Family fun in Melbourne

Arriving at the hotel by bike!
Arriving at the hotel by bike!

We recently ventured to South Wharf in Melbourne’s CBD to experience the joys of the Hilton’s Family Fun in Melbourne package. As we live just 10km from the CBD, we decided to turn the trip into a micro-adventure … so we packed an overnight bag, hopped on our bikes and headed for the nearest train station, which took us to Southern Cross Station.

Bikes on bridgeThe bike ride from the train station through the Docklands area to the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf was met with squeals of childish delight, as we wound our way across twisty bridges and through tunnels. We soon arrived at the hotel – laughing and singing – where the very friendly concierge staff greeted us and showed us to the hotel check in, bikes and all!

The spacious suite is perfect for families – with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a TV-lounge area and a kitchenette with a large dining table, so you don’t need to juggle things for space. I still tell anyone that will listen about my appreciation of the small things (like a decent size dining table, two bathrooms, and a generous bedroom layout), as it’s these little things that make going away with a family just that bit easier.

My two very excited children thought their room was “awesome!” and they were thrilled that they had their own dressing gowns and slippers waiting for them, automatic window blinds and a sliding bedroom door. “Wow, it feels like we are sleeping in a secret cubby hole,” said my 6 year old daughter Amelia. Did I mention just how excited they were?!

Caribbean Pirates at the Polly Woodside, Australian Shakespeare Company - IMAGE 3 MEDAfter we explored our rooms, we met up with Grandpa Davo and Aunt Elly and made our way to Polly Woodside, which is part of the Hilton’s package.

We soaked up the winter sun as we strolled along the wharf, admiring (and noting for later) the choice of great restaurants. Before long, we caught a glimpse of the main mast of Polly Woodside that towered high above us, a very impressive sight among the contemporary buildings and the old shipping wharves.

Amelia on shipSoon we were lying on the ground, comparing the level of the mast height with nearby buildings. “Did you know the mast is 10 stories high?” asked my son James. Then we clambered aboard the ship to take part in the wonderful story telling adventures, led by our trusty Sea Capt’n Justin. We even scrubbed the deck – with the warning ‘Ahoy buccaneer, pay attention or ye might get wet!’ as buckets of water were thrown our way.

To make sure you don’t miss out on this brilliant experience, check the tour times before you go. Ship Ahoy m’hearties!

HiltonAfter an eventful day, we headed back to our room to watch the sun set over the Yarra River. It wasn’t long before we were treated to a delightful dinner delivered to our room – a deliciously tasty roast dinner, no cooking and no washing up – surely every mother’s dream!

JamesIt wasn’t long before the children settled down to watch a movie, with hot popcorn delivered at the agreed time (more shrieks of excitement), while we were left in peace to finish off the amazing dinner.

The next morning we had a slow start and enjoyed the buffet breakfast, which gave us time to talk about all the exciting things we had done and learnt the day before – which way is starboard? What trades and skills are needed to make a ship work?

Q. How much does it cost a pirate to get earrings?
A. A Buccaneer!

Q. What is a pirate’s favourite kind of cookie?
A. Ships Ahoy!

If you are visiting Melbourne make sure you take the opportunity to experience the ‘Family Fun in Melbourne’ package for yourself … and if you live in Melbourne, why not consider a micro-adventure in your own city? Sometimes a trip away in your home town is all that is needed to have a wonderful break from the every day.

Oh – and if shopping is your thing and you have time, just next to the hotel is the South Wharf DFO, filled with shop after shop after shop after shop!

This is a low stress, fun few days and there’s lots to do within walking distance of the hotel.

Sarah Ray lives in Melbourne with her husband Ash and children James (8) and Amelia (6). They love exploring their city – especially on their bikes!


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