers. Staff arrive straight away to take drink orders and go over the menu.

For Entree, there is a choice of Duck Terrine or Smoked Salmon & Avocado. We went with the Duck Terrine but it was our least favourite dish of the night. The choice for mains is either Grilled Chicken Breast or an Eye Fillet of Beef. We went with the Beef and it was absolutely beautiful and cooked to perfection. It was served with scallop potatoes and seasonable vegetables with a beautiful red wine jus.

The last two courses of the night consisted of a dessert sharing plate and a cheese platter. The cheese platter had a couple of local cheeses served with quince, water crackers and spiced fruit loaf. The dessert sharing plate had sticky date pudding and vanilla panacotta. No complaints about any of these, they were all delicious.

There is a stop during the night, allowing a chance to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. This is usually around the Albert Park/St.Kilda part of town. Towards the end of the night there is also a chance for tea, coffee or a nightcap if you prefer. We opted for a Baileys which was a nice way to finish the trip. The service by the staff is really excellent, as mentioned earlier we never had an empty glass all night.

The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is a wonderful way to capture the city of Melbourne, with great food, awesome views, nice ambience and fantastic service – can’t recommend highly enough.

For more information or to make an online booking go to www.tramrestaurant.com.au

Menu for the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Menu

Polly Woodside Tall Ship in Melbourne, Australia

Polly Woodside

Polly Woodside Tall Ship, Melbourne, Australia

We recently visited the Polly Woodside Tall Ship which is located in the heart of Melbourne’s South Wharf precinct. The Polly Woodside was originally built in 1885 and operated as a cargo vessel, travelling 1.5 million kilometres around the world.  She was sold to the  National Trust for one cent in 1968 and volunteers undertook a ten year restoration of the ship. We were staying at the Hilton South Wharf which is right next door and had booked their family fun package which included a family pass to the Polly Woodside (You can read our review of the Hilton South Wharf Family Fun Package here).

Our two boys aged 8 & 9 were not particularly excited about going to the Polly Woodside but had to admit that they were pleasantly surprised and had an absolutely amazing time. We managed to time our visit with one of the guided tours where the kids become the First Mates of the ship. Our guide was fantastic and made the kids the stars of the tour – making them learn what kind of work was done around the ship, including hauling the sails and scrubbing the decks (he also kept us adults entertained with his witty comments). They had a fun time exploring the ship while actually learning about the hardship and adventure of life at sea during the 1800’s.

After you have explored the ship there is a little museum with artefacts from the original ship as well as a small theatre which shows a short film about the Polly Woodside and its history.

The Polly Woodside is currently only open on Saturdays & Sundays from 10.00am to 4.00pm but open every day during school holidays.

On the first Sunday of every month the Polly Woodside has a Pirate Day where you can go dressed up and search for treasure and enjoy pirate fun and games.

General Admission pricing is as follows;

  • Adult – $16
  • Concession – $13
  • Child (3-15years) $9.50
  • Family (2 adults & 2 children) $43
  • Single Family (1 adult & 2 children) $32
  • Additional child $5
  • There are also combination passes available with the Old Melbourne Gaol which is another National Trust attraction.

For more information or to take a 3D virtual tour of the ship go to www.pollywoodside.com.au